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Groton School Quarterly
Groton School Quarterly Fall 2009 | Vol. LXXI, No. 3
Smiling with Gold. Fourth Boat won their Grand final at the 2009 NEIRA Championships held on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, MA. All four oarsmen and coxswain were in their first year with Groton crew. From Left: Remington Knight ’11, Jonathan White ’11, Brian O’Neill ’12, Maxwell Lindeman ’11 and Ellee Watson ’13. Photo by Vaughn Winchell, Insight Studios.
Fall 2009 | Vol. LXXI, No. 3
Extended Reunion Weekend Coverage
2009 Prize Day ~ Reunion Collage ~ Alumni Awards ~ Mottos and Mindsets ~ Madame Coursaget Retires
hat Do ou emember About Groton?
Fall 2009 | Vol. LXXI, No. 3
Contents Circiter | Featured on Campus 3
Prize Day Speeches, Awards, Diplomas, College Matriculations
Reunion Weekend Distinguished Grotonian and Cui Servire Awards
Gallery News Exhibits change at the de Menil and Brodigan Galleries
Spring Play Children of a Lesser God, by Mark Medoff
Per Circulum Locuti Sunt | Voices on the Circle 46
Mindset Matters A Chapel Talk by Jennifer Ayer Sandell ’82, Trustee
Time for Beauty A Chapel Talk by Ripley Hartmeyer ’09
2009 Baccalaureate Address A Chapel Talk by Richard B. Commons
Front Cover: Members of the Form of 2009 process from St. John’s Chapel to begin Prize Day ceremonies.
One Easy ay to emember Groton orever: When you create or update your will, designate a percentage of your estate to Groton. Whether your assets are large or small, this is an easy way to remember the School and help it thrive for generations to come. Simply use this sample language or contact Rachel Silver, Director of Major Gifts, at 978-448-7584 or firstname.lastname@example.org about other ways to include Groton in your plans. “I give _____ percent of the residue of my estate to Groton School, Groton, Massachusetts, to be used for its general charitable purposes.”
hank you for remembering Groton.
Groton School Quarterly
Personae | People of Note 58
Catherine Coursaget Costumiere
Andrew Greene ’78 Serve God and Rule
Grotoniana | All Things Groton 66
Spring Sports Varsity team season recaps
New Releases Alumni publications
School News The Groton Women’s Network
In Memoriam | As we Remember 75
Notabilia | New & Noteworthy 79
119 Marriages, New Arrivals, Deaths
Charlotte Davies ’11 at work in the Schoolroom.
FROM THE EDITOR Mottos and Motives: Cui servire est regnare
ecognizing the reference several articles in this issue of the Quarterly make to Groton’s motto, I spent time with Groton’s archivist, Doug Brown ’57, who unearthed several letters bearing on Rector Endicott Peabody’s selection of the motto. It is in the spirit of Andrew Greene’s ’78 article (see page 62) that I offer what we know about his choice. It may come as a surprise to some that the school’s present motto is, in fact, its second. Groton’s original motto, “Esse quam videre” (“to be, rather than to seem”) lasted only a few years. Peabody chose the new motto in 1891, after hearing Father Arthur C. A. Hall preach in Chapel on an October Sunday. Father Hall quoted the saying “cui servire est regnare” in his homily, attributing the phrase to St. Augustine. Peabody was struck by what Father Hall said but, in fact, he must have been very familiar with it as it was part of the first collect in the service of Morning Prayer. However, in a letter to an alumnus some 40 years later, Peabody recalls telling Father Hall after the service that “we were looking for a new motto and that this would suit us admirably.” In closing that letter, Peabody relates a humorous story of an “early-comer,” a young Groton Latin student, who had translated “esse quam videre” as “eat what you see,” esse being an alternate form of edere, which means “to eat.” That may have been one of the Rector’s motivations for choosing the new motto, but perhaps he also thought the new phrase captured more specifically what might/should be the result of a Groton education. Interestingly, Peabody’s correspondence indicates he considered “servire est regnare” as the motto, but added the “cui” after consultation with others, an addition that further suggests the Rector’s vision of a laudable outcome of a Groton education. The new motto did not appear in Groton materials until the School introduced its coat of arms in 1902. “Whom to serve is perfect freedom” has become part of the Groton lexicon with the Latin phrasing filling the scroll beneath the shield for the last 107 years. Amidst the other news of the school, we offer in this issue of the Quarterly snapshots of how the Groton motto lives on in the lives of Grotonians. I hope you will find the issue informative and interesting. I look forward to thoughts, reactions, suggestions and submissions from all who read the Quarterly, in hand or on line. John M. Niles, Editor Quarterly@groton.org
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Groton School Quarterly Fall 2009 | Vol. LXXI, No. 3
Editor John M. Niles Graphic Design Jeanne Abboud Contributing Editors Julia B. Alling Amybeth Babeu Elizabeth Wray Lawrence ’82 Erin E. Lyman John D. MacEachern Melissa J. Ribaudo Rachel S. Silver Photography Cover photo by Arthur Durity All other photography by Arthur Durity unless otherwise noted. Editorial Offices The Schoolhouse Groton School Groton, MA 01450 Phone: 978-448-7506 E-mail: email@example.com
Other School Offices Alumni Office 978-448-7520 Admission Office 978- 448-7510 The views presented are not necessarily those of the editors or the official policies of the School. Groton School of Groton, Massachusetts 01450 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.
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PRIZE DAY Seventy-four students in the Form of 2009 received their diplomas on Sunday, May 31 on a splendid day of sunshine, which lasted through most of the handshaking ceremonies. Although the spring rains blew through the final handshakes, spirits were not dampened. The Form, representing 17 states and three foreign countries, will attend 48 different colleges and universities in the fall. Twenty-eight members of the Form received Prize Day awards for excellence in academic fields, leadership contributions, and artistic or athletic excellence. Congratulations to the Form of 2009.
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Prize Day 2009 Richard B. Commons, Headmaster
efore we begin the tributes and awards of Groton School’s 123rd Prize Day, I want to welcome once again the families and friends of the graduates, who have come from near and far to celebrate the accomplishments of this remarkable group of students. My first duty and privilege today is to introduce the President of Groton’s Board of Trustees, Jamie Higgins, parent of James ’02 and Palmer ’06, who will hand diplomas to the graduates today. James H. Higgins III, P’02, ’06, President of the Board of Trustees
Members of the Form of 2009 begin the handshaking line.
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Thank you, Rick. Can’t you feel it? I certainly can! It’s that feeling of excitement in the air and I know it’s not for the president of the board! Graduations are supposed to be a time when the spotlight is rightfully on you, the Form of 2009, so you have my word; I won’t distract you long! As I was wending my way back to Groton to be ready for today, I was thinking about how much I like the view from here. There is something about this spot on Prize Day, looking out first to all of you Sixth Formers in these front rows, and then to your families and friends, the Circle, and finally beyond. I can see so clearly from here what Groton stands for and why it matters so much. What I see within the Circle, is a serenity that comes from the certainty of confident purpose. This is a place that builds strength. What I see beyond the gates, in that space the Rector called “the active work of life,” is a noisiness that comes from the uncertainty of complexity and risk. This is a world that requires strength. If ever there has been a moment in the modern times beyond our gates when uncertainty, complexity and risk have seemed almost unbounded, this year must be it. Incredible turbulence has brought low once proud institutions, shown the clay feet of once mighty individuals, and caused many to realize, sadly too late, that the premise of many of their lives’ decisions was built on an insubstantial foundation. This past year has shown in stark relief that, irrespective of one’s chosen path in life, strength of intellectual substance is crucial if one is to distinguish lasting truth from fleeting fad; and strength of individual character is essential if one is to distinguish what is right from what is just possible. Almost a century and a quarter ago, Groton was founded on the defining promise to provide each student the serenity and certainty within this Circle so that each could find, build, and hone those two essential strengths. It was a promise to be challenging, to be annealing, and to be transforming. It was a promise to prepare each student for the noisiness, uncertainty, and risk of the “active work of life.” You, the Form of 2009, are proof that that promise is still being extended and still being fulfilled.
Prize Day In a few moments, as you receive your well-earned diplomas and give your last handshakes, remember that it is those who have gone before you who have extended Groton’s promise to you. They have been out there beyond the Circle, constant in their commitment, constant in their insistence that Groton be continuously ready to provide its strength to each new generation when it arrives. I know that you can’t wait to join them, to use the strengths you have found here both for yourselves and to help others in navigating whatever new “noisiness” the future may bring. I know also that you will be just as committed as they have been, and just as insistent that Groton must continue to extend its promise to all those who wish to follow. You will hear many thoughtful words of wisdom from others today, so let me finish, as I have each year since I have had the privilege of being on this dais, with a personal note of sentiment instead. I have found in my own life that there are very few times when one is surrounded by so many family and friends who, simultaneously, admire you so greatly, love you so much, are so appreciative of your friendship, are so proud of your accomplishments, and who wish you so much success in your future. This Prize Day at Groton School is one of those times. Drink deeply of today, for it will sustain you for the rest of your lives. On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the entire Groton community, I salute you, the Form of 2009.
Almost a century and a quarter ago, Groton was founded on the defining promise to provide each student the serenity and certainty within this Circle, so that each could find, build, and hone two essential strengths: the strength of intellectual substance and the strength of individual character.
* * *
Richard B. Commons, Headmaster Thank you, Jamie, for those words and for your leadership and stewardship of Groton School. It is the custom of the Board of Trustees to recognize members of the faculty who have served the School for 20 years. This year it is my pleasure to honor two individuals who have reached that milestone. The first is David Black, Groton Form of 1980, father of Robert, Form of 2010, and Sarah, Form of 2012, and holder of the Geoffrey Gund Teaching Chair. David was originally hired as a teacher of advanced tutorials in the Science Department, but he immediately made himself broadly invaluable, ultimately re-envisioning Groton’s teaching of environmental science and forming a two-level program that begins with the AP Environmental Science and proceeds into Advanced Ecology. David’s teaching makes heavy use of the land surrounding the School, helping students to appreciate and protect the natural beauties of this place. As one colleague says, “David provides so many of those watershed educational moments where theory and practice come together, where study turns into action, and action turns into passion.” The Lamont family surrounds graduate Ben Lamont.
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Circiter | Featured on Campus David is tireless in his devotion to environmental issues on our campus and beyond, serving as a member of the new Trustee/Faculty Committee on Sustainability, advisor to the Environmental Club, shepherd of our recycling program, and a Trustee of the Town’s Groton Conservation Trust. Over the course of his career he has pioneered the use of technology in the classroom and been a contributor to the larger world of environmental education through the Environmental Literacy Council, the National Tropical Botanical Garden, and the Chicago Botanical Garden. Beyond all this, David has coached multiple sports, most recently junior varsity football, and girls thirds basketball, and he serves as a deeply trusted advisor not only to his own advisees but to countless others who are drawn to his wise perspective, strong moral compass, and deep care in nurturing responsible, creative, and curious students. * * *
Graduate Adam Reeve stands with his mother, trustee Polly Cross Reeve ’78, P ’07, ’09, ’11.
The second is John Tulp, holder of the Sharrard Billings Classics Chair, who, in his two decades on the Circle, has been revered for his encouragement and example of intellectual curiosity. His avidity for fishing is well-known, but even when he’s not on some pristine lake in Maine, he seems to be “casting about” for startling ideas that might break the surface of an otherwise predictable conversation. Whether in the Faculty Room, the Dining Hall, or the classroom, students and colleagues alike cannot help but rise to John’s alluring intellectual bait, and he has a way of hooking us into new ways of seeing everything from a Mozart sonata to the proper grip for a topspin backhand. One wise colleague said that John is at his best when he’s talking about things he knows the least about because it frees his mind to roam and alight in delightful new places. “And this is great for his students to witness,” says the colleague, “because they’ve not met anyone like him before, and they won’t meet any like him again.” Testimony to his memorable teaching arrived in my mailbox recently, in the words of a recent graduate who responded to a “teacher tribute” opportunity at his college with this: “Mr. Tulp introduced me to a new world and provided me gentle guidance when I was lost in ideas both dangerous and beautiful. I would talk to him about my dreams and passions, and he replied in echoes, like that of a caring father, but these echoes often carried a new meaning, through which I could hear my true hidden voices. To enumerate the symphonies, literature, and painting he presented to my youth would take up too much space. His voice still shades the colors I see in the evening sky.” * * *
And now for some goodbyes: Our celebration today includes a fond farewell not only to members of the Sixth Form, but also to those members of the faculty who will not be with us next year. Rob Calgione came to us after graduating from Wake Forest University, where he double majored in economics and Middle East and South Asia studies. As a teaching intern at Groton, he taught two sections of American History and offered an elective in modern Middle Eastern history this spring. There was a rush of sign-ups for the elective, including seven sixth formers who wanted a course with Mr. Calagione to be a part of their final spring at Groton. Rob also made great contributions as a coach of varsity football, varsity basketball, and junior varsity baseball. Next year he will join the History Department at his alma mater, St. Mark���s, where our long and storied athletic rivalry will not diminish our affection for one who has given us so much in so short a time. * * *
Our other intern, Carmine Grimaldi, came to us from Amherst College, where he was a history major. At Groton he taught two sections of The World and the West and a spring elective called “History of Self; European Enlightenment to the Present.” A
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colleague says of Carmine: “He brings enormous intellectual skill to the classroom; his classes delve deep into topics, and he is able to weave together themes from history, philosophy, politics and economics to create lessons that are rich in detail and yet thoroughly engaging.” Outside of the classroom, Carmine coached junior varsity crosscountry, squash, and crew, and he also assisted with the co-curricular program for the Second Form. We wish him safe travels and great success as he takes a teaching post for next year at the American College of Sofia in Bulgaria.
Members of the extended Simmons family surround graduate, Reed Simmons.
* * *
“Ms. Roche is leaving!?” a sixth former said to me after the news broke last fall. “I can’t imagine Groton without her!” I too have a hard time imagining the Circle without Aimeclaire Roche, whom Groton School and I were blessed to appoint as assistant head during my first year. Her office is on the other end of the Schoolhouse from mine, but her laugh is audible at any distance and her presence palpable in every corner of our campus, from Brooks to Hundred House, from Buildings and Grounds to the Health Center, and from the Faculty Room to the Chapel. She has been a vital force in the last five years on issues of community health, safety, and well-being—steering us through the ice storm, the swine flu, and all the chaos that turns to calm whenever AC takes up her crisis preparedness clipboard. She has also been a force beyond the Groton gates, as any faculty member hired in the last five years can attest, in the way we identify and recruit the most talented teachers in the world. The light in AC’s office is generally on way too late, and if it’s off, she’s probably hosting a faculty/staff gathering in her home. The most legendary of these, the annual Christmas ornament exchange, I’ve never been able to attend, as it is strictly for women only, but it is reportedly more raucous than anything that might take place during Senior Week. I am told that it is a lot like her office at recess, where swarms of happy students can be found shouting, singing, and laughing. It’s not just Ms. Roche’s advisees there, either; it’s a congregation of those who know that she always has the best candy, the most fun, and the best advice. The best advice, indeed. Everything important I’ve done at Groton in the last five years has begun and ended with AC’s advice, and, when things have gone wrong, it’s generally because I haven’t quite followed it. She promises me that I’ll have a hotline to her office in California, where she has been appointed head of the Bishop’s School in La Jolla. They are a very fortunate school and community, as are we. Thanks, AC, for all you have done for Groton and for me. Quarterly Fall 2009
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Graduate Angus West stands with his parents, Angus ’73, P ’09, ’11 and Elizabeth.
Our next farewell is to Bodhi Amos, who embodies the classic “triple-threat” model that is so valuable to our schools in this era of specialization. Senior Prefect of his Groton Form of 1988, Bodhi returned to Groton six years ago to teach French, coach football and lacrosse, and run a dorm. This combination of commitments has made him a deeply influential figure in the lives of countless Groton students and graduates. In this rather traditional school, Bodhi has brought to his classroom a thoroughly modern ability to engage his students. His unflagging energy and his use of music, art, and the Internet make entering Mr. Amos’ room like stepping directly into a Parisian arrondissement. As a coach, Bodhi has given more than the experience of the highly successful college athlete he was; he has given the clear belief that sports should teach important lessons having little to do with athletic ability or winning percentage. Because the football practice field is directly behind my house, I have watched from my kitchen window many times as Bodhi has taught a young man how to block or tackle. His style is intense, and his players cannot ignore his instruction, but he is never more than a moment away from flashing a broad smile that reminds them (and those watching from nearby windows) that sports are supposed to be fun. It is harder to remember that lesson when you square off against Bodhi on the squash court, and I can personally attest to the fact that Bodhi is faster than a speeding squash ball. His opponents will miss him nonetheless, as will his faculty colleagues who appreciate Bodhi’s relentlessly positive spirit. Bodhi, as you depart for our nation’s capital to devote your many talents to the students at Episcopal High School, you go with our enduring affection and the insistence that you return often to your home here on the Circle. * * *
Although Marty Elkins has taught history and coached field hockey, ice hockey, and lacrosse during her eight years at Groton, the vast majority of her work has been in college counseling. Even in this capacity, however, Marty would consider herself to be first and foremost a teacher, tirelessly reminding her counselees and her colleagues that the challenging and important process of finding the right college should begin and end as a project of self-discovery. She is widely respected in the national college admissions counseling scene, serving as a founding member and the first executive director of The Association of College Counselors in Independent Schools, and she has broadened Groton’s presence and the opportunities for our graduates across the United States and significantly in the United Kingdom. Still, I think Marty’s favorite location may be the hockey rink, where I love to see her gliding from one drill to another, shouting instructions and encouragement. Her passion as a coach is rooted less in her love for the game of field hockey, ice hockey, or lacrosse, however, than in her love for her players. They and the many Groton students she has taught, counseled, and cared for describe Marty as one who deeply understood them and helped them to understand themselves. She and her husband Paul, currently dean of students at Worcester Academy, head off to New Hampton School together, returning to their beloved New Hampshire, he as dean of faculty and she as director of college counseling. Marty, we will miss you, and we thank you for all you have done for Groton School and Groton students. * * *
Our final faculty farewell is to one who, in four decades of teaching, has never uttered a word of English in her classroom. Catherine Coursaget, holder of the Dillon Chair of the Humanities, came to Groton from Paris, via Andover, and after twentyone years on the Circle returns to Paris, having bestowed upon us all the culture, charm, and elegance of that glorious place. One long-time colleague goes so far as to call her “the person who, without a doubt, has always had the most style on campus.”
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Prize Day There was no disputing it when, on a bright, spring morning a little over a week ago, the girls of Coursaget’s entered the Chapel, dividing the sleepy throng by marching in two perfectly straight lines, smartly outfitted in matching blue school dresses, and wide-brimmed straw hats with ribbons trailing down their backs. Madame Coursaget came in behind them in a nun’s habit, and we all recognized at once that this was a storybook brought to life—Madeline, with Madame Coursaget as Miss Clavel. There was immediate and sustained applause as we saw the genius in the concept and in the costumes, and we all knew who that genius had to be. It was more, however, than a clever use of Catherine’s gift for a grand entrance and a perfect costume. It represented for us all the way in which she has devoted herself to her flock—those fortunate enough to have been in her classroom, the theater, her dorm, or her advisee group. They all fall in line before Madame Coursaget, with appreciation for her deep understanding and unconditional affection for them. Another colleague describes Catherine as a visionary in the truest sense of the word: “Whether it’s on the stage or in the classroom, Catherine can see from the outset what the finished product should look like, and she makes it happen.” In the theater, that means shopping for costumes at thrift stores in Paris the summer before the winter play; and in the classroom it means setting very high standards and making students eager to meet them. And Catherine’s students are eager indeed, for they instinctively want to match the commitment she shows them, educationally and personally. But back for a moment to Catherine’s style: she has as much of Madeline in her as Miss Clavel, doesn’t she? Madeline, who marches around a French convent in the 1930s (no resemblance to Groton School), is the bravest and the funniest and the most original of schoolgirls. So is Catherine. Every conversation with her is an adventure, because of her wisdom and worldly intelligence, yes, but also because of her mischievous sense of humor. To quote one more colleague: “She is a very witty woman. And to be truly witty in someone else’s language, now that’s remarkable.” Remarkable in so many ways, Catherine Coursaget has graced this Circle with much more than words (particularly words in English) can express. Catherine, you will be greatly missed by Groton School, and your students and colleagues will never forget you.
Henry Mumford ’09 and faculty member Rebecca Stanton say goodbye in the handshaking line.
* * *
And now I would like to address the Form of 2009, to whom this day belongs. If I were to attach a moniker to your Form it would be “The Keepers of Tradition.” Perhaps the best example came at the outset of the year at Sit-Down dinner. The faculty and I decided to relax the dress code in favor of informal attire that we felt would put less pressure on students to conform and compete, and you rebelled. Radicals that you are, you staged a ferocious protest by donning coats and ties and pretty dresses. In the highly civilized yet forceful debate that ensued, you expressed the opinion that there were better ways to address the issues, and you made an implicit promise to show us how. While no one ever announced some kind of initiative or instituted some singular, recognizable change, I believe you have kept your promise. For, despite your many different backgrounds, beliefs, and personalities, as one faculty member put it, “the Form has modeled utter inclusivity.” You genuinely care for one another, aware of and interested in your differences, but equally interested in all that you share. Friday night’s gathering in the Hughes-Gemmell barn and the bonfire among the fireflies in the field that sweeps down toward the woods will linger in my memory as an example of the Form’s remarkable harmony. We offered a boat cruise on Boston Harbor, but you wanted simply to be together, somewhere near enough to School that you could hear the hourly bells as you reflected on your time together. More than modeling harmony, however, you have given meaning to the School’s most important traditions with remarkable leadership, and you have embraced the obligation of the Sixth Form to set the tone for the School. And the tone this year has
More than modeling harmony, however, you have given meaning to the School’s most important traditions with remarkable leadership, and you have embraced the obligation of the Sixth Form to set the tone for the School.
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Circiter | Featured on Campus been wonderfully positive. Your dorm check-ins have been substantive, entertaining, and deliberate in making your dorms feel like home to everyone. You have combined deep caring with vigorous dorm spirit, on bright display during Spring Fling, where I noticed prefects leading cheers not only for their own dorms but for brother and sister dorms. And you have spoken, listened, and sung in Chapel in ways that will reverberate long after today. Your devotion to the traditions that make Groton distinctive is not without recognition of our changing times, as you have led the way on issues of sustainability, global outreach, and cultural exchange, successfully marrying old Groton principles to a new and evolving world. Thinking of the Form of 2009 ages hence, I surely will not fail to remember one rather long Roll Call during Spirit Week. After forty minutes of essential information, Mr. Beams and I decided that it was time to bring the gathering to a close, and we entered the Schoolroom with every intention of dispersing the crowd. When the Keepers of Tradition saw us coming, what did they do? They placed their hats and hands on their hearts, turned to a flag hung at the front of the room, and led the crowd in singing â€œThe Star-Spangled Banner.â€? How do you chastise a roomful of students singing the national anthem? I should conclude, and give over to one who will capture the spirit of the Form much better than I, but let me first say thank you, on behalf of the faculty and the School, to the Form of 2009 for all you have given of yourselves to Groton. * * * Members of the Fifth Form send off the graduates of 2009 at the Form sing Saturday night before Prize Day.
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And now it is time to hear from a representative of the Form of 2009, a keeper and creator of Groton traditions, an orator with a gift for the epic and the bizarre, and a worthy choice of his formmates for this honor: Adrien Duroc Danner.
Prize Day Adrien Duroc-Danner ’09 Thank you all very much. It is a tremendous honor to be chosen to speak by my Form today, especially since most of my formmates who chose me must have known the serious dangers of choosing an individual as pathologically verbose as I am occasionally inclined to be. But, since by now many of you are probably already wondering about today’s lunch menu, I shall ensure that my oration remains as succinct as it is pithy. Also, I would like to point out that this is not my normal voice. This raspy croak you all hear today owes itself to a complex chain of events leading all the way back to spring break. I began a mock epic poem as a method of staving off boredom during the long plane trip back to the States from Korea, where I had been visiting my roommate of four years, Jae Kim (who threatened to terminate my existence had his name not appeared in this talk). Predictably, I became much too engrossed in it for my own good, and I wound up writing a full Groton-themed epic. In fact, I became so carried away that by the time I was finished, I had produced 24 pages of epic verse—and was so pleased with it that I decided to perform a Homeric-style recitation. I did, just this past Thursday, and it was a great success. Unfortunately, reading 24 pages nonstop in a loud stage voice without the benefit of a microphone has had a rather unfortunate effect on my throat. But I wrote this talk out of a selfless love of my school, and, by God, I shall finish it if these are the last words I croak out on this earth. So now that that’s settled, in the spirit of further brevity, I would like to begin this talk with a short (and imminently compelling) story.
The Foulest Lie Ever Told, Concerning the Most Awesome Umbrella-Based Rescues of All Time I walked into Chapel one morning not more than a fortnight ago, and innocently set to work on my Chapel prefect duties. Being the commander of Chapel Prefect Alpha Squadron, I finished just as Mr. Smith started up the prelude and settled into my favorite nook to hear the day’s Chapel Talk. It is then that Aaron “Psychotic Blasphemer” Primero took hold of the pulpit. He started his talk with an oblique and dismissive reference to my own Chapel Talk months before, and he specifically recalled to everyone’s mind the true and compelling account I had delivered of the time I had saved his ungrateful hide in the winter of our fifth form year. The facts of the story were simple: Aaron and Adrien were walking towards the Campbell Performing Arts Center in the dead of winter, and a blast of wind hurled down tremendous banks of snow from the top of several pines. The awesome mound of snow would have buried us both had I not jumped in the way and deflected it, using my 68-inch, carbon-steel jointed, lightning-proof, GustBuster Umbrella. It all happened in a split second, although I cannot imagine Aaron saw the half of it, given how quickly and completely he had covered his face with his hands. Somehow though, the fact that I had saved his life, the fact that he spent the entire episode with his face buried in his palms, emitting only a faint squeal of either terror or surprise, and the fact that when he finally opened his eyes the first thing he must have seen was my shaking the snow off my umbrella did not stop him from offering his own “perspective” (by which he must have meant baseless conjecture) on the event. He claimed a mere flurry drifted off some trees, and I had pranced—pranced—forward to deflect it. Also involved were some insensitive jabs at my color-blindness and a grossly uncalled for analogy made between my umbrella and an inseminated flower.
From top to bottom: Form of 2009 School Prefects Nora Bundy, Aaron Primero, Henry Mumford, and Ripley Hartmeyer. The Jevon family surrounds Fiona after the ceremonies. The Rainer family stands with Danielle (second from left) at the Headmaster’s Tea. Graduate Emily Villa stands with her brother and parents Blair and Sarah.
I understand this short story inevitably raises certain questions. Doesn’t Aaron’s story sound more plausible? Doesn’t it sound a lot like Adrien is exaggerating the awesomeness of his rescue? And you do realize that umbrellas can’t be lightning-proof? Quarterly Fall 2009
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Headmaster Commons introduces Sixth Form valedictorian Adrien Duroc-Danner.
Admittedly, four years at Groton probably will not prepare anyone for the ugly side of the world, but it does immerse us in the ideal side. And somehow, that seems more important.
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And the answer to those questions is no, no, and no. I have never “pranced” anywhere, my umbrella has never been “inseminated” by anything, and anyone who doubts its lightning-resistant capabilities has clearly never visited the GustBuster website. Other subsequent questions, though, deserve a more nuanced answer. “So what if two seniors gave different accounts of the same anecdote in their respective chapel talks?” you ask. “Why is that worth 10 minutes of everyone’s time? Or even thinking about for more than 30 seconds? And how exactly did the website say your umbrella would go about taking on a burst of atmospheric electrical discharge moving 60,000 meters a second and approaching 54,000 degrees Fahrenheit?” These are deceptively deep questions, despite the fact that you might be asking them out of an interest in lunch rather than philosophy. But since Groton parents, alums, and teachers care deeply about nourishing the life of the mind among Groton students, maybe it is time they got a taste of their own medicine. Out in what some people insist on calling “the real world” (by which they simply mean the world outside our gates), I suppose there wouldn’t be many people interested. We at Groton hear a lot about this harsher, external world, and how utterly foreign it is to our prep school sensibilities. Among the residents of the outside world, few people care much about disputes that do not directly concern them or involve only ordinary levels of sleaze (apparently, by global standards Aaron’s treachery is actually rather tame). In fact, from the way most people talk (and the kind of articles you find in any given newspaper), you would think the world was a predominantly selfish, uncaring, competitive, and turbulent place. Out there, backbreaking labor is commonplace and goes generally unrewarded; injustice is a fact to be negotiated, not opposed, and security is a luxury only a tiny minority can afford. Altruism is smiled upon, but far from being an expectation, the way driving or filling in your taxes are. And an inordinate amount of intense suffering from poverty and violence is permitted to exist in poor societies by wealthier ones; even within communities a certain segment of the population is expected to flounder, if only because of their inability to carve out for themselves their share of the world’s limited resources. In short, we seniors have good reason to imagine that the world beyond the Circle is a big, scary, nasty place—the sort of place where no one really cares about umbrella-rescues or epic poems (despite their intrinsic and indisputable awesomeness). At Groton School, the rules are somewhat different. Sure, we compete with each other and ourselves, but never in the ruthlessly Darwinian zero-sum game the world seems to run on. In fact, if we stop to think about how most of the species live, our hectic lives here—classes, sports, tests, and all—seem positively fuzzy. Groton School is not only abundantly provided for by a small army of caterers, groundskeepers and security personnel, but also amply supported by a massive endowment. What’s more, we live in a remarkably beautiful campus, which only rarely tries to kill us all by dropping ice-laden branches on our heads. Best of all though, we have the sort of community where a man can have a 68-inch umbrella—and be truly and innocently proud of it— without raising all too many eyebrows. The same goes for bright orange rain-hats, or movie-replica light sabers, or school-wide snow battles over life-sized toy penguins. It is a sure-fire sign of a friendly, happy community when personal eccentricity is not bullied or merely tolerated, but easily and comfortably accepted. The sort of community where seniors spar in morning Chapel over the exact details of an umbrella rescue, and even pseudo-epic poets such as myself can make a decent living. How Groton created this atmosphere I cannot say for sure. But perhaps it seems something of an artificial construct, a biodome of pleasantness in a largely unpleasant world. If those stories are true about what we graduating seniors are about to walk into, not only would we have good reason to be sad at leaving this haven of friendliness, but I would also say Groton has done a pretty bad job of preparing us for the active work of life. What good is keeping us in an incubator for four years if we are just to be thrown into the frying pan right after? Has our school done us a disservice in providing an
Prize Day environment so nurturing its graduates actually believe an audience of 1,000 could ever care about the tarnished glory of the greatest umbrella feat ever accomplished? I don’t think so. Admittedly, four years at Groton probably will not prepare anyone for the ugly side of the world, but it does immerse us in the ideal side. And somehow, that seems more important. Somehow, I think that was the point all along. We have learned to work and compete here, not against anyone particularly, but for ourselves and for our potential. We have learned to live and cooperate with other humans, even if we would not have particularly wanted to at first (a rare talent among members of our species). We have risen through the ranks of an intra-student authority structure so natural and healthy that most political scientists could never imagine it would be viable. We have learned from teachers who teach what they love, because they love it, and we have met students who learn for the same reason. Simply put, we seniors have had four years to learn math and Latin and history and bio, but also to learn the power of ideals in action. And that is what we Groton graduates really have to offer the world: ideals in action. Our graduates can translate Virgil, compute barometric pressure, compose inspired epic poetry (recite in moderation), and toss grapefruits off church towers and land them unharmed. But they also have the experience, after four or five years spent in one of Planet Earth’s most comfortable incubators, to know to approach a seemingly hostile world with the skills and talent to lead, and with a vision of how a radically happy community like ours can exist. So I disagree with those who would have us be afraid or sad to graduate. We should be, a little bit. But more than that, we should be eager. Because we have seen—and lived—the kind of world where people have really learned to live with each other, where kindness is the norm, and where a young man armed only with his trusty umbrella might actually take on the world’s fiercest elements—and win. These are the Groton ideals: that with the right application of talent, labor, luck and cooperation, this turbulent world can be improved—or even remade. So don’t
Graduate Ben Lamont makes his point with faculty member John Tyler in the handshaking line.
Quarterly Fall 2009
Circiter | Featured on Campus walk away thinking this is a warning to avoid the cynicism, ruthlessness, selfishness, or cruelty we might meet in the world by ascending into ivory towers or barricading ourselves behind iron-wrought gates. It is a rallying call to remedy those ills. So thanks again to Groton for a great four years, and good luck to the rest of you students—you’ve got big shoes to fill. And as for the seniors—we’ve got work to do. There’s a big, scary, nasty world out there, and it is in dire need of the values we take for granted here. Bring them with you wherever you go, and I think you’ll find the same wondrous surprise in the power of your Grotonian ideals that Aaron found (though the cur won’t admit it) in the power of that 68-inch, carbon-steel reinforced, snow, and probably lightning-proof umbrella. * * *
Richard B. Commons, Headmaster
Prize day speaker Mr. Philip Dimitrov, former prime minister of Bulgaria, addresses the graduates.
Graduate Arjun Aggarwal is flanked by his sister Sonaali ’12 and parents Sarika and Sanjeev.
And now I have the distinct honor of introducing our keynote speaker, Mr. Philip Dimitrov. Mr. Dimitrov was born in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, in 1955 and graduated from the English language high school there before attending Sofia University, where he graduated with a law degree. During the 1980s, as a practicing attorney, Mr. Dimitrov became a leader in the Union of Democratic Forces, a broad coalition against continued rule by the Bulgarian Communist Party. In 1991, Mr. Dimitrov was elected prime minister of Bulgaria. During his brief term in office, his government began an ambitious set of democratic political and economic reforms, allowing for a free market system that had immediate effect on the welfare of Bulgarian cities. Under his administration, observance of human rights became a legal priority, as did the restitution of property that had been confiscated by the state. After a year in office, Mr. Dimitrov called a confidence vote on himself, which led to his stepping down as Prime Minister. In 1997 he was made Ambassador of Bulgaria at the United Nations, and from 1998 to 2002 he was Ambassador of Bulgaria to the United States. During this time, Mr. Dimitrov was granted the Truman-Reagan Freedom Award for his contribution to overcoming Communism around the world. A professor of political science at the American University in Bulgaria since 2002, Mr. Dimitrov is currently a visiting professor at Christopher Newport University in Virginia. [Source for above facts: Wikipedia] To put Mr. Dimitrov’s political career and political courage in context, one must understand that from 1944, when communists seized control of Bulgaria, to 1989, when Mr. Dimitrov emerged as a national leader, Bulgaria was firmly behind the Iron Curtain, and the communist regime was ruthless in its suppression of dissent. Mr. Dimitrov nevertheless joined with others in asking persistent, difficult questions about representative government and human rights, refusing to be intimidated. It is no exaggeration to say that it is because of Mr. Dimitrov’s leadership that Bulgaria is now a democratic country, and because of his persistence that Bulgaria was able to join NATO in 2004 and the European Union in 2007. Thomas McGonigle, Lorcan’s father and friend of Mr. Dimitrov, recalls that in 1984 Mr. Dimitrov celebrated the 4th of July, with the specific hope that some day Bulgarians might join Americans in the enjoyment of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. What a dream that was, and what an astounding, historic realization. Mr. Dimitrov, it is a privilege to welcome you to Groton School as the keynote speaker for our celebration of the Form of 2009.
Excerpts from Mr. Dimitrov’s Speech: Thank you very much. Mr. Commons, guests, parents and above all, students. Oh, it was moving indeed to recall. We did celebrate the 4th of July—it may sound crazy from the distance of time—but for us it was kind of natural. … The fact is that in the years ahead, you will hear a lot of things about this world like: It has become so complicated that nowadays, we can hardly expect the efforts of a single
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Prize Day man or woman to really make much of a difference or to create a lot of change. To be very frank, we have been hearing this or reading this since the time of Herodotus. The idea makes us shy somehow, so we do not really venture into trying to do things. But we also know a century ago, they were saying that everything in physics was kind of settled—there were a few minor details to clear up—and then, Einstein came. And while it is true that today you can easily find any fact on the Internet, the truth of that fact is not any easier to find. To find the truth, or to make a difference, or to effect change is still very much of a matter of effort. Of course you are privileged. I mean you know a lot, you have finished Groton, and this is great. It is yet another privilege that you are Americans. It is not just by chance that you will celebrate the 4th of July. Being Americans, you are exposed much more than many other people to simple but very important ideas which have been stated probably in the best way in your American Constitution and in the Declaration of Independence. These documents reflect ideas people have been preoccupied with for many centuries, but they were said there very clearly. You probably know professors have this strange way of putting things on their doors, like important passages, quotations. On my door is written, “When in the course of human events…” because the most important thing about how things happen is that they happen not some place high up in the realm of ideas, but in the course of human events. And in the course of human events you can do whatever you can. Well, as Mr. Commons said, Bulgaria 20 years ago was the most rigid of the satellites of the Soviet Union. It was a communist country which nobody really believed would change. I did not believe it could change, personally. But when it started boiling, even though we did not believe change would happen soon, Elena, my wife, and I just decided to go there to be part of the effort, to participate. We were at demonstrations and meetings in barracks. I was just a 36-year-old lawyer. Nobody cared about my voice, of course, and I really did not expect it to be heard. But still, even without guarantee I tried, and somehow it happened. My voice was heard. Thinking back, the fact that it happened is not so difficult to understand. It was a situation which was very simple. You know from history, revolutions often are lead by people who do not really want to change the whole thing but just to polish it, if possible. In Bulgaria, we had the same idea. Once people began marching down the streets and shouting, “Down with the Communist Party,” which was blasphemous, there were leaders of the democratic movement who appeared on the TV and said, “Well, these were destructive, provocative, aggressive ideas, and we distance our ourselves from them.” I showed up on the TV and just said, “I don’t.” It was as simple as that, but it worked. And it worked because someone had taken the position.
Things happen … not some place high up in the realm of ideas, but in the course of human events. And in the course of human events you can do whatever you can.
Graduate Laura Naraguma is surrounded by her family after Prize Day ceremonies.
Quarterly Fall 2009
Circiter | Featured on Campus
Standing together after the ceremonies, the Morss family and graduate, Alexandra.
Democracy is a great thing because, among other things, it says that people can govern themselves—not because they are born rulers or aristocracy, not because they are experts to rule the country, but because being citizens they have the common sense to decide about things. So whenever you have the chance to try your voice, try it. Don’t be shy. Don’t step back because you are not well prepared yet, or because you are not that much of an expert on things. Remember there was a great man in Eastern Europe, Vaclav Havel, the writer and leader of the Czech revolution and eventually president of the Czech Republic, who said, “I prefer temporary lack of experience more than permanent sabotage.” And this is important. People are not born experts, but they have to take responsibility for their government. … I want to finish with a marvelous story from the German author, Hermann Hesse, some of you may have come across him, about this hermit Joseph who lived on a mountain where he helped people and guided people, playing the role of a doctor and counselor. In time however, he became torn by doubts that his life was without purpose. He hears that there is another hermit on a neighboring mountain, and he decides to go and ask him for help because he was so troubled he couldn’t go on. He goes down to the valley and in the night Joseph comes across a caravan camp where he stops and asks a man sitting by a fire if he knew of the way to the hermit. The man asked him why. Why are you looking for him? And then, something broke in Joseph’s heart, and he tells his story quite openly to this unknown person by the fire. He told him everything. And the person said, “Well, I know the place, I’ll bring you to it. Come with me.” And the next day, they started and reached the hermit’s place, and there the man said, “Well, in fact I am the hermit you seek. Since you are here and you need guidance, stay with me. You need help—I will try to help you. Let us do whatever we do together.” And they live like this many years, until the day when the hermit Joseph found, started dying. On his deathbed, he told Joseph, “There is one more thing you have to know about me. Remember the night at the caravan when we met by the fire? In fact, the truth is that I was so torn by my own suspicion and doubt, so confused myself that I had fled from my place, and I was seeking a hermit named Joseph to fall on my knees and ask him for guidance, only you spoke first.”… You will have many occasions in your life when you will probably have to choose whether to speak first or wait for a while. Be bold. Be thoughtful. Stand for your principles. Make your voice heard. Because after all, this is what counts. And God bless you. * * *
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GROTON SCHOOL PRIZES
Prize Day / Groton School Prizes
The Charles lanier appleTon prize Awarded to members of the Sixth Form who have greatly served the School. ELEANOR TOFFLEMIRE BUNDY and CHRISTOPHER HENRY MUMFORD The hisTorY anD liTeraTUre prize Given by the late Right Reverend Julius Atwood to the best scholar in the combined fields of History and Literature. LILIANA URRUTIA The roGers V. sCUDDer ClassiCs prize Given in memory of Rogers Scudder, who was a distinguished teacher of Classics at Groton and other schools and was a much loved member of this community. SARAH SURAMA NORODOM The rosCoe C. ThoMas MaTheMaTiCs prize Given by the Sixth Form of 1923, and awarded to a member of the Fifth Form for excellence in Mathematics.
The Thorpe sCienCe prize Given by Mrs. Warren Thorpe to that member of the Sixth Form who has been the most successful in developing an appreciation of the spirit and meaning of science. ANDREA BARON LIEBOWITz and ADAM CROSS REEVE The BUTler prize For eXCellenCe in enGlish Given by Mrs. Gilbert Butler. ANDREA BARON LIEBOWITz and AMES THEODORE LYMAN The Dennis CroWleY DraMa prize Given by Todd C. Bartels â€™01 to a member of the Sixth Form who, through her or his commitment, achievement and promise, has made the greatest contribution to the theatre program. PERIN BLAKE ADAMS The GeorGe liVinGsTon niChols prize Awarded for the best essay on an historical subject. ARJUN AGGARWAL
CHUN HAO CHANG The MoDern lanGUaGes prize The perrY hisTorY prize Given by Mrs. Eliza Endicott Perry to the best scholar in the field of History.
ALExANDRA HANNA MORSS and EMILIE JEANNETTE STANTON
CHRISTOPHER HENRY MUMFORD
Quarterly Fall 2009
Circiter | Featured on Campus The aniTa anDres roGerson DanCe prize HALEY VICTORIA WILLIS The phoToGraphY prize GEORGE ANGUS WEST The Upper sChool shop prize WEON JAE CHOI and DAVID RICHMOND WILMERDING The WilliaMs BooK prize Given to a junior who has demonstrated intellectual leadership and has made a significant contribution to the extracurricular life of the school. WILLIAM DAVIS STEMBERG The harVarD BooK prizes Awarded through the auspices of the Harvard Club of Boston and given to two members of the Fifth Form who exemplify excellence in scholarship and high character combined with achievement in other fields. ThE hARvARd Book PRizE Given by Harry Eldridge ’20 in memory of his brother Francis H. Eldridge ’24. JANE JAIWON BANG The hUDson MUsiC prize Given by the friends of William Clarke Hudson ’56 to show the recognition of serious effort and real progress in music during the school year. PERIN BLAKE ADAMS and SOONKYU PARK The Choir CUp Awarded each year to the Sixth Form chorister who has exhibited musical growth in sightreading and vocal technique. AARON CABRERA PRIMERO The issaC JaCKson MeMorial prize Awarded to the best mathematics scholar in the Upper School. SUNG WON CHO
ThE hARvARd Book PRizE Given by Mark A. Medlinsky ’76 in memory of his father. MARGO HAGER WHITE FranKlin D. rooseVelT DeBaTinG prize Given in memory of Franklin D. Roosevelt 1900, by W. Averell Harriman 1909. ADRIEN DUROC-DANNER and BENJAMIN JALT LAMONT GroTonian CreaTiVe WriTinG prize Given by the Grotonian board of 1946 to a member of the Upper School for the best example of prose fiction written in the past year. CONNOR MIYAMOTO
The reVerenD FreDeriC r. KelloGG Upper sChool arT prize Given in memory of Mr. Kellogg’s father, in recognition of distinguished work in art. MADELEINE KEELER BRUCE
The enDiCoTT peaBoDY MeMorial prize Given in memory of the Reverend Endicott Peabody by the Sixth Form of 1945 for excellence in the field of Religion and Ethics. RIPLEY DILLON HARTMEYER
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Prize Day / Groton School Prizes reGinalD FinCKe, Jr. MeDal Given by the Sixth Form of 1928 in memory of 1st Lt. Reginald Fincke, Jr. and is awarded to a member of the Sixth Form who has shown in athletics qualities of perseverance, courage, and unselfish sportsmanship.
The elizaBeTh anD MarGerY peaBoDY aWarD Given to a member of the Sixth Form, other than a School Prefect, whose contributions to the community demonstrate sensitivity, strength of character, leadership, and integrity. BENJAMIN JALT LAMONT
LUKE THOMAS DEARY The Cornelia aMorY FroThinGhaM aThleTiC prize Given by her parents and awarded to a girl in the Sixth Form who has demonstrated all-round athletic ability and has shown exemplary qualities of leadership and sportsmanship.
The MonTe J. anD anne h. WallaCe sCholar A student who has completed the Fourth Form is chosen each year in recognition of scholastic excellence as well as those qualities of character and commitment so important to the Groton community. JULIA WINSLOW METzGER
GABRIELLA FLIBOTTE o’Brien prize Given by the Hoopes family to a member of the Lower School who has shown qualities of integrity, loyalty, enthusiasm, and concern for others.
The laUra J. CooliDGe ’85 prize Given in her memory by her husband Peter Touche to a member of the Upper School who has shown a love for the power of poetic expression and a sustained interest in writing and reading poetry.
ELIzABETH ANN MELAMPY
zACHARY ARTHUR KEMENY NICHOL
The GaDsDen prize Given in memory of Jeremiah Gadsden ’68 by his classmates and friends and awarded to a member of the Fifth Form who has demonstrated inspirational leadership encouraging social and interracial understanding in the Groton community.
The asMa GUll hasan ’93 CirCle VoiCe JoUrnalisM prize Acknowledges outstanding leadership in creating, editing, and producing the School’s newspaper. BENJAMIN JALT LAMONT
IMMANUEL OLATUNJI ADEOLA The TroniC aWarD Given in honor of Michael G. Tronic and awarded to a member of the Sixth Form who has made especially good use of the resources of the library and who has shown strong interest in the life of the mind. SOON KYU PARK
Carroll anD John KinG hoDGes prize Given in memory of Carroll Hodges 1905, and John King Hodges 1910, to be awarded to a Sixth Former who has distinguished him or herself in a capacity to be designated by the headmaster. This year, in recognition of the powerful and meaningful Chapel Talks given by this Sixth Form, I would like to honor a senior whose Chapel Talk was uniquely challenging and inspiring (see page 50). RIPLEY DILLON HARTMEYER
Quarterly Fall 2009
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AWARDING OF DIPLOMAS Form of 2009 Perin Blake Adams Arjun Aggarwal Diane Jewon Aum Inan Lorraine Barrett Julian Taylor Bloom Charles Howard Bolton Eleanor Tofflemire Bundy Sommer Elizabeth Carroll Jack Carter Nancy L. Chou Christine Livingstone Colley Franz Josef Colloredo-Mansfeld Katherine Elizabeth Conway Ashleigh Meagan Corvi Alistair Asa Cummings Nathaniel Manley Cutler Gordon Ernest Gore Dean Luke Thomas Deary Adrien Duroc-Danner Gabriella Flibotte Kyle Bruce Goodwin Evans Barlow Grenier Ripley Dillon Hartmeyer John Hughes Harwood Nicholas James Hennrikus Elizabeth Mills Hoch Henry Fife Hoffstot Alisha Le Rou Hsu Fiona Virginia Jevon Joelle Julien Elizabeth Kenyon Kachavos Min Young Kang Madeleine Edwards Kemble Jae Yong Kim Sean Alexander La Liberte Benjamin Jalt Lamont William Vincent Larkin Andrea Baron Liebowitz Cynthia Sheng Qi Liu Nathaniel Mason Lovell-Smith Ames Theodore Lyman Julia Kathryne Maguire Heather MacCasler Mayer Alisondra Kelsey Maykranz Lorcan Padraig Joseph McGonigle Kerri Anne McKie
20 | Quarterly September Fall 2009 2008
Cum Laude Summa Cum Laude Cum Laude Cum Laude
Magna Cum Laude
Magna Cum Laude
Cum Laude Magna Cum Laude Cum Laude Cum Laude Cum Laude
Cum Laude Cum Laude Cum Laude Cum Laude
Summa Cum Laude Summa Cum Laude Magna Cum Laude Magna Cum Laude Magna Cum Laude Cum Laude Cum Laude Cum Laude
Kaitlyn Mae Mello Alexandra Hanna Morss Christopher Henry Mumford Laura Muco Nzeyimana Naraguma Kathryn Alice Nichols Sarah Surama Norodom Udochukwu Chigoziri Okorafor Cole Nicholas Papakyrikos SoonKyu Park Aaron Cabrera Primero Danielle Amber Rainer Adam Cross Reeve Benjamin Michael Sargent Nicholas Hull Seidler Reed Wilson Simmons Jungho Son Emilie Jeannette Stanton Mari Tabata Peter Railey Taylor Jonathan Vincent Turchetta Liliana Urrutia Emily Potter Villa Frances Annabel Walsh George Angus West Haley Victoria Willis David Richmond Wilmerding IV Lila Patterson Wilmerding Sidney Alden Wood
Magna Cum Laude Magna Cum Laude Cum Laude Magna Cum Laude Cum Laude Magna Cum Laude Cum Laude Cum Laude Magna Cum Laude Magna Cum Laude Cum Laude Cum Laude
Magna Cum Laude
Adams, Perin Aggarwal, Arjun Aum, Diane Barrett, Inan Bloom, Julian Bolton, Charles Bundy, Eleanor Carroll, Sommer Carter, Jack Chou, Nancy Colley, Christine Colloredo-Mansfeld, Franz Conway, Katherine Corvi, Ashleigh Cummings, Alistair Cutler, Nathaniel Dean, Gordon Deary, Luke Duroc-Danner, Adrien Flibotte, Gabriella Goodwin, Kyle Grenier, Evans Hartmeyer, Ripley Harwood, John Hennrikus, Nicholas Hoch, Elizabeth Hoffstot, Henry Hsu, Alisha
Trinity College Stanford University UC Berkeley Williams College Tufts University Connecticut College Lewis & Clark College Stanford University Tufts University Barnard College Trinity College Yale University dartmouth College Wesleyan University U. St. Andrews (Scotland) U. virginia Stanford University Washington and Lee U. Chicago Northwestern University Georgetown University U. virginia University of Richmond Lehigh University U. San diego Tulane University Georgetown University Northwestern University
Jevon, Fiona Julien, Joelle Kachavos, Elizabeth Kang, Min Young Kemble, Madeleine Kim, Jae-Yong LaLiberte, Sean Lamont, Benjamin Larkin, William Liebowitz, Andrea Liu, Cynthia Lovell-Smith, Nathaniel Lyman, Ames Maguire, Julia Mayer, Heather Maykranz, Alisondra McGonigle, Lorcan McKie, Kerri Mello, Kaitlyn Morss, Alexandra Mumford, Christopher Naraguma, Laura Nichols, Kathryn Norodom, Sarah Okorafor, Udochukwu Papakyrikos, Cole Park, SoonKyu Primero, Aaron Rainer, Danielle Reeve, Adam Sargent, Benjamin Seidler, Nicholas Simmons, Reed Son, Jungho Stanton, Emilie Tabata, Mari Taylor, Peter Turchetta, Jonathan Urrutia, Liliana Villa, Emily Walsh, Frances West, George Willis, Haley Wilmerding, David Wilmerding, Lila Wood, Sidney
harvard University Washington U. in St. Louis Georgetown University U. San diego U. of vermont U. of illinois @ U-C Trinity College harvard University Texas Christian University Johns hopkins University Stanford University Cornell University harvard University Northwestern University oxford University Tufts University Pomona College Georgetown University Catholic U. of America Princeton University harvard University Reed College Claremont Mckenna College oxford University Carnegie Mellon University Cornell University U. Chicago Georgetown University Williams College Yale University Lehigh University Boston University harvard University Columbia University Boston University keio University U. virginia denison College U. Pennsylvania U. St. Andrews Fordham University U. St. Andrews U. Southern California U. St. Andrews Bates College George Washington University Quarterly Quarterly September Fall 2009 2008
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REUNION WEEKEND 2009 The spring Reunion Weekend featured a Friday evening dinner for all returning alumni, followed by a Tom Rush â€™59 concert in the Campbell Performing Arts Center. Saturday brought obliging weather and opportunities for over 550 alumni and guests to visit classes, attend games, roundtables, awards ceremonies, and much more. Quarterly coverage begins with the alumni awards and finishes with photo coverage of the weekend.
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Ann Gildroy ’94 Receives the Cui Servire Est Regnare Award
Introduction by Amy Cunningham Atkinson ’79 May 9, 2009
he Cui Servire Est Regnare Award is presented each year to a young graduate of the School who—through his or her exceptional contributions to Groton, and/or the world—has truly lived up to the School’s motto in life and work. The values this award represents are at the very heart of the Groton experience. I am honored to announce that the recipient of this year’s Cui Servire Est Regnare Award is Ann Gildroy, a member of Groton’s Form of 1994. Let me tell you a little bit about this extraordinary woman. Ann came to Groton as a second former, and as a day student. In her fourth form year she enrolled as a full-time boarder. By the time she reached the Sixth Form, she was both a Brooks House and Dining Hall prefect, a triple captain of the girls’ soccer, ice hockey, and crew teams, and an active participant in the school’s drama, community service, and student life programs as well. Ann spoke at a Sixth Form Dinner here at Groton two years ago, and characterized herself as follows: i wasn’t a rich Groton kid, and i wasn’t a poor Groton kid. i came to Groton from a nearby town called Westford, and was proud to be the first “Gildroy” to attend this mysterious and elite boarding school. As a result, i studied very hard, but was no academic superstar, and in the Sixth Form was flatly rejected from all the ivys.” In preparing my remarks about Ann today, I was struck by the irony of that last fact. For just listen to what this young woman who was “passed over” by the Ivys has gone on to accomplish. Ann attended Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service where she majored in international diplomacy and world affairs. Upon graduation, she initially sought out work in finance, but her inner desire to serve and pursue meaningful ways of doing so, compelled her to join the Marine Corps in August 2001. Ann completed Officer Candidate School in the top 10 percent of her class, and was then posted as an operations officer for Marine Aircraft Group 24 based in Hawaii. In the aftermath of September 11, a request for something called a “hot fill” came down to her unit. Marines were needed in Iraq as soon as possible. Ann volunteered immediately, but her commander told then First Lieutenant Gildroy that the opportunity to serve in Iraq would have to be offered to those above her in rank first. It wasn’t until each and every one of those “superiors” declined the opportunity, that Ann was ultimately deployed. On April 23, 1910, President Theodore Roosevelt, gave his now famous “Man in the Arena” speech in Paris. It contains the following language. The quotation is Ann’s favorite: Quarterly Fall 2009
Circiter | Featured on Campus it is not the critic who counts. Not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena. Whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming. Who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.
Amy Atkinson ’79 welcomes Mrs. Betsy Gildroy, mother of Ann ’94 to the podium.
Seeking out an arena in which to make a difference, First Lieutenant Ann Gildroy arrived in Najaf, Iraq, in August, 2004. She was dispatched to a town about a hundred miles south of Baghdad where she worked with Iraqi security forces, negotiating on behalf of the American command with local Iraqi governors, military, and police. In countless situations, Ann found herself the “only woman in the room.” Yet, slowly and surely, she gained the Iraqis’ trust. One of her proudest moments, she says, is when an Iraqi officer went out of his way to tell General George W. Casey that Gildroy was worth at least ten of his very best men. Ann returned to the United States from Iraq in 2005. Apparently having come to its senses, Harvard had accepted Ann into its MBA program. Looking back on her experience there, Gildroy says that she never felt as alone as she did that first year back in Cambridge. She was plagued with guilt about leaving her fellow officers. She says she “folded inward,” and focused all her energy on her studies because she felt the young men and women who did not come home would want her to make the most of the opportunity before her. Ann completed her MBA in 2007, and then—despite the wishes of family and friends—made the decision to return to Iraq. Her skill and hard work during her first tour had earned her the rank of captain and also garnered the personal attention of General David H. Petraeus, commander of the multinational forces in Iraq. Petraeus handpicked Gildroy and two other marines to live and work with tribal leaders in the Iraqi provinces and forge ties with counter-militia forces there. Her service under Petraeus’ direct command has been chronicled in two CBS News segments and in a two-part NPR broadcast as well. I encourage all of you to seek those broadcasts out on the Internet, for a better sense of this young woman’s distinguished service to her country. Ann came home from Iraq in early 2009 and is currently working for SCF Partners, a private equity company in Houston. The firm provides capital and strategic growth assistance to energy and equipment companies around the world. In closing, I’d like to leave you with a few comments Ann made in her speech to Groton’s Sixth Form, which I referenced earlier. In it, Ann spoke about Groton’s impact on her journey, and gave the following advice:
“Cui servire est regnare” was not simply a school motto for me. it became an underpinning of the way i tried to measure the value of my life.… Groton completely transformed the way i thought. it opened my mind and encouraged me to listen first, and not to make hasty judgments.
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Reunion Weekend From here on, parents, family, friends, and colleagues will comment on how much you have accomplished, how gifted you are, and how wonderful. You will need to be conscious of not pursuing a life that only preserves that success. You must define success for yourself. … The people you most expect to encourage you to be bold and to sacrifice when it is most difficult to do so, will not. instead, many will defer to protecting and “enabling” the path of success you will create. They will want to shield you from failure and keep you on a narrow path considered “acceptable.” Challenge them! i encourage you to do something uncomfortable, something with a piece of your life where you are in deep service to others, and where it is tremendously difficult to give. Although Ann could not be here today, Ann’s mother, Betsy Gildroy, traveled from Texas to Groton—on the eve of Mother’s Day—to accept this award on behalf of her child. Mrs. Gildroy, it is with deep respect and admiration that I present Groton’s 2009 Cui Servire Est Regnare Award to your daughter, Ann Gildroy. Congratulations.
Mrs. Gildroy finishes her remarks on behalf of her daughter Ann, recipient of the 2009 Cui Servire est Regnare Award.
Faculty member John Capen visits with members of the Form of 2004 at their reunion dinner. Left to right: Julia Sinnot, Naa Sakle Akuete, Sam MacNaughton, Matthew Perkins, Michael Snyder.
Quarterly Fall 2009
Circiter | Featured on Campus
R. Scott Asen ’62 Receives 2009 distinguished Grotonian Award Richard B. Commons, Headmaster
he Distinguished Grotonian Award, which was established more
Headmaster Commons addresses alumni at their Saturday morning meeting during Reunion Weekend.
than 20 years ago, recognizes annually a graduate whose life of service reflects the ideals of Groton School. It is my very great honor to present this year’s award to R. Scott Asen, a member of the Form of 1962. Scott has taken the School’s motto to heart, and his service here and elsewhere offers a superb example of how one person can affect the lives of many. As chair of Groton’s Development Committee, he led the successful completion of The Campaign for Groton that raised more than $100 million to transform and create the buildings in which we live and learn. He then rolled up his sleeves and spearheaded a $25 million initiative to ensure—through financial aid and faculty compensation endowment—that Groton continues to attract the best students and faculty and to protect the land that borders our campus. When our needs grew to $26.5 million, Scott pushed on, and we are now within view of the new goal with less than $700,000 to go. It is said that people give because they are asked. Scott isn’t afraid to ask, personally soliciting millions in gifts and showing us all how dramatic the results can be when we invite others to share in the School’s mission. While at times his work for Groton may have seemed full time, Scott has had a very successful career as a private equity and real estate investor and has served on the boards of numerous companies and nonprofit organizations, including the Paris Review and the Mount Desert Land and Garden Preserve. He is presently leading the conservation of a huge tract of pristine land in Northwest Connecticut from unwise development, an effort which has made national news and has very recently achieved its goal. Achieving goals that benefit others is what Scott Asen does, not only through relentless effort but also through his own financial commitment. Here at Groton, the Charlotte and Robert Asen Theater, which Scott gave in honor of his parents, has given the School’s performing artists, distinguished visitors, and fortunate audiences a truly inspiring space to grow. This is but one example of his transformative generosity to Groton School and to the benefit of the lives of others. For all you have done, Scott, that reflects the values of Groton School and makes such a difference to those who enjoy the fruits of your hard work and commitment, I am proud to honor you as the 2009 Distinguished Grotonian.
Scott Asen’s Remarks
ick, thank you. I have never thought of myself as a distinguished Grotonian. I remember a number of years ago when William F. Buckley was running for mayor of New York and a reporter asked him what would be the first thing he’d do if he happened to be elected. He said, “I’d demand a recount.” That’s kind of the way I feel up here today.
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Rick told me about this award a couple of weeks ago when I was here for a Trustees meeting, and I walked into the Schoolroom and looked at the list of prior recipients on the plaque in the back of the room. And the first thing that came into my mind as I looked at that list was how, in so many ways, my life story before, during and after Groton has been remarkably different from the lives of the people on that wall. So it occurred to me that this might be an excuse, at a time when Groton is going to so much trouble to bring kids with very different stories together under our one roof, that this might be a reason to talk a bit about my story. And to the extent that my story has come to a pretty good and happy place, perhaps that’s a nice reinforcement of the work we’re all trying to do here. I arrived at Groton as a Second Former in 1957, and while every kid certainly has moments of feeling alone and different from the other kids around him, I perhaps had better reason to feel different than most, and I certainly felt it intensely. A long list of reasons: First of all, the physical specimen that I presented here—I was very small for my age, I had bad eyes, I was deeply un-athletic. Then there was where I had come from —my name, Asen, a pretty odd name at Groton School. It is Russian-Jewish, my father’s people. And then there was the story of my parents, how they had lived their lives, what they had done professionally. Both had grown up in very, very poor families and had had to start working as young teenagers, supporting what was left of their fractured families. Both became entertainers, working for many years in vaudeville. My mother was a tap dancer; my father was a clarinet and saxophone player. Interesting, fun and also very hard lives—quite different from what I was hearing about when I got to Groton School. Following the Second World War and a career change for my father, my parents ended up, quite by chance, owning a house in a little town in northwest Connecticut, deep in farm country. They had no friends there; there were no other kids around, so I had a very isolated childhood. I was put in a local preschool at the age of four, I realize now virtually never having seen another kid before in my life. After two weeks I dropped out. I told my parents it didn’t suit me. (A little dramatic foreshadowing in that.) Through a friend I made at a subsequent school, a kid called Rick Childs, whose brother is here for reunion this weekend, our parents became friends. The Childs family had sent kids to Groton for several generations. To make quite a long story short, eight years later, my
Bell ringers new and old receive instruction in the tower of St. John’s Chapel.
Headmaster Commons welcomes to the podium Scott Asen ’62, recipient of the 2009 Distinguished Grotonian Award.
Quarterly Fall 2009
Circiter | Featured on Campus
Tom Rush ’59 performs on stage at the Campbell Performing Arts Center Friday night of Reunion Weekend.
Former headmaster Bill Polk ’58 and wife LuAnn share a laugh with John Finley ’54 and his wife, Margot.
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parents, who could just barely muster the money to pay for it, with great trepidation sent their beloved only child to Groton School. So here I am, a Second Former and, boy, did I feel different! I had a wretched year —miserable start to finish. But a remarkable tag team of people went to work on me and, against all odds, basically saved me. First of all, my extraordinary parents, who somehow mustered the strength to resist my virtually daily phone calls begging to come home. Then, here at Groton, most notably Headmaster Jack Crocker, a singularly wonderful man, and my amazing advisor Malcolm Strachan. They invested literally countless hours in me. I became sort of a project for them. And as frustrating and unfulfilling as it must have been, they just worked with me—a combination of tough love and nurturing and caring. The rest of the faculty was involved as well, but it was really the two of them that made this remarkable investment, and it got me through. And that is something that I’ve simply never forgotten. It’s an investment that I hope now, much, much later, I have largely repaid. But there was a very long detour in between. Second Form turned out to be the peak of my academic career. I was so miserable, I kind of retreated into my work; it was a place to hide out. I learned also that year to play the piano. I had started taking lessons just before coming to Groton and every afternoon I would take a briefcase full of sheet music and go up to the top of the Schoolhouse and hide out in a practice room and lose myself in the music. I learned to play and that has ended up being a tremendously rich source of pleasure for me— sometimes even for others—throughout my life. Third Form year, things were magically different. It seemed like the other kids had changed, but more likely I had. I felt better about myself. Groton didn’t seem like such a bad place; I had friends and started having a good time. My marks plummeted. Plummeted. In those days, we were publicly ranked by aptitude and achievement within our class. Simply because I had chosen my parents well, my aptitude was in something like the top four or five in the Form. By the end of Fourth Form year, based on achievement, I ranked 34 out of 36. At my first meeting with our college advisor, affectionately known as Froggy Foster, whom some of you remember, I was told in words I have never forgotten that if I didn’t get my act together, and quickly, there was not a single institution of higher learning in the United States of America that would so much as look at me. I came back Fifth Form year with fear in my heart, and my marks spiked up impressively. Everybody breathed a huge sigh of relief, thinking, I guess, the wayward kid has finally got it together. If they had only known! Sixth Form year. Time to pick a college. Since neither of my parents had even graduated from high school, I had no reference points at home. I spoke to my friends
Reunion Weekend and a lot of them talked about going to Harvard, so I said, well, I’d like to go to Harvard too. Froggy Foster said, well, we’ll let you apply to Harvard, but given your rather checkered history, we really think you ought to have several backups. I said I just didn’t have any other ideas and, rather astonishingly, was allowed to apply only to Harvard. Fall of senior year. Harvard interview. I got put in the “A” group, which meant that I had a reasonably good chance of getting in. Instantly, my marks starting sliding once again. Mid-year exams, mediocre at best. Then came April, and a letter from Harvard telling me that I had been admitted—conditional of course on satisfactorily completing my senior year. Final exams. I flunked. And not just one or two. I failed four out of six exams. I have often thought what must have gone through Jack Crocker’s mind that summer as he contemplated the call he knew he was going to get from Harvard College, wondering in probably very strong language what exactly the story was with this kid, Scott Asen. I have always pictured his quandary as follows: He either had to find a way, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, to convince them that somehow this was a really unique kid who would really be a great credit to the institution of Harvard College—or failing that, he might have me around to deal with for another year at Groton. Now Jack Crocker was a man of the highest integrity, so it must have been tough, to put it mildly. I have never heard anybody try to trace the origins of the modern use of the word “spin”, as we hear it used in politics and the media today. But I can tell you this: It all started in the summer of 1962 when Jack Crocker “spun” me into Harvard College. I spent four completely unremarkable years at Harvard. Picked one major, dropped it quickly because it was too hard, did not write a thesis, did not go for honors. And if you took that kind of low road through Harvard in those days, at the end of senior year you took what were called general exams. This is a four hour written examination covering your entire period of concentration —modern European history in my case. I took the exam, left for the weekend with my girlfriend, came back Sunday night and found a telegram telling me that I had failed. (Poor Rick. He’s never heard this story and I wonder if he wants his award back?) Having flunked my generals, I was told to appear for an oral retake on Tuesday at eight in the morning. This presented multiple problems, not the least of which was that eight in the morning was an hour completely outside my realm of experience. I appeared, though, and somehow got through it. Now I’ve always had a very good memory, but I cannot tell you for the life of me anything that happened in that room that morning. So struck with fear was I, that when the first of the examining professors walked into the room, I started babbling like some sort of mad monkey. I wouldn’t let them get a word in. I don’t think I permitted a single question until they declared the event over and I left the room. I have always thought that Harvard in the spring of 1966 was faced with exactly the same quandary that had faced the Headmaster of Groton a few years before. And, as Jack Crocker had made the right decision for his school, so Harvard I think made the right decision for Harvard. They quietly gave me a diploma and just moved me along. It took me a year to find my first job. Then for the next seven years I had two really desultory jobs in Wall Street: one working for a brokerage house, and one working for a tiny, not very successful venture capital firm. The year I turned thirty, I found myself bored, unmotivated, and by no one’s standards successful. I began casting around for other things to do and remembered a friend of mine who owned—actually still owns—a wonderful bar in Cambridge, just off Harvard Square called the Club Casablanca. Some of you may know it. He is a wonderful guy by the name of Sari Abul-Jubein. He had heard me play piano a few times over the years and had always teased me by saying that if I ever decided to “go straight” and quit this Wall Street stuff, I should call him and he’d give me a job playing piano in the bar. So I called Sari and said I was thinking about calling his bluff. He said, in effect, terrific, when do you want to start? And I said what about a week from Tuesday? He said fine.
Justin Conroy ’99 catches up with formmate Allen Feliz and his wife, Myriam.
I have never heard anybody try to trace the origins of the modern use of the word “spin,” which you hear in politics and the media, but I can tell you that it started in the summer of 1962 when Jack Crocker “spun” me into Harvard College.
Quarterly Fall 2009
Circiter | Featured on Campus Choirmaster and organist Michael Smith conducts alumni-student choir rehearsal on Reunion Weekend.
Scott Asen ’62 addresses gathered alumni after receiving the Distinguished Grotonian Award.
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So I quit my job and at the age of thirty, to the astonishment of most of my friends and the loving bemusement of my parents— their most consistent attitude toward me—I moved to Cambridge, rented a room to live in and started playing piano five nights a week at the Casablanca. I did that for what turned out to be about two and a half years, and I thought it was probably going to be forever. I had more fun than any five guys should ever be allowed to have in a lifetime. I was doing some freelance writing during the day, playing piano at night, not making a penny and having a wonderful time. I was completely unburdened with ambition. Somehow, everything just seemed great. One night an old friend of mine from Harvard who had pursued a somewhat more conventional career path, walked into the bar. He told me that he was working for a fellow in New York, a very substantial investor, and that they were thinking about starting a new venture capital fund. The problem was that neither of them knew too much about venture capital and, since that’s what I had done before, he had thought about me and wondered if I would be interested in coming back and having another go at it—to run this fund with him. And as ultimate proof of how disengaged—demented maybe?—I was, I responded that his offer was very flattering, thanks, but look how much fun I’m having and it doesn’t sound like it’s for me. He, crazily, kept coming back at me until finally after about eight or nine months he made the offer yet again, and I finally thought why not give it a try. So at the age of thirty-two, I picked up my very few belongings, rented a U-Haul trailer and moved back to New York. With an advance on my first month’s salary, I bought a couple of suits, went down to Wall Street, was given a small office and desk and a checkbook and basically told to go out and look for interesting ways to make money. You’ll be happy to hear that you’ve now heard the long part of this story. That was thirty-two years ago—exactly half of my life. And then something extraordinary happened. For reasons that I will never be able to really identify, it’s as if a switch got turned on. Now obviously, in my prior life at Groton, at Harvard, with my wonderful parents and friends, I’d had excellent examples put in front of me of the fun part of hard work, the fun of learning, the fun of reaching out and stretching yourself and challenging yourself. I’d seen all that— it’s just that I’d never taken advantage of it. And now, all of a sudden it was as if all those examples came flooding back at me, and I started doing some of that myself. And in the most remarkable way, I started having even more fun than I’d had before. I started reaching out. I started learning things. I started building companies, made some money, in short, achieving things. It felt good and sort of fed on itself. I was also, I think, probably sort of super-charged by an accumulated sense of guilt acquired during all those earlier years in which I had pretty cavalierly treated all the remarkable things that had been put in front of me. It kind of pushed me extra hard. It still feels to me as if the second thirty-two years of energy and achievement were in some magical way fed or driven by the lassitude, if you will, of the first thirty-two years. It just took a while for the battery to get charged.
Reunion Weekend As an inevitable result of the work I’ve done and whatever success I’ve had, I have been drawn into and worked with a number of nonprofit institutions. As Rick said, I have worked as a trustee of Groton School for twelve years now. And that has certainly been the most fulfilling of my not-for-profit involvements. Since I came on the Groton Board, I have been charged as head of the Development Committee with raising money for our School. We have been very successful. And I have to say, I always shrink a bit when people give me credit for that success because, really, it has been the work of a large team of dedicated people, both volunteers and staff. And it is important to say that, while raising money is always thought to be a hard thing, and certainly a lot of people don’t like the idea of doing it, it has been my experience that going out and asking people in the Groton community for help has, in fact, never been very hard. The reason is simple: When I sit down with a prospect—and some of you in the room have been victims of this—and I get ready to ask the tough question, “Would you consider writing a big check to Groton School?”—to a person what I find is that they recognize, as I did, that even though their story is probably wildly different from mine, that Groton School made an investment in them, a very big investment. So then it gets easy. Once somebody has made an investment in you, the first thing you need to do is think about paying it back. In my case it took thirty years or so, but I think I’ve finally gotten the job done. The work of helping to raise money for Groton has been a wonderful thing to be part of because what we have here is a kind of virtuous circle—people come to Groton from increasingly diverse places and situations; Groton makes an investment in them and sends them off into the world. Perhaps as in my case, it takes twenty or thirty years to happen, but some of them end up on paths which put them in a position to come back and in turn make an investment in Groton. A wonderful circle and one which, by the way, we better keep going because the need is never going away. I think we all agree Groton is an extraordinarily rich, fulfilling and feeling community to be involved in. I have to say, I still don’t feel like a particularly distinguished Grotonian, but I am a very, very grateful one. Thank you.
Phil Tilney ’59 converses at the reception on Saturday evening of Reunion Weekend.
Christine Oken ’05 assists faculty member Hugh Sackett at the christening of a new Girls four, the L. Hugh Sackett. The new shell was a gift from the Oken family.
Quarterly Fall 2009
Scenes from A
Spectacular Reunion Weekend
Clockwise from top left: Aaron Cooper ’94 catches up with faculty member Hoyt Taylor at Saturday evening cocktails. Charlie ’54 and Harriet Day talk with Gordon ’54 and Joy Shaw. Headmaster Commons speaks with Fred Rhinelander ’49 and formmate John Kingsley. Wells Bullard ’99 stands with formmates Christine Kim, Valentine Edgar, Mirna Cardona and Emily Cuthbertson. John Pyne, Steve Pierce, and Mark Griggs meet at the reception for the Form of 1964. Amy Baughman ’99 speaks with Hanna and John Lyons. Center: Sage Redman ’11 with Tom Rush ’59.
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• Clockwise from top left: Olin Beall ’54 with formmate Gordon Shaw. Lionel Laporte ’49 and Bayard Storey ’49 at the Alumni reception. Sage Redman ’11 performs as opening act for Tom Rush ’59. Mike Beran ’84 and Ted Patton ’84 catch up. Sharon Thompson ’89 and former faculty Jake Congleton chat before the alumni meeting in the Hall. Zach Taylor ’64 greets Sarah Sewall ’79. John MacEachern with Tom Rush ’59 and George Jacobs ’79. Center: Teebie Bunn Saunders ’94 chats with sister Kimbrel Bunn Morris ’89.
• • •
Quarterly Fall 2009
Circiter | Featured on Campus •
orms Return to Groton •
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Circiter | Featured on Campus
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• Reunion Weekend
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Circiter | Featured on Campus •
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Quarterly Fall 2009
• Circiter | Featured on Campus
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Quarterly Fall 2009
Circiter | Featured on Campus
Gallery News The de Menil Gallery FALL
Allan Rohan Crite, “Our Neighborhood,” 1998
Masters in the Making and Masters Made: The Art of Collaboration in Printmaking September 24 – November 24, 2009
he Fall 2009 exhibition in the de Menil Gallery features forty prints resulting from the collaboration of master printmaker Curlee Raven Holton, founding director of the Experimental Printmaking Institute at Lafayette College, and leading African-American artists Benny Andrews, David C. Driskell, Melvin Edwards, Sam Gilliam, Martha Jackson Jarvis, Al Loving, Faith Ringgold, and many others. Viewers will gain insight into the relationship between the printmaker and the artist. In this collaborative effort, possibilities of learning and creating expand in a dynamic way. The printmaker brings special skills to the process, which the artist might not necessarily envision before the project begins. The printer serves as a facilitator in developing the print, and the artist must let go of some of the autonomy typically associated with making art. Because of this unique relationship, the final product is often a surprise to both artist and printmaker. Thus, art making is broadened and enriched. Established in 1996, the Experimental Printmaking Institute promotes research and experiment in the printmaking medium. Since its inception, the EPI has hosted over 75 visiting artists and artists-in-residence. Because of budget concerns, the de Menil Gallery will have new hours, from 9 to 3 on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday; 9 to noon on Wednesday; and 9 to 11 on Saturday mornings during the academic year 2009-2010.
Faith Ringgold, “Coming to Jones Road under Blood Red Sky #6,” 2005 Curlee Raven Holton, “Blind Spots II,” 2004
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Christopher Carey Brodigan Gallery FALL
Aprons by Ann Emerson September 21 – November 14, 2009 Artist Reception: Tuesday, November 3, 6 to 8 p.m.
nn Emerson has been considering “Aprons” since she first began teaching art 25 years ago. Each apron testified to hundreds of thoughts, emotions, and hours of effort in the studio. Each started in the studio as a blank canvas, and each inadvertently became a work in progress in its own right, as the students focused on canvas after canvas. She thought that the aprons worn by students over and over, day after day, accumulating various stains and marks such as cadmium red splotches and black charcoal smudges, might one day be hung as an exhibition by themselves. In this way, the works in Anne’s show were inspired by her students’ messy hands and sloppy habits. Over time, her thoughts on aprons swung toward their historical utility, their significance as protective apparel— the chain mail apron for medieval battle, the blacksmith’s leather apron protecting against sparks, the pioneer woman’s apron used as a carry-all, the servant’s apron, early man’s aprons of fur and snakeskin, and the first apron mentioned in literature, Adam’s fig leaf! She decided to build on the student aprons, the ones where she saw a new painting every day. Admiring the abstract and unusual color combinations on the high quality canvas on last year’s sudent aprons, she intended to add only a few of her own intentional marks to her students’ inadvertent ones, and successfully did this with three. However, attempts to maintain the casual haphazard canvas failed, and intentional painting of the aprons took on a life of its own. These “Aprons” finally evolved as a history and a mystery. Each suggests a history in a narrative style telling a visual anecdote. With the “Pie Lady,” one can imagine the type of woman serving all those scrumptious desserts, someone who loves to create and serve food, even though she is headless in the painting. In the “Pearl Necklace,” the handprint was done by a student. “The question becomes “Did she steal the necklace?” “Did she find the necklace? What is her story? It is the artist’s hope that the apron paintings will entice the viewers to make up their own story.
Quarterly Fall 2009
Circiter | Featured onSunt Campus Per Circulum Locuti | Voices on the Circle
James Leeds ( Daniel Rodriguez ’11) and Orrin Dennis (Sherwood Calloway ’12) look on as Sarah Norman (Perin Adams ’09) reads Ms. Klein’s (Mary Kinsella ’10) speech.
Children of a Lesser God
t auditions for Groton’s spring production, Children of a Lesser God, director Laurie Sales asked each auditioning student to read through the climactic scene with sixth former Perin Adams. What made this experience unlike any other audition was that Perin’s part of the dialogue was completely in sign language. Ten weeks later, seven very dedicated students gave riveting performances in Mark Medoff ’s beautiful play about the romance between a deaf woman and her hearing teacher. In preparation for the show, the students studied sign language and deaf culture with local resident Anna Vega, who translated much of the text into American Sign Language. The students relished the opportunity to work on a very intense small-cast drama, while at the same time learning the basics of a new language. Though the weeks of preparation were rigorous, the result was a thrilling evening of theater that featured at least one student in every form.
Sarah ponders James’s logic (left) and his passion (right) as their relationship develops.
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Per Circulum Locuti Sunt | Voices on the Circle
Some 40 years ago, weekday Chapel Talks became regular occurrences at Groton. They are now a school tradition that four times a week welcomes parents, trustees, alumni, faculty, and students to address the School in Chapel. The talks have become the serviceâ€™s centerpiece, enriching the Groton experience by virtue of the ideas, experiences, and opinions that are expressed in this more formal setting. Over 100 speakers present at Chapel each academic year, adding to the voices on the Circle. We offer three examples from the Spring Term here.
Per Circulum Locuti Sunt | Voices on the Circle
Mindset matters A Chapel Talk by Jennifer Ayer Sandell ’82, Trustee April 24, 2009
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elieve it or not, this is the first time I’ve ever been up here. Student Chapel Talks were not so common when I was sitting where you are on a daily basis. I think you would be surprised how daunting this assignment is to a trustee whose kids are not yet your age. Especially since I know all too well how much you would rather be in bed. Perhaps it is a blessing not to have a child in the congregation whom I would, no doubt, mortify. Let’s see, every good Chapel Talk starts with a self-deprecating story, right? Well here is mine. Not long ago, I learned that I almost blew the opportunity to come to Groton. I was the newly appointed middle school director of an independent school in Northern California. I had bounced around a lot during my 20s and had finally found a career that hit my sweet spot of talents and interests. That winter, I attended my first National Association of Independent Schools conference in Washington, D.C. As I walked with my boss and mentor, a wonderful head of school named Norm Colb, we bumped into Peter Briggs, who had been the head of the school I had attended before Groton. I introduced the two men, both of whom I admired enormously. Then Peter turned to Norm and said. “I’m going to tell you a story about Jennifer that I bet she does not even know herself.” My mind raced. What could Mr. Briggs be talking about? I was a veritable goodie-two-shoes in middle school, hardly the type of student about whom he would have story. “As you no doubt know, Jennifer cannot spell.” Mr. Briggs was right about that. I have never been able to spell; my elementary and middle school papers used to come back looking like a Christmas tree decorated with red circles. This was also no surprise to Norm since at the time, we used an email program without spell check. “Well, when she was admitted to Groton, Jennifer was so excited that she took it upon herself to write a thank-you note to the Groton Admissions Office, and she sent it without asking her mother or one of her teachers to check the spelling. A few days later, I received a call from Groton head, Bill Polk, who was deeply concerned that Groton had made a terrible mistake by admitting Jennifer.” My eyes widened, I had no recollection of writing such a note and no idea that Groton had experienced second thoughts about me. “It took me quite a while,” continued Mr. Briggs, “but I assured Bill that Jennifer would do just fine, and I talked him back into taking her.” Now, allowing for some embellishment after the passage of almost twenty years, this was quite a revelation to me. OK, so that is my story. I did not actually get up here to talk to you about spelling. I would like to share some of the findings of a Stanford psychology professor named Carol Dweck. Before I begin, let me ask you a question. Do you believe that a person’s intellectual ability is more like their level of physical fitness or their eye color? In other words, can a person increase her intelligence through sustained effort as she could increase her fitness
Mindset Matters by running every day with Mr. Gemmel? Or, is I.Q. fixed by genetics (and we would have to add early environment). I am not sure it is quite proper to take a poll at Chapel, but if you think intelligence can change with effort like physical fitness, raise your hand. If you think intelligence is fixed, like eye color, raise your hand. Interesting. What if instead of I.Q., I substituted musical ability, artistic ability, athletic ability? Would your answer change? Carol Dweck calls these two ways of looking at intelligence, or any ability for that matter, a “fixed mindset” and a “growth mindset.” In hundreds of experiments spanning pre-schoolers to med school students, Professor Dweck and her students have determined that the mindset a person brings to the world has a profound impact on how he learns and what he accomplishes. She has also demonstrated that the way we talk to children about their intelligence and abilities can have an immediate and lasting impact on their mindset and learning. Let me give you an example. Dweck gave a set of math problems to two groups of middle school age children. The groups were randomly assigned, they took a simple math test, and they both performed equally well. At the end, the investigator told each child in the first group, “You did really well on these problems; you must be good at math.” To the second group the investigator said, “You did really well on these problems; you must have tried very hard.” Then each child was asked if they would like to try some harder problems. The “you must be good at this” group declined at a much higher rate than the “you must have tried hard” group. Regardless of their wishes, both groups were given the hard problems, and the “you must be good at this” or fixed mindset group performed significantly worse than the “growth mindset group.” When the “fixed mindset” kids were given another set of easy problems, their performance was weaker than when they started. Time and again, Dweck has demonstrated that a single comment can put students into a fixed “you must be good at this” mindset or a growth “you must have tried hard” mindset. As an extension of the same experiment, Dweck asked each group if they would like to take some more of the hard problems home. Here is a typical response from the fixed group: “No thanks, I already have stuff like this at home.” And from the growth mindset group: “Yes please, and please write down where my mom can get me some more.” Finally, Dweck asked each child to fill out an anonymous form about her experience that would be given to students at another school. On the form, there was a blank that allowed the students to fill in their score on the harder questions. Forty percent of the fixed mindset group lied about their scores. Forty percent! A single comment turned forty percent of typical suburban middle school students into liars in order to maintain the appearance of being good at math. Why? How on earth could this be? Carol Dweck provides the following explanation, backed by many more studies. If you believe that your intelligence is a fixed attribute, and clearly being intelligent is a good thing, then every challenge becomes an opportunity to look smart—or not. Every failure reveals to the world that you are not as smart as you would like it to think you are. Fixed mindset people often attribute failure to outside
The Circle on a fall home race day.
The mindset a person brings to the world has a profound impact on how he learns and what he accomplishes.
Jennifer Sandell with her husband, Scott and daughters Eliza, Robin, and Anna.
Quarterly Fall 2009
Per Circulum Locuti Sunt | Voices on the Circle forces—“that teacher just can’t stand me.” Effort itself is an indicator that you must not be smart and the appearance of effort should be avoided. To someone with a fixed mindset, success is about proving over an over again that you are smart or talented. Raw talent is what matters most to success in school, sports, music, or art. Stars are born not made and an obvious show of effort must indicate a lack of talent. To a growth mindset person, success is about learning. Anything that is not challenging is not worth her time. Failure indicates that more effort is required. Champions are not born—but made. I would keep you here all day if I tried to share the full scope of Dweck’s work, but suffice it to say that she has demonstrated that a fixed and growth mindset applies to virtually every aspect of human endeavor. The same person who has a growth mindset about their intellectual ability may well have a fixed one about their musical or artistic ability. Again, their mindset inhibits them from taking risks, facing challenges or employing effort in areas in which they feel their ability is fixed. Why bother, they think, when people are born with natural musical or artistic talent? I cannot resist sharing one more of Dweck’s studies. When she was at Columbia, she ran an experiment on undergraduates. First, she placed sensors on their foreheads that revealed how attentive their brains were at any given moment. Then, she asked them a few questions, to see if they had a fixed or growth mindset. Next the researcher posed a series of challenging history questions, to which Dr. Tyler might know the answers off the top of his head, but most of us do not. At the end, the students were told which answers they got correct and what the correct answer was. Dweck could see from the sensors that the fixed mindset students paid closest attention to whether they were right or wrong and largely ignored the correct answer in either case. The growth mindset students paid closest attention to the correct answer regardless of whether they had gotten the question right. You can guess, I am sure, how the surprise retest went for each group of students. The difference was startling. Dweck does not deny that people are born with different talents. She does assert, however, that sustained effort is a larger component of success than talent. Even those who are not endowed with great talent can become proficient at almost anything with enough effort. Conversely, Dweck argues, many enormously talented people fail to achieve their potential because they are afraid of failure and view sustained effort as unnecessary. I have to confess at this point that I have had a fixed mindset about most of my abilities for most of my life. Do not get me wrong. I do believe in effort, and as Mr. Fidler’s all-too-kind introduction indicates, I was a successful student. But when I honestly examine my motives and my worries, I have to admit that over and over, I gave up in areas in which I did not consider myself talented. I was not good at spelling, and I frankly stopped trying to learn how to spell. In elementary school spelling bees, if I could not get out of class with a fake stomach ache, I breathed a sigh of relief when I was quickly eliminated and slunk to the back of the class to ignore the rest of the proceedings. This was not typical behavior for me as an otherwise strong student. In college, when my best friend, who proofread ALL of my papers, tried to teach me spelling rules, I listened politely but frankly ignored her. After all, what is the use of trying to learn to spell when I was so lousy at it? She, by the way, is now a distinguished editor at W.W. Norton, so at least I gave her a head start on her career. Only when spell-checkers started to highlight my spelling errors did I start again to try to improve my spelling by trying to figure out how to make those pesky red lines go away. I still have no business writing an important hand-written note without the benefit of spell-check, but I am getting better, and I take far more interest in my third grader’s spelling homework than she does. Foreign language is another area in which I essentially gave up. Since seventh grade, I have taken the minimum course requirements and disliked language study so much that I changed languages whenever I could. After struggling with Latin in middle school and French here at Groton, I avoided foreign languages entirely in college. An interest in Southeast Asia led me to struggle with Thai for a year and Indonesian for two. Believe me, Indonesian is such an easy language that a natural linguist can pick it up in a month
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Mindset Matters of hanging out in the country, reaching the same level of proficiency that I achieved in two years. After that I gave up and swore I would never subject myself to studying another foreign language again. I gave up field hockey sixth form year for fear I would not make the varsity. “After all, I was never very good at ball sports.” As a mediocre but enthusiastic singer, I joined the choir but I meekly accepted my roll as one of the altos who should come in on the second note because I was incapable of getting the first one right. Choir was the most joyful thing I did at Groton, and I was grateful to the then Mr. Smith (who by the way was equally wonderful as your current Mr. Smith). But why didn’t I ever ask him how I could get better? Because I believed you were either born a Madrigal or an alto who comes in on the second note. Believe it or not, deciding to go to UNC on a Morehead instead of Yale was a hard decision for me because deep down I believed that having Yale on my résumé was a permanent indicator of my ability that no one could take away from me. In college, I got spooked by organic chemistry and second-year calculus and gave them up because I did not think I could do well in them. This was despite the fact that I loved biology. In graduate school, my friends and I laughed about the fact that the culture was one of “ducks on a pond.” Your golf score was something to brag about; staying up late to study for a statistics exam was not. Everyone was working very hard under the surface, but the goal was to make it look effortless. If that is not a fixed mindset culture, I do not know what is. Now, I do not mean to create the impression I should have pursued each of these things, regardless of whether or not I liked them. But to give up something you enjoy, like biology or singing, because I had a fixed mindset about my talent, that was a mistake. Dweck’s findings, if she is correct, have profound implications for parents and educators. Her work has certainly had an impact on me as a mother, educator and trustee. Everyday that goes by, I catch myself thinking or speaking from a fixed mindset point of view. My greatest inspiration for developing a growth mindset is one of my twin third-grade daughters who is dyslexic and dyspraxic, which is a fancy way of saying she is really klutzy. She is a creative, original kid who is very bright (there I go again, sorry Professor Dweck). She does not just march to her own drummer; she marches to her own band. She is still struggling to read fluently. She works like a fiend and has no doubt whatsoever that her abilities will grow with sustained effort. She is also unbelievably resilient. Conversely, her fraternal twin sister is one of those kids for whom school, art, music, dance, and athletics all come easily. I can picture her as a successful student in a school like Groton, while I am pretty sure her sister will need a different sort of school. Yet I worry far more about this twin in the long run. I fear she has developed a fixed mindset, and that she will shy away from challenges and the possibility of failure. How will I teach her that effort will take her farther than talent? The spark that launched Dweck’s career was a 10-year-old boy who was struggling with harder and harder math puzzles. Dweck studied how he coped with failure for her doctoral dissertation. Unlike most other children, the boy pulled up his chair, smacked his lips and proclaimed, “I love a challenge.” He did not just cope with failure, he embraced it. Understanding what made him tick has been Dweck’s life work ever since. I challenge you to try being that boy today. Pick a subject or an activity that you think you are crumby at and try approaching it with a growth mindset. Embrace challenges as opportunities and failure not as humiliation but as information about what you need to work on. I also ask you to consider if Groton promotes a growth mindset. Your Groton years are sandwiched between two prime opportunities for fixed mindset thinking, first persuading Mr. Niles or Mr. Gracey that you were worthy of admissions to Groton and then getting into college. But of course that is a whole other topic. Finally, I challenge each adult in the Chapel today to examine their own mindset and ask what they can do to help Groton teach its students to take risks, embrace challenge, thrive on failure, and dedicate themselves to sustained effort. Thank you. Have a great day. Quarterly Fall 2009
Per Circulum Locuti Sunt | Voices on the Circle
Time for Beauty A Chapel Talk by Ripley Hartmeyer ’09 April 16, 2009
Aerial view of the Circle on Parents’ Weekend 2008.
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amouflaged deer stands and blinds hug the edge of the woods off to the side of the vast plots of corn. The lush soybean fields to the left of our path portend our imminent arrival—just a couple minutes left. As I restlessly fidget in the seat of our car, shadows creep onto the cracked road and the woods thicken—everything becomes quieter. Once we spot the set of dusty yellow and white mailboxes, we suddenly hear the gravel crunch beneath the car tires while driving down the straightaway of Hedges Lane. Occasionally wild turkeys trotting across or deer hurdling over the road impede our procession. Next, we gaze at the red barn in the overgrown field while passing by, once again surprised to see it still upright. My sisters and I don’t dare look for too long, afraid to lock eyes with the vultures that eerily survey the land throughout the day atop the red barn. While turning the corner at the end of the lane, we see Papa’s pale yellow truck, recently named “Three Dog Pond,” parked beside the shed, filled with cobwebs and nests of all kinds. Turning that corner is the best part of the drive down the lane; shadows waning, woods unfolding—it doesn’t get much better than that. I enjoy the shrieks of my screaming cousins rupturing the silence from behind the garden hedges and can finally get a glimpse of the water, even smell it. We’ve reached my most coveted destination: our grandparents’ house in Easton, Maryland. Tripp Creek, the body of brackish water feeding right into the Chesapeake Bay, sparkles under the sun and laps up against the rocks below the back lawn. Even on a cloudy day, the creek looks just as inviting. The osprey nest sits serenely high above the water, fifty yards off shore. A family of swans swims together off in the distance, and once in a while I catch sight of water snakes gliding along the top of the silky smooth surface, the one thing that I try to discharge from my memory. As it waits to be raised up by the boat lift’s steel cradles, Papa’s idle Mako floats next to the pale yellow canoe that rocks back and forth against my grandparents’ dock. For me, the checkered Maryland flag dancing with the wind and the ruby-throated hummingbirds swooping down to their feeder in the garden are consoling sights—only some images of many that evoke my nostalgia for this place. After we pull into the driveway and give hugs and kisses to all of our relatives, I peel off my sticky clothes from the four-hour trip from New York and exchange them for my dry bathing suit. I make a sprint for the dock, and the feeling of the desiccated grass prickling my toes feels exactly the same as all the years before. My feet thump against the wooden boards of the dock until about halfway to the end, where I realize I’ve forgotten my nettle suit. Quickly pivoting and feeling the first of many splinters pierce my heels, I run back to the pool to fetch what I hope will shield me from the profuse amounts of jelly fish that invade the waters in August. Putting it on, I rush for the water again. Five pilings left…four…three…two…one. I push off the end of the dock, diving into the refreshing creek as a 17 year old and resurfacing as a little girl again—it has been
Time for Beauty a lengthy separation of eleven months. My face already feels the burn from the hot summer sun as I tread water and scan the entire creek. Glancing over my shoulder to see that our “secret beach” is still in good condition, I swim to the ladder littered with barnacles and reluctantly haul myself out of the cleansing, warm, salty water. And so our visit begins. It’s about 8 a.m. the next morning when I lower myself down from my bed in the bunk room and follow the aroma of buckwheat waffles and sausages to the kitchen. To my delight, breakfast on the porch is accompanied by watching the old white crab boat begin its morning routine. Glowing orange buoys popping and splashing into the water is as exciting as it gets, but for some reason my infatuation with that crab boat explains my negligence for the breakfast conversation, because I would rather count how many blue crabs the fisherman picks off the line and throws into the rusty baskets piled high within the boat. Around 11 a.m. or so, the grandchildren take their picks between swimming in the pool, water skiing and tubing, fishing, going on a canoe ride with our grandmother, Bebe, to the secret beach, walking to the barn—the list goes on. My pick? The secret beach—secret because as little kids we thought that we were the only ones who knew of its existence. Mysterious because somehow the beach could make itself disappear, leaving us with no choice but to find something else to do. It took us a while to figure out the whole high tide / low tide thing, and when we did, we would plan accordingly. We arrive at the maybe 15-foot-long beach and plop onto the wet sand, listening to an orchestra of hissing and croaks billowing out of the tall grass behind us while skipping rocks. After taking some time to enjoy the isolation and tranquility, we venture out in the open water, dig for oysters that we load into the canoe, and make our way back to the dock as the tide conceals our secret beach. As you can hopefully imagine, my grandparents’ property is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever had the privilege of visiting. I would take a trip to Easton over anywhere any day because it has come to mean so much to me. It is where, no matter what age I am, my imagination thrives. Upon turning that familiar corner that leads us to this haven of what feels to be timelessness, my childhood naïveté and curiosities return—I can’t wait to jump off the end of the dock, to cast over and over again with hopes that I’ll catch the biggest rock fish that the Chesapeake has ever seen, and to believe in the secret beach again. It is here where I can escape, unwind, just slow down. I can be and do anything; I can appreciate what surrounds me without feeling
Nya Holder ’12 and Emily Tizard ’12 relax at Headmaster’s parlor.
Director of Athletics, Bob Low, awards Ripley Hartmeyer, the 2009 Potter award for excellence in athletics.
Quarterly Fall 2009
Per Circulum Locuti Sunt | Voices on the Circle
“In a banal setting at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend? ”
the pressures from high expectations. Most importantly, I can hear the voice. You know, the voice inside of all of us that gives us the sense of what is right, that gives us a sense of self, acting as the driving force behind our instincts. Crying every time I would leave Maryland resulted from my fear of returning home or to school, where I felt as though 24 hours in a day was not enough and where the phrase “I’m too busy” snuck its way into conversation. I know I’m not alone when I say that too often I have found myself overly consumed in my work to the point that the things that matter most in my life have been pushed away. While embarking on a quest for significance—actually a lot of the time for success, this busyness has hushed the voice inside of me. Like a job being just a job or a career being just a career, work has sometimes become just work. In order to forget about family troubles at home, I have used it as my distraction. In my efforts to please my mom who, as she says, made a waste of her education, and my other grandmother, who is the reason why I have been able to come to Groton, I haven’t paid enough attention to my personal needs—a problem that I haven’t tried to shake until recently. So why bring up Maryland? Well, I sometimes wonder if I would feel the same way about it if I lived there; if I brought my busy life with me to the Eastern Shore. Or what about if it was right next to Groton’s campus? Would I still make time to admire its uniqueness and beauty as I’m hurrying over to Chapel or off to class? So, what I’m really trying to ask is a question that appeared in an article in the Washington Post a couple years ago.
in a banal setting at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend? 1
Evening study hours in the McCormick Library main reading room.
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The article, issued Sunday, April 8, 2007, writes about the following experiment that the Washington Post conducted in January at the Metro at the L’Enfant Plaza Station, the center of federal Washington. On Friday, January 12, a man dressed in an everyday casual outfit, wearing a Washington Nationals baseball cap, situated himself against a wall in a location that would hopefully allow him to catch the attention of the pedestrian traffic flooding through the station during the morning rush hour. Surrounding him was a busy kiosk selling newspapers, lottery tickets, and magazines and a shoeshine stand. He pulled out a violin from its case and placed the open case beside him on the floor before he began to play. But this wasn’t just any guy and it wasn’t just any violin. It was Joshua Bell, a renowned classical violinist who has received the 2008 Academy of Achievement award for outstanding accomplishment in the arts, recorded more than 30 CDs, and appeared on shows like Late Night with Conan o’Brien and CBS Sunday Morning. I don’t know much about classical music or its musicians, but I know that this guy clearly has a lot going for him. And his violin, one of the most valuable ones ever made, is worth about $3.5 million. No wonder he took a cab to travel three blocks from his hotel to the station. For 43 minutes, while a hidden camera videotaped him, Bell agreed to perform six classical pieces, including Bach’s 14 minute “Chaconne,” one of the greatest pieces of music ever written and also one of the most difficult to play. The test: to see how many commuters would stop, listen, and make time for the beauty in the midst of their rush to work. Bell, one of the best classical musicians in the world, did not play “tunes whose familiarity alone might have drawn interest. That was not the test. These were masterpieces that have endured for centuries on their brilliance alone, soaring music befitting the grandeur of cathedrals and concert halls.”2 Would “the beauty transcend in a banal setting at an inconvenient time?”3 “With this incognito performance, in an incongruous context, would ordinary people recognize genius?”4 Three minutes passed before anything happened. 63 people had gone by without even glancing at Bell before a middle-age man turned his head to notice that there was music being played and kept walking. Thirty seconds later a woman threw a dollar into the empty violin case and left. It took six minutes for someone to pause, stand against a wall, and listen to the music. “In the three-quarters of an hour that Joshua Bell played,
Time for Beauty seven people stopped what they were doing to hang around and take in the performance, at least for a minute. Twenty-seven gave money, most of them on the run—for a total of $32 and change. That leaves the 1,070 people who hurried by, oblivious, many only three feet away, few even turning to look.”5 Can you imagine? It was as if the supposed “brilliance” was of no value. Worthless. People, in fact, couldn’t recognize the genius in an incongruous context at an inconvenient time. The whole undercover performance had been a manifestation of the public’s failure to perceive their front row seats to a free concert that, in context, people would pay at least a hundred dollars for. Bell must have been embarrassed not only by the absence of any acknowledgement or applause, but also by the result that the only consistent listeners and ones to turn their attention to the music were little kids; every time they passed, they paused and stared at Bell for a short moment before unwillingly getting dragged by their parents back into the “gray rush of modernity” as the article calls it. There’s a similar rush that orbits the Circle here at Groton—you have places to be, things to do, so much on your mind. You are extremely driven, and, yeah, you are busy. That rush can suck you in; I’ve certainly been in it. However, the pressures have started to let up with the arrival of college letters and the soothing pace of senior spring. But aside from that, another event has pulled me out of my regular orbit. That something is the stripping away of Bebe and Papa’s precious refuge in Maryland. Having had all their money invested with Bernie Madoff, my grandparents must sell what I have deemed to be my outlet for admiring all that is meaningful. It will be lost to me forever, and the struggle with losing it has deepened an appreciation that I never thought could be deeper. I am learning to make time for beauty—it’s scary to think about what we are missing when we do not. Even if the circumstances are not always optimal, I encourage you all to slow down and take a good look around you. Make a bucket list of things you want to accomplish or see before you leave here. Doing all of that will mean making some sacrifices, but it will be worth it. You will walk out of the chapel doors, step into the fresh air, and head towards that white tent which awaits you on the Circle, knowing that you made the most of the experience and recognized how beautiful Groton is in so many ways.
Nina Milbank ’10 in the McCormick Library reading room.
1. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/ article/2007/04/04/AR2007040401721.html 2. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/ article/2007/04/04/AR2007040401721.html 3. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/ article/2007/04/04/AR2007040401721.html 4. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/ article/2007/04/04/AR2007040401721.html 5. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/ article/2007/04/04/AR2007040401721.html
Ali Norton ’12, Chloe Fross ’12 and Lizzy Ross ’12 enjoy a moment at Thursday night Parlor.
Quarterly Fall 2009
Per Circulum Locuti Sunt | Voices on the Circle
Baccalaureate by Richard B. Commons May 28, 2009
Headmaster Commons addresses the School.
he parable of the Good Samaritan, which Marty just read to us, is one of Jesus’ best-known stories. I would wager that every one in this Chapel recognized it when it was read just now, regardless of our varying religious backgrounds. Its “love thy neighbor” principle is not particularly Christian; essentially the same principle stands as a pillar in Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism. In the parable we just heard, a person in desperate need is ignored by two passers-by before a third comes to his aid and does far more than the fallen man has any reason to expect. What I did not learn until recently is that the Samaritan is the least likely of the three to have mercy. Perhaps some of you know this from your work in Sacred Texts, but I just discovered it. Scholars agree that we should assume the fallen man is a Jew, since the man was on the road from Jerusalem, and since Jews were Jesus’ intended audience. What I somehow missed until recently is that Samaritans and Jews generally despised each other. Yet the Levite (a fellow Jew) and the priest (whose business should be kindness and mercy) avoid the fallen man, while the Samaritan takes pity on him, bandages his wounds, carries him to an inn, looks after him, and then pays the innkeeper to continue his good care, saying he’ll come back and add to the payment if there are additional expenses. That’s where the story ends, and, much as I wonder whether the Jew and the Samaritan meet again, how the Jew feels about Samaritans as he recovers, and whether the priest and the Levite feel any regret at having passed right by, Jesus’ purpose is not to answer these questions. It is to answer this one: “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the [fallen] man?” “The one who had mercy on him” is the answer. “Go,” says Jesus, “go and do likewise.” * * *
Recently I heard a story that seemed to parallel and extend the theme of the Good Samaritan. I think only one person in this audience has heard it before, as I expect his father has told it to him. Here it is: About ten years ago, an American Catholic priest went to Rome as part of a conference convened by Pope John Paul II. Only 80 priests had been invited, and Father Tony, the American, was full of excitement about the honor and the opportunity to meet the Pope, not only the head of the Catholic Church, but also one of the great leaders of our time. Father Tony was hurrying on foot from his hotel to St. Peter’s Basilica, where the Pope would address the 80 priests, when he passed a man sitting on a street corner, begging for money. The beggar was filthy and stank of alcohol. Father Tony did not break his stride until, in a second glance, he noticed something familiar about the beggar. He paused and, to his astonishment, recognized the man as a fellow priest, one with whom Father Tony had been friends long ago, when they were in seminary together. The beggar registered the same look of recognition, and, after a pause, Father Tony spoke to him:
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Baccalaureate The upper arch of the West window in St. John’s Chapel.
“John, what on earth has happened to you? What are you doing here?” “oh, Tony, it’s a long, long story.” “Where are you living?” “Right here,” the beggar said sadly, gesturing towards the gutter. “oh my. i can’t talk now because i’m on my way to see the Pope. But it grieves me to see you in this state. i’ll be praying for you, and may God bless you.” Father Tony turned and hurried off in the direction of St. Peter’s. Arriving at the Papal Auditorium just in time, he took his seat among the 80 priests assembled there. In due course, John Paul II appeared on stage and addressed the group. After delivering his remarks, the Pope descended from the stage and waded into the audience in order to spend thirty seconds greeting each priest personally, one-on-one. When the Pope reached Father Tony, the moment the American priest had long anticipated had arrived. In his half-minute opportunity with the Pope, however, instead of describing his own life and work, he felt compelled to describe his friend John, the priest turned beggar, whom he had encountered in the street on his way to St. Peter’s. The Pope listened and then blessed him and moved on to the next priest, then to the next, until he had finished greeting all 80. When the Pope had departed and the priests began to file out of the auditorium, Father Tony felt a tap on his shoulder. Turning around, he saw the Pope’s private secretary beckoning him backstage. He followed and found himself again in the presence of John Paul II, who said, “Father, I want you to go and find that priest and bring him to dinner here tonight.” That was all. The Pope’s secretary handed Father Tony a card printed with the address of the papal apartments, and said, “Come at seven o’clock.” As he left the auditorium, Father Tony was filled with anxiety. Would he even be able to find his friend? If so, how would he be able to clean him up and sober him up in time for dinner with the Pope? Fortunately, John had not moved from the spot where they had met an hour or so earlier. Father Tony led his friend back to his hotel room and did what he could to make him presentable, though the effects of John’s troubles were not easily erased. Nevertheless, shortly before 7 p.m., the two old friends arrived at the papal apartments. Though their surroundings were ornate and formal, the dinner with the Pope was simple and hearty, and their conversation was relaxed. After dinner, the Pope asked Father Tony if he would mind stepping outside to give the other two a few minutes of privacy. Father Tony moved into the hallway, and the giant carved doors to the dining room swung shut behind him, leaving his friend John alone in the room with the Pope.
Will Stemberg ’10 concentrates in physics class.
Quarterly Fall 2009
Per Circulum Locuti Sunt | Voices on the Circle After some time, the doors to the dining room swung open again, and the two men emerged. John’s face was streaked with tears, yet he looked joyful and utterly transformed by whatever had taken place. They said goodbye to their host and walked out into the soft Roman night. After a time of silence, Father Tony turned to his friend: “I must ask you, what on earth happened in the dining room when you and the Pope were alone together?” John answered: “As soon as you had gone, he turned to me and said, ‘Father John, will you please hear my confession?’ I was astonished and embarrassed by my fallen situation. I said that I could not possibly do so. Then the Pope said, ‘The Church is not a mausoleum for saints; it is a hospital for sinners. And we are both sinners. But you, as an ordained Catholic priest, have been given the faculties to forgive sins in the name of Jesus Christ. Father John, will you please hear my confession?’ With that, he knelt before me. I heard his confession. And I gave the Pope absolution. Then the Pope said: ‘Father John, there is a parish church here in Trastevere that needs a pastor, and I think that you are the man for the job.’” This true story ends with this: Father John took that job, and he remains the pastor of a thriving church in that neighborhood of Rome near the Vatican called Trastevere. * * *
Camilla West ’11 in chemistry lab.
56 | Quarterly Fall 2009
I heard this modern-day parable from a Groton parent, who had heard it himself from a priest who had met Father Tony. The Groton parent is Frank McNamara, parent of Philip, and I share the story with his permission, essentially as he told it to me. I love the layers in it—the three men of God: one a fallen priest, who seems to have lost everything; one a priest whose star is rising, invited as he is to meet the Pope; and one the supreme leader of the Church, who does an astonishingly graceful thing. I find the story to be moving not only because of Father John’s redemption and assumed recovery—I’m a sucker for happy endings—and not only because the happy ending is authored by the humility of a man whose exalted position in the Church and in the world makes it marvelous. I find the story moving also because we can so readily identify with Father Tony. At the beginning of the story, Father Tony is in the process of mirroring the actions of the careless priest in the parable of the Good Samaritan, walking right by the fallen man. He stops only because he recognizes him as an old friend. Even having stopped, initially he does nothing to help, other than offer to pray for him. He’s excited, as any one of us would be, by the prospect of meeting the Pope. What could be a higher honor for a Catholic priest than a meeting with the Pope? He’s not cold to his friend. He is concerned about him. He even asks him where he lives, but then he hurries on to his more urgent destination, to hear a speech and shake hands with somebody important. Honors and speeches and handshakes with important people—that’s where the Form of 2009 is headed isn’t it? Certainly that’s the plan for Prize Day. And the honors and speeches and particularly the handshakes scheduled for that day and this one do matter. But it is easy to lose perspective on what they signify, how they mark for us what the members of the Form of 2009, and the rest of us, should be prepared to do and be that will make a difference in the lives of others. I wish I knew what the Pope said in the speech that Father Tony heard among the 80 priests, for it is afterwards that Father Tony recovers his balance and sees his friend John’s situation as more important than his own. He redeems himself to an extent when he devotes his thirty seconds with the Pope to describing his friend’s sad condition. Still, it falls to the Pope to act as the Good Samaritan, to insist that the fallen man be found and brought to dinner. And it is the Pope who uplifts Father John, exalts him really, by humbling himself, literally falling to his own knees before the beggar. I asked that the parable of the Good Samaritan be read today, and I shared this modern-day parable alongside it because our graduates, about to sing “Ave Grotonia,” about to “start for the world in the morning,” will head down many roads from Jerusalem
Baccalaureate to Jericho. I hope they won’t forget what they have learned here, in this Chapel as well as this School. * * *
Allow me to bring these stories and this homily to a close with a word about our School motto. It’s difficult to translate, isn’t it? One needs to know a bit of Latin to understand the difficulty, and I think one needs to know a bit about oneself too. It would be easier if it were “Servire est Regnare,” to serve is to reign. That’s not so hard. The difficulty lies in the “cui,” a pronoun that lacks an antecedent. Service to whom est regnare? That’s an important question. God was the understood antecedent when the motto was written. I will leave the question of the antecedent open to each individual, but, Form of 2009, I believe you have been prepared here to search for the answer. And I will offer this as a beginning, a commencement if you will: in all the religions within our community, service to God is accomplished by loving our neighbors beyond expectation. The Good Samaritan not only interrupts his own busy life to help a fallen man, but reaches, beyond expectation, across bright lines of difference. Jews and Samaritans despised each other, yet the Samaritan loves the Jew. And if you remember anything about the story of the Pope’s confession, remember this: he inverts the expectations of status and power. He is the most powerful religious figure in the world, and the fallen priest is the least. And yet with breathtaking humility, he inverts their status, reverses the expectation of who is powerful. What better translation could there be of “cui servire est regnare?” Form of 2009, it’s time to go, isn’t it? It’s time to go and do likewise. Amen.
Service to God is accomplished by loving our neighbors beyond expectation. The Good Samaritan not only interrupts his own busy life to help a fallen man, but reaches, beyond expectation, across bright lines of difference.
Members of the Form of 2012 at a Headmaster’s Parlor.
Quarterly Fall 2009
Personae | People of Note
Personae | People of Note
58 | Quarterly Fall 2009
Madame Coursaget in costume as Miss Clavel. Picture taken by Jon Creamer, member of the faculty.
C “Whether they are on stage for 20 seconds or two hours, they must be wearing something!”
atherine Coursaget came to Groton in the fall of 1987 to join Michelene Myers teaching French in the Modern Language Department. Twentyone years and hundreds of French students and advisees later, Madame Coursaget has retired from her duties on the Circle and will return to Paris. As mentioned in another section of this issue, she will be missed by countless Grotonians and for countless reasons. Although those who encountered Madame Coursaget in and out of class know her to be fair, demanding, spirited and motherly, perhaps Madame Coursaget’s full talents were most colorfully realized in the hundreds of costumes she created supporting the Groton drama program over the years. Her career as a costumiere spans those of seven Groton theater directors with whom she collaborated, staging language plays in what was once the Pleasure Dome with Madame Myers, musicals and dramas in the Schoolhouse theater most extensively with Elson Harmon, and for the last three years supporting plays directed by former theater director, Sue Clark, and current director, Laurie Sales, in the Campbell Performing Arts Center. With the new state-of-the-art Campbell Center came more ambitious plays, the scale and scope of which had to be supported through Coursaget costuming. As Madame Coursaget says, “whether they are on stage for 20 seconds or two hours, they must be wearing something!” Over the years many assistants, faculty wives as well as students have also labored in Coursaget’s apartment or in the theater, assembling pieces that would carry the proper theme, time period, and color statement. In recent years, Jade Allamby ’02, Christine Kim ’99, H Y Kim ’05, Nu Assarat ’97, Andrew Fulham ’08, Bronwyn Carter ’11, Joelle Julian ’09, and zoe Silverman ’11 have helped in the costume production. Coursaget has made sure the costume collection has grown. In her back rooms behind the theater you will find everything from fake seaweed, to period costumes, to science fiction get-ups, wigs, hats and canes. Catherine asserts she is self-taught in her work, and she admits to having gotten better over the years, “more from daring than from knowledge.” We all wish Catherine the very best as she settles into her retirement in Paris! The theater program will certainly miss her verve and professionalism. Students, faculty and theater attendees will see some of Catherine’s creative brilliance as her costume collection continues to delight with each production. Bonne chance, Catherine. Quarterly Fall 2009
Personae | People of Note
Picture by Jon Creamer
Examples of Catherine Coursaget’s recent work, supporting brilliant theater productions of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Anything Goes, music and lyrics by Cole Porter, Harvest by Manjula Padmanabhan, Into the Woods, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!, and Lerner and Lowe’s My Fair Lady.
60 | Quarterly Fall 2009
Picture by Jon Creamer
Quarterly Fall 2009
Personae | People of Note
Serve God and Rule
by Andrew Greene ’78
Fifth Formers Connor Baharozian, Liza MacEachern, and Bryn Garrity give physics class their attention.
62 | Quarterly Fall 2009
atin was not my subject; I was a Greek scholar and a mediocre one. My teacher was Mr. Myers, who administered tests as a gentleman should, in the study of his house over tea. I would sit in a deep chair by the fire, mentally treading water, balancing a cup and saucer in one hand and Homer in the other. With snow falling silently in the dark outside, the only sounds available to cover my halting words were the clock and the spitting logs. As I flailed away, Mr. Myers would cock his head, smile, and compliment me despite the hash I was making of it. So I knew a little Greek, less Latin, and next to nothing about Groton’s motto. But times change. Child-rearing and taxes made me philosophical, and the great Internet library helped me paper over the holes in my education, including some of the Latin I skipped. About the motto, Google has something to say. deus, per quem bene servimus et bene dominamur.1 That was written by Aurelius Augustinus, a Berber from Algeria and later the bishop of Hippo, in winter 386. He was 32 years old, living in the suburbs of Milan, and in the middle of converting to Christianity. Augustine also wrote, “deus, cui serviunt omnia quae serviunt,” (“whom all things serve which do serve”) and, “deus, cuius legibus arbitrium animae liberum est” (“by whose laws the will of the soul is free”).2 There is a pattern to these ideas that any Grotonian would recognize. The Roman Church liked Augustine’s style enough to copy it, and in the fifth century came up with this oratorio, the Collect for Peace: deus auctor pacis et amator, quem nosse vivere; cui servire regnare est; protege ab omnibus impugnationibus supplices tuos; ut qui in defensione tua confidemus, nullius hostilitatis arma timeamus.3 Finally, in 1549, the Church of England translated it: O God, which art author of peace, and lover of concorde, in knowledge of whome standeth oure eternall life, whose service is perfect fredome: defende us, thy humble servantes, in al assaultes of our enemies, that wee surely trustyng in thy defence, maye not feare the power of any adversaries: through the myght of Jesu Christ our lorde.4 So the motto’s origin is 1,000 years older than the Book of Common Prayer, let alone Groton. It came indirectly from a young North African, unsure of his beliefs, who was asking questions about service to God. Re-reading the soliloquia and the Collect today, it becomes plain that Endicott Peabody, when he made his final edits, omitted a word. He did it deliberately, perhaps because the word was so obvious. Replace it and the phrase becomes, “deus, cui servire regnare est,” or, “O God, ... whose service is perfect fredome.” With God resurrected, the colloquial meaning goes from, “Servants rule!” (a contradiction) to, “Servants of God rule!”
Andrew Greene ’78 Or, evangelical-style, “Serve God, and be a servant no more!” Like a preacher on the airwaves, the original text was listing the loot that comes from serving God. I am talking about the ancient Italian because the motto’s meaning matters, not just to me, but to boys and girls at School today and to all the Grotonians who have come and gone. For as long as we employ the words, they will matter. Words define ideas, and ideas define actions. Actions define us. Like Augustine, then, I have a question: are we third millennium Grotonians losing something in the translation? I only ask because, when we talk among ourselves about our proudest moments, the conversation usually turns to things like government, charity, and the environment. In Chapel Talks, the Schoolroom, and the Quarterly, and among alumni, teachers, and scholars, we speak with one voice about what it means to be a Grotonian. But are we sure that service, and those services in particular, are what the motto is about? Are law, self-sacrifice, and recycling the official agents of goodness? We applaud government service, but thanks to Mr. Dilworth, I know that the Founders would have blanched at such an ideal. Madison and Jefferson held jaundiced views of the state, seeing it not in the service of God, but as a necessary evil, a construct of selfish men who corrupt themselves with its power until they become our enemies, to be watched and guarded against. Federalism was designed in fear: that there would be no God in Washington, just humans with axes to grind. Logically, a monopoly on power is the antithesis of service, so we ought to be asking ourselves regularly: whom are we serving when we serve the monopoly? We are also proud to help the poor, which is a good and proper thing—yet I would caution that it is only a drop in the ocean of godliness. Have we been giving equal time to the other virtues out there, such as self-worth, industry, thrift, and justice? Along with our sympathy for the weak, do we feel love for the strong, successful, and beautiful? And what tribute do we pay regnum—power—itself? Too much charity, in fact, can turn a protector into a ruler and the beneficiary into his servant. History is full of examples; there is even one Grotonian whose New Deal rescue, according to modern Jeffersonians, proved it. “Not-for-profit” is another favorite, yet it, too, is more subtle than it looks. The term comes from the Internal Revenue Code,5 which sets two conditions: the company must have a higher calling than mere commerce, and must keep all profits to itself. The profit is there, but it is made and spent differently, giving the business a different character. Groton is special, and so are other non-profits; yet we know their success comes from more than their tax status. The potential to create or destroy lies in every endeavor, and the legal setup won’t guarantee the result. So, if we don’t believe profit is bad, what do we believe? Negatives only tell half the story because they are silent on the positives: what, then, is the not-for-profit for? Every charitable undertaking needs this sort of declaimer from us to remain the labor of love we want it to be. Last on the list is environmentalism, but I’m not sure that guarantees goodness, either. Saving the world is a bold undertaking, with a remit so large it takes a coalition of disciplines—from particle physics to philosophy—just to get started. Inevitably, the coalition is shaky; factions compete for political power, and the ideas they promote, although they promise salvation, sometimes are just the feints of internecine conflict. For example, the hybrid car my neighbor drives is loaded with good intentions, but it also uses two engines where one would do, a slab of nickel-hydride batteries, and plenty of oil (to build it all). The effort is impressive, but for now it mainly succeeds in getting the smoke to spout from a factory on the other side of the world instead of from the car’s tailpipe. Ecology, charity, and government are good all right, but their goodness depends on the details, especially on who defines “good.” Unfortunately, virtue does not spring like Athena, fully clothed and armed, out of a G-man’s head or an electric car. If Groton’s motto means more than service to those masters, then surely it must be about serving people in general—the “public service” that Endicott Peabody espoused?
Andrew Greene ’78 in his London office.
Like Augustine, then, I have a question: are we third millennium Grotonians losing something in the translation?
Quarterly Fall 2009
Personae | People of Note
Parents enjoy the fall foliage on Parents Weekend. Below: Campus colors in the fall.
64 | Quarterly Fall 2009
Perhaps so, but if you read the original Latin carefully, you will see that it is talking instead about how to shirk a servant’s duties. “Serve God, and your days of service will be over,” it says. In other words, service is bad and rule is good. Even Augustine had his doubts, asking, “What is our motive in public service? Can our hopes in the court rise higher than to be friends of the emperor?”6 At best, service starts with a blank slate, and any black marks or prizes it receives will depend on who is serving whom, and why. We Grotonians aspire to public service—an ideal that is older than Latin itself—but we should be wary of it at the same time. Public servants are rulers, too, and their virtue arrives the same way all of ours does: by deed, not by affiliation. The purpose of these arguments, if I have not made it clear enough, is to get us to pause for a minute and consider our motives. Groton is a religious school, meaning religion underpins what it teaches. On Prize Day, Sixth Formers exit the Circle as religious thinkers in some way. But to think religiously means, first of all, to think: for yourself, about the meaning and purpose of what you do, about what the world is made of and where it came from, and what it says about how you should live your short life in the here and now. Religion is related to philosophy: the accumulation and synthesis of knowledge into a pattern, where the pattern reveals how to live. For godliness to appear, it takes an informed and conscious act, not a sleepwalk. Like that young African philosopher 16 centuries ago, we must ask questions, then mark everything as knownunknown, good-bad, and right-wrong. The answers will tell us our next move. Mr. Gula, another of my Greek teachers, might say that we should not assume! anything about the motto (I can see him grinding on the blackboard with his chalk, glaring from under those eyebrows, the grin spreading across his face as he declines the verb, “When you assume ... you make an ass out of u and me!”). The philosophy of the herd does not count as thought. Conviction does not spring from a crowd, but from the self. Leadership, which Groton expends so much effort to teach, is singular.7 Fittingly, the question begged by the motto is for each of us to answer, one at a time—not, “What is service?” but, “Who is God?” The Rector left God out, but I think he did that to draw attention to another nearby word in the Prayer Book: service. Yes, public service was his circular answer to the question, and it has been Groton’s standard since 1884. But that does not relieve us of our obligation to define the term, check that it is as godly today as it was back then, and if it isn’t, do something about it.
People of Note Andrew Greene ’78 and his family in Vineyard Haven August 2008. From left: Hannah, Sophie, wife, Sandy, Livia, and Nina.
I, for one, would define God first, like Augustine, then decide whether service is the best way to deal with the problem. Christianity—so I was taught—prizes single souls over the collective. It admires all of the Virtues, not just one or two. And it cherishes humanity, including, by corollary I believe, the waste that humans make. To stray from those precepts and let the motto stand, even a little, against self, profit, or the messy artifacts of our existence, seems to me to risk contradicting it. But your own translation matters more than anything I can say. We should not parrot the words of others, nor sing hymns to the fashions of our time. Instead, we should worship the mind, honor the self, and, as the circular logic goes, try to dodge service by serving God. In short, we must try to rule. Whether that means Christian leadership, or the earthly power that goes with “perfect fredome,” I cannot tell, but I hope that whether we choose to serve or command, we have at least spared a thought as to why. Cui servire est regnare is written in code, which makes it tricky to translate. Even Mr. Myers’ patient, fireside reading can only expose the moral cryptogram underneath. It is a riddle, but admitting that gives us a chance. To gain knowledge, we must perceive a shortage of it; therefore, having less hubris about the motto is one of the first things we can do to honor it.
2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
Augustine, soliloquia, 1.1.5 The translation is: God, through whom we both serve well and rule well. Rose Elizabeth Cleveland, The Soliloquies of St. Augustine, Boston: Little, Brown, and Company . ibid. Francis Proctor and Christopher Wordsworth, BREviARiUM Ad USUM iNSiGNiS ECCLESiAE SARUM, FASCiCULUS i, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press . Thomas Cranmer, The booke of the common prayer, London: Edward Whitchurche . 26 U.S.C. \S501(c)(3). Augustine, confessiones, 8.6.15: “cuius rei causa militamus? maiorne esse poterit spes nostra in palatio quam ut amici imperatoris simus?” translated by Albert C. Outler, Philadelphia: Westminster Press . Groton’s first, short-lived motto, “Esse quam videri,” (“To be, rather than to seem to be”) made a related point.
Andrew Greene ’78 lives in London and works at Christofferson Robb & Company, a private money management firm that invests in the global credit markets.
Quarterly Fall 2009
Grotoniana | All Things Groton
SPRING SPORTS Girls Varsity Tennis | 7 - 8
fter four girls graduated from last year’s team, returning players Ripley Hartmeyer ’09 (captain), Ali Norton ’12, Julia Maguire ’09 and Nina Milbank ’10 were joined by Sage Redman ’11 and Helena Duffee ’10, who moved up from last year’s JV squad. The roster was rounded out by sensational newcomers Whitney Hartmeyer ’11 and Julia Metzger ’11. Groton opened the season with two losses, but they were to teams that were among the strongest in New England and also not members of the ISL. Having come into competition form during those early matches, Groton was poised for a successful run against league opponents ... until illness swept across the Groton campus. As one player after another succumbed (to a bug that was unrelated to swine flu), the team was forced to play with a depleted line-up for more than two weeks. Those weeks were not without their successes, as Ripley Hartmeyer established herself as a dominant singles player in the league, and the rest of the team stepped up and competed well at whatever position the day’s lineup placed them. Even so, it was an uphill battle. At one point during that stretch, Groton lost a competitive match to Thayer, 5–10, while missing three players. As it turns out, Thayer went on to an undefeated clean sweep of the ISL, leaving the Groton players wondering “What if ...?” The team played catch-up for the rest of the season, working hard in practice to get back up to full strength after those weeks
Capt. Ripley Hartmeyer ’09 returns service during spring practice.
lost to illness. With great depth in the league this year, few matches came easily, but Groton still won its share, ending with a season record of 7–8 overall and 7–5 in the ISL, which put them in a tie for sixth place in the league. The team then turned in another solid performance at the New England Invitational, where they finished tied with Exeter for 10th place. Captain Ripley Hartmeyer ended her Groton career with stellar records of 31-7-3 in singles, 29-8 in doubles, and three consecutive All-League awards. As hard as it will be to replace her, she and Julia Maguire were the only seniors to graduate from this year’s team, so a strong core of players will return next year to build on this year’s record. 2009 Awards:
All-League: Ripley Hartmeyer Team MVP: Ripley Hartmeyer Team MIP: Julia Metzger Team Coach’s Award: Ali Norton Captain: Ripley Hartmeyer Captain-elect: Nina Milbank
Ali Norton ’12 returns a forehand in a varsity match against Lawrence Academy.
66 | Quarterly Fall 2009
Boys Tennis | 9 - 6
he boys tennis team completed a successful 2009 campaign, beating St. Mark’s 9-6 in the season finale. Finishing with an ISL record of 9-6, the squad played some fine tennis against the perennially strong ISL teams. The team also played some early matches against Andover, Exeter and Deerfield, beating Exeter but falling to the other two. Groton’s strong play during the season earned them an invitation to the Division “A” New England tournament. Unfortunately, Groton drew number one seed Milton Academy in the quarterfinals, and lost, 4-0. Sixth Form Captains Reed Simmons and Arjun Aggarwal led the squad with their strong singles play at #1 and #2. They proved to be a particularly potent pair at #1 doubles, winning nine ISL matches together. Groton’s second doubles pair, Charlie All sports pictures taken by Vaughn Winchell, Insight Studios
Bolton ’09 and Orme Thompson ’11, won some good matches together as well, including a close 9-7 victory against St. Mark’s. Ken Ballato ’11, Ted Leonhardt ’11, Walter Hawes ’10 and Jack Cohen ’11 played at the #5 and #6 singles positions and combined in various formations at #3 doubles. Senior managers Alisha Hsu and Becky Kang provided great spirit and wonderful organization during the season, working behind the scenes to make everything run smoothly. No contest proved to be more exciting than the St. George’s match, played at home on Alumni Weekend. Groton began the match brilliantly, winning all three doubles points. The scores, however, show how close the competition was: 8-6, 9-7, and 9-7. At #3 doubles, in fact, the boys had two set points against them. The winning combinations were Reed Simmons and Arjun Aggarwal at #1, Charlie Bolton and Orme Thompson at #2, and Walter Hawes and Ted Leonhardt at #3. When singles began, Coach “Señor” Conner could tell that the match would tighten up. St. George’s got off to an early lead, winning the first sets at #1, #2, #3, and #4, while Ken Ballato and Ted Leonhardt won their first sets at #5 and #6. Ken’s first set was a
Captain Arjun Aggarwal ’09 serves during a home match against St. George’s.
cliff-hanger, as he eked out a 13-11 victory in the tie-breaker. In the second sets, Groton lost at #2, #3, and #5, while at #1 and #6 Reed Simmons and Ted Leonhardt won nice matches. With the score now locked at 7-7, it was up to #4, Charlie Bolton, to deliver the match for the home team. Holding off two set-points, Charlie worked his way into a tie-breaker in which he prevailed by a score of 7-3. With this point, Groton could claim victory by the narrowest of margins. As it was Reunion Weekend, numerous alumni made appearances at the match, which, undoubtedly, helped to propel the home team to victory. It was an absolutely exhilarating performance. Said Señor Conner: “Every break seemed to go Groton’s way today. The tennis gods were smiling on us.” At the end of the season, Reed Simmons earned Honorable Mention at the All-League meeting of coaches, and the entire Groton team was honored by winning the Skip Howard Trophy, which recognizes the team with the best sportsmanship in the league. Coach Conner expressed appreciation at the team banquet
Captain Reed Simmons ’09 strokes a forehand winner in a match against St. George’s.
at season’s end for the Sixth Form’s leadership: “Reed, Arjun, and Charlie played with great energy, determination and heart all season. They set a great example, helping to lead the team to victory on many an occasion.” Next year’s captains are Orme Thompson and Ted Leonhardt.
Girls Varsity Lacrosse | 6 - 11
roton’s girls varsity lacrosse team can be characterized by one word, “heart.” This is a team that combined a few seasoned leaders (who not only play for Groton, but who also play some club lacrosse) with girls who played lacrosse for their previous schools, as well as with girls who were strong athletes but who had little lacrosse experience. The coaching staff (Martha Gracey, Marty Elkins, and Sarah Mongan) worked hard to help this team gel, to run a strong offense, and to play team defense. Senior co-captains Gabriella Flibotte and Katie Mello anchored the attack with noteworthy contributions from seniors Heather Mayer and Christie Colley as well as junior Paige McDonald and freshman Ashlin Dolan. Senior goalie Fiona Jevon anchored the defensive unit with strong play from juniors Michelle Murphy, Grace Bukawyn, and Courtney Fogarty. Midfielders Michela Mastrullo ’11, Adriana Pulford ’11, and Abby Morss ’12 proved speedy and feisty playmakers on both ends of the field. What we will remember most about this season is the heart the team consistently showed in its contests. While the final record (6-11) may not have been a winning one, these girls learned how to compete with passion. Therefore, we had close, intense games with both Brooks and St. George’s. We learned the meaning of adversity and pulling together when Fiona was taken off the field during our St. Paul’s game; (we subsequently went on a eight goal run and made the game close, but it was too little, too late.) One of the most memorable contests of the season came when we traveled to Buckingham Browne and Nichols and came from behind to win in overtime, 17-16. Fiona had the game of her career that day; unfortunately with five left to play, it proved to be her last game Quarterly Fall 2009
Third former Ashlin Dolan cradles and carries in a game against Rivers School.
of the season, as she sustained a concussion that sidelined her. Freshman backup goalie, Kaly Spilhaus, stepped into the starting role and showed her mettle and resolve in the remaining games. Our season ended with our St. Mark’s game on their field. We went up 2-1 early on and then never led again until the final twentytwo seconds of play when Gabriella scored to put us ahead 15-14. Wow! Talk about heart in a team! Three seniors made significant contributions in their last game for Groton School: Heather with great play all over the field and three goals, Katie with four goals and five assists; and Gabriella, dominating the draw and finishing with seven goals, including the game winner. We wish all our graduating seniors well as they go off to college. We also bid a fond farewell to Marty Elkins whose love of the game and commitment to the team cannot be replaced. Post season awards: LNE representative to Schoolgirls National Tournament:
Ashlin Dolan NEPSWLA All Stars: Paige McDonald and Gabriella Flibotte ISL First Team: Gabriella Flibotte ISL Honorable Mention: Paige McDonald Tri-Captains elect: Michelle Murphy, Grace Bukawyn,
009 was somewhat of a groundbreaking season for the boys varsity lacrosse team, thanks to the senior leadership of Tri-captains Henry Mumford, Jono Turchetta and Peter Taylor, as well as the hard work of fellow sixth formers Julian Bloom, Evans Grenier, Hugh Harwood, Billy Larkin, Ames Lyman, Ud Okorafor, and Angus West. With the most wins in twelve years, this tight-knit group prided itself in its daily commitment to work ethic, team unity, enthusiasm, and sportsmanship. Not only was this measurable in the obvious terms of statistics, but the coaches also witnessed it each day, as several players arrived early during what we call “extra help” time to practice skill building. Moreover, the ball bag was often returned late to the athletic director’s office, as players consistently lingered after practice. This tone of extra effort was instilled during our annual trip to Cocoa Beach, Florida, and culminated with a thrilling road victory over rival St. Mark’s on the last day of the season. Throughout the spring, Groton showed it was ready to take forward steps, competing hard against the likes of Governor’s, St. Sebastian’s, and Belmont Hill. The team endured heart-breaking, one-goal losses versus St. Paul’s and Brooks, but those were balanced by hard fought victories over Buckingham Browne and Nichols, St. George’s, Lawrence Academy, and Roxbury Latin. The boys also faired well against out of league foes Vermont Academy and Berwick Academy, with 13-6 and 9-5 victories, respectively. Sixth Form Captain Mumford earned a flatbed load of hardware (All-ISL, All-NE, MVP), while being ranked fourth in the ISL for points per game (4.1). Fellow Sixth Form Captain Turchetta (honorable mention ISL) averaged 2.4 points per game, while admirably battling over most of the face-offs this season. Our third Sixth Form Captain, Taylor, pitched in with 20 points, countless clutch groundballs, and immeasurable leadership in the midfield. Coaches’ Award winner senior Billy Larkin prowled the defensive zone area, while All-NE longstick midfielder Angus West harassed our opponents’ best midfielders. Grenier, Bloom, Harwood, and Okorafor proved rugged in the middle, while Lyman provided depth at attack.
Most Improved Players: Kaly Spilhaus and Gracie Villa Most Valuable Player: Gabriella Flibotte
Boys Varsity Lacrosse | 7 - 10
Grotoniana | All Things Groton
Paige McDonald ’10 looks to pass to teammate Michela Mastrullo ’11 in a game against Rivers School.
68 | Quarterly Fall 2009
Connor MacKenzie ’10 protects the ball in a home contest against Milton Academy.
Senior leaders, Henry Mumford (21) and Jono Turchetta (10), celebrate a score in the Milton game.
Fifth Form Captains-elect Charles-Eric Boutet and Scott Fronsdahl led a physically tough defensive unit, along with classmates Tom Nagler, and Jon Rodriguez, and third former Walter Hunnewell. Fifth form defender Will Stemberg was a force until his injury, and we anticipate that fifth former Connor Robinson will raise the level next season. Goalies, fifth former Dale Adams and second former Peter Mumford, shared duty between the pipes, challenging and supporting each other all season. At the midfield, fifth form captain-elect and ISL honorable mention Connor Mackenzie led the charge, with fourth formers Nils Martin, James Cottone, Phil McNamara, and second former Adam Hardej gaining invaluable experience. On attack, fifth former Alex Gregoire made some clutch plays, with diaper dandies Mike Doherty and Jack Rhinelander, both third formers, rounding out our offensive unit. The team voted Doherty the most improved player. Next year’s roster will exhibit a healthy balance of experience and youth across each of the forms. Combine this exciting group of players with some promising athletes on this year’s junior varsity, and Groton’s lacrosse future looks bright. Many thanks go to Coaches Fred Beams, Will Webb ’93, Peter Fry, and Bodhi Amos ’88, and our volunteer coaches Devin Demers ’03 and Brendan Murphy, as well as our alumni, parents, and supporters. Special recognition goes to Coach Amos, who will be headed to Episcopal School in Virginia. His pride in and love for the Groton jersey has deeply touched us all. Many thanks as well go to our two senior managers, Ashleigh Corvi and Daniel Rainer.
Varsity Baseball | 6 - 10
he 2009 baseball campaign was a season of ups and downs for the Groton Nine. The team showed tremendous perseverance and resilience as they came back from deficit after deficit. It seemed as though they spotted every team a 4-0 lead, and then had to battle back the second half of the game. They came out on the winning side of their first two league games with a convincing win at Governor’s Academy, and a come from behind win against St. Sebastian’s. Six straight league losses followed, as poor defense and pitching put the team in holes from which they could not climb. The last part of the season was highlighted by two huge comeback wins. The Groton Nine stunned perennial league power Belmont Hill with a 9-8 home win, and they capped the season off with a 17-13 win against School rival St. Mark’s. Despite a lot of early deficits, the team battled every inning of every game and finished with an overall record of 6-10. With the St. Sebastian’s and Belmont Hill wins, the potential to compete with the top teams in the league was realized and should provide next year’s team with the confidence to compete with every ISL team. This year’s team was led by Sixth Form Captain Luke Deary. Deary was a leader on and off the field. His solid catching and tremendous arm consistently shut down our opponents running game. He earned All League honors, as he finished the year as one of the top ten hitters in the league. His leadership, work ethic, and positive attitude will be missed as he heads off to continue plying his trade at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. Fifth Former Brett Frongillo also earned All League honors, finishing 13th in the league hitting race. Frongillo, who played second base and shortstop, belted four homeruns and led the team with 20 RBIs. He will be returning next year to lead as one of our team captains. Other key contributors to this year’s team were fourth former Ross Julian, fifth former Tanner Keefe, sixth former Ben Lamont, third former Joe MacDonald, and sixth Vaughn Winchell
ISL all-league: Henry Mumford ISL honorable mention: Jono Turchetta, Conor Mackenzie NESSLA SR East-West All-Star: Henry Mumford, Jono Turchetta,
Angus West US Lacrosse Academic All-American: Henry Mumford Coaches’ Award: Billy Larkin MIP Award: Mike Doherty MVP Award: Henry Mumford 2008 captains-elect: Charles Boutet, Scott Fronsdahl,
Fifth form shortstop Bret Frongillo fields a ground ball in a home game against Governor ’s Academy.
Quarterly Fall 2009
Third baseman Ross Julian ’11 looks for the double play in a game against Dexter School.
former Sean LaLiberte. They all contributed big hits throughout the year, and provided tremendous efforts on the mound. Julian, Keefe and MacDonald will join Frongillo and a few other returning starters on next year’s team as we look to challenge for one of the top spots in the league. During the annual spring coaches meeting at the end of the season, Groton was recognized with a very special honor. A leaguewide vote of the coaches awarded the team the Jon “Jack” Etter Sportsmanship Trophy. This plaque is given to the team demonstrating the greatest sportsmanship during the season. This year’s team displayed perseverance, a will to win, and a desire to compete, all the while respecting their opponents, coaches, teammates and umpires. We will be losing six players from this year’s team who displayed tremendous leadership and a work ethic that has trickled down to our younger players. They all were significant contributors to the baseball program over the last few years. Luke Deary, Ben Lamont, Sean LaLiberte, Nate Cutler, Ben Sargent and Lorcan McGonigle will all be missed but not forgotten. Our 2010 team will return several key starters, and we look to improve upon this year’s record. With the dedication, leadership and experience of our returning players, the Groton Nine looks to compete for the top spot in the ISL next spring. 2009 Awards/Honors:
Girls Varsity Crew | 16-8 in Dual Races Third in NEIRA Team Standing
009 was an excellent year for girls crew. All of our boats had winning records, and the boathouse was a very happy place. Alumni Weekend saw the christening of a new Empacher, the L. Hugh Sackett, given by Chrissie Oken ’05 and her family. It was a wonderful acknowledgement of Sackett’s dedication to all things Groton and to his years as a coach of club crew. We are extremely lucky to have such loyal and generous alums; thanks to them, our equipment is second to none. There were very few graduating rowers from 2008, so this year’s squad was deep. Faith Richardson ’11 and Emily Caldwell ’10 were that rarity at the high school level, new students who had rowed before coming to Groton. Both of them worked hard throughout the spring and made the first boat. They joined Co-captains Alex Morss ’09 and Ali Maykranz ’09 and coxswain Jane Bang ’10 to power a strong first boat. The first boat returned to the awards docks at Lake Quinsigamond after missing it last year. It wasn’t a gold medal they won, however. Noble and Greenough snuck up on us in the last few strokes and finished two hundredths of a second in front—about two inches. It was a heartbreaking moment for a boat that had really clicked in the last week. But our second-place finish earned us an invitation to the USRowing Youth Nationals three weeks later. We reshuffled the boat, adding Julia May ’10 and Diana Chen ’12 in place of Maykranz and Bang who could not make the trip. Groton raced well in Cincinnati and placed fourth in the country. There was some disappointment about not coming home with a medal, of course, but the crew raced better in each of its three races and held second place for almost the whole race before getting sprinted through by two other crews. You can bet we will be working on our last 500 next year. Our other varsity boats had solid seasons, winning dual races and finishing strongly, but out of the medals, at Quinsigamond. Coach Tiffany Doggett helped to develop tremendous enthusiasm and talent down at the Nashua this year, and we are counting on that to push us back to the top next year. Vaughn Winchell
Grotoniana | All Things Groton
Most Valuable Player: Luke Deary Most Improved Player: Sean LaLiberte Coaches’ Award: Brett Frongillo All ISL: Luke Deary & Brett Frongillo Honorable Mention ISL: Ross Julian 2010 Co-captains Elect: Brett Frongillo and Tanner Keefe Girls first boat practices on the Nashua.
70 | Quarterly Fall 2009
Girls second boat practicing on the Nashua River.
Boys second boat in rhythm.
Our junior varsity was deep this year with third formers who learned from coaches Drew Kesler, Carmine Grimaldi, and Ella Steim ’01 how to work hard, have fun, and win races. Steim returned to Groton this spring and did a great job with the new rowers. She’ll be missed next year. Next year’s varsity captains will be Bryn Garrity ’10 and Jane Bang ’10.
first race day mistakes, but we were able to come away with wins of convincing margins over both schools at all four levels. We next hosted Middlesex on the Nashua and again came away with four convincing wins. Our racing at the Weston Wayland regatta brought silver and bronze medals to the top three boats. The competition at this regatta included Belmont Hill, Brooks, Deerfield from the ISL/ prep school ranks, and Weston-Wayland, Community Rowing, and Derryfield from Boston area club and high school programs. Moving into the last two weeks of the season before the NEIRAs, our momentum faltered a bit as we lost six of eight races on the Charles against Brooks and Belmont Hill. We regained our form the next weekend, winning three of four against Noble and Greenough on our home course. The season’s racing results earned NEIRA seedings as follows: of the 12 schools competing, our fourth boat earned a sixth seed; third boat was seeded second; second boat was seeded third. The first boat was seeded sixth out of 18 competitors. All four boats qualified for their respective grand final, but only two were able to “beat the book” and perform above their seeding. Fourth boat had a terrific final, winning gold and first boat took fifth in a very strong field. Third boat medaled taking bronze and second boat had a disappointing fifth place finish in their final. Overall, Groton placed fourth in the team trophy competition behind Belmont Hill, Choate, and Deerfield. Although this was a very solid year of wins and development, the retuning captains, oarsmen and coaches agree that we want to do even better. This is Groton’s second consecutive fourth place finish as a team at the NEIRAs behind Belmont Hill and the bigger fours programs of Choate and Deerfield. The team has committed itself to a more systematic off-season strength training regimen to see if it can reverse the trend. Many thanks and kudos go to coach Bob Madden who ably developed boats 3 and 4 this season and to coaches Topher Row and Luis Viacava who are developing the lower boats from whence future varsity oars will come. Captains-elect for next year are Dennis Cottreau and Jamie Norton.
Boys Crew | 29 – 16 Fourth in NEIRA Team Standing
he 2009 rowing season began with a very productive preseason camp in late March. Double practice sessions in frigid but dry conditions gave us a jump on our training and skill development. Early scrimmages with St. Paul’s and Choate showed that we had promising speed and could be competitive with much larger schools. The racing season opened with three consecutive sweeps. Our first race on the Quinsigamond course against St. Mark’s and Middlesex had its
Boys first boat moves to the catch.
Quarterly Fall 2009
Grotoniana | All Things Groton
New releases Ivan P. Hall ’50
Stupid Nation, Stupid Decisions: The Cultural Philosophy of F.S.C. Northrop: Guidance for America Today November 2008 Privately published in Chiang Mai, Thailand 2008
or culturally wiser ways of engaging the rest of humanity, F.S.C. Northrop offers Americans three keys: the intellectual humility to accept, the academic investment to understand, and the integration into U.S. foreign policy decisions of the ways, so different from our own, by which most other peoples know and value things.
Warren Cook ’63, Executive Producer
The Way We Get By September 2009 The Way We Get By, inc. http://www.thewaywegetbymovie.com/
he national, award-winning documentary, The Way We Get By, is a deeply moving film about life and how to live it. Beginning as a seemingly idiosyncratic story about troop greeters in Bangor, Maine, the film quickly turns into a moving, unsettling, and compassionate story about aging, loneliness, war, and mortality. Hopkinson Smith ’65
Hopkinson Smith Album 2007 Naïve France; U.S. distributor
opkinson Smith specializes in performing music for plucked instruments written in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. This anthology combines tracks from his more than 20 solo recordings to give a panorama of his work featuring different types of lutes and early guitars. The San Francisco Chronicle has called him “without doubt the finest lute player in the world today.”
John W. Kiser ’61
Commander of the Faithful: The Life and Times of Emir Abd el-Kader November 2008 Monkfish Books
istory, according to the truism, is written by the victors. Yet, it was the French victors who paid homage to the moral, intellectual, and spiritual qualities that made Abd el-Kader a widely recognized “great man” of the mid-19th century. Emir Abd el-Kader inspired respect from Missouri to Moscow. His story is about many things, but ultimately it is about struggle: struggle against French invaders, struggle with Arabs who rejected his leadership, struggle with depression and despair in French prisons, and struggle to live as a good Muslim.
72 | Quarterly Fall 2009
SCHOOL NEWS GWN
s new faces come to the Circle each September, this is also a time to acknowledge the Groton Women’s Network volunteers for their service to the School. This group of dedicated alumnae, parents, and faculty work together to strengthen ties of all Groton women to the School, and to stimulate communication and interaction. This fall, the GWN warmly welcomes new City Chair committee members and offers a huge thank you to those who are retiring. After a year of hard work for the Boston City Chair team, Haley Milner LaMonica ’97 has left the Boston area to move to Long Island. Working with Hannah Wood Wick ’93 and Christine Baharozian P’10, ’12, Haley coordinated the annual community service event at On The Rise, and was a Model Mugging guest speaker at the Sixth Form Girls Dinner in February. To fill Haley’s role, Sarah diMare Atwood ’93 has generously agreed to help with city events. Sarah also spoke at the Model Mugging dinner last winter and has already thought of some new fun ideas for the Boston city chairs to consider for 2009-2010. Abbie Stubbs Burke ’97 is stepping down as a Washington D.C. city chair to dedicate time to her family when she and husband Bill welcome their first child in August. Abbie has co-hosted a substantial number of GWN events over her twoplus years as a city chair, including an art exhibit, and several community service events. She also started a Groton young alumni happy hour, now in its third year thanks to her efforts. Stepping into this cochair position is Lauren Midon Huntley ’99, who with fellow co-chair Katherine Trainor ’99, is already planning for the upcoming year. The GWN has expanded and now has a city chair representing Connecticut’s Fairfield County and the New York Dutchess County area. Ann Bakewell Woodward ’86 has taken on the challenge of starting a group in this region and will offer a couple of events this coming school
year, one focused on education and one enabling Groton community members to spend social time together. If anyone in this area is interested in helping Ann, please contact Betsy Wray Lawrence ’82
in the Alumni office at 978-448-7587 or by email to blawrence@ groton.org. The GWN looks forward to working together for another rewarding year. The 2009-2010 committee members are:
A. Merrill Stubbs ’95 GWN Chair
Janet M. Hartwell P’00 Advisory Subcommittee
Eliza Storey Anderson ’79, P’04, ’06, ’08, ’10 GWN vice-Chair
Betsy Wright Hawkings ’81 Advisory Subcommittee
Julia Babson Alling
Amy Cunningham Atkinson ’79, TR
Lauren Midon Huntley ’99 Washington d.C. Co-City Chair
Sarah DiMare Atwood ’93 Boston Co-City Chair Christine E. Baharozian P’10, ’12 Boston Co-City Chair Iva Bahuguna ’99 Chicago City Chair Brooke McFerran Bancroft ’96 New York Co-City Chair Amy W. Baughman ’99 Los Angeles Co-City Chair
Sarah Barnes Jensen ’83, FTR Advisory Subcommittee Elizabeth Wray Lawrence ’82 Katharine Leggat Claudia A. Lewis ’79, FTR Tiverton Smith McClintock ’92 Suzanne F. McCullagh P’01, ’07, FTR Katharine Blow McGloon ’81
Stephanie E.K. Borynack ’92 Advisory Subcommittee
Emily Colby McLellan ’94 New York Co-City Chair
Susannah B. Bristol P’02, ’06, FTR
Susan T. Nitze P’91, ’94, FTR Advisory Subcommittee
Sara V. Clark ’99 Los Angeles Co-City Chair Katelynn M. Clement ’07 Susan H. Colby P’94, ’98, FTR Lindsay McNiel Commons Elliot Davis ’80, FTR Advisory Subcommittee Gage Stocker Dobbins ’90 Advisory Subcommittee Chandler Bass Evans ’96 Self defense Endowment Co-Chair Sarah Casey Forbes ’86
LuAnn S. Polk honorary Chair Pauline Cross Reeve ’78, P’07, ’09, ’11, TR Jane Bunn Saunders ’94 San Francisco City Chair Katherine Alexander Sears ’87 Ainslie Mackay Sugarman ’92 Self defense Endowment Co-Chair Katherine J. Trainor ’99 Washington d.C.Co-City Chair
Piper Fogg Gould ’95
Hannah Davis Wood Wick ’93 Boston Co-City Chair
Patricia Haas-Cleveland P’05, ’07 Advisory Subcommittee
Ann Bakewell Woodward ’86 Fairfield and dutchess Counties City Chair
Quarterly Fall 2009
Grotoniana | All Things Groton Groton School 2009–2010 Annual Fund
CUi SERviRE EST REGNARE
Thanks to Annual Fund donors throughout Groton’s history, the School has provided its students with a multi-faceted education rich in tradition and innovation. This year, as Groton celebrates its 125th birthday, your support is vital. A gift to Groton’s Annual Fund will celebrate your belief in the mission of the School and help to ensure that today’s students receive the very best education possible. Please help the tradition of support continue and consider a gift to Groton today.
To make a gift or complete a pledge, please go to www.groton.org and click on Giving to Groton; send a check to the Annual Fund, Groton School, P.O. Box 991, Groton, MA 01450; or call the Development Office at 800-396-6866 to make a gift of securities.
74 | Quarterly Fall 2009
In Memoriam I N
M E M O R I A M
George H.P. Dwight ’45
1 August 6, 1927 – February 27, 2009
by George C. Lodge ’45
first met George in 1940 when we were both about 13 years old entering the Second Form of Groton School. Even at that young age, George was an impressive fellow. He was by any measure the star of our class. I remember well when our tests were handed back. After noting my customary C, I would glance furtively over to George’s to see A+. In the quiz on current events that Time magazine sent around, George got every answer right—an unheard of 100 percent. He always seemed to have the right answer to every question. On Prize Day, he wore himself out going up to get his awards. And on the football field, he played guard with a ferocity that dazzled us all. In scrimmages, even though I was larger in bulk, he would regularly lay me on my back. In spite of his capability, however, his modesty prevented him from lording it over the rest of us. He was always a good friend. And he had a wonderful way with those less fortunate than he was. We were both counselors at the summer camp in New Hampshire that Groton ran for inner-city children. His commitment and care for his bewildered charges won him their devotion. The great event of camp life was a race across the lake in large rowing boats. One summer, George was at the helm of one boat and I was in charge of another. We both were exhorting our respective oarsmen pull their hearts out. George was ahead, but then one of his gang caught a crab and my boat sailed by. He did not like to lose; I could tell by his face, but magnanimity won out as he yelled, “Congratulations!” There is nothing wishy-washy about George Dwight. He was an enthusiastic and passionate supporter of the causes and institutions in which he believed. He was a good friend, and we will sorely miss him.
“Even at that young age, George was an impressive fellow. He was by any measure the star of our class.”
Quarterly Fall 2009
In Memoriam | As We Remember I N
M E M O R I A M
George Dwight ’45 and his wife Eleanor in their garden.
by Dick Lawrence ’45:
hile George spent much of his career working in the private sector, his real passion was improving New York City. A lawyer and political activist who worked all his adult life to make New York City and its neighborhoods better places, George died of cancer at the age of 81 in New York. By the 1950s, George was active in Democratic politics, joining the Lexington Democratic Club, a reform club, and eventually becoming its president. In 1962, George entered the city’s law department as special assistant corporation counsel under Mayor Robert Wagner. While there, he sought to improve the quality of the city’s legal staff. As an active participant in local politics throughout his life, George was interested in obtaining the voting perspective of every New Yorker. In 1964, the Times quoted him as a representative of the Lexington Democratic Club trying to gain access to voters in high income buildings to determine their voting preferences. He said he had “developed a policy in 11 years of canvassing and making friends with the doormen. Most of them are Irish and roaring Democrats…” he said in the Times interview. “If the doorman’s a good guy, he also is a confessor for a lot of men in the building, and he can tell you how they will probably vote.” George continued this practice, and for the last 20 years, when riding in a cab, his preference was to sit in the front passenger seat interviewing the taxi driver about his personal history and political preferences. George’s later career was as a partner at Richards & O’Neill, and most recently he was of counsel at McLaughlin & Stern. His work on the boards of neighborhood houses furthered his involvement in New York and his resolve to find solutions for its problems. George focused his passion for the city on reinvigorating Harlem. In the mid-1990s, after observing the opportunities available for federal “empowerment zones,” George sought to improve Harlem through the creation of Vision Harlem, a project approved by Congressman Charles Rangel. George met and married writer Eleanor Collier Dwight in 1975. Ellie introduced her new husband to Bar Harbor, where her family had spent summers for generations. George and Mount Desert Island took to each other right away, and in no time he embarked upon another of his passions—gardening at the family’s shore path home. Most particularly, he was a student of wildflowers to which he dedicated a whole field, planting mostly native species and a few exotics. In addition to his wife Ellie, George is survived by five children from his first marriage, three stepchildren, seven grandchildren, and seven step-grandchildren.
76 | Quarterly Fall 2009
In Memoriam I N
M E M O R I A M
1 A Remembrance by William M. Polk ’57
uring the 1952 presidential campaign, Tallulah Bankhead and Ethel Barrymore agreed to appear together in a celebrity photo supporting Adlai Stevenson. After the picture was taken, Ethel tearfully complained to Tullulah, “You deliberately seated us this way so they’d photograph my bad side.” To which Tallulah replied, “Dahling, how could you ever suspect me of such a cruel thing? I never would have done that to you—but, of course, the thought never occurred to me since I don’t have a bad side.” Margaret would have liked that story. It makes for good theater, and Margaret liked good theater. Had she been directing the scene, she would have drawn out of the actresses a winning performance, with each delivering her lines with just the right pitch and perfect timing. Margaret had an innate sense of just the right pitch and of perfect timing. After graduating from Brown magna cum laude and with a Phi Beta Kappa key, in her words, “bent on a career in the theater, I got into acting for about three years, both in and
out of New York City.” Her acting career was cut short by the outbreak of World War II. Joining the American Red Cross as a hospital recreation worker, Margaret was stationed at Fort Devens, which, happily for the Groton School community, is located near the campus. Fort Devens is where Margaret met another volunteer, Betsy Peabody, who brought her into contact with the School. The director of the Dramat persuaded her to play the female role in the School production of a play called Adam The Creator. Recalling this she said, “I agreed, with the understanding that I would probably get to two or three rehearsals. Well, during those rehearsals, I met ‘the man,’” who was not Adam the Creator but Paul the Master, soon to be Groton’s senior master and then headmaster. Margaret’s effect on “the man” is remembered by one 1946 School graduate, “He was more lighthearted and not quite so focused.” Yes, she brought out his lightheartedness, but few graduates or colleagues would ever describe Paul Wright as “not quite so focused.” Margaret was a person of deep faith. Emerson wrote: My Surfaces were well-developed But the depth of my Spirit, soul, and guts Remained untouched The depth of Margaret’s spirit, soul, and guts were deeply touched and grounded by her faith. Because of her faith, at the center of her life was a place of peace and security, a place from which she derived a sense of who she was and a place from which she defined her values and her approach to life. She understood St. Augustine’s admonishment, “… believe that thou mayst understand.” A woman of firm convictions, Margaret believed that things should be done in a certain way, not because they had always been done that way but because it brought out the best in people. Directing a play or helping a student with his studies or opening her house to guests, that is what she was about: bringing out the best in people, especially helping young people understand that a best existed within them and they should not settle for less.
Paul and Margaret Wright
Quarterly Fall 2009
In Memoriam | As We Remember I N
M E M O R I A M
“Because of her faith, at the center of her life was a place of peace and security, a place from which she derived a sense of who she was and a place from which she defined her values and her approach to life.” Devoted to her family, she was a wonderful partner to Paul and mother to Jimmy, Tina, and Paul. She spent a lot of time organizing activities they would enjoy and became involved in their activities. “Involved” does not do justice to her contributions to Groton School at Paul’s side and in her own right. And she was active in her children’s Boy and Girl Scout troops, made a production out of their birthdays, and organized family vacations around the extended family. How she rejoiced when Nicholas and Sarah became part of her family. Although Margaret gave up the bright lights and the big stage of New York for a lower wattage and a smaller stage of rural New England, she never lost her passion for the theater. She directed many Groton plays and acted in a few. As Groton in her time was only for boys, younger students played female roles. Once just a few days before the performance of A Midsummer Night’s dream, the student who was cast as Titania fell down the stairs twisting his knees. Margaret stepped in with a memorable performance. I can still see her on stage giving another memorable performance as Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible. One former Groton actor wrote Margaret on her 91st birthday: “Acting in productions of the Dramatic Society meant a lot to me when I was at Groton, especially Revizor by Gogol. I will always be grateful to you for your patient instruction as you taught me how to kiss a Concord Academy student, whom I, as Khlestakov, was courting. A valuable life lesson in the days when Grotties, or at least most of us, were not as advanced in such skills during our prep school years.” Margaret’s patient instructions helped many students in need of encouragement and extra help with English and study skills. They remember her “warmth, compassion, grace, and sincerity,” “calm presence with a great smile,” “calm wisdom,” “the engaging way about her which made a person regardless of age smile back at her, feeling deep down cared for,” and “evenings filled with mirth, good cheer, delicious cookies, coffee and brownies.” One student wrote to her on her 91st birthday, “I often think back to my fifth and sixth form years when you and I spent a couple of hours each week working together on reading comprehension and writing. I enjoyed these sessions so much, I remember continuing our work right up to Prize Day, well past my acceptance at Harvard. Thank you so much for all you did for me. I shall never forget.” None of us will ever forget all that this special woman did for us.
Paul and Margaret Wright in the early 1990s.
78 | Quarterly Fall 2009
R Form Notes are now password-protected. Members of the Groton community may read them online by signing in at www.groton.org/myGroton.