Groton School The Quarterly • Spring 2017
— THE —
GIRLS ’77 — OF —
3 TH E S T O RY B E H IN D G RO TO N ’S C O E D UC ATI O N PI O N E ERS 3
Spring 2017 • Volume LXXVIII, No. 2
THE GIRLS OF ’77 The story behind Groton’s coeducation pioneers page 18
D E P A R T
Message from the Headmaster
Circiter / Around the C ircle
11 Personae / Profiles 32 Voces / Chapel Talks 40 De L ibris / New Rel eases 41 Grotoniana / Arts 46 Grotoniana / Athletics 53 In Memoriam 57 Form Notes
The Nashua River by Alexandra Patenaude ’16
Message from the Headmaster IN MY LAST column, I spoke about the need for reconcilia-
tion after considering two contradictory viewpoints on Groton’s presidential letter collection: would I, or would I not, ask President Donald Trump to send a portrait to join the other nineteen that hang on the Schoolhouse walls? Without losing focus of my role, I used my life experiences to determine my course of action. With post-apartheid South African reconciliation in mind, I ultimately wrote the letter, which was mailed to the White House and published in the winter Quarterly. We received acknowledgement of the letter’s receipt, but no portrait yet. This decision served as a reminder that there are times in life when the greater goal supersedes our own worldview. Such choices are not to be mistaken with compromise or capitulation—on the contrary, they reflect our determination not to lose focus of our responsibilities. Yogi Berra was too simplistic when he said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Which fork to take is often the dilemma. Recently, when I was in Beijing meeting with Groton families, alumni, and prospective students, I quoted a tweet from our eldest son that said: “Superpower: ability to consciously hold contradictory viewpoints at once without losing focus.” This wherewithal to consciously hold contradictory viewpoints without losing focus is also a gift of a mature democracy, one that focuses on doing things for the greater good. When it comes to science—my discipline—our national leaders would do well to consider contradictory viewpoints on one of the existential risks threatening our planet: climate change. The scientific community’s prevailing viewpoint posits that anthropogenic—human—sources are behind the unusual warming of the planet, while the opposing viewpoint is that
Editor Gail Friedman Design Irene Chu
Contributing Editors Kimberly A. Gerighty Elizabeth Z. Ginsberg P’16 Jessica M. Hart Elizabeth Wray Lawrence ‘82 Allison S. MacBride John D. MacEachern P’10, ‘14, ’16 Kathleen M. Machan Amily Dunlap Moore
the cause of the warming is natural, cyclic, and less worthy of worry. Regardless of where each of us stands on the cause of the warming trend, incontrovertible evidence should make us listen to these contradictory viewpoints without losing focus. Among the facts: in the last seventeen years, we have had sixteen of the hottest years on record. This year, 2017, is hotter than 2016, which was hotter than 2015. In our democracy, it may be okay to hold opposing views about the causes without losing focus on the facts: there is a warming trend that, by and large, is progressive and irreversible. Irreversible reactions in my chemistry classes often lead to a cascading effect, where there is no turning back of products to reactants. Leadership is the ability to make decisions before all the facts are known. And decisions made by impactful leaders are often informed or validated by scholarship in the liberal arts tradition—the approach that is so vital at Groton. Critical thinking, scholarship, and problem-solving are the ingredients that inform decision-making. I have a strong bias for leaders who are rooted in the liberal arts tradition. Recently, I was asked by venture capitalist Scott Hartley to review his book, The Fuzzy and the Techie: Why the Liberal Arts Will Rule the Digital World. He asked my opinion about the source of the next generation of artificial intelligence and technology in the digital world. I used Groton as an example of the success and superiority of a liberal arts education versus an exclusively STEM/STEAM education. I believe our school has had an outsized impact on public service and leadership precisely because of the strength and breadth inherent in a liberal arts education. I wonder if the time has come for us to design a course in which learners and teachers could delve into climate change within a multidisciplinary global curriculum? All views would be encouraged as long as they are based on fact and acceptable evidence. The primary goal of such a course would be not to lose focus—and to propose solutions to what I believe is an existential threat.
Photography/Editorial Assistant Christopher Temerson Editorial Offices The Schoolhouse Groton School Groton, MA 01450 978 - 448 -7506 Send feedback, ideas, or letters to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Groton School Quarterly
Other School Offices Alumni Office: 978 - 448 -7520 Admission Office: 978 - 448 -7510 Groton School publishes the Groton School Quarterly three times a year, in late summer, winter, and spring, and the Annual Report once a year, in the fall.
inducted into Groton’s Hall of Fame. For what it’s worth, seven of us [from the Form of 1951]—including Gordon Gray, Stuart Cragin, John Rhinelander, Ray Walker, and Frank White—were starters on three varsity teams at Groton, and five played varsity sports in college. William E. “Bill” Chauncey ’51 J. Alan McLean ’51
1950 Groton football team, and the Boston Herald cartoon about them
We enjoyed seeing the 1954 football cartoon on the back cover of the Winter 2017 Quarterly. Yes, “there WAS a time when Boston media [particularly the Boston Herald] covered Groton football.” But were you aware that this time began at least four years earlier than the cartoon you showed? We thought you might appreciate seeing the pre-St. Mark’s game cartoon from November of 1950. Indeed, the Herald in those days also printed long articles and photos of Groton basketball and baseball (including box scores) from our time at Groton. Schoolboy sports at Groton were covered! As surviving members of the undefeated, untied football team of 1950, and in memory of our quarterback, the late John Rhinelander, who was our form’s unofficial
sports communicator with the school, we are respectfully calling your attention to this November 11, 1950 Boston Herald cartoon, accompanied by our team photo (above). You might also be interested in a few comments by the late Acosta “Corky” Nichols in the “Athletic Field” chapter of his book, Forty Years More—1934–1974: “Though there were a large number of fine teams during the period, two stand out above all others: Chub Peabody’s in 1937 and Frank White’s in 1950 . . . White’s team, employing the T-formation, had an extraordinary record, rolling up 225 points in a seven-game schedule.” The team also scored four or more touchdowns in each game and averaged thirty-two points a game. Two of its members, Gordon Gray and Frank White, have been
When the winter issue of the Quarterly arrived, I did a double take—on the back cover was a reprint of the [Boston Herald] cartoon for the 1954 football team. It was a very appropriate gesture. Would you accept a fervent request from the Form of 1957 to repeat that gesture for our football team in the spring issue of the Quarterly in this, our sixtieth reunion year, using the cartoon I gave the school last fall (below)? I know it would mean a lot to many members of our form, especially those who have supported the school in significant leadership roles over the years, among them Gordon Gund, “Moose” Colloredo-Mansfeld, Sam
Webb—all of whom played on the team (not to mention Hugh Scott, who is in the school Hall of Fame). All the best, and thank you. Nat Coolidge ’57 I thoroughly enjoyed reading the Message from the Headmaster in the Winter 2017 Quarterly. The sentence, “I ask you to debate, agree, disagree, listen to all viewpoints . . .” struck a chord with me. The best training I had in that was having to prep for debates at Groton, not knowing until the class began whether the team, put together by the teacher at that moment, was to be presenting the pro or the con! It has served me well all these years, and I think it’s why I read 100 percent of the contents of the editorial, opinion, and letters pages of the papers I subscribe to without getting all upset as, unfortunately, do far too many of my family and friends. I hope the present Groton students are fortunate enough to have that wonderful experience. Evans M. Harrell ’44
The Reverend Elizabeth Jordan; the Right Reverend Alan Gates, bishop of the Massachusetts Episcopal Diocese; and the Reverend Christopher Whiteman, newly ordained school chaplain
A JOYFUL ORDINATION for Groton’s Chaplain
or the first time since the 1950s, a faculty member has been ordained as an Episcopal priest on campus, in St. John’s Chapel. The chapel was filled with both people and joy on Sunday, January 22, as Groton School’s chaplain, the Reverend Christopher Whiteman, was presented to the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts by nine people from different parts of his life, including his parents and Groton Headmaster Temba Maqubela. About thirty members of the clergy, including the bishop — the Right Reverend Alan Gates — joined the Groton community and other supporters to welcome the Reverend Whiteman into the priesthood. It was a ceremony filled with pageantry. Dean of Faculty John Conner, acting as verger, led the procession into the chapel, followed by Jonathan Lamson ’18, who carried the cross. Near the end of the ninety-person procession, Mims Reynolds ’17 waved a white dove kite, representing the Holy Spirit, which seemed to cascade magically from side to side, high above the procession. Many
Groton School Quarterly
held candles as they walked down the with choristers from two Massachusetts central aisle of the chapel, creating an churches). “I felt so unbelievably lucky to aura of flickering lights. be a part of the service,” said Mims. “It Groton’s chaplain is carrying on the was a very joyous occasion, and I felt tradition of his father and grandfather, my eyes well up with tears because it both ministers. Sunday’s service culmiwas full of such pure happiness.” She nated about four years of preparation, was not the only one moved to tears. during which Mr. Whiteman earned a Particularly affecting was the sermon master’s of divinity at the Harvard Divinity delivered by the Reverend Cathy George, School. Last June, he was ordained to the associate dean of the Berkeley Divinity diaconate, his first official step toward School at Yale University. “Priests are not the priesthood. called to ordination by some singular At the service, the Right Reverend lightning bolt from on high,” she said. Gates spoke about the word “pontiff,” “They are called by their human experiwhich means bridge, and discussed Mr. ences, they are called in communities, Whiteman’s position as a bridge between they are called by and in the midst of the the Episcopal Church and a pluralistic people of God.” society, including the diverse community For Mr. Whiteman, the calling to that he serves at Groton School. priesthood was as much about people In one of the most sacred moments, as religion. “It’s not so much about the many clergy present laid hands on Mr. working with the church, but working Whiteman — a traditional act in which with people,” he said. “When I see the God is called on to pass the Holy Spirit to pain and suffering that is all around us the newly ordained priest. The ceremony and inside ourselves, I feel compelled ended with a celebration of the Eucharist. to action, to help in some way. Being Several Groton students particiordained is my response to this call to pated in the ordination: they served as make the world a better place, a more lay Eucharistic ministers, acolytes, and loving place, and a more compassionate ushers, and they sang in the choir (along place.”
Carlotta Walls LaNier
Richa Pillai ‘20, Lindsey Graham ’20, and Joey” C. O’Brien ‘20 at a small group discussion on Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Photos by Christopher Temerson
t was 1957, three years after the Supreme Court had struck down school segregation in Brown vs. Board of Education, when about four hundred students at a black high school in Little Rock, Arkansas, volunteered to be among the first to integrate all-white Central High. Only nine were chosen. One of them, Carlotta Walls LaNier, was simply after the best education possible. The fourteen-yearold didn’t realize she would be making history. In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Groton hosted LaNier for an all-school lecture. She took the community back to the taunts, threats, and violence that traveled alongside her as she attempted to walk through the doors of Central High, landing in the center of an important chapter of the civil rights movement. The nine black children, who became known as the Little Rock 9, had been chosen after careful scrutiny of the students who had volunteered. Central High officials looked at grades, family backgrounds, behavior — anything that might help predict who could handle the chaos that would ensue. The determinedly obstructionist governor, Orval Faubus, announced that he was sending the Arkansas National Guard to Central High — ostensibly to “protect” the citizens of Little Rock. “I knew I was a citizen,” said LaNier, who, in her innocence, did not realize that the National Guard would prevent her from entering. “I slept the last night of innocence of my life,” she added. The next morning, wearing a rare storebought dress that her uncle gave her (now at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture), she went to Central High, where the nine
a man she is certain was innocent; nevertheless, he served eighteen months of a five-year sentence. Before sharing her reminiscences of Central High, LaNier described meeting Dr. King, who was staying with a friend of her family’s. A young teen, she was told to be on her best behavior and went, dutifully, not realizing the emerging civil rights leader eventually would become an icon. “He was a young man on a mission,” she recalled, but had not yet written his famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” or given the rousing speeches for which he became known. Dr. King was not superhuman, she said, but he “put his gifts to the service of all of mankind.” Groton’s two-day MLK celebration also included performances of Open Admissions by Shirley Lauro, a powerful two-person play about educational inequities starring Michael Aduboffour ’17 and Director of Theater Laurie Sales; a screening of the documentary 13th, about the over-incarceration of black males in America; and a TED talk by social justice activist Bryan Stevenson, which was followed by small-group discussions. As Lanier pointed out, while race relations have “come a mighty long way, you don’t have to look too far to see that we’re still a nation divided by race, class, and culture.”
Lessons from the LITTLE ROCK NINE
students were told that “no Negroes were permitted.” LaNier described that as a “moment of disbelief.” She loved school and was stunned by the hatred. Ultimately, on September 25, 1957, President Dwight Eisenhower sent in federal troops to uphold the law, and the students were able to enter. But the battle wasn’t over. When the first of the Little Rock 9 graduated from Central High, Dr. King attended the ceremony. The governor then took extreme action: he closed all four of the high schools in Little Rock — affecting more than 3,600 students, black and white. LaNier continued her education with a correspondence course through the University of Arkansas, returning to Central High the following year, after a federal court ruling forced the schools to reopen. “The harder the segregationists fought to keep me out and make my life miserable, the more determined I became to get that diploma from Central,” she said. LaNier did graduate, but the road to that diploma was not smooth. In May 1960, shortly before the commencement ceremony, her house was bombed. No one was hurt and the damage was minimal, but the message was clear. Police charged
LIMITATIONS or Opportunities?
Ali the singer — not Ali, the little girl in a wheelchair. Playing Dorothy in The Wiz and other roles transformed her. “The feeling of being another character really worked for me,” she said. When it was time for college, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts provided the perfect campus — in some respects. “New York City was the place for me because when I rolled down the street,” she said, “I was not the craziest thing.” But some at NYU needed convincing that Stroker could participate fully in the program. Other students, she was told, might be uncomfortable. Stroker was directed to stay on the sidelines in dance class and take notes. At first she agreed, but then asked to participate only in the class’ warm-up exercises. “I did that dance warm-up like I was Beyoncé and it was the last dance on earth,” she said. She had proven her point. After graduating from NYU in 2009, she tried (and tried and tried) to get auditions. Nothing. She flew to Los Angeles to audition for Glee after seeing a character in a wheelchair on the TV show, but heard nothing back for three years, when she was called about The Glee Project, a reality show based on Glee. She landed a spot on The Glee Project (out of 44,000 applicants). In the competition, judged in part through audience feedback, Stroker was a runner-up and earned an appearance on the popular Glee series. She was the first actor in
a wheelchair on Glee who actually uses a wheelchair. She was also the first to act on Broadway in a wheelchair (in a 2015 revival of Spring Awakening) and the first in a wheelchair to earn a drama degree from NYU. Stroker described to Groton students the principle that dominates her life: to turn limitations into opportunities. “Ali is an amazing role model for me as an artist,” said Lily Cratsley ’19. “She doesn’t accept the words ‘don’t’ or ‘can’t’ — she pushes boundaries, she believes in greater possibilities, and, most of all, she knows what she believes in and fights for it.” Macy Lipkin ’18 appreciated that Stroker broadened the notion of diversity at Groton. “We always talk about diversity, but the conversation rarely touches on physical disabilities,” she said. “Ali’s talk was an important reminder that diversity means more than race and socioeconomic status.”
ctor and singer Ali Stroker inspired and entertained during a Circle Talk on Tuesday, February 7, surprising students who may not have known what to expect from a performer who uses a wheelchair. Preconceived notions dissolved as Stroker described breaking barriers at New York University, on Broadway, and in the minds of people inclined to misjudge the actor who — through pur e gri t and tal ent — has earned roles on Glee and on an upcoming ABC series starring Kyra Sedgwick, Ten Days in the Valley. “Ali has a knack for spreading positivity and hope,” said Groton School Theater Director Laurie Sales. “Her life has been lived with a need for creative problem solving, and because she is such a creative spirit, she has turned challenges into opportunities.” Indeed, Stroker told her audience that growing up with a disability was “perfect training” for the rough-and-tumble competition and constant disappointment that comes with acting and auditions in New York and Hollywood. Unfortunately, her “perfect training” began very early. A car accident paralyzed Stroker from the chest down when she was two. She described her first wheelchair as “tiny and red and adorable.” How the world responded to her, however, was not so adorable. People would stare; they would tell her mother how sorry they were. “The way the world saw me was not OK in my book,” she said. Even as a toddler, she knew that. A light went on when Stroker first tasted musical theater at age seven — cast as the title character in Annie during a backyard production. For the first time, she felt that people were responding to Ali the actor,
A Very GOOD SPORT
he New England Interscholastic Squash Association (NEISA) has named its New England Class A Tournament team sportsmanship award for Groton math teacher, director of global education, and longtime coach Nishad Das P’16, ’19. In announcing the Nishad Das Sportsmanship Award, NEISA said it was recognizing the sportsmanship, integrity, and humility of Coach Das and, by extension, of his teams.
Groton School Quarterly
wenty-five students performed to a packed house at the Ryles Jazz Club on January 29 — the eleventh consecutive year that Groton’s musicians have played the storied club. Students representing every form played with the Groton School Jazz Ensemble and various smaller school combos, entertaining an audience that included alumni, locals, parents, faculty, and students, as well as Headmaster Temba Maqubela and former Headmaster Bill Polk.
JAZZ TIME Again at Famed Cambridge Club
NATIONAL SCIENCE Talent Search Finds Groton
Groton Sixth Former was named a the dry soil and became harder to collect. semi-finalist in the Regeneron Science Many specimens showed signs of starvaTalent Search, one of three hundred students tion. Things improved with early fall rains, nationwide to receive the recognition. but not before Zizi had adapted her project. Isabel “Zizi” Kendall ’17 earned the “Originally, I was going to look at genetic Regeneron distinction with her report, variations between the two populations,” “Canaries in a Coal Mine: An Analysis of Genotypic and Phenotypic Variation in Populations of Red Back Salamanders (Plethodon cinereus) in Eastern Massachusetts as an Indicator of Ecosystem Resilience.” Translation: Zizi, working with environmental science teacher David Black, analyzed the impact of various environmental factors on the salamander populations near Groton’s boathouse and nearby Lake Romeyn. Zizi and Dr. Black spent much of last spring and summer scouting out salamanders in Groton’s woods. The project continued during a fall Faculty Sponsored Activity (FSA). Zizi said that of about eighty salamanders they brought into a Groton science lab Zizi and her salamanders for analysis, they collected genetic material from sixty-five. Zizi also measured the says Zizi, who plans to study neurobiology amphibians’ length and mass and noted their and behavioral economics at Harvard next color, which can correlate to the temperature year. Because of the drought, she added of the environment in which they developed. new data points about soil content and rain, Last summer’s drought threatened to focusing more on how the environment hinder the research. Searching for moisture, affected the health of the individual the salamanders burrowed more deeply in salamanders.
Zizi concluded from her study that more genetic diversity within a species will be important to adaptability and survival, especially in the case of future summer droughts. And, she adds, “the relationship between precipitation and salamander body condition index — how fat they are — suggests that in the coming years, as summer droughts become more frequent and rain levels decrease even more, salamanders in the area will suffer greatly.” Though Zizi was intrigued about the data and the conclusions they suggest, she found the process most valuable — as she puts it, “to learn more about how to do things than about the things themselves.” Semi-finalists in the Regeneron Science Talent Search receive a $4,000 award, half of which goes to the school. Groton expects to use the proceeds to purchase data loggers, which will be placed at the study sites and allow Advanced Ecology students to continue the collection of salamander data. Another Grotonian, Steve Cho ‘11, made it to the final forty in this contest in 2011, when it was known as the Intel Science Talent Search. He studied the environmental impact on beetle populations, comparing the bugs in Groton’s town forest to those on the Boston Harbor Islands.
DIPLOMACY at Harvard Model Congress, Model UN
A GLOBAL SMORGASBORD on Groton’s First Cultural Day
Groton School Quarterly
Soo Lee Martone) and enjoyed Mexican tacos, guacamole, and flan. But the food was just the beginning. Curious students tried out games they had never seen, such as Chinese shuttlecock and South African upuca, a game with stones. Various cultures introduced themselves through music as well. A traditional dragon dance, celebrating the Chinese New Year, kicked off the festivities. Students cheered as Spanish teachers Fanny Vera de Viacava and Luis Viacava danced the marinera, a folkloric dance from their native Peru. The rhythm changed repeatedly as one parent volunteer offered Caribbean salsa lessons and another demonstrated bharat natyam, a dance from India. In another nod to the Caribbean, numerous students and faculty lined up for a rousing limbo — bending over backward to pass beneath an ever-lowering stick. Groton Cultural Day was a joint effort by the Student Activities Committee and the Diversity and Inclusion Group, along with various other campus cultural groups. Its success has ensured there will be a repeat. “I’ve already added Groton Cultural Day to next winter’s weekend schedule,” said Director of Student Activities Tim LeRoy.
Peter Zhang ’17 (center) representing France in a simulation of the International Monetary Fund at the 2017 Harvard Model Congress
roton’s giant melting pot spilled into the Sackett Forum in late January, coloring the Schoolhouse with flags, food, music, dance, and games from the countries represented within the school’s student body. Christopher Ye ’17, from China, called the first annual Groton Cultural Day “a boiling pot of cultures. I felt I was simultaneously traveling the streets of southern France, the hutongs of rural China, and the markets of Mexico. It was a surreal experience.” Students set up tables with food and games from Canada, the Caribbean (the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Jamaica), China, England, Egypt, Finland, France, Hong Kong, India and Pakistan, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Mexico, Peru, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Thailand. The result was a vibrant cornucopia of tastes, smells, and excitement. Students and faculty roamed from table to table and country to country, tasting Indian samosas, rice and beans from the Caribbean, matcha pudding from Japan, Vietnamese spring rolls, South African fried dough known as amagwinya, French crepes, and British crumpets and candies. They chowed down on nearly one hundred Korean scallion pancakes (made by music teacher
n January and February, Groton School students attended Harvard University’s annual Model United Nations conference (HMUN) as well as the university’s Model Congress, perhaps the country’s foremost simulations of the UN and the U.S.’s legislative branch. At the Model UN, each Groton student was a delegate on one of several committees, including the World Health Organization, the Special Session on Terrorism, and the World Conference on Women. Millie Kim ’17 and Aly Manjee ’18 represented Kyrgyzstan in a simulation of the UN General Assembly. Groton’s students, who had met every Sunday morning to research Kyrgyzstan and their assigned committee topics, were among more than three thousand participants from more than two hundred high schools from all over the world. At the Model Congress, Groton students joined nearly 1,500 peers from schools all over the U.S., taking on roles of Congressional representatives and senators. For example, Jarvis Bereday ’17 portrayed Senator David Vitter (R-LA) on the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Nicole Lee Heberling ’21 portrayed Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY) on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The superb reporting by Sophie Park ’19 for the media committee earned her official recognition as an outstanding delegate at the closing ceremonies. — Tommy Lamont, Model Congress and Model UN Advisor, History Department Head
Photos by Kate Dennison, Joshua Duclos, and Kim Gerighty
tudent musicians traveled the globe during spring vacation, welcoming new students and embracing new cultures. Headmaster Temba Maqubela and the Groton School Chamber Music Tour greeted parents, alumni, and friends in Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong in mid-March. Student musicians, led by Director of Instrumental Music Mary Ann Lanier, performed at each reception. Throughout Asia, the receptions welcomed newly admitted families as well — part of the new Groton Embrace Tour, which also reached out to families considering Groton in Chicago, New York, Raleigh (NC), and San Francisco. While instrumentalists were playing, Groton’s singers were on tour, too. The Groton School
Choir traveled to South Africa, where they visited Johannesburg, Cape Town, George, and Port Elizabeth and, under the guidance of Choral Director Dan Moriarty, performed alongside the South Cape Children’s Choir, the Loreto High School Choir, and the Kensington Chorale (as well as a special appearance at a celebration of the marriage of the Maqubelas’ son). Interspersed with performances were tours of Robben Island, Table Mountain, and Nelson Mandela’s house in Soweto, as well as a trip to a wildlife reserve and botanical garden. Not all the student travelers this spring were musicians. A Global Education Opportunity (GEO) took twelve students to France for language and cultural immersion, including a home stay and classes in the Loire Valley and visits to many of Paris’ iconic sites.
1 The Headmaster and student musicians greeting newly admitted students in Shanghai 2 Ivana Primero ’17, Julien Lee Heberling ’19, and Montanna Riggs ’19 performing in Shanghai 3 When in Paris… sing karaoke. 4 Groton’s Choir performing with the South Cape Children’s Chorus at the cathedral in George, South Africa 5 A beach break for the Choir at Cape Point, South Africa 6 The Eiffel Tower during a tour of Paris by night 7 French students at the Chateau de Villandry’s gardens in the Loire Valley 8 Michael Senko ’18 on the Choir tour to South Africa 9 Student chamber musicians in Seoul
RENOWNED CELLISTS Play Gammons
he Gammons Recital Hall was packed on an early Sunday in January for an uplifting performance by the Boston Cello Quartet. Those expecting melancholy strains of moody cello may have been stunned as the four cellists performed music from their recent album, The Latin Project. Music from Spain and Latin American transported listeners from the New England winter to the sunnier lands of Cuba, Argentina, Brazil, and Spain. With only their cellos and their great artistry, they evoked the chatter of castanets, the strumming of guitars, the plucking of the bass, the pounding of flamenco dance, and the singing of a seemingly enormous chorus of strings.
The audience, including many residents of the Town of Groton, responded enthusiastically to the music and the obvious fun the musicians were having themselves as they played. Anticipation had been high because the four musicians — Blaise Déjardin, Adam Esbensen, Mihail Jojatu, and Alexandre L ecarme — are r egular members of one of the best symphony orchestras in the world, the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO). Groton had booked two years in advance to get on the quartet’s schedule. — Mary Ann Lanier, Director of Instrumental Music
< Boston Cello Quartet
Photos by David Gordon
bout two hundred supporters of the Groton History Center attended a wine-tasting gala in the Schoolhouse Forum while students were gone for spring vacation. Jed Coughlin, the director of Groton School’s dining services, and Bobbie Spiegelman of the history center brought the idea to the school, which was pleased to support the effort. The event raised more than $16,000, which will be used to restore the center’s archival collection and fund student internships at the Boutwell House in the town of Groton.
Supporters of the Groton History Center enjoying a wine gala in the Sackett Forum; left, Groton’s Dining Hall director and chef, Jed Coughlin and Ed Wetterwald
Groton School Quarterly
James Hicks ’80
Chief Among Us
NATICK, MASSACHUSETTS, about ten miles west of Boston, is a fairly quiet town of about 33,000. But even bedroom suburbs have their challenges. No one knows this better than James Hicks ’80, Natick’s police chief since 2011. On any given day, he may be mentoring at-risk youths, consulting the FBI on anti-terrorism efforts, advising state or federal policymakers, or brainstorming solutions to the opioid crisis—a national scourge that has taken seven lives in Natick since 2015. James supervises a staff of patrol officers, detectives, school police, dispatchers, crossing guards, and administrative staff, all with one goal in mind: to keep crime under control today and to prevent it tomorrow. To James, this is not a matter of decreasing statistics. It’s about nurturing children, offering role models, and inspiring residents to take care of one another. Serving a community is nothing new for Chief Hicks. He started police work on the campus of his alma mater, Brandeis University, moved to the department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, then finally entered municipal policing in the Boston suburbs of Waltham, Bedford, and now Natick. Before he was offered his first city job, Waltham’s recruiters were doubtful. Reviewing his education, they had
one question: “Why do you want to do this?” “I wanted an opportunity to go out and make a difference in the world, have an impact, not do the same thing every day,” explains James, who also serves as president of the Middlesex County Chiefs of Police Association, which represents more than fifty cities and towns. Bachelor’s degrees among police were rare at that time, and a diploma from a selective independent school almost unheard of. Waltham took a leap on the bright, even-tempered recruit, suspecting that he would soon abandon police work. Not a chance. Walking the beat, the 6-foot-2 officer used his life experience to his advantage. He saw himself as more of a negotiator
than an enforcer. He worked with kids from the Boys’ Club, the highschool basketball team, and the city’s subsidized housing clusters. His background—growing up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn and studying at Groton—meant that James could speak to anyone, and more importantly, could relate. “I grew up in a housing project,” he says. “When I see kids playing with sticks in the dirt, that was me. We made do with what we had.” He might never have landed at Groton if not for his childhood friend, Kevin Griffith ’80. He and Kevin attended a Brooklyn parochial school together; middle school was so easy for them that in seventh grade they were given math and English texts and told to teach themselves. “They
had nothing for us,” James recalls. Kevin’s mother had discovered A Better Chance, which prepares talented youths of color for independent schools, and Kevin convinced his friend to visit Groton. James’ parents were skeptical, but the campus visit eased their minds. “The most impressive thing for me when we came up to visit was that Kevin and I and our mothers stayed in the Headmaster’s House,” he says. “We were in awe.” His mother took note that everyone walking around the Circle said “hello.” The only bump was when James entered the Athletic Center. Oblivious to Groton’s longtime rivalry, he had worn his school sweater, emblazoned with the school name—St. Mark’s. John Ryan, a longtime Athletic Center employee,
I have people who challenged me? Yeah, they challenged me. » “Did Did I have to get physical? Yeah, I had to get physical. But more often I would talk to people.”
Groton School Quarterly
bellowed, “St. Mark’s is not allowed in this building!” “I was terrified,” says James, who would come to understand Mr. Ryan’s sense of humor and now remembers him as “the nicest guy in the world.” While James’ mother originally needed convincing about Groton, once September came, James was the uncertain one. “I got cold feet,” he remembers. “I was on the phone calling home—‘get me out of here.’ I cried for the first three weeks and called home every night.” Once classes and thirds football and study hall formed a routine, James began to feel at home. “You started moving and then you felt like you were part of something special—at least I did,” he says. Still, he was “a fish out of water. I was intimidated by so many things. I was intimidated by the fact that it was dark out, by the fact that I had to get dressed up with a jacket and a tie.” And that self-taught seventh grade didn’t help. “I struggled academically,” he says. “I was not ready.” He calls his advisor, Peter Camp, his “saving grace.” Still, James socialized easily with the boys of his form, not realizing at first that several had fathers and grandfathers who had attended Groton. “It was very, very inclusive,” he says. “A lot in my form were legacies, but they didn’t act that way. We all had to clean the bathrooms.” Learning to appreciate the various backgrounds and cultures at Groton helped him later at Brandeis, where he sometimes felt like an outsider among the largely Jewish student body. At both Groton and Brandeis, he was learning to understand
differences—an essential trait in a police chief. In Natick, James runs the police force not only with empathy, but with the service ethos he learned at Groton. He actually caught the leadership bug on the Circle, tasting his own potential as a prefect in a Third Form dorm and the Dining Hall. James marveled then, and still is impressed, at how much influence Sixth Formers have on younger students and on the life of the school. After Prize Day, he would hunger for that influence again. But college was busy. At Brandeis, he majored in math and played basketball and baseball (he played those sports at Groton too, plus football). Work-study jobs placed him in maintenance and food services at Brandeis, and he worked his way up to manage a student pub. After graduating, he admits being in “panic mode” to find a job. He considered coaching and teaching, but didn’t think he had the drive that he considered necessary to teach. With food service experience, he grabbed an opportunity managing a cookie shop in Downtown Crossing, a cobblestoned part of Boston where traffic was so restricted that shipments had to arrive before 7:00 a.m. James arrived each day by 5:00 a.m. and spent much of his day managing undependable high school-aged employees. Anguish still crosses his face as he remembers the nightmarish responsibilities and the “madhouse” holiday season. When Brandeis’ campus police called with a job, he jumped. He had no experience, but they wanted to hire a person of color and knew James from his jobs around campus. It was an escape from the
ago he recognized a simple truth: the higher his rank, the more » Long impact he can have.
cookie madness and a move that would launch his career. James left Brandeis for a job at MIT—partly because he would receive formal training at the police academy. He then gained municipal experience in Waltham, where residents got used to seeing him scrub graffiti off walls alongside volunteers and chatting with teenagers. “Did I have people who challenged me? Yeah, they challenged me. Did I have to get physical? Yeah, I had to get physical. But more often I would talk to people,” he says. After Waltham came ten years as police chief in Bedford, Massachusetts. Now, in Natick, he continues to encourage his officers to get involved in the community. His goal is to educate and inspire youths—not to punish them for minor transgressions. He beams as he describes Natick police officers who attended the local high school’s prom and all-night party, one even wearing a Velcro suit. Make no mistake: Chief Hicks is not sugarcoating police work. But he does dwell on the positive. “I’ve seen a lot of bad things, but the driving force for me, especially as I get more senior in the job, is looking at the good things,” he says. Long ago he recognized a simple truth: the higher his rank, the more impact he can have. His upbeat attitude may be innate or come from his family or his upbringing. But he credits much of his outlook and success to his time on the Circle. “I learned at Groton that it didn’t matter who you were or where you came from—you were part of the community,” he says. “Groton is not perfect, but it’s still my topnotch example of what the world should be.” —Gail Friedman
Anne Mosle ’83
Breaking the Cycle of Poverty WHY NOT serve low-income mothers and their
children at the same time—and even in the same place? To Anne Mosle ’83, the idea is a no-brainer. As a vice president at the Aspen Institute and executive director of its Ascend program, Anne has helped champion this two-generation approach (dubbed “2Gen”), which addresses both parents’ and children’s needs, in the process serving each more efficiently. The two-generation strategy is “anchored in research that tells us that parents’ level of educational attainment is a powerful predictor of economic mobility,” as Anne wrote in a 2012 Huffington Post column, a point she has reiterated in numerous op-eds and reports. Through a national Aspen Institute Fellowship program and Innovation Fund, Anne and Ascend have identified and amplified new solutions and leaders across the country that are breaking the cycle of poverty. New education models include a campus where single mothers pursue college degrees while their children receive quality day care nearby. In another 2Gen model, a community
Panelists at the Aspen Summit on Inequality and Opportunity: Anne Mosle with Jim Shelton, head of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and Elisabeth Mason, director of Stanford’s Center on Poverty and Inequality
Groton School Quarterly
college provides nursing training to parents of children enrolled in a Head Start program—meeting a local employment demand while also investing in the next generation. The 2Gen strategy has five key elements: postsecondary education and job training, early childhood education, economic support, health and well-being, and social capital (how to network, for instance, when there isn’t an obvious network to tap). The ultimate goal: to break the cycle of poverty. Giving voice—and really listening—to those who need support is key to Anne’s approach. She learned this lesson early, while working with the Council of Energy Resource Tribes (CERT), a group focused on Native Americans’ control over natural resources. Facilitating partnerships between sovereign Native American tribes, the U.S. government, educational institutions, and energy firms, Anne was eager to mobilize resources to serve tribal youth efforts. Yet, she learned, it was essential to slow down in order to go forward. Taking the time
It was essential to slow » down in order to go forward. Taking the time to understand “power of place and culture” and gaining the trust of the community provided a critical life lesson.
Anne Mosle ’83
to understand “power of place and culture” and gaining the trust of the community provided a critical life lesson. She cites the “strength and resilience in the extreme conditions” that she observed with CERT as fundamental to her personal and professional development. After CERT, Anne served as a vice president of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the seventh largest philanthropic organization in the nation, where she led the family economic security portfolio and impact investing teams. In 2010, she was recruited to the Aspen Institute, where she founded Ascend and continues to focus on giving voice to those seldom heard. Anne wrote in a chapter in The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink: “While a swirl of
public debates call on women to pull A career focused on empowering themselves and their families up by the disenfranchised was a natural fit their bootstraps or to juggle it all, the for Anne, who says her commitment voices of low-income women are to helping others comes naturally. seldom included in these conversa“The service ethos of Groton is in tions.” At a recent forum, Anne and my DNA,” she explains. Her father other speakers repeatedly used the attended Groton and brought the phrase “authentic listening,” deeming principles of service, integrity, and it a key to progress. community into the household; Anne works to encourage leaderattending Groton herself reinforced ship among the women and families those values. Ascend serves, to amplify their voices, Today, Anne may hold a position and to convene others—policymakers, of power and prestige at one of the researchers, and philanthropists— country’s most influential think tanks. who can elevate initiatives that are But behind her success lies a proproving effective. Whether in the foundly humble worldview, a constant White House or community center, awareness that those in privilege Anne is focused on lifting up what must listen to those without. works and ensuring that the Ameri—Kasumi Quinlan ’15 can Dream can pass from one generation to the next.
Nancy Foster, RN, FNP, Health Center Director
Farewell, Nancy Foster THE STUDENT had just had his tonsils removed. He
told Nancy Foster, the director of Groton’s Health Center, that one thing would help him heal faster. Ice cream? No. A throat lozenge? No. Could his girlfriend stay with him in the Health Center? Since coming to Groton in October 1996, Groton’s Health Center director has seen—and heard—it all, from bouts of mono to a rampant norovirus that brought 130 students to the Health Center in a single day. “We were running,” she recalled. Over the years, Ms. Foster, a nurse practitioner, has adapted to changing global health needs—learning with her staff, for example, about diseases such as Ebola and SARS, which fortunately never touched the campus (though students have arrived at school with dengue fever and malaria). One thing that never changes: the flu. It shows up predictably, like an unwelcome relative, each and every year. But Ms. Foster manages flu patients differently now. “We’re doing better with the spread of flu,’’ she says. “We do rapid flu testing here, and I joined a state surveillance program whereby we send specimens directly to the state for diagnosis and quarantine students with the flu for five days.” Ms. Foster, who has two master’s degrees—in nursing and in health care administration—manages twelve registered nurses now, up from four RNs and LPNs when she started. The Health Center handled 279 overnight visits in 2015–16, up from 163 in 1997–98; overall visits were 6,879 in ’15–’16, up from 4,835 in ’97–’98. (During that period, the number of students enrolled rose from 343 to 379.) More students arrive at school with medical conditions, she says, and more take medication: for example, students with asthma have more than doubled, from twenty-two in 1997–98 to more than fifty now. Those who need EpiPens for life-threatening
Groton School Quarterly
allergies, just a handful two decades ago, now number twenty-three. As she prepares to retire, Ms. Foster says the biggest change over twenty-plus years at Groton has been—true of so many fields—technology. She started in a world of paper health forms, but now stores information in a confidential database and holds cellphone conferences with parents, even occasionally sending them photos of their children’s injuries and rashes. Ms. Foster, who has served on various campus health and wellness committees, also has seen a tremendous increase in concussion awareness over the years as well as improved treatment that includes computerized assessment. Ms. Foster and her nurses occasionally field requests that have little to do with medicine. “We’ve had sweet moments of girls coming over to get advice from the nurses about what they should wear to the dance, or whether they should paint their nails,” she says. She sometimes has had to lay down the law, too, such as when she said “no” to that mischievous tonsillectomy patient. Through it all, beyond tending to countless student stomachaches and headaches, she has watched a generation of teenagers grow up, something she will miss when she leaves in June. It’s a type of care, with continuing relationships, that Ms. Foster didn’t have in her previous job as a cardiac intensive care nurse. Now she is ready to explore the world and relax, joining her husband in retirement. She says she will most miss watching how young students change during their years at Groton. “I will miss watching them grow up,” she says. “I think it’s amazing, particularly with the boys. I’m so much taller when they start, and by the time they leave here I’m looking up at everyone.” —Gail Friedman
teenagers grow up.
more than twenty years, beyond tending to countless student Âť Over stomachaches and headaches, she has watched a generation of
Presenting a painting by Camilla Churchill P’67, ’69, ’77 to Headmaster Rowland and Mrs. Mary Cox: Catie Camp, Lili Hanna, Maria Eddy, Tish Churchill, Mrs. Cox, Mr. Cox, Naomi Pollock, Ellie Dwight, Alyce Jones, Mary Atwater, and Lee Woodsum
TH E S T O RY B E H IN D G RO TO N ’S C O ED UC ATI O N PI O N E ERS
Groton School Quarterly
— THE —
GI RLS — OF —
— T H E G I R L S O F ’ 77 —
by Naomi Pollock
Groton School Quarterly
erendipitously, Katherine Buechner Arthaud and I ended up in the same place at the same time last summer. Though I had not lost touch with Katherine, my Groton roommate, we had some catching up to do. Over the course of a couple of days, we spoke nonstop about the present, the future, and, especially, about our Groton past. As members of the Form of 1977, we were among the first thirteen girls to graduate from the school. Our conversation made me wonder about my other female formmates. Why had we all chosen to go first? What was that experience like for each of us? What was its lasting impact? And would our
shared history bond us? With the fortieth anniversary of our Prize Day coming up in June 2017, this seemed like a good time to take stock. That Prize Day in 1977 marked the end of our short two years at Groton. But the awarding of diplomas to girls was a goal that had been in the works for a long time. The idea of coeducation first surfaced in 1957, when John Crocker briefly considered setting up a sister school on the old golf course, according to an article by the Reverend Rowland Cox in the March 1974 Quarterly. The idea arose again in the late 1960s, when Headmaster Bert Honea sought a merger with an all-girls school.
— T H E G I R L S O F ’ 77 —
Until that point, women at Groton ‘mainly played supporting roles, such as doing office work, serving tea at social functions, and sewing costumes for theater.
But Groton did not get serious about admitting girls until 1970, when Headmaster Paul Wright and the Board of Trustees set up the Committee on Coeducation to study the matter in depth. In 1971, after careful review, the trustees approved the committee’s recommendation that the school go coed. Though widely accepted by much of the larger Groton community, the decision was met with a modicum of alumni pushback. “Some thought coeducation was an exciting adventure, but others thought it would be the end of Groton School as we know it,” explains school archivist Douglas Brown ’57. In response to the dissent, the committee’s proposal got a second review by trustees, but the decision to admit girls was reaffirmed a year later. Obviously, the coeducation process was not a small undertaking. It required time, money, and personnel changes, not to mention a reconsideration of Groton’s basic ethos. In addition, the school needed qualified female students willing to take the plunge. To cover the costs, a multimilliondollar fundraising campaign was launched. To ready the campus buildings, architects
Groton School Quarterly
and engineers were hired. There were dorms to be renovated, a girls’ locker room to be created, and women’s washrooms to be added just about everywhere. But the required modifications extended well beyond the school’s physical plant. To provide a nurturing environment for female students, the role of, attitude toward, and presence of women on campus had to change too. Women’s roles were rapidly evolving in the early 1970s, and some of the necessary adjustments might have come to Groton without our prodding. But a school steeped in the education of boys had to take more proactive measures if it was to open its doors to girls. Until that point, women at Groton mainly played supporting roles, such as doing office work, serving tea at social functions, and sewing costumes for theater productions. “Parallel changes among the adult women on
Sue MacGrath getting her diploma from Mr. Robert Gardiner ’33 and Headmaster Cox
campus were brought on by what would be good for the girls,” recalls former dean of students, faculty member, and dorm head Ann Tottenham. A critical step toward that goal was the explicit hiring of female faculty, beginning with the English teacher Pam Clarke, who joined the school in 1972, ahead of the thirteen of us. “Nobody wanted me there,” laughs Ms. Clarke, who remembers being greeted by an empty classroom on her first day of school. “I went down to Paul Wright’s office and the students were gathered there in protest. Paul Wright said, ‘This is not an
experiment; this is your teacher.’” Clearly, being a female faculty member was not a job for the fainthearted. In the immediate run-up to our arrival, the school brought in two more full-time, women teachers, Ms. Tottenham and Joan Holden (née Ogilvy), whose responsibilities also included working on the practicalities of coeducation. The increased presence of women faculty helped forge the way for us, but there were also policies to be decided, rules to be made, and, of course, female students to be selected. While maintaining the school’s intimate
— T H E G I R L S O F ’ 77 —
Form at all, according to Ms. Clarke, who doubled as an admissions officer. Though there was no set number, there had to be enough girls to make a coed class viable, and finding qualified applicants wasn’t easy. In light of the difficulties incumbent on being the oldest and entering Groton in eleventh grade, the candidates had to have something above and beyond intellect, athleticism, or a legacy connection. “They were looking for a certain level of maturity and strength of character,” notes Alyce Jones Lee ’77. A sense of independence, an adventurous spirit, and the willingness to take
size was essential, it was clear that the student body would have to get bigger in order to add girls without a significant cut in the number of boys. According to Mr. Brown, the target for the fall of 1977 was three hundred students: 180 boys and 120 girls. In fall 1975, the first year of coeducation, the school matriculated 208 boys and 48 girls distributed among the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Forms. It would take a few admissions cycles to reach the established goal. Initially, there was some debate over whether to accept girls into the Fifth
COEDUCATION at Groton
Based on fall matriculation figures
The Girls of ’77 TOTAL STUDENTS 225
74 / 75
75 / 76
Groton School Quarterly
76 / 77
78 / 79
74 / 75
79 / 80
84 / 85 89 / 90 94 / 95 99 / 00 04 / 05 09 / 10 14 / 15 16 / 17
chances were all desirable qualities, too. “We knew that the first girls would be different from any that followed — you needed one more nanobyte of courage,” said Ms. Clarke. “And we knew it would be harder for you than for the girls behind you.” Unsurprisingly, the selected Fifth Form girls were a somewhat eclectic group in terms of geographic background, socioeconomic status, religious faith, extracurricular interests, and academic strengths. “We did not fit the classic Grottie mold; we were all over the spectrum,” recalls Catie Camp ’77. In turn, we chose Groton for a variety of
To ready the campus buildings, ‘ architects and engineers were hired. There were dorms to be renovated, a girls’ locker room to be created, and women’s washrooms to be added just about everywhere.
Form singing: Tish Churchill, Lili Hanna, Catie Camp, Maria Eddy, Whitson Lowe, Chris Kelly, Mark Mears, Holly Lyman, Arthur Slater, and Alyce Jones, led by Arthur Anton
— T H E G I R L S O F ’ 77 —
reasons. For those with male relatives who attended the school, it may have been a logical next step. Some of us were ready to move on from our previous places of learning — a mixture of public, private day, and boarding schools. And some wanted more independence from their families. All thirteen of us knew we were in for challenges beyond the usual travail of leaving home and changing schools. And we were intrigued, or at least game, to go first. “It was clear to me that it would be something special,” says Ellie Dwight ’77. Unquestionably, we were being offered an opportunity that would never occur again. Each of us first pulled up to the Circle on one of those glorious September days when the memory of summer was still fresh but autumn was already in the air. Our initial glimpse of one another was at a tea hosted in the home of Headmaster Rowland and Mrs. Mary Cox. “Everyone was new, which felt pretty special,” says Mary Atwater James ’77, recalling that introductory meeting.
Whether we liked it or not, we ‘stood out. We were very aware of being watched by our peers as wells as by the faculty.
Groton School Quarterly
We had been asked to come to school a day early in order to unpack and begin acclimating before the arrival of the thirtyfive younger girls. Even though Groton was a big unknown to us too, we immediately assumed the leadership role commensurate with our age. “We were simply older, so people looked up to us — it was kind of natural,” recalls Catie. “Since you were in the Fifth Form, you weren’t prefects but, in essence, that’s what you were for us,” says Ms. Holden, who was also a dorm head and an athletic coach. In certain respects, that’s how it felt to us too. “Technically, we were the Sixth Form girls,” says Lee Woodsum Jones ’77. Within our dorms, this position included a few discrete tasks, such as monitoring the job roster. But our sense of responsibility extended beyond the bounds of Units 7 and 8 (as the dorms were called back then). “A number of leadership opportunities fell into our laps because the administration wanted girls,” says Lili Hanna Morss ’77, who served on the Discipline Committee. Mostly, we were expected to set a good example for girls schoolwide. “We were a bit like big sisters,” says Katherine Buechner Arthaud ’77. Being older, we were, in theory, wiser. But we had neither role models nor precedents to look to for guidance. “We were making fresh tracks,” says Katherine. Though most of us were friendly with, or even roomed with, girls in the form below, our experience that first year at Groton differed from theirs in several ways. In addition to being older, we were fewer in number. “They had more of a community while we were more individuals, more
Naomi Pollock, Darryl Jacobs, and Katherine Buechner
angular,” explains Maria Eddy Tjeltveit ’77. Divided between two dorms, we rarely even gathered as a group. “We were not a pod of thirteen,” acknowledges Alyce. Yet rituals, like sit-down meals five times a week, bonded us. “Fancy clothes were not important to us,” recalls Lili. But getting dressed for dinner engendered camaraderie. “It was so communal,” says Ellie. Another difference was that the younger girls learned the proverbial ropes alongside the new boys joining their forms. “[That] was a more ‘normal’ experience,” says Lili. Aside from a foreign exchange student, there were no new boys in our class. While the forms below us seemed to have
a coed vibe right from the start, we had been plunked down in the middle of a boys’ school due to the skewed gender balance in the two upper grades. All of these factors contributed to our unique social status. “We got more than our share of attention,” recalls Alyce. In some ways, being surrounded by all those boys was a high school girl’s dream. In other ways, not so much. Whether we liked it or not, we stood out. We were very aware of being watched by our peers as well as by the faculty. At times, this was a burden. At times, this put pressure on us. At times, this was too much of a good thing. Plus, it challenged our integration into our own form.
Looking out across the Circle, my ‘gaze moved from Hundred House to the Fives Courts to the Dining Hall and to the Chapel. That timeless scene — it could have been 1977— moved me more than I ever anticipated.
“We had no real allegiance to our class,” notes Mary. Being the oldest girls meant that many of our social ties during that first year were with boys in the form above. Yet, because there were so few of us, students from a girls’ school continued to be invited to Groton dances, an institutional practice that predated us. “It was fair but weird,” recalls Mary. Within the structured classroom setting, our interaction with the boys was a bit easier. Thanks to the administration’s efforts, few of us were ever the only girl enrolled in any given course. Yet even being one of two or three girls wasn’t always easy. It could take bravery to share our thoughts or argue a point. “I remember how ‘male’ it was,” says Katherine. Even the curriculum content strongly favored the achievements, actions, and writings of men. This dynamic was compounded by the ease and familiarity in the classroom accrued by our counterparts during their previous years at the school. No doubt many had entered a single-sex institution not expecting to share their learning
Groton School Quarterly
environment with girls. “Maybe they felt a little invaded,” posits Tish Churchill Lewis ’77. Or maybe it would just take time to accept studying alongside girls. Though we were not looked down on, sometimes we were simply overlooked. In lots of ways, faculty members kept the boys’ club atmosphere in check and helped orchestrate our integration into their classrooms. “The teachers elicited our opinions and made sure that the boys did not run away with the show,” says Holly Lyman ’77. But occasionally, a master was as much a part of the problem as the solution. Though many who were not in favor of coeducation left before we arrived, a few of those who remained were pretty set in their ways. Yet our success in the classroom was a sure sign of the school’s success. “If you had been a failure, it would have set coeducation back. Everybody recognized that,” says Jake Congleton, former teacher and dean of students. By the start of our second year, many of the challenges we faced had begun to dissipate. “We found that girls were rather good at Groton,” says Ms. Tottenham. By then, we knew what was expected of us in the classroom. With the boys in the form ahead of us graduated and gone, we identified more with our own form. And we were in less of a minority schoolwide due to the increase of girls in the lower grades and the hiring of additional women faculty. “The school as a whole seemed to relax a bit,” recalls Tish. Though we weren’t big on giving black marks (punishment units doled out by
— T H E G I R L S O F ’ 77 —
Sixth Formers and faculty), we relished other aspects of being bona fide Sixth Formers — standing against the Schoolroom walls during Roll Call, sipping coffee in the Webb-Marshall Room after sit-down dinner, and deciding to wear white dresses adorned by the classic ribbon rosettes for that inaugural Prize Day. We had considered blue blazers and white skirts, as well as boaters, which, much to my chagrin, did not fly in our day. The flip side of our senior status was that we had to start planning our exit. Though it was barely a year after arriving, we had to get ready to go. “Groton is organized to be a four- or five-year school, so staying for only two years was not really enough,” says Holly. And yet it was plenty of time for the girls as a whole to have an impact on the school. “More civility was brought on by the girls’ presence,” says Ms. Clarke. This improved Groton for everyone. “Less macho posturing made it better for the boys too,” says Ms. Tottenham. “It became easier to be a different type of boy who might not be so into football.” As agents of change, we thirteen had our share of discomforts. But coping with those challenges made us stronger, more confident, and willing to go out on a limb. Despite the brevity of our stay, our investment in the school’s curriculum prepped us well for college and opened our eyes to lots of big ideas. “The Groton School education enabled me to question and look past what was in front of me,” says Susan MacGrath ’77. Admittedly, some required activities, like team sports, felt like a forced march at
times. But all those cradled lacrosse balls and Triangle runs instilled an athleticism that remains with many of us today. And although mandatory chapel attendance could be trying, the sermons and soulbaring stories resonated with many of us, generating a commitment to service still championed today by a number of the women in our form. Fittingly, our very own Reverend Canon Maria Tjeltveit ’77, Rector of the Episcopal Church of the Mediator in Allentown, Pennsylvania, is giving the homily at the Reunion Weekend Sunday service this year. Just as I didn’t know what to expect when I reached out to my fellow female formmates for this article, I did not know what I’d find when I visited Groton this past November — it had been quite some time since I had been back. Though the students were still on Thanksgiving break, faculty and administration members were squirreled away in the Schoolhouse, preparing for a new term. Outside, much of the greenery had already shed its leaves and winter quietude blanketed campus. Looking out across the Circle, my gaze moved from Hundred House to the Fives Courts to the Dining Hall and to the Chapel. That timeless scene — it could have been 1977 — moved me more than I ever anticipated. “We weren’t there for very long but, even so, there was a rich sense of belonging,” says Katherine. A sense of belonging that continues today.
— T H E G I R L S O F ’ 77 —
ARE THEY NOW
Katherine Buechner Arthaud sent a photo of herself at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles: “I am there because my middle son is a senior at USC — at the Marshall School of Business. I have two other kids: Dylan, a junior at Middlebury College, and Caroline, a freshman at Middlebury. I live in northern Vermont, which I love. I am a United Church of Christ pastor, serving at two churches. I also write poetry. I have two dogs, one cat, a few horses, play lots of tennis, ski when there’s snow, and paddleboard in the summer. I am also a Guardian Ad Litem for the Chittenden County Family Court. I remember with much fondness my two years at Groton and was thrilled to meet up with Naomi most serendipitously last summer in Denver, of all places.” Catie Camp: “I headed out from Groton to study government but somehow ended up three years later in Vermont, for ten years . . . then on to work in New Mexico a bit . . . and then teaching in India for the next few years. But Vermont called me back — many years at Shelburne Farms, where the work was rewarding and family was near (all the Camps except Bill lived there by then). Unexpectedly, I found myself engaged and moving
Groton School Quarterly
It’s been forty years since the first female students received a Groton School diploma. The Quarterly asked the women of the Form of 1977 to send a brief update about what they’ve been doing — whatever they consider most important. They graciously accepted the challenge to sum up four decades in a few sentences.
again in 2006. I’m now in Newton, Massachusetts, and enjoying new adventures.” Ellie Dwight: “For the past seventeen years I’ve worked at Sonoma Academy, where I am the assistant head of school and feel very lucky to have been part of the founding administration. My daughter Reilly is a senior at SA, and after a gap year of adventure, she will head east to enroll at Bates College.” Megan Gadd spends winters in Wellington, Florida. “I have had a lifelong love for horses, and I decided a while back to focus on dressage while I am still athletic enough to ride at a higher level. I have worked doing photography and multimedia presentations, sports marketing, architecture, graphic design, publishing, and environmental conservation. I love being outside or better yet in a barn. I am very happily married. I have worked for nonprofits ranging from Boston’s Long Island Shelter for the Homeless to the Nature Conservancy to the Center for Whole Communities, founded by Peter Forbes ’79. His work epitomizes the social and environmental responsibility that I think Groton engendered in me.” Mary Atwater James: “I have been happily married to Dan
James for twenty-nine years. We have three lively children — the oldest is a banker, the middle an actor, and the youngest a teacher. So the dinner conversations cover a lot of territory! I have been involved in philanthropy in Los Angeles since moving here in 1994. My main focus is education, but I also support visual arts and Planned Parenthood.” Lee Woodsum Jones: “After teaching special ed/functional life skills in Washington, D.C., and Maine, I left teaching to raise a daughter and two sons. In my spare time, I served on the Friends of the Scarborough Library board, where I helped sort books for their annual used book sale, and the Maine Children’s Cancer Program board, where I served as secretary for twenty years. I live in Scarborough, Maine, where I spend time with friends and family and am supposed to be training for a triathlon. I can be found walking or swimming at the local beaches, cooking, or sorting books for another book sale.” Alyce Jones Lee: “This fortieth reunion year finds me turning a major chapter in life. My youngest daughter is a freshman in college, and for the first time in twenty-five years, Patrick and I
are empty nesters. I am enjoying this time while simultaneously remembering the sweetness and joy of raising our four daughters. I continue to work/volunteer in Bbanda, Uganda in order to improve the quality of life in that rural village. Currently we are working on the development of a community hospital for the village and surrounding areas. That work, volunteer activities in the arts, thinking about a possible next career, staying politically active, nurturing my mother and motherin-law, and intentionally enjoying time with friends and family fill my days. I am deeply blessed.” Tish Churchill Lewis: “Having just left a thirty-plus-year career in commercial interior design, I am now back living in Vermont, where I spend my days watching the chickadees, growing exotic vegetables, and swimming with the dogs in the pond. Looking forward to the next number of years giving back to the community, enjoying my family, making new friends, and having wild adventures.” Holly Lyman: “After a career of (mainly) financial writing in New York, I’ve retired to Old Lyme, Connecticut, where I focus on one boyfriend, two dogs, and many plants. It’s beautiful here, and I love working outside.”
Katherine “Dewie” Buechner Arthaud
Catherine “Catie” A. Camp
Eleanor “Ellie” A. Dwight
Mary Atwater James
Lee Woodsum Jones
Alyce Jones Lee
Patricia “Tish” Churchill Lewis
Charlotte “Holly” P. Lyman
Susan A.T. MacGrath
Elizabeth “Lili” Hanna Morss
The Rev. Maria Eddy Tjeltveit
Not pictured: Megan D. Gadd
Susan MacGrath: “I am living in Bozeman, Montana, with my husband, Martin, and fourlegged ‘son’ Zori (an Aussie). My daughter, Lorea, is at Holderness School in New Hampshire, climbing, ice-climbing, and backcountry skiing, studying hard, and super involved with the community. She is off to Spain for her senior year to sharpen her Spanish skills, immerse herself in another culture, and push past her comfort zone. Ironically, the farm we have in the Basque Country is only two and a half hours from where she will be living next year (Zaragoza), whereas for the past three years, Lorea has been two plane rides plus a two-hour drive away.”
Lili Hanna Morss: “I am a landscape architect with my own practice, living in Concord, Massachusetts, with my husband, Steve. We are the proud parents of three daughters who all graduated from Groton. With no more soccer games and crew races to watch, we enjoy spending our weekends doing our own outdoor activities: hiking, biking, skiing, and more!” Naomi Pollock: “In 1988, my husband and I moved to Tokyo. Nearly thirty years later, we’re still here. Japan has been wonderful for both of us professionally and was a terrific place for our two, now college-age, daughters to grow up. An architect-turned-
journalist, I write about design in Japan. In addition to magazine work, I am the author of seven books. Being a writer has enabled me to remain connected to my profession in the United States, become an expert on architecture in Japan, and still be at school in time for pick-up when my children were young. In my spare time, I work on a crisis hotline and enjoy exploring Japan’s nooks and crannies with my family.” Maria Eddy Tjeltveit: “I am the rector of the Episcopal Church of the Mediator in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and Canon for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations for the
Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem. I am married to Alan Tjeltveit, a psychology professor at Muhlenberg College, and we have two children — William, a freshman at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, and Anna, a sophomore at William Allen High School in Allentown, where I am the president of the PTSA. I have been an Episcopal priest for thirty years, serving in West Virginia, Virginia, New Jersey, and now Pennsylvania. I attended Swarthmore College and Yale Divinity School. I have continued to row, where I could, in community rowing programs, but mostly I just run with my dog.”
A C H A P E L TA L K
by Jack Gallagher McLaughlin ’17 October 25, 2016
Having a Place
he road next to my childhood house in the suburbs of Boston is where, at the age of five, I was run clean over by my mother’s car. The day the incident occurred, I had discovered a cardboard box in our driveway, put out for recycling. Naturally, I climbed inside and made it my fort. I lay on my stomach, my feet dangling out and kicking against the pavement. As my mom pulled into the driveway, she apparently didn’t see my legs, and thought she could just “nudge” the box out of the way. If there’s one thing I’ll never forget, it’s the searing mental image of a giant car tire squishing my shins into the pavement—and of course, I’ll never forget the accompanying pain. I screamed louder than I ever had, and my mom, realizing what she had done, abruptly put the car in reverse and ran back over my left leg. Ouch. After tears, an ambulance ride, and various medical tests, the doctors told us that, miraculously, my legs would only suffer some bruising and a lot of swelling. They put me in immobilizing air casts that set my legs in perfectly straight lines, and told me not to walk at all. So, in order to get around the house, I used my arms to drag myself across the floor. I actually thought this method of transport was kind of cool; I remember sliding down carpeted steps and propelling myself along the hardwood floors of the halls. After two weeks, I went back to the doctor to get the casts removed, and took my first steps since the accident. My mom (predictably) cried as if I were a healed Tiny Tim. I really didn’t mind the whole thing too much. My mom bought me all my favorite junk food and didn’t yell at me, for anything, for a good month. Over the weeks following the accident, our Volvo station wagon was jokingly renamed “the car mom used to run over Jack.” And even today, my family thinks the nickname “Jack-in-the-box” is hilarious.
Groton School Quarterly
The road next to my house in Washington, D.C., is where, when I was eight, my father would force me and my siblings to go for a run with him every morning before school. I remember kneeling in the driveway at 6:30 a.m., lacing up my Asics sneakers, and desperately wishing I were back in bed. My dad, recalling his experience in Air-Force ROTC boot camp, instructed us to run in tight, single-track formation and call out obstructions in the road so that others wouldn’t trip. “Root!” my oldest sister Maria would shout. The word flowed down the line, my other sister Catherine saying it, then me, then Bernadette, then Charlie. Lucy and Caroline, the babies of the family at the time, got to stay at home with mom. And mom was pregnant with Paul, the eighth child, who later became the only one of our siblings to be born in D.C. On those mornings, we ran through corridors underneath highways, and I listened to the scream of the cars overhead, which reminded me that I was not, in fact, the only person awake at this ungodly hour. Everything in the city moved on a tight schedule, and, in a way, I always liked that we too followed a schedule. My dad said the running would establish order and discipline in our lives, and I think it worked. I still go running almost every day. The road leading up to my house in Anchorage, Alaska, is where, at the age of ten, I sledded in an orange plastic toboggan on wintry Saturday afternoons. After the move from D.C., my family’s tightly packed schedule seemed to disintegrate as we adapted to the laid-back attitude of Alaska, but everything still moved fast. In the years after the move, we welcomed two more babies to the family, Michael and Gianna, which brought our count to a perfect ten. Our house sat 2,000 feet above sea level in the Chugach mountain range on the outskirts of Anchorage, and our “neighborhood,” if you could even call it that, was
Clockwise from above: Jack with his siblings; with his brothers after rowing in the 2016 New England Interscholastic Rowing Association Championships; all ten McLaughlin children preparing for a family kayak excursion on Kenai Lake, Alaska
a small group of houses, each a comfortable distance from the next. The road to the top of the neighborhood, called Bear Valley, was steep, and zigzagged at treacherous angles. In the winter, the whole road turned white, perpetually covered in a layer of hard-packed snow that reflected light like ice. Back to the sledding: after the sun set around 4:00 p.m., my neighbors, my siblings, and I put on snow clothes, buckled up our crash helmets, and strapped on headlamps and ski goggles. We gathered at the very top of Bear Valley, and my dad revved up his truck and began driving down the road. We counted down ten seconds after the truck was out of sight, then all of us zoomed off, the fifteen sleds picking up speed and our headlamps throwing beams of light onto the snow. It was essentially the real life version of Mario Kart; when you came up alongside another sled, you would push your opponent off course, leaving him spinning out of control. This maneuver sometimes gained you the lead, but other times acted as self-sabotage when you yourself lost control and landed at a dead stop on the edge of the road. On a perfect run, I could reach speeds of forty miles per hour
down the long straightaway. Nobody really mentioned the danger in our bumper car ice sledding, or the possibility that a car could be coming up the road as we were going down. We just zoomed to the bottom, piled into the bed of my dadâ€™s truck, and held on for the ride back to the top, waiting to do it all over again. The road to the Groton School boathouse is where I have been racing with the boys cross country team every fall since I arrived here in Second Form. For the first time, I traversed this new road completely of my own accord, leaving Alaska and nine rambunctious siblings for boarding school. Running with the team, having conversations, making jokes, and goofing off was probably the first time I ever felt free. Not necessarily in a good way, though. I was free to discover who I was after being extracted from the big, tight-knit family that had cradled me since birth. Simultaneously, I was free to discover a completely new place. Today, I know a lot about the boathouse road. I know where its slope is the steepest, where it flattens out at the bottom, where rainwater gathers into puddles. And, after many times wrongfully assuming otherwise, I know that, running up,
Jack with his parents, Laura and Sean, after running a cross-country race on Parents Weekend 2015
The avalanche is going to come when the avalanche is going to come. Your best bet is to keep going.
the first big turn is not the one that gives way to the end. In a poem called “What Does the Earth Say?” William Stafford writes, “The earth says have a place. Be what that place requires. Hear the sounds the birds imply and see as deep as ridges go behind each other.” I always really liked these words, but at the same time, they made me nervous. How could I be “what a place required” if I didn’t fulfill the first demand of “having a place”? I’d been moving around since I was born, and, as a result, I didn’t feel like there was a place that was inextricably part of me, just bits and pieces that came and went along the way. In Second Form, I was probably asked the question, “Where are you from?” a million times. After I responded with “Alaska,” the next question was, more often than not, “Have you lived there your whole life?” I always kind of dreaded this part. When I looked around me, everyone was a distinct representation of their hometown. The New York kids were sophisticated and acted older than their age. The faculty kids knew Groton better than any of us. The international kids brought weird foods with them and spoke to their parents in languages I couldn’t understand. Was I the archetype of an Alaskan? Or
Groton School Quarterly
was I just a hodgepodge of all the influences I had been exposed to? I was never really sure. Last year, I was driving with my family down the Seward Highway in Alaska. The road twists around rocky blind corners, and, at its edge, drops off into the grey silty waters of the Cook Inlet. In the winter, when the entirety of Anchorage uses this road to get to the ski mountain, it hosts some of the worst accidents I have ever seen. A hundred signs dot the edges of the road, reminding drivers of speed limits and turnoff points. But last year I noticed a particular sign that stood out to me. At the foot of a deep, snow-filled ravine near mile marker ninetyone, in blaring capital letters against a yellow background, a sign read, “AVALANCHE ZONE, DON’T STOP.” I’m sure I’d seen the sign before, but I’d never really considered its implications. First, it’s strange. The sign commands the traveler to play a game of probability. No promises, it says, but if you keep driving and don’t stop, there’s a statistically smaller chance that you will get hit by an avalanche and suffocate in a snowy heap. However, this doesn’t negate the possibility that, even if you follow its guidance and don’t stop, you could still get hit by an avalanche. In other words, the avalanche is going to come when the avalanche is going to come. Your best bet is to keep going. On a deeper level, though, the sign became instant mantra. Life is full of uncertainty and risk, but I continue on. In suburb, metropolis, frontier, or countryside—I’ve pulled up to each landscape as an outsider and taken my favorite moments from it. The roads that I’ve passed through, that I have lived on, have formed my experience like no home ever could. They have connected me to the relationships and experiences that make up my home. For me, constant mobility has been more important than a constant home. I often hear people say that Groton is like a second home to them. Every time I hear this, I wonder—if Groton is a second home, then what happens on Prize Day? Are we all suddenly rendered homeless? At this point I think I’ve arrived at a different conclusion. It’s not the geographic location of Groton that we consider home; it’s the people and experiences we found here. And we don’t need to live here to feel that effect. We don’t need to live here for it to be home. After we leave, we get back on the road and search for something new. So looking out at all of you, each of us a different number of miles from our physical houses, maybe my first question wouldn’t be, “Where do you call home?” It would be, “What do you call home?”
A C H A P E L TA L K
by William C. Vrattos ’87, P’18, ’19 January 27, 2017 voces
with Your Heart
bout nine months ago, I attended a party in New York City at the home of a friend and fellow Groton alumnus. An hour or so after I arrived, a man whom I did not know asked for silence, and then he recited the following passage from Shakespeare’s As You Like It: All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant, Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms. Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel And shining morning face, creeping like snail Unwillingly to school. And then the lover, Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier, Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard, Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel, Seeking the bubble reputation Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice, In fair round belly with good capon lined, With eyes severe and beard of formal cut, Full of wise saws and modern instances; And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon, With spectacles on nose, and pouch on side; His youthful hose, well sav’d, a world too wide For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice, Turning again toward childish treble, pipes And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all, That ends this strange eventful history, Is second childishness, and mere oblivion, Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
Now, I know what most of you are thinking. What an incredibly . . . lame party that must have been. A few of you in your minds are experiencing a more personalized terror, as you peer through a Dickensian fog, wondering if, in thirty years, you too will be embalmed in a similar, social rigor mortis. A few of you may be thinking, “Is this some sort of self-reflexive speech about getting older, about a speech about getting older? Can he pull this off, or will he crash and burn?” Secretly, I share your curiosity, and it fuels me with adrenaline. Finally, my two sons are thinking, “Dad, we’re all getting a bit older . . .” I quote this speech because you all are right now hurtling through the play of life at twenty-first-century speed. Because you are at Groton, you are no longer whining schoolboys, or schoolgirls, creeping like snails unwillingly to school. You are already lovers: lovers of knowledge; lovers of newfound freedom and independence; lovers of goodness and community; lovers of discovery and new friendship and experience. It is good to be a lover. In a few years, you will become soldiers. You will be asked to execute difficult tasks with uncertain outcomes. You will go forward with the excitement and zest that come from acting out life with live ammunition. You will discover that the world truly needs you. It is thrilling, and you should look into the cannon’s mouth. So I am here in the year of my thirtieth Groton reunion to advise you to look ahead. At each stage of life, moving much more quickly than in Elizabethan times, think ahead. Think of what you may be like in ten years and of how you may want to live your life. Do this continuously. Like a skier or race-car driver, try to look several turns ahead. For a few examples of thinking forward, I will draw from the life of one of Groton’s most unremarkable graduates—me.
The Vrattos family: Bill, Charlie ’18, Gus ’19, Will, and Heather
The summer after my freshman year in college, I was living on Cape Cod with several friends, and I will always recall a late-night discussion with one of them. In those days, I remember thinking I might become a lawyer or a journalist, but I also thought I might be an actor, or join the army or even the CIA. I recall wondering aloud how I would have a family with one of these more adventurous careers. My friend, whose father had died when he was in high school, told me that maybe my goal should be to be a good husband and father, and to figure out what careers might enable that. That night may have been the first time I ever imagined that some day in the future there might be people in my life whose needs I might want to consider before my own. In college I thought of a career in a particular field encouraged by a professor. One night during my senior year, an authority in that field was visiting from England and speaking on campus. A friend and I went to see his lecture, and as I walked back to my dorm, I could sense that in ten or twenty years, I didn’t want to be him. It was meeting the man in the flesh that allowed me to project my life forward. A number of years later, I considered taking a particular job. The pay was high and I knew a few people with whom I would be working. I spoke to a friend’s father who many years prior had run that particular division of the company in question. He told me that it would be a great job for ten years, and then I would find myself bored, not learning, and increasingly specialized. For better or worse, I turned down the job. About five years ago I consulted an older colleague about giving to a charity. He advised me to give a little more time and money than I really wanted. His reasoning boiled down to foreseeing a stage in life where I might want to be what Shakespeare called “the justice,” and sure enough, in a similar way, here I stand before you, “full of wise saws and modern instances.” To create the
Groton School Quarterly
opportunity for leadership in the future, he felt I should get used to giving in the present. And he was right. Now, at a school like Groton, you must always be extremely careful when you quote Shakespeare. I have now taken the risk that a few scholars might jump me on the way to Roll Call. Isn’t the seven stages of life speech one which contains a certain melancholy and determinism? Our lives’ patterns are the same, and our attempts to establish ourselves independently merely create individuality, which is “bubble,” meaning lightweight, transparent, hollow, and above all ephemeral. In response, I will quote Carlos Castaneda from The Teachings of Don Juan: This question is one that only a very old man asks . . . Does this path have a heart? All paths are the same: they lead nowhere. They are paths going through the bush, or into the bush. In my own life I could say I have traversed long, long paths, but I am not anywhere . . . Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t, it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn’t. One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you. How can you tell if your path has a heart? You will know. Heart doesn’t necessarily mean saving the world, or living a life of eternal adrenaline. Heart doesn’t require success at every turn. Heart can be derived from any subject matter in which you immerse yourself, from the problems you solve, from the people affected by your efforts, or from the communities in which you traffic. How can you predict if a path will have heart in ten or twenty years? You may fail in your foresight, but I believe it is worth a try. One prediction: if in thirty years you go to a Groton friend’s house, and a person starts reciting Shakespeare, and it makes you look inward to think about whether your own path has heart, you will appreciate having chosen a life of rigor and a thoughtful community that seeks meaning and self-examination.
A C H A P E L TA L K
by Phoebe Tomion Fry ’17 March 31, 2017 voces
Collecting Moments I
arrived at Interlochen Arts Camp on a sticky August morning, the summer after my Fourth Form year. Sunscreen, vanilla ice cream, and sweat saturated the thick Michigan air. Campus bustled with teenage artists— cellos strapped onto backs, notebooks clasped in hands, pencils stuck behind ears. Everyone wore matching uniforms: a powder blue polo shirt tucked into navy shorts with a lanyard around the neck. The only things setting the students apart were the various musical instruments they clung to. I wandered toward registration, clutching my luggage and weaving through packs of campers. Within a few minutes, a counselor ushered me to the lakefront singer-songwriter cabin where I would spend the next few weeks. I’ve never fallen into a group as easily as I did in that cabin. My cabinmates and I did everything together. We analyzed songs, shared guitar riffs, attended songwriting classes, played at weekly open mics, wrote new songs every few days for our teachers’ deadlines, offered feedback on each other’s work, crossed out clichés on lyric sheets, and brainstormed fresh metaphors. I rapidly made two best friends: Auguste Perl, an indie singersongwriter from New York City, and Grace Baer, a pop/ R&B artist from Lafayette, California. The three of us paraded around campus, humming, harmonizing, writing, and feeling fuller than ever before. It was dizzying, energizing, and, most of all, terrifying. When Reverend Brian McLaren visited our campus as a Pyne speaker earlier this year, he shared a personal anecdote that stuck with me. He told us about a specific night at a spiritual summer camp he attended as a teenager. He and his friends had snuck out of their cabins to look at the night sky. As they gazed up and engaged in sincere, compassionate conversation, emotion overcame
him. He felt so loved and in love with everyone there that it frightened him. He began to cry. It shocked me to hear that narrative because it so closely reminded me of my experience at Interlochen, the only difference being that he and his friends were united by Christianity rather than music. What I related to most, however, was the way he reacted to joy. This may sound odd, but I’m such an apprehensive person by nature that when I experience happiness in its fullest, truest form, I get scared. I have a physical reaction to the feeling: my knees tremble and my shoulders tighten, as if my body is warning me not to get too comfortable. The reason I react this way is that I believe that happiness is synonymous with vulnerability. Good fortune inevitably comes to an end, so by letting yourself love something or someone completely, you also let yourself lose it. It’s an unsettling sensation to feel intensely happy and scared at the same time. You would think that I’d listen to my anxiety and avoid getting attached to anything, but I do the opposite. I’ve always been a lover. I get invested in people and experiences and can’t help but care about everything a little too much. The combination of my anxiety and my actions has made my whole life a strange cycle of loving, then getting disappointed with myself when it ends. After my session at Interlochen Arts Camp, I traveled to my grandparents’ apartment in Chicago. The whole car ride there, I felt bitter, familiar regret. Once again, I had let myself love something that I knew was finite. The next morning, my grandmother emerged from her bedroom in a turquoise bathrobe with tortoiseshell reading glasses perched on the tip of her nose. She rolled her walker towards me, somehow looking as
elegant and graceful as ever. She sat beside me at the kitchen table for a morning of croissants, pulpy orange juice, and crossword puzzles with her signature Paper Mate mechanical pencil. After a while, she squeezed my shoulder and whispered, “I love when you’re here.” I smiled, snatched a piece of paper, scrawled a description of the scene, and tucked it in my pocket. I don’t know why I thought to do that, but I do know that writing and holding that moment comforted me. That’s when I realized something huge: Nobody can take moments away from you. You can make me leave Interlochen, but I’ll keep the cool evenings combing out the tangles from Grace’s golden hair, the sound of the Beach Boys performing across the lake, and the way everyone spoke about music as if nothing mattered more. I’ll hold onto those moments forever, but that camp was only two and a half weeks of my life. For those of you who don’t know, my dad teaches English at Groton School. I’ve lived on this campus since I was six years old. I’ve been through everything here: from dejection to elation to the fullest, scariest happiness. For the past twelve years, my life has been so intertwined with Groton School that the Circle feels like
an extension of myself. To say that I love Groton would be a massive understatement. Now that I’m so close to leaving, my anxiety has started kicking in at full throttle. I’m taking care of myself in the best way I know how: furiously collecting moments—some dug from the past, others as they happen—anything I want to remember. Because in sixty-five days, you can make me leave home, but I’ll keep the moments when my dad left handwritten notes in my schoolroom desk, reminding me to work hard and be kind. When my advisor, Mrs. Wallace, and I went out for Vietnamese food and conversed for hours over noodles and spring rolls. When I came home after check-in to watch Saturday Night Live with my big brother, Trevor. When I entered Ella Capen’s house to hear her belting Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie” from the shower. The best part was when she got out, realized that I had heard the whole thing, and started hysterically laughing. When Lyle and I walked to our old, rundown elementary school and climbed the jungle gym, now overgrown with greenery. When Cha Cha, Mims, and I went to a Sam Smith concert in Boston and belted ballads until our throats hurt. When I had the privilege to go to Tanzania on a school trip and see Verity in her element,
Phoebe with (foreground) brothers Trevor ’15 and Malcolm and friends after her chapel talk
Groton School Quarterly
I realized something huge: Nobody can take moments away from you.
*Phoebe delivered her chapel talk on Revisit Day.
interacting with the students at Orkeeswa Secondary School in the most effortless, energetic, loving way. When MacGuinness and I performed “Barton Hollow” at an open mic. When Eliza came over after her half-marathon to talk and nap with me. When Jon Lamson nailed his monologue in rehearsal for Black Comedy and every single actor in the cast broke character, collapsed on the ground, and died laughing. When I squeezed Piper’s hand during the procession after our fifteenth and final Lessons and Carols service. When my little brother, Malcolm, and I play our self-created, competitive singing game before he goes to sleep. When I pass Senko in the hall and he grins, chin tilted up, and says my name. When Christian and I directed our first comedic one-act together. Since neither of us knew what we were doing, we relied on one technique: making Richie Santry do the most ridiculous things we could think of. When my computer dings with a new poem from Elyssa in our poetry email chain. When Will shows me new songs and explains the way he thinks about music. When my mom and I talk with lightning speed, Gilmore Girls–style, referencing romantic comedies like nobody’s business. When the Spring’s prefects linger and chat on the couch after check-in. As I collect these Groton moments, I only wish I had done so sooner. I would feel dishonest if I didn’t address in this talk that Groton has challenged me in every way. At least from my experience here, you don’t always make the team you want. You don’t always get the part you want. You don’t always get the grades you want. You don’t always get the president you want. You don’t always get the boy or girl you want. There’s no denying that Groton School—and high school anywhere for that matter—is messy and emotional and hectic. But don’t worry, revisits,* because Groton’s also the most gorgeous, important experience I’ve ever had. Every morning in Chapel, when Reverend Whiteman offers a chance for prayers and reflection, I murmur to myself, “Let my life be a worthy expression of leaning into the light.” It’s a paraphrased version of the quote Ella recited for the reading. It’s also my philosophy. Instead of
Phoebe in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
worrying about losing happiness and instead of dwelling on the hard stuff, I consciously try to lean into the light. Collecting moments, however simple it may be, helps me with that. I’d like to close with one of my dearest moments that I always have with me. It’s a Saturday night in Third Form and I’m just returning from a movie mall-trip. As I descend from the bus at around 10:30 p.m., I feel inexplicably sad and know that I need to go to the music wing. It’s always empty on Saturday nights, so I don’t expect anyone to be there. Upon my arrival, however, I hear something from the end of the dark hallway: a familiar melody on piano. I then notice one light on in the back corner of the wing. I tiptoe down the hall to peek in the window. It’s my friend Matthew. I could easily interrupt him and say hi, but I decide to retreat to my own practice room instead. So there we are, two lights on in practice rooms at opposite ends of the hallway, me playing guitar, Matthew playing piano—alone but together. I remember feeling profoundly understood as I realized that someone else at Groton needed music the way I need music. That moment has lingered in my mind ever since. Whenever I get nervous about leaving Groton, I remind myself that nobody can take that moment or any of my moments away from me. And somehow, that makes it okay.
James Cannon Boyce ’83
Candace Tong-Li ’16
Ed Finn ’98
Floating: What I Found When I Went Looking for My Father
Layers and Layers of Wallpaper
What Algorithms Want: Imagination in the Age of Computing
James Cannon Boyce’s father worked for the CIA in Burma until 1962. When his father returned to the country twenty-two years later, he visited the office building where he had run the Burma America Institute for the CIA. Then something went wrong and the family got a call: James’ father was in a Singapore hospital. Five years later, James and his mother received his father’s ashes and his camera. Then, for almost three decades, they wondered: what had happened in Burma? How had James’ father ended up in a coma in Singapore? In Floating, James Cannon Boyce traces his father’s journey, guided by photographs and letters from Burma. He is in search of answers, and he finds them. A limited edition to benefit either Girl Determined, Hla Day Myanmar, or the Myanmar Mobile Education Project is available through gumroad.com/l/ floatingwithmyfather.
When Amy and her family move into an old New England home, she makes a surprising discovery: layers and layers of wallpaper. She begins to imagine the stories behind each layer, and her characters come to life as she scribbles by the lamplight. George is a serious-minded inventor who is always thinking about his next big project. But what happens when this focused scientist is finally pulled into having some fun? Sarah may be a bold storyteller, but can she face her own greatest fear when others need her most? Jeremiah, the hard-working son of a farmer, makes an interesting observation about the farm calves. Will his ingenuity and determination lead him to do something never done before? Candace’s ninth picture book, Layers and Layers of Wallpaper, is about four children who are separated by time but bonded by a sense of adventure and self-discovery. From Colonial America to the modern day, George, Sarah, Jeremiah, and Amy confront personal challenges and emerge as stronger individuals. How will their stories inspire Amy to tap into her own strengths when she faces being the new girl at school?
We depend on—we believe in— algorithms to help us get a ride, choose which book to buy, execute a mathematical proof. It’s as if we think of code as a magic spell, an incantation to reveal what we need to know and even what we want. Humans have always believed that certain invocations—the marriage vow, the shaman’s curse—do not merely describe the world but make it. Computation casts a cultural shadow that is shaped by this long tradition of magical thinking. In What Algorithms Want, Ed considers how the algorithm—in practical terms, “a method for solving a problem”—has its roots not only in mathematical logic but also in cybernetics, philosophy, and magical thinking. Ed Finn ’98 was the subject of “Imagine This,” the cover story in the Winter 2017 Quarterly.
Book summaries were provided by the authors and/or publishers.
► Please send information about your new releases to email@example.com.
Photos by Christopher Temerson
Boxes, a musical created by students from existing and original works, tackled issues of race, gender, class, and sexuality — and how society can box us in. Performing in the McBaine Studio Theater in early February were Boxes cast members Kate Belanger ’17, Christian Carson ’18, Lily Cratsley ’19, Malik Gaye ’18, Rose Gil ’18, Lucy Gund ’19, Charlie Hawkings ’17, Matthew Higgins Iati ’17, James Hovet ’18, Chioma Ilozor ’20, Katherine Johnson ’20, Abby Kong ’17, Melissa Lammons ’17, Macy Lipkin ’18, Becky Lipson ’20, Dashy Rodriguez ’19, Ellie Solomon ’17, and Max Solomon ’19.
Photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz
Groton School Quarterly
Black Comedy, by Peter Shaffer, brightened a wintry February with farce and frolic in the Campbell Performing Arts Center’s Asen Theater. This page, clockwise from top left: Phoebe Fry ’17; Alex Waxman ’18, Adia Fielder ’17, Phoebe, and Jonathan Lamson ’18; Julien Alam ’19 and Jonathan; Adia; Phoebe, Adia, Verity Lynch ’17, Charlie Hawkings ’17, and (seated) Alex, Julien, and Jonathan; Charlie, Alex and Julien. Opposite page: Phoebe and Julien on the set and (below) Jonathan, Phoebe, Julien, and Verity.
Christopher Carey Brodigan Gallery SPRING EXHIBIT
The Brodigan Gallery, located on the Dining Hall’s ground level, is open 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekdays (except school holidays). It is free and open to the public.
Desperate Cargo Mohamad Hafez Through May 19, 2017
U.S. resident born in Syria, Mohamad Hafez creates intricate miniatures of the neighborhoods he wandered and sketched as a teenager, which now are scarred by bombings and other atrocities of the Syrian war. The artist and architect was born in Damascus, raised in Saudi Arabia, and
“Baggage Series 4”
Groton School Quarterly
educated in the United States. Expressing the juxtaposition of East and West within him, Hafez’s art reflects the political turmoil in the Middle East through the compilation of found objects, paint, and scrap metal. Hafez creates surrealistic Middle Eastern streetscapes that are both architectural and politically charged.
The works capture the magnitude of the devastation and expose the fragility of human life, but also convey hope through deliberate incorporation of verses from the Holy Quran, which offer a stark contrast to the pessimistic reality of destruction.
de Menil Gallery SPRING EXHIBIT
Anatomy of a Small Universe
The de Menil Gallery is open 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on weekdays (except Wednesdays) and 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on weekends (except school holidays). It is free and open to the public.
Nancy Hayes Through June 4, 2017
ancy Hayes’ large-format paintings are colorful landscapes of the artist’s imagination and invitations to explore your own. Paying reverence to design concepts — colors, l ines, patterns — the artist creates characters in the abstract, engaging viewers in a mystical, physical world. Hayes explains that her objective is to allow viewers to
explore their own visual narraShe also says that painting tives, enhancing the forms with allows her to “express concepts their own imaginations — just as beyond my understanding.” readers inject their personal Powerful but subtle, gentle knowledge into a story, enrichbut tough, Hayes’ paintings can ing the plot. evoke visceral reactions. A sculptor in clay for twenty- According to de Menil Gallery five years before taking up paint- curator and photography ing, Hayes says that, through teacher Monika Andersson, the painting, “I can be the designer, work “summons something color theorist, and inventor, organic, and something tribal, giving form to my creativity.” through which the power of our
physical world and the flow of cells get honored and seen. By proxy, the work speaks to life, ever in transition, and ultimately to the interconnectedness of self to all. And through this process of thought and visual exploration, we may find a representation of the innermost heart, where beauty is form, and meaning lies in the fact that the very delicate can be very strong.”
Photographs by Jon Chase
Meghan Carney ’19 and (opposite page) Lyndsey Toce ’19
Girls Basketball 13–9 Girls varsity basketball had high expectations coming off last year’s 8–13 record because starters and other big contributors were returning. Although the season started off slowly, with the team losing its first four games, the Zebras continued to believe in themselves and in each other and won the next six games, suddenly achieving a 6–4 record. After losing a tough game at Governor’s to end the winning streak, Groton began another by winning the next three. That theme would continue for the rest of the season as any loss was followed by at least one win. The regular season ended on a high note as Groton beat longtime rival St. Mark’s 60–40 in front of a large and spirited student body. The St. Mark’s win clinched a berth in the NEPSAC Class B tournament, where Groton was slotted to play crosstown rival Lawrence Academy. The game was at LA, but the faithful Groton students came out again to show their pride and support, outnumbering LA fans two to one. The game did not disappoint: it came down to the final minute, when Groton had the ball and was down by only two points. Due to a costly turnover and an LA three-pointer seconds later, LA earned the win. Other highlights of the season included big wins over Class A opponents: Thayer, Milton, BB&N, Phillips Andover, and St. Paul’s. There will be higher expectations next year as Groton loses only one senior, Kai Volcy ’17, although that is a huge loss. — Coach Joe Crai l
Left, Noah Aaron ’18; above, Nailah Pierce ’18; opposite page (clockwise from left) Luke Beckstein ’20, Piper Higgins ’17, and Mims Reynolds ’17
Boys Basketball 8–14
This season, the team had many notable accomplishments:
The 2016 –17 varsity basketball season, full of memorable achievements, followed a somewhat disappointing season last winter. But the team came into the year focused and learned that the best path to success is to approach the season one game at a time, rather than fixated on an end-of-season goal. We began to trust one another, and members of the varsity team developed a genuine family atmosphere. Our captains, Noah Aaron ’18 and John Cecil ’17, did an exemplary job of leading the boys, and the coaches met regularly with the captains to assure that players and coaches were always on the same page.
• Won the Huckins-Rouse tournament, hosted at Middlesex, for the first time in school history
Groton School Quarterly
• Won multiple ISL games for the first time in five years • Won five or more games for the first time in six years • Defeated our rival St. Mark’s for the first time in twenty years! This was a special group to coach. I am sad to see our Sixth Formers graduate, but I am ecstatic that they are leaving the program with a final win. The future looks
promising for the Zebras moving forward. Go Zebras! — Coach Harold Francis
Boys Hockey 11–13–2 With eight overtime games, the boys varsity hockey team experienced some lows but also some great highs during a challenging but enjoyable season. The team can be proud of how it competed, especially during the second half of the year. The most thrilling moment of our season was beating St. Mark’s in overtime with two seconds left — ending the season on the highest of highs! Other
thrilling overtime wins came against Proctor Academy and Roxbury Latin, both teams that eventually would make the New England Prep playoffs. It was clear from the beginning of the season that we were ready to play hard against the best teams, and sometimes we won. Unfortunately, we also occasionally came up short against some teams that were just average. These shortcomings kept us from reaching our goal of playing in the post-season, but the adversity we faced reinforced lessons about supporting one another and never giving up — lessons I hope will stay with us for years to come. We feel confident that we have set the stage for next year: expectations will
be high as all of our leading scorers were underclassmen and will be returning. — Coach Bi ll Ri ley
Academy, a team that finished #1 in our division, tied their eighth-seed playoff matchup (Brooks), and ended up winning the Division 2 tournament.
Girls varsity hockey had what I consider a successful season, again narrowly missing a playoff berth in the final two weeks. Our win record in Division 2 is a touch higher than last year’s. While the individual highlights are many, I would like to share a snapshot of team achievements:
• In a valiant, Valentine’s Day effort against a talented Nobles squad — the #2 team in all of New England prep hockey — the only tallies from Nobles came from power play goals in our 3–1 loss. A well-deserved tip of the cap to Min Shin ’18 for making more than fifty saves in that game. She had about five games this year with forty or more saves, which is a lot of work in net.
• We opened the season with an early December highlight win over Worcester
• A spirited battle against St. Mark’s punctuated the season — the highly
Girls Hockey 9–12–4
Left, Cha Cha McLean ’17 and Emma Beard ’20; below, Aaron Jin ’19; opposite page (clockwise from left) Joe Collins ’18, Thomas Steere ’18, and Eleonor Wolf ’17
emotional, intense game involved a lot of guts, passion, and sacrifice, all shown by the team for three full periods. This season carried over the momentum we built for ourselves last season. Our team mentality toward competition and general intensity has reached a new level, which has allowed us to overachieve in moments where the odds are against us. While in years past we donned the underdog label with pride, it seems we now expect to win and are disappointed with any other outcome. I appreciate this shift in expectation — the bar has risen every year, and this is a team that stayed hungry for achievement all season. As always, I
Groton School Quarterly
am deeply proud of, and humbled by, the way the students have defined the identity of Groton girls hockey — they are truly creating a new legacy for the program. — Coach Randi D umont
Boys Squash 7–6 After graduating four players from last year’s top seven, the boys squash team came into this season with modest expectations. Fortunately, we have a full, deep program, so players who were lower on last year’s ladder were ready and eager to step up this winter. An early win against Exeter showed the team’s potential,
and from that point on, it was a race against time as the Groton boys worked to improve quickly enough to compete against more experienced opponents. With Captain Terrence Wang ’17 and Jay Montima ’18 setting high standards for the level of play, practices were extremely productive. The team competed well as their skills and fitness grew, the latter thanks to a steady diet of ghosting and court sprints. It was a notable accomplishment to finish in the middle of the ISL in this particular season, when we were rebuilding and when there were more strong teams than ever. Outside of the league, an exciting 4–3 win at Andover helped to bring the overall
season record above .500 and allowed the team to once again qualify for the Class A New Englands. Next year’s team will benefit a great deal from the experience gained this season, but of course we will need to fill the big shoes that will be left behind by workhorses Roan Guinan ’17 and Westby Caspersen ’17, as well as by this year’s talented captain, Terrence Wang ’17. — Coach D ave Proc kop
Girls Squash 5–9 Our senior girls at the top of the ladder knew they were going to have a tough
time this season, playing against some of the top-ranked girls in the country, but the whole team rose to the challenge, and we ended a credible fourth in the ISL. We trained hard and the girls worked to improve their individual skills, whether technique, movement, or tactics. They gave it their all, chasing the ball down and playing in the true spirit of the game. For their efforts, the team was rewarded with the sportsmanship award, chosen by the teams in the ISL. The results show that we had an upand-down season, with clear wins and losses. The most exciting match was our last one, against Dana Hall, which unfortunately didn’t go our way, with three of our
top four losing in close five-setters. Our team has gained a lot of experience over the season: We lost 1–6 to Taft in our very first match; in the final New Englands tournament weekend, with head-to-head results, we would have won at least 4–3 against the same opponents. We ended a respectable twelfth at New Englands in the A division. We are losing our top three, co-captains Liza Greenhill ’17 and Elle Santry ’17, and the fine-tuned Caroline Johnston ’17, but I look forward to the following season. With the potential of this young team, it will be exciting and rewarding! — Coach M ike Tootill
Follow Groton Athletics on Twitter:
Left, Patrick Ryan ’19; above, Jay Montima ’18
BOYS VARSITY BASKETBALL
GIRLS VARSITY BASKETBALL
BOYS VARSITY ICE HOCKEY
GIRLS VARSITY ICE HOCKEY
BOYS VARSITY SQUASH
GIRLS VARSITY SQUASH
Most Valuable Player Noah Aaron ’18
Most Valuable Players Alyna Baharozian ’18 Kai Volcy ’17
Most Valuable Player Santeri Hartikainen ’18
Coaches’ Award Caroline Fisher ’17 Piper Higgins ’17 Charlotte McLean ’17 Charlotte Wallace ’17
Most Valuable Player Terrence Wang ’17
Most Valuable Player Caroline Wilcox ’20
Most Improved Player Westby Caspersen ’17
Most Improved Player Caroline Johnston ’17
Coaches’ Award Jason Montima ’18
Coaches’ Award Liza Greenhill ’17 Elle Santry ’17
Most Improved Player Garvel Cassamajor ’18 Team Award Bennett Smith ’19 ISL Honorable Mention Noah Aaron ’18 John Cecil ’17 Joe Collins ’18 Captains-Elect Noah Aaron ’18 Garvel Cassamajor ’18 Joe Collins ’18
Defensive MVP Lyndsey Toce ’19 Most Improved Player Mary Sabatelle ’18 All-ISL Alyna Baharozian ’18 Kai Volcy ’17 ISL Honorable Mention Meghan Carney ’19 Lyndsey Toce ’19 NEPSAC All-Stars Alyna Baharozian ’18 Kai Volcy ’17 Captains-Elect Alyna Baharozian ’18 Mary Sabatelle ’18 Lyndsey Toce ’19
Groton School Quarterly
Coaches’ Award Matt Mullen ’17 Kei Nawa ’17 Tristan Smith ’17 All-ISL Chris Brown ’18 Mark Gallant ’19 Santeri Hartikainen ’18 Matt Mullen ’17 ISL Honorable Mention Jonah Gold ’19 Cam Schmitt ’18 Captains-Elect Chris Brown ’18 Tyler Forbes ’18 Cam Schmitt ’18
All-ISL Min Shin ’18 ISL Honorable Mention Angelina Joyce ’18 Captains-Elect Angelina Joyce ’18 Layne McKeown ’18 Min Shin ’18
All-ISL Terrence Wang ’17 ISL Honorable Mention Jason Montima ’18 Captain-Elect Charlie Vrattos ’18
ISL Honorable Mention Liza Greenhill ’17 Captain-Elect Sarah Conner ’19
Read the remembrances from the Form of 1961 on page 60, in Form Notes.
July 27, 1942 – February 14, 2017 President, Groton School Board of Trustees, 1989–96, trustee 1979–96
William A. Oates Jr. ’61
by William M. Polk, Former Headmaster
ILLY OATES JR. died on February 14, 2017,
after a long and determined battle with multiple myeloma. His funeral was held at his home parish, St. Paul’s Church, in Dedham, Massachusetts, on Friday, February 24. The service, a celebration of a life lived to the fullest, was a family affair, with his brothers, Tom ’67 and Jim, and his daughters, Lilly ’89, Kate ’93, and Emily ’97, the leading participants. The church was overflowing with people from the world of William Armstrong Oates Jr. Groton was well represented by Temba Maqubela, Hugh and Eleanor Sackett, Lyn Carroll, Fred and Cindy Beams, Señor John Conner, and me—as well as many of Billy’s formmates, his daughters’ formmates, and other generations of graduates. Arriving at Groton as a First Former in 1955, Billy displayed those qualities that became the hallmark of his life: perpetual motion; a tenacious determination; a strong sense of order and a love of ritual; a rich curiosity about people, places, and how things work; an unfailing loyalty to family, friends, and institutions; and a lively sense of humor. Billy would set his sights on a goal and rarely let up, whether at a Glee Club dance or on the ice. Having grown up as a fac brat at St. Paul’s School, where he skated on the ponds at an early age, Billy had developed a prowess on the ice that had us all in awe. Billy also loved ritual, some of them outlined by formmate David Auchincloss: “Chapel (though he couldn’t carry a tune), rallies, feeds, ceremonies of any
sort, cheering for others on their special occasions.” In her remembrance, daughter Kate picked up on this theme: “My dad loved being the center of attention. He dressed like a peacock, carried himself like he was six-foot-five with a thick head of hair; but he loved making you the center of attention, too. He thrived on shock value—short shorts on the golf course, bright pink glasses, lavender sport coats, and pastel ski jackets.” One of Billy’s favorite quotes was, “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” Beyond his passionate curiosity, Billy had many special talents that allowed him to be a wonderful husband, father, and grandfather, enjoy lifelong friendships, build a successful business, and become a superb gardener and a discriminating collector of western art. His service to Groton School, Roxbury Latin, and, most recently, Colby College had a significant impact far beyond the considerable money he raised for those institutions. He served as a trustee of Colby College, his alma mater, from 2005–13 and again from 2014 until his death. Roxbury Latin, where he served as trustee and treasurer, granted him an honorary degree for his service in 1985. Billy’s extensive service to Groton, for which I am grateful, is highlighted in “A Groton Legacy” on page 54. I enjoyed fundraising trips with Billy. His curiosity about people served him and the school well. His daughter Lilly noted that he loved to meet strangers. “He could meet someone and, within minutes, that person would be talking to him about her or his deepest thoughts,
A GROTON LEGACY fears, and loves.” It often seemed to me that he was interrogating people, but given his genuine interest in what they were saying, no one took offense. Thanks to his prodding, Billy and I heard some amazing stories. After hearing one such story, we still had two hours before our plane departed from Miami. Billy insisted that we explore the city’s downtown rather than sit at the airport. Being active was Billy’s M.O. Every day was a good day to accomplish something at work or play. Daughter Emily depicted her father this way: “On a cold and gray November morning, my father would look out the window and say, ‘Isn’t it a great day?’ Only my father could find beauty in perhaps the most dreary, depressing time of year. He always said that November was his favorite month.” “Climb Every Mountain” could have been Billy’s theme song. An outdoorsman to the core, he never stopped looking for another mountain to climb or trail to hike. How Muffy ever kept up with him is a mystery to me, but she did so with grace and humor, even when he loaded two saddlebags of Wyoming river rocks to bring back to Dedham. At a Groton reunion I introduced him to Tyson Dines ’36, who had climbed every peak in Colorado. Did Billy ever interrogate Tyson! I knew the idea of matching Tyson’s feat intrigued him. Billy climbed about half of the peaks over fourteen thousand feet in Colorado, and many others, such as the Matterhorn, elsewhere. Muffy, Lilly, Kate, and Emily formed the center of Billy’s life, and the Christmas ski trip to Vail was the most important family ritual of the year. Here is Emily’s account of skiing at Vail with her father:
Groton School Quarterly
Billy Oates ’61 made an impact on Groton School through traditional gifts as well as gifts of time and leadership. A fixture on the Board of Trustees for seventeen years and its leader for seven, Billy was at the helm when the school hired its first chief financial officer, did major renovations to the library and the Dome, added a dance studio, and outlined a forwardthinking strategic plan. While recognizing the need to maintain and improve facilities, he often emphasized people — particularly the need to improve salaries and benefits for current as well as retired employees. One point of pride is the William A. Jr. ’61 and Elizabeth M. Oates Fund in Support of Faculty Summer Study, Travel, and Enrichment. Billy left the school in a place of strength: as he was stepping down as board president, the Campaign for Groton was getting underway, a bold initiative that stemmed from the new strategic plan and ultimately raised $109 million.
“With the family skiing together, a routine was quickly established and religiously followed, day after day and year after year. It began with my father’s desire to get the most out of every day he skied. He insisted that we had to be on the first chairlift each morning at 8:30 a.m. He loved asking the chairlift attendant if he was, in fact, the first person up the mountain. My father skied all day, closing the mountain down at 3:30 p.m. After skiing, he would come home and take a hot tub, followed by a short nap. Just before dinner he would walk through the Claggett-Rey Gallery in town, only to give my mother a heart attack over yet another western painting he had his eye on. At 6 p.m. we would eat dinner at one of the same seven restaurants. We were asleep by 8 p.m. The next six days in Vail were exactly the same.” In recent years, the family expanded with the addition of sons-in-law and grandchildren. Billy loved introducing the grandchildren to Walden Pond, the swan boats, garden tours, and his favorite Robert Frost poem. What gifts he has given to them: his love of people, his passionate curiosity, his optimism, and his appreciation of all things good and beautiful. Billy has left us with memories of a life fully lived, of a man of certitude and strong opinions who was also open to others’ stories, a man of great enthusiasm and energy who reveled in the beauty of nature, and, most importantly, in the sustaining strength of ties to family and friends.
Harry Burchell Mathews ’47 February 14, 1930 – January 25, 2017 by Everett Morss ’47
ARRY MATHEWS arrived at Groton
looking tall, trim, and handsome. To those of us from New England and outside the greater New York area, he seemed the very essence of the sophisticated New Yorker. Even then, Harry seemed prepared for the life that would follow—as intellectual, poet, and provocateur. In January, when Harry died in Key West, Florida, of an intracerebral hemorrhage, he had written six novels, several collections of poetry, stories, and essays, and had translated several French works into English. Harry’s plots and use of language—unabashedly eccentric and sometimes bizarre—often confounded his critics. Harry’s first wife, Niki de Saint Phalle, was a unique painter and sculptress; his second wife, Marie Craix, was a French novelist. With both, Harry divided his life between France and the U.S.—summers in France and winters in New York and Key West. In the U.S., in addition to his writing and music, he taught classes at Bennington
College, Bard College, Columbia University, and the New School. In France, Harry flourished in the intellectual community: he was Parisian director of the Paris Review; founded a literary magazine, Louis Solus, which ran for four years; and for many years was the only American member of Oulipo, a quirky French literary salon. According to the New York Times, Harry qualified to join because he had rewritten a Keats poem using words from a Julia Child recipe (and likewise had rewritten the recipe using Keats’ words). Harry was born in Manhattan in 1930, grew up in the city, attended St. Bernard’s School, and came to Groton in the Second Form. In retrospect, Groton was an important incubator for Harry’s many talents and interests. Some of the comments about Harry in our Sixth Form yearbook are interesting: “He does anything eagerly and intensely, while preserving an appearance of relaxed self-assurance.” And, “Harry succeeds in
Harry Mathews in the 1947 yearbook and at a school dance. Could his dance partner be Jacqueline Bouvier?
spreading himself out without ever spreading himself too thin. It is probable that he will never enter any profession but will invent one instead.” Harry’s literary career was well on its way at Groton. He was editor-in-chief of the Third Form Weekly and, in Sixth Form, editor of the Grotonian. Even then, he enjoyed opportunities to discuss modern writing, poetry, and literature, as well as the Classics, with various masters. At our 1947 Prize Day, Harry graduated magna cum laude and received the Outside Reading Prize and the Latin Prize. Upon graduation, he entered Princeton, left after his freshman year, served a year in the Navy, and graduated from Harvard in 1952, with both AB and MA degrees in music and musicology. At Groton, Harry had been a member of both the band and the choir. He played the piano with vigor and skill. When he led our Fifth Form singing on Prize Day evening, he selected the songs and even wrote one of them; he organized a motley collection of voices in a performance that he labeled afterward as “not too bad.” An interesting moment with Harry occurred for me Fifth Form year, at the dance for the Fifth and Sixth Formers on Washington’s Birthday weekend. We could each invite a young lady to the party, who had a dance card filled out for her by her date. Harry asked if I would take a dance, and I said “yes.” It turned out he had invited one of the stars of the New York debutante scene. She
Groton School Quarterly
was lovely and we had the dance. The trouble was that I could think of nothing to say to her, nor she to me. It was quite awkward. We were both delighted when that dance was over. Her name was Jacqueline Bouvier. Sports, as we know, were important at Groton, but not high on Harry’s list. Tall and well built, Harry looked formidable in a football uniform. We did not have a good season and needed all the help we could get, and Harry played a sturdy tackle. Several years ago, my wife, Pamela, and I visited Harry and Marie in Key West for a delightful afternoon tea. Harry and I exchanged information we had about formmates and what we knew about happenings at school. I took a moment to ask him how he had felt about playing football. He hated it, but he played. We commiserated. Harry, Grant LaFarge, and I shared a study Fourth Form year. Although a triple was somewhat unusual, it worked well. The work was tough, but we managed and continued to be friends. Even so, I have always felt that I never really got to know Harry. When speaking with several formmates about his death, I mentioned this and received some responses similar to “Harry was hard to get to know well.” I can only wish I had gotten to know him better. Indeed, Harry Mathews was a remarkable man.
R Form Notes are now password-protected. Members of the Groton community may read them online by signing in at www.groton.org/myGroton.
Always Modest, Never Meek BILL CLARK’S formmates remember him as one of the quieter, more modest members of the Form of 1952. “He was never one to call attention to himself, either during our school days or in the years since. It was only when he died that we learned in detail about his impressive accomplishments. You’d never have known from talking with him at reunions,” said Erastus Corning ’52, a friend at Groton and later at Yale. Ned Gammons ’52 agreed. “It was a surprise to read in Bill’s obituary that he had established an orphanage in Korea while serving as a U.S. Army flight surgeon there,” he said. “And while I knew Bill worked as a burn specialist, I didn’t know that he created the Upstate New York Burn Center from scratch in the late 1970s.” Ned and other formmates only recently learned that the hospital named the burn center in Bill’s honor in 1997. Bill, as many knew, loved canoe racing, but he was modest about his accomplishments on that front, too—such as the time he raced from Chicago all the way to Manhattan to bring attention to the need for clean waterways. He paddled solo against two-man teams, which made his race even tougher. “My brother was an intense person by nature. He pushed himself in every way. Modest does not mean meek,” said Emory Clark ’56, who knows a thing or two about intensity, evident in his own Olympic gold medal in rowing. Another topic on which Bill was modest?
His generosity to Groton School. He was a loyal Groton Fund donor year in and year out, and he put in place an estate plan that named Groton as a beneficiary. Bill’s bequest is advancing the GRAIN (GRoton Affordability and INclusion) initiative, the school’s commitment to ensure that no deserving student is denied a Groton education for financial reasons. Thanks to Bill’s bequest and gifts from others, GRAIN crossed the $30 million mark this winter. Clearly Bill was an exemplary alumnus in many ways. Those inspired to emulate him through estate planning or by supporting GRAIN are encouraged to contact the Office of Alumni and Development at 800-3966866 or to email Elizabeth (Betsy) Ginsberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.O. Box 991 Groton, Massachusetts 01450-0991
North Reading, MA Permit 6
Change Service Requested
Non-profit Org. U.S. Postage
Groton School • The Quarterly
Winter 2017 • Volume LXXVIII , No. 2
THE GIRLS of the Form of 1977 commissioned this painting, by Camilla Churchill P’67, ’69, ’77, and presented it to Headmaster Rowland and Mrs. Mary Cox at the Sixth Form dinner on June 8, 1977, the evening before Prize Day. This year marks the fortieth anniversary of that Prize Day—the first in which girls received Groton diplomas.