The Quarterly • Winter 2017
IM GINE THIS
ED FINN ’98 BELIEVES THAT WHEN NARRATIVE AND SCIENCE MEET, BIG IDEAS HAPPEN
Winter 2017 • Volume LXXVIII, No. 1
IMAGINE THIS Ed Finn ’98 believes that when narrative and science meet, big ideas happen page 20
D E P A R T
Message from the Headmaster
Circiter / Around the Circle
15 Personae / Profiles 27 Voces / Chapel Talks 36 De Libris / New Releases 41 Grotoniana / Arts 46 Grotoniana / Athletics 54 In Memoriam 57 Form Notes
Freedom, by Gordon Gund ’57; learn more about the sculpture on page 4.
Cover photo composite by Irene Chu
I wanted to share the chapel talk that I delivered on December 1, 2016, after the Thanksgiving break. My intent was to provide some post-election perspective to our community. In this chapel talk, I share with you a letter I am writing to President-elect Donald Trump, which will be sent to him after his inauguration on January 20, 2017.
Dear President Trump, Congratulations upon assuming the highest office in the land as our forty-fifth President. One of my responsibilities, as the eighth headmaster of Groton School, is to write a letter to a new U.S. President soon after he or she has been sworn in as the leader of the free world. I am an immigrant from South Africa, a relatively new American whose first name — Temba — means hope, and whose last name — Maqubela — means progress. For the last thirty-two years, my spouse, Vuyelwa (whose name means joy) and I have had the joy and privilege of teaching U.S. teenagers, making a modest contribution in preparing them for lives of purpose, meaning, and usefulness to humankind. My colleagues at Groton School and those before them have done even more. Among the most obvious results are three graduates who currently are Congressmen, serving on both sides of the aisle. Congressmen Jim Cooper of Tennessee, George Holding of North Carolina, and Bobby Scott of Virginia all are Groton School graduates. They represent extraordinary accomplishment and exemplify scholarship and service. Another great Congressman I taught at a previous school still calls me Mr. Maq. What is unique is how Congressman Seth Moulton and I have kept in touch for the last twenty years — through his years at Harvard, where he earned a BS in physics and absorbed the wisdom of his mentor, the Reverend Peter Gomes, and during his four tours as a marine in Iraq. I hope you get to know these Congressmen — all of them scholars and patriots. Mr. President, Groton School’s intentionally diverse community unambiguously embraces inclusion, and since the school’s founding, each of my predecessors played a crucial role in nurturing and advancing this ideal. In our union and on the Groton Circle, we know that words and actions matter. Our diverse make-up at Groton — and indeed in our country — is a strength. Without exception since President Theodore Roosevelt, nineteen of your predecessors have sent a signed letter and portrait to Groton School for our presidential letter collection — now a tradition for more than a century. I write to ask you to continue this tradition. This unbroken chain symbolizes the enduring power of our democracy as well as Groton pride. Many of our previous Presidents’ messages have inspired our learners and their teachers to continue to devote themselves to lives of learning, character, leadership, and service. Your letter will reinforce Groton’s enduring pillars of scholarship, service, spirituality, and globalism. I prefer to view and interpret our motto — Cui Servire Est Regnare — as affirming service as the most authentic form of leadership. I look forward to hearing from you.
Message from the Headmaster
OW I TURN personal as I address
you—the students, faculty, and staff—on the power and liberation that flows from reconciliation. In 1986, my then eighty-two-year-old maternal grandmother was one of the few who were allowed to visit the imprisoned Nelson Mandela. Mrs. Maqubela’s brother drove her to the prison gates, from where she walked the remaining yards to visit this famous prisoner. The one word that she repeated when I asked
Groton School Quarterly
about what was shared was: Reconciliation. I remember telling Granny over lunch that, as a radical, I was not prepared to accept this so-called reconciliation. Granny, a granddaughter of a Lithuanian Jew, gave me a look of disappointment that only a grandmother could give. I resisted her glare of admonition. In 1989, the Reverend Beyers Naudé—the white activist who was banned from 1977–1984, a man who had thrown his weight fighting against apartheid (or
exclusion)—was being honored at the JFK Museum for his service in fighting against apartheid. He called on all South Africans to join him for a meeting at the Kennedy Library in Boston. Mrs. Maqubela and I canceled classes and headed to Boston from Andover. Senator Edward Kennedy led us, South African exiles and activists, to the family’s private living room in the library. At that event, Reverend Naudé told us that the release of Nelson Mandela was imminent and that he would be preaching reconciliation rather than revenge. Reverend Naudé said, “Mandela spent twenty-seven years in prison and he is calling for reconciliation.” Mrs. Maqubela and I were resigned to the realization that if a man who had spent as much time as Mandela did in jail was calling for reconciliation against his former enemies, who were we to contradict him? It was at that point that the seeds of inclusion fully germinated in our minds. Apartheid was government-sanctioned exclusion, and rejecting this meant inclusion should be the goal of a new democracy. Democracy does not often deliver the result we all want. However, there is no system better and—as hard as it is for some to swallow this pill—the system that we have delivered the election result that it did. In her concession speech, Mrs. Clinton called for unity, and President Obama asked us to have an open mind. Mrs. Clinton believed that Nelson Mandela was the man she admired the most. And now, as she asked for reconciliation in her concession speech, she was following in the footsteps of the man she admired. Back to South Africa: As part of reconciliation, the ruling All-White Party insisted that those like me—who were in political exile—should list all illegal acts and ask for indemnity or forgiveness; otherwise we risked arrest. I was still a political refugee who was without a country at the time. I refused to apply for indemnity against illegal, undemocratic government exclusion. So, uncertain of what might happen because of my refusal, I headed to
Editor Gail Friedman Design Irene Chu
Contributing Editors Kimberly A. Gerighty Elizabeth Z. Ginsberg P’16 Jessica Hart Elizabeth Wray Lawrence ‘82 Allison S. MacBride John D. MacEachern P’10, ‘14, ’16 Kathleen M. Machan Amily Dunlap Moore Amy Sim
South Africa. Some of my colleagues feared I would be re-arrested for refusing to sign a paper. I arrived at the immigration center with my U.N. travel document, and a young, white immigration officer greeted me spiritedly and with a smile, and as he stamped my passport, simply said: “Welcome back to South Africa, Mr. Maqubela.” That was a huge step in my journey to reconciliation. Reconciliation is a journey—a marathon and not a sprint. It consists of intermediate steps. Therefore, it is with the same sense of American optimism that I believe the vitriol of the campaign will subside and a spirit of reconciliation will prevail. Just as Groton’s Young Democrats and Young Republicans came together, please take to heart that—over time—inclusion prevails over division. I believe that you embrace this ideal better than our generation and previous generations have done in the past. This is who we are; we are a community that has contradictions—however, our contradictions are not irreconcilable. Thus, while acknowledging the pain felt and fear experienced by many, I ask you to debate, agree, disagree, listen to all viewpoints—and, ultimately, I ask you to reconcile even with those whose ideas are diametrically opposed to yours. Remember what President John Quincy Adams once said: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” I ask you to “learn more, do more, and become more” and strive to make our Circle more perfect. Together, let’s write the next chapter in the book of inclusion and title it Reconciliation.
Temba Maqubela Headmaster
Photography/Editorial Assistant Christopher Temerson Editorial Offices The Schoolhouse Groton School Groton, MA 01450 978 - 448 -7506 firstname.lastname@example.org
Other School Offices Alumni Office: 978 - 448 -7520 Admission Office: 978 - 448 -7510 Groton School publishes the Groton School Quarterly three times a year, in late summer, winter, and spring, and the Annual Report once a year, in the fall.
REMEMBERING a Faculty Holocaust Survivor
ach Friday night, Groton’s Jewish students fulfill their religious commitment at a Shabbat service, led by Religion/Ethics Department Head David Nelson. The service during Parents Weekend stood out — and not just because numerous parents filled the room. School archivist and shop teacher Doug Brown ’57 honored the memory of Groton’s first Jewish teacher, Ernst Loewenberg, by sharing the Holocaust survivor’s story. Dr. Nelson lit Sabbath candles in silver candlesticks that Mr. Brown had purchased to memorialize Mr. Loewenberg, who taught German, French, and Latin at Groton from 1940–62. Mr. Loewenberg, who had led a Hebrew school in Frankfurt, Germany, left Nazi Germany with his
family in the late 1930s, traveling to Holland before reaching the United States. Mr. Brown does not know the circumstances of his departure. Mr. Loewenberg taught briefly at Milton Academy, and an administrator there suggested to Groton’s headmaster, Endicott Peabody, that he bring the teacher to the Circle to deliver a talk about education under the Nazis. Mr. Peabody had been looking for a Latin teacher and hired Mr. Loewenberg, who actually started work under the next headmaster, Jack Crocker. Mr. Brown said that Mr. Loewenberg became a close advisor to Mr. Crocker, helping him guide Groton through changing times. “Jack valued him greatly because he had been a headmaster himself,” Mr. Brown said. “He was a Jew and a German. He came from a very, very
FREEDOM, in Bronze
Groton School Quarterly
bstract wings of bronze, perched upon a base of Laurentian green granite, have transformed the area behind the Dillon Art Center, near the beautiful new entrance to the Schoolhouse addition. Sculptor Gordon Gund ’57 donated Freedom to Groton School; the art work was installed over the summer. “I hope it will give to all who see and touch it a sense of freedom and a respect for the freedom we all are fortunate to have,” Gordon says. Gordon, who took up sculpting after losing his eyesight to retinitis pigmentosa in 1970, always encourages onlookers to touch his sculptures. Freedom took flight on the wings of an earlier sculpture, of a peregrine falcon. “Once I made a mold of that clay bird, I decided to take away everything and free up the wings,” Gordon says. “I then changed them a little bit more, and the resultant abstract shape evoked a sense of freedom.” This was not Gordon’s first generous donation to Groton’s art landscape. He has exhibited his works on campus and donated a whimsical sculpture, George the Owl, which imparts wisdom in the new Schoolhouse library. An accomplished sculptor with pieces in numerous public spaces, Gordon is also known in the world of business and sports, as chair and CEO of Gund Investment Corporation and former majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team. He served on Groton’s board of trustees from 1976 to 1989 and was named a Distinguished Grotonian in 1989. Freedom is lovely covered in snow, but the sculpture’s important message will resonate in any season.
Gordon Gund’s sculpture was installed behind the Dillon Art Center last summer.
CORRECTIONS Harry Pollock ’60 should have been included among the list of Grotonians who rowed in the Olympics (“From Groton to Rio,” Fall 2016 Quarterly). Harry competed in the four oared shell with coxswain in the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, along with Emory Clark ’56 and Sy Cromwell ’52. The college matriculation chart in the Fall 2016 Quarterly inadvertently omitted two colleges. Of the Form of 2016, one student attended Yale University and one attended Williams College, in addition to the other institutions listed.
died, Mr. Brown wanted to make sure he was remembered. “I thought, there needs to be more than just an obit in the Quarterly,” he says. “I knew candles were involved in Jewish services.” Mr. Brown went to one of Boston’s finest silversmiths and bought an elegant pair of candlesticks. “It cost me a half month’s pay,” he said. “I wanted to do something that was going to be significant.” In his teacher’s memory, Mr. Brown donated the candlesticks to the Jewish community at Groton, then run by Judith Klau. He plans to craft a wooden box in which to store the candlesticks, with an inscription indicating that they are in Mr. and Mrs. Loewenberg’s memory. It’s likely that those candlesticks commemorate the only Holocaust survivor who taught at Groton.
ultures that we might consider backward or out-of-touch actually may be ingenious, a professor of anthropology explained during Groton School’s Global Education Day, October 28. “Other cultures of the world are not failed attempts at being you, or being modern,” Wade Davis of the University of British Columbia told the Groton community. Professor Davis, who has been named an “Explorer of the Millennium” by the National Geographic Society, spoke at an all-school lecture and several smaller gatherings, covering topics such as cultural relativism, linguistics, war, and his own experiences around the world. He described Polynesian settlers who explored the Pacific and indigenous Colombians whose culture survived decades of conflict. He identified ideology as the main threat to culture, citing the industrial destruction of indigenous populations’ homes, persecution of religious practitioners, and the fact that Aboriginal Australians were considered less than human because they did not value technological progress. Davis also discussed linguistics and its role in cultural diversity. Around the time
Abby Power ’17
OF VANISHING CULTURES and Zombies
that most Groton students were born, about 7,000 languages were spoken, he said, but now a language dies every two weeks. With insufficient trained linguists to document the languages, they are disappearing along with the un-translatable knowledge that they contain. Davis’ second lecture told the story of British World War I veterans who attempted to summit Mt. Everest. Witnessing the carnage of war had not resulted in hopelessness, Davis explained, but rather a sense that life was precious and effervescent — that how one lived was more important than how long one lived. The final lecture discussed the Vodou religion in Haiti and zombification; Davis explained that Vodou’s reputation as “black magic” is due to misconceptions spread by American military forces. Vodou is indeed different from many religions, because there is no separation between the material and spiritual: during worship, practitioners become divine, and the power of spiritual possession is “real, immediate, and overwhelming.” He detailed his investigation of a
different background than other people on the faculty. Jack would consult him on difficult family situations and discipline.” Mr. Brown described the new teacher as having a more understanding perspective about discipline. Mr. Brown, who studied French and German with Mr. Loewenberg, also explained at the Parents Weekend service how very badly the teacher wanted to attend Mr. Crocker’s funeral. But it was on a Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, and he lived in Brookline, not on campus. As an Orthodox Jew, his strict observance prohibited travel. So Doug and Jane Brown hosted the teacher in the Gardner House. Mr. and Mrs Loewenberg brought their own kosher food and lit Sabbath candles in the Gardner House fireplace. “I was so taken by that — there were these two little candles on the hearth,” says Doug, obviously still touched by the image. When Mr. Loewenberg
Touched by the “two little candles on the hearth,” Doug Brown donated these candlesticks to Groton’s Jewish community in honor of the Loewenbergs.
Professor Wade Davis
reported zombification, working with a Vodou priest to obtain a folk preparation capable of putting a person into a deathlike state that could fool even trained doctors (and reportedly had). When dosed properly with the neurotoxin, a person would appear dead and then recover, but thereafter be ostracized and considered in a purgatory-like state between the living and the dead. The folk preparation might be administered to someone who violated social or spiritual standards of the community, Davis said. From the ingenious inventions of indigenous peoples to real-life zombies, Davis’ visit to Groton underscored how our understanding of cultures is essential to a responsible, informed worldview. — Christopher Temerson
Manar al-Athar/Oxford University
Dr. Andres Reyes ’80 surveying the temple site
FROM GROTON TO JORDAN: An Ancient Temple’s Story
recently published archaeology book about a remote ancient temple is infused with the efforts of several Grotonians. A Gem of a Small Nabataean Temple was co-written by Hannah Wellman ’08, designed by Hanna Kim ’17, and translated into Arabic by Diana Sayegh ’14. Over several years, Classics teacher Andres Reyes ’80 helped survey Khirbet et-Tannur, the religious sanctuary where the Nabataean temple was unearthed, about forty-five miles from Petra, Jordan. His work was supported in part by Groton’s Dillon Fund. The book’s launch, celebrated November 24 at Oxford University, also marked the rebirth of the Groton School Press, which began operating in 1908 but had been dormant since 1985. Dr. Reyes decided to revive the imprint to encourage the scholarly work of students and alumni. A Gem of a Small Nabataean Temple was jointly published by Manar al-Athar/ Oxford University and Groton School Press. Judith McKenzie, professor of Late Antique Egypt and the Holy Land at Oxford University, was the primary archaeologist on this project and Dr. Reyes the assistant director; they co-edited the new book. The two have worked together since they were archaeology fellows at St. Hugh’s College, Oxford, in the early 1990s. “I’m glad she lets me hold the end of the measuring tape,” said Dr. Reyes, who described the project as putting the temple back together “from a pile of stones on a hilltop between Biblical Edom and Moab.” Archaeologist Nelson Glueck had surveyed the site in the 1930s, but many of the relics he collected were largely forgotten until they were discovered in the basement of the Harvard Semitic Museum in 2002. Needing a writer who could turn dense archaeological tomes into this forty-nine-page book, Dr. Reyes thought of his former Groton student, Hannah Wellman ’08. She was completing an internship at the Smithsonian when he called. The goal was ambitious: to boil down more than seven hundred detailed, highly academic pages
into something readable and accessible. Hannah said she “cherrypicked the most interesting bits. I was trying to distill two volumes into forty pages of highlights and write in a way that was accessible to a non-archaeologist.” Hannah, now a doctoral student at the University of Oregon specializing in zooarchaeology, was fascinated by the relics she described. “That human connection comes through,” she said, admitting that she became “obsessed with” a particular stone vegetation goddess (below). “We can have an emotional response to it in the present and imagine that people were having an emotional response to it in the past.” Hannah co-wrote A Gem of a Small Nabataean Temple with Marlena Whiting, who was then a post-doctoral student at Oxford. Once ready for design, Dr. Reyes approached one of his advisees, Hanna Kim ’17. “He knew I had experience with inDesign and Photoshop,” Hanna explained. Grateful for Dr. Reyes’ years of keen guidance, she didn’t hesitate. The project spanned two summers. Hanna traveled to Oxford to meet Dr. McKenzie and others involved with the project. Through prior summer internships at the Harvard Semitic Museum, she had come to know some of the artifacts from the site. Dr. Joseph Greene, deputy director at the Harvard museum, also provided extensive guidance. Hanna helped bring the copy to life with photos, many of them from the Manar-al-Athar archive at Oxford — and with guidance (and “hundreds of emails”) from Dr. McKenzie. “The original book was two thick volumes. This reads like a story,” Hanna said. “I wanted it to visually read like a narrative, to have a storybook feel.” Hanna isn’t quite finished working on archaeological texts. Dr. Reyes already has asked her to design and co-author another Groton School Press project: a book on the Ethiopian legend of Solomon and Sheba by Sarah Norodom ’09, who also studied Classics at Oxford (and with Dr. Reyes at Groton).
Photos by Christopher Temerson
ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE Sparks Imagination
xoskeletons, in various shades of gray and brown, were spread across a table in the Dillon Art Center, waiting to be transformed. New Haven-based artist Silas Finch, who crafts his work from found objects, inspired Groton students to turn the horseshoe crabs — nature’s leftovers — into sculptures. Students painted the shells, tacked on leaves from plants, attached jewelry and even utensils. Finch spent December 1–9 on the Circle, courtesy of Groton’s artistin-residency, the Mudge Fellowship. It was Finch’s second residency at Groton. Besides working with various visual arts classes, he installed public art on the Circle and gave a talk about his work in the Sackett Forum. Many of the artist’s creations, transforming what some might consider junk into sculpture, are on display in the Brodigan Gallery through February 24 (see page 44).
Classes worked with artist-in-residence Silas Finch to transform horseshoe crabs’ exoskeletons into art.
Beth Van Gelder Beth Van Gelder
FAITH AND TOLERANCE INTERTWINED: A Theologian’s Vision
heologian and best-selling author Brian McLaren, in a lecture at Groton on December 4, boldly suggested that the world’s religions need not be in conflict and urged his audience to imagine religions committed to service and tolerance rather than to hatred. “If the founders of our religions got together, they would surely treat one another better than their followers do,” said McLaren, this year’s Percy and Eben Pyne Lecturer. McLaren explained that the day after September 11, 2001 was a turning point in his life. A random thought hit him: Theologian Brian McLaren “Our Muslim neighbors are in danger.” Two mosques and two Islamic centers were within twenty minutes of the non denominational Maryland church that he had founded, and he drove to each. He found locked gates and left a letter at the first three, but squeezed through as a gate closed
Secret to One President’s Success?
fter our recent presidential election, can we imagine that kindness might once have been key to a candidate’s success? Bert Walker, former ambassador to Hungary and a member of Groton’s Form of 1949, suggested in a mid-October chapel talk that kindness indeed had contributed to the ascent of
at the fourth. Assuring the alarmed imam that he meant no harm, McLaren explained that he carried a letter of solidarity and promised that his congregation would be there for support should any trouble arise. “His eyes filled with tears and he threw his arms around me,” McLaren recalled. The subsequent invitation to enter the mosque and the imam’s office led to a deep friendship — and to McLaren’s increasing commitment to understand why religions revolve around conflict rather than love and understanding. “Can there be peace among passionately faithful people?” McLaren asked. In his worldview, there certainly can be. Speaking in the Sackett Forum, McLaren acknowledged that Christianity’s history “is not a good history in relation to violence” and outlined why religious factions have relied on enmity rather than friendship and why society has accepted hostility as the norm. Christians today, he said, have mastered two approaches: having a strong Christian
George Herbert Walker Bush, the forty-first U.S. president and Mr. Walker’s cousin. “Almost from his preteen years, he was the first to open doors, lift suitcases, try to cheer friends or classmates that he perceived were depressed or down,” Mr. Walker recalled. “This quality brought him scores of friends, strengthened his
Ambassador Bert Walker ’49 met with members of the History Club after his chapel talk: (from left) Ambassador Walker, Claudia Oei ’18, Jayton Oei ’18, Sully Hamdan ’17, Asher Philips ’19, and Julien Alam ’19. Christopher Temerson
self-image, and led to a career which one day led to his election as the forty-first president.” President Bush may have his mother to thank for his good nature. Said Mr. Walker: “In his early years, his mother would not tolerate any conduct from him or his siblings that was not kind. So it became part of his nature — his being.” Turning from President Bush to himself, the speaker said that he learned to appreciate the importance of kindness while a student at Groton. “It seems that some people are almost born kind, and others must learn it from lifetime struggles. Some others never seem to catch on,” he said. “Kindness often opens doors to new relationships and can heal broken relationships.” Speaking on Groton School’s 132nd birthday, the former ambassador also reminisced about his years on the Circle, learning discipline and respect —
Episcopal clergyman twentyseven years of age,” Mr. Walker said. “But he went ahead, and what a school it became!” In closing, the speaker expressed faith and hope in the young audience before him, urging them to use their Groton education to heal the world. “Today the country needs, more than ever before, leaders with the education and values that Groton is offering you. “So my hope is that you are taking and will take full advantage of all that the school is offering you — that you will set your sights high when you complete your education — and that you will do a better job than our generation has done in facing and dealing wisely with the myriad of huge and challenging issues which face our country today.”
that keep us from hate and greed.” McLaren’s talk was titled, “Why did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road: Religious Identity in a Multi-Faith World.” Besides the Sunday afternoon public lecture, he also preached in Chapel Sunday morning and gave a chapel talk during the weekday morning service on Monday. The Percy and Eben Pyne Chapel Lecture was established in 1999 by members of the Pyne family to bring “exemplary role models for thinking and acting ethically” to speak to the Groton community.
Louise Denny ’04
as well as fumbling through the occasional awkward dances with a sister school, long before the school became coed. “Many of us hardly knew how to dance and, worse, how to make conversation with these strangers who almost seemed to be from a different planet,” he said. He described with some awe his opportunity to shake the hand of Endicott Peabody, shortly before the school’s founder’s death. He told the Chapel audience of the Reverend Peabody’s friendship with Teddy Roosevelt and his mentorship of Groton student Franklin Roosevelt (Form of 1900), who had the Reverend Peabody officiate at his marriage to Eleanor. Mr. Walker extolled the courage of a young man who forged his own career path to establish Groton School rather than follow his father into finance. “This was hardly the normal course for a young
damned ‘other,’” he said. The concept of the “chosen” has not served humanity well either; in fact, according to McLaren, “in New England this teaching told white colonists they were allowed to take the land of the Native Americans.” What, he suggested, if we understood being “chosen” as being chosen for service — not being chosen to join an elite group? In a Q&A after the lecture, McLaren shared that large numbers of young adults indicate no religious identity when surveyed, and told students in the audience, “It’s not your fault if religion looks unappealing right now.” But McLaren stressed the good that religion could do given proper leadership, and wondered aloud what would happen “if there were no community of spiritual activists, filled with love for the Earth, for their neighbors, their selves…if we don’t have communities
identity and being hostile toward other religions, or having a weak Christian identity and being tolerant toward other religions. “Could there be a strong Christian identity that is benevolent toward other religions?” he asked, even suggesting that religious tolerance could grow as religious identity strengthened. Religious adherents have defined themselves by their hostilities toward others, which McLaren believes is exceptionally dangerous. “Demagoguery — its incubator is religion,” he said, then referred to Catholic theologian James Alison’s idea that providing a common enemy gives people an identity. Globalism, however, can undermine that approach. “When we’re intertwined with one another,” McLaren said, “enmity stops working.” McLaren blamed religious doctrine itself for helping to build our hostile dynamic. He called the concept of original sin the most destructive doctrine of all. “It’s a dangerous idea to create an elite ‘some’ and a
For a mid-November Groton Women’s Network event, Stephanie Borynack Clark ’92 (right) hosted a conversation with contemporary artist Priscilla Heine at Findlay Galleries in New York City.
Photographs by Adam Richins
PARENTS ARRIVED on the Circle from twenty-four states and fifteen countries for Parents Weekend, October 21–23. Besides the long walks and dinner conversations, highlights included performances, receptions, and a total of nearly 2,400 conferences with teachers and advisors. Saturday afternoon, Anson Jones ’17 introduced Headmaster Temba Maqubela’s remarks by singing “Imagine” by John Lennon. The headmaster displays a recording of “Imagine” on his desk and referred to it as he spoke about inclusion. “Imagine how the founder of the school, the Reverend Endicott Peabody, twice invited Booker T. Washington, a man born into slavery ... to come and speak to Groton students, in 1899 and again in 1904,” he said. He noted the courage of Headmaster Jack Crocker, who invited Martin Luther King Jr. to speak at Groton in 1963. “Imagine the courage of that man at the time,” he continued, then referenced the decision under Headmaster Rowland Cox to admit girls to Groton, the work of Headmaster Bill Polk to solidify gains of gender and racial diversity, and the decision under Headmaster Rick Commons to fully fund students whose families earn less than $75,000 a year. He also spoke of the GRAIN (GRoton Affordability and INclusion) initiative, as well as the new and successful GRACE (GRoton Accelerate Challenge Enrich) summer program — explaining the important distinction between an achievement gap and a preparation gap. “Prepare them before judging that they did not achieve,” he said. After Mr. Maqubela’s remarks, many parents attended workshops and the annual Parents Weekend concert, featuring instrumental and vocal ensembles, dance, and Second Formers on steel drums.
Groton School Quarterly
A NEW GROTON-ST. PAUL’S TRADITION
roton School and St. Paul’s School — longtime friendly rivals on the playing field — have established a new tradition that honors the schools’ athletic relationship as well as the ethos of service that both value.
The new Groton-St. Paul’s Challenge Cup will be awarded to the school that wins the most athletic competitions over the course of a year. A donor close to both schools has created a fund that will allow a charitable
donation tied to the Cup each year. While the actual Cup will go to the athletic victor, the giving will alternate between the schools yearly, regardless of the games’ outcome. The Groton-St. Paul’s Challenge Cup will preserve the two schools’ athletic competition after St. Paul’s
withdraws from the Indepen dent School League (ISL), at the end of this year. The two schools have been competing in sports for about fifty years. Students involved in service engagement, along with faculty advisors and athletic directors, will choose the charity. St. Paul’s is disbursing the first gift and has chosen
A 2011 Groton–St. Paul’s game
PRESIDENTIAL SCHOLAR Provides Clarity to Unprecedented 2016 Campaign
Dr. Douglas Kriner
Groton School Quarterly
r. Douglas Kriner, a Boston University political scientist, shared his considerable knowledge about the electoral process at an all-school lecture October 10, focusing on two main questions: how did Donald Trump defeat sixteen primary opponents, and with what level of confidence can we predict the outcome of November’s general election? Though his primary area of academic interest is the presidency itself — how presidents lead and govern — Dr. Kriner, associate professor of political science and director of graduate studies for BU’s political science department, methodically explained the 2016 presidential election. To the casual observer, Mr. Trump’s victory in the Republican
presidential primary seemed an exceptional accident of fate. However, Dr. Kriner linked Trump’s rise to both rising global anti-immigration and anti-trade sentiments and to the reforms done to the presidential primary system after the disastrous 1968 Democratic National Convention. The McGovern-Fraser Commission, which studied the Democrats’ primary process after the 1968 presidential election in an attempt to prevent party infighting, led to a far more democratic process of nominating presidential candidates, which spread to the Republican Party over time. The reforms ushered in by the commission, Dr. Kriner said, led more candidates to enter primaries, and, most importantly, made
to now have two special athletic relationships — one with St. Paul’s and our historic traditional rivalry with our good friends at St. Mark’s.” The winner of the first annual Groton-St. Paul’s Challenge Cup will remain a mystery until spring; based on fall contests, the schools are tied 5–5.
Angelo Santinelli P’13
the Boys and Girls Club of Central New Hampshire as the recipient. “In this day and age, when it seems like end results and outcomes and statistics and wins dominate priorities, here you have two schools agreeing on a relationship based on helping others,” Director of Athletics Bob Low said. “Groton is so fortunate
CBS Highlights the Maqubelas’ Story
presidential campaigns more candidate-centric than party-centric. Donald Trump — with his distinctive personality and ability to attract wall-to-wall media coverage — is the perfect fit for such an environment. Dr. Kriner estimated that Trump received about $2 billion in free advertising through such coverage. The speaker then explained some basic election models that do not use data from direct polling of voters. He presented a model that incorporates the Index of Consumer Sentiment (ICS) — a figure that the University of Michigan collects in order to gauge ordinary Americans’ confidence in the economy. He also used unemployment data and the approval rating of the incumbent president
to develop the model. After the all-school lecture, Dr. Kriner answered a wide range of questions at the Headmaster’s House. Among other topics, he discussed the widening fracture between the left-wing and centrist factions of the Democratic Party, the Republican National Committee’s thwarted attempts to run a more inclusive party, and the prospect of reforming the primary process to make it less chaotic and unpredictable. Dr. Kriner’s visit to the Circle provided welcome clarification to a student body who, like many Americans, felt that the election defied logic. — Rand Hough ‘17, Communications Prefect
BS News broadcast a profile of Headmaster Temba Maqubela and his wife Vuyelwa on Thanksgiving morning, November 24, tracing the couple’s journey from persecution in apartheid-era South Africa to their safe landing as refugees in New York City. Central to the segment was Mr. Maqubela’s impact at Groton through initiatives to make the school welcoming and inclusive. CBS expressed interest in Mr. Maqubela after learning about Groton’s annual New York City reception, which this year was held at the American Museum of Natural History to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the Maqubelas’ arrival in the United States. The Groton headmaster’s first job in the U.S. was at the museum, where he was a coat checker and cashier. A CBS crew first filmed the Maqubelas at the September reception and in the coat check area of the museum. The following morning, they accompanied the Maqubelas to the first two places where they lived after arriving in New York — a homeless shelter on 28th Street in Manhattan and an apartment in public housing in the Bronx. The Maqubelas stood in front of the 28th Street building — still a shelter today — and recalled their experiences. In the Bronx, they grew nostalgic thinking of how the neighbors had looked out for one another; the Maqubelas felt safe — compared to when they were constantly followed by the South African police. With work complete in New York, cameramen next visited the Circle to film a typical day for Mr. Maqubela, starting at the Headmaster’s House, proceeding to Chapel, Roll Call, and class. Throughout the process, CBS reporter Ines Novacic conducted interviews with the Maqubelas; she also interviewed several students on campus and trustee Stephen Hill ’80 in New York. The invitations to Groton’s New York reception had called the evening “Celebrating Opportunity.” The event celebrated opportunity for the Maqubelas, as well as for Groton students and those who deserve to attend Groton. The CBS segment celebrated opportunity as well, providing an inspirational story well-suited to a day of Thanksgiving.
To find the story, go to www.cbsnews.com and search “Maqubela.”
Clockwise from top left: Annie Colloredo-Mansfeld ’18 followed by Choirmaster and Organist Dan Moriarty; Christian Carson ’18; Douglas Altshuler ’20, Thomas Steere ’18, and Kayla Popkin ’20; Teddy Deng ’20; Kayla, Thomas Steere, and Victoria Wahba ’17; Piper Higgins ’17, Elyssa Wolf ’17, Nicole Lee Heberling ’21; Neha Agarwal ’20, Caroline Beran ’20, Yunona Iwasaki ’19, and Daisy Fey ’18; Shane Kim ’19, Mikayla Murrin ’21, and Sophie Conroy ’19; and (center) Thomas Steere
LESSONS & CAROLS Once again this Christmas season, Groton School’s Service of Nine Lessons & Carols filled St. John’s Chapel with the spirituality of prayer, the comfort of familiar hymns, and the joy of gathering as a community.
Photos by Ellen Harasimowicz
Groton School Quarterly
Peter O’Reilly ’90 personae
Running Interference Peter in front of the Vince Lombardi Trophy at the NFL headquarters in Manhattan
WHEN YOU turn on the Super Bowl (as more than 150
million people do each year), you may not think about the person who pulls together all the details. It turns out that a sports fanatic who played soccer, baseball, and basketball at Groton is now in charge one of the biggest events on the planet. Some might find that a bit stressful. Peter O’Reilly ’90 says it’s exhilarating. When halftime show superstars want to rehearse on the field and football execs want to keep the turf pristine, Peter runs interference. Whether the question is vendors or schedules or issues with the 40,000 people involved in the February showdown, the answer often comes from Peter. As senior vice president of events for the National Football League, he manages the Super Bowl as well as
dozens of other NFL events, including the Pro Bowl, NFL Draft, NFL Kickoff, and NFL International Series. It didn’t surprise anyone when Peter built his career around sports. The O’Reilly household revolved around watching, playing, and obsessing over various teams. His mother likes to say that the New York Times sports pages taught Peter to read. His father’s favorite expression: “any sport in a storm.” Now Peter’s job is not simply to manage events for a sport he’s loved since childhood, but to engage more and more fans—to make them as enthused as his family made him. But this is not Peter’s father’s football. Fewer young adults are carrying the mantle of their parents’ fandom, and health and safety fears have parents steering youngsters toward sports other than football. Diverse
Kiichiro Sato/Associated Press
Peter sharing plans for the reimagined NFL Draft in Chicago’s Grant Park
demographics and the popularity of youth soccer play a role too, threatening to diminish allegiance to the gridiron gods. That motivates Peter, who has focused on community efforts, on growing the youth and Hispanic fan base, and on recognizing that football is becoming a global sport. For example, this spring he is helping turn the NFL Scouting Combine, which evaluates college athletes before the NFL Draft, into a multi-day fan festival, allowing the public to attend press conferences,
which provides a vehicle for entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas for the future of sport on and off the field. The first of these events launched at Stanford Business School in conjunction with Super Bowl 50. When Peter was NFL’s vice president of fan strategy and marketing—a position he held for nine years before taking over events—he helped launch the NFL PLAY 60 campaign, designed to get kids moving and off the couch for at least sixty minutes a day. He says he’s most proud of helping to change
managing Notre Dame’s famed football team. In his final year, he became the team’s senior manager, a heavily detailed job that came with a scholarship. He arranged travel and handled logistics of each game, overseeing about two hundred fifty younger student managers. The job was an adrenaline rush—and great preparation for the challenges of the NFL. Peter arrived at the NFL already experienced in world-class athletic competition. He credits his job at NBA (National Basketball Association) Entertainment, from 1994–2000, for teaching him how to navigate the chaos of professional sports. After Harvard Business School, he worked on New York City’s Olympic bid, which he described as “a little bit marketing, a little bit urban planning, a little bit international relations.” He was in Singapore when the winner of the Olympic bid was announced. Unfortunately, the games went to London, not New York, but the experience was invaluable. “It allowed me to understand the international sports scene that much better,” Peter says. All that experience pays off when Peter is managing the Super Bowl, which he calls “the ultimate all-hands-
he feels like a referee between the halftime show — » “Sometimes which comes with all the complications of a high-profile concert —
and the actual football game.”
to participate in interactive games and football clinics, and—thrilling to diehard fans—to watch top college players as they bench press and perform other feats. In another major shift, when the NFL Draft, once little more than a business meeting, was forced from New York’s Radio City Music Hall, Peter led the effort that transformed it into a major public festival, drawing some 200,000 fans to Chicago’s Grant Park. Another initiative created under Peter’s watch is the “1st and Future” tech summit, a start-up competition that culminates during Super Bowl week,
Groton School Quarterly
the NFL’s calendar from one focused on five months of games to one busy with year-round events for fans. Outreach is smart business for a sport determined to maintain its mostpopular status in the United States. All these events, says Peter, “are examples of expanding our impact beyond the game itself and using our platform to drive innovation and inspiration.” While Peter is focused on football, he loves almost every sport. While an undergrad at Notre Dame, he tried to walk onto the baseball team. It was a good thing he did not succeed, however, or he might not have ended up
on-deck event.” Sometimes he feels like a referee between the halftime show— which comes with all the complications of a high-profile concert—and the actual football game. Logistics and egos complicate every decision, and there is no room for error. “We’ve got to deliver a flawless game,” Peter says. “It can be daunting, but it’s exhilarating in some ways too.” Despite (or because of ) the fast pace and intensity, no one is having more fun than Peter—except perhaps some lucky formmates. Last year, Peter took Guy Ardrey ’90, Livy Haskell ’90, and Joshua Cobb ’90 to the Super Bowl.
See a photo of Peter and his formmates at the Super Bowl on page 73.
The Quarterly sat down with Genevieve and Adam to find out why they bounced back to the Circle after graduating from college— Genevieve from Yale and Adam from Bowdoin—and what it has been like to switch suddenly from student to teacher.
So it was within the realm of your imagination when you were a student?
Adam: I always swore that I was never going to work at Groton — not because I didn’t like it, but just because I felt like I needed to do other things. But after I thought about it a little bit, it made a lot of sense.
Genevieve: Realm of imagination, but it wasn’t something that I realistically thought I would do. I was thinking pretty theoretically when I was a student here. I wasn’t thinking about jobs. I was thinking about . . . answering life’s big questions.
Genevieve: I think the idea sort of crossed my mind, but not in a realistic manner. Sort of like, “Oh, wouldn’t it be cool to do that? But I should think about other things that are out in the world.” As I went through college, the comfortable, easy thing was to follow the path of everyone who goes into finance and consulting. This is a place that I actually really care about, and I thought it would be cool to come back.
Two members of the Form of 2012 are teaching at Groton this year. Genevieve Fowler and Adam Lamont both are interns, Genevieve teaching physics and Adam teaching classics.
When you were students, could you have imagined you would end up working here?
Have you figured them out? Genevieve: No. I thought I did in high school. Adam: You come back because you think maybe you’ll find the answers again. Genevieve: Part of it is wanting to go back to that curiosity. I felt like, at the end of Groton, I was having an intellectual party in
Photos by Gail Friedman
Authority A Conversation with Genevieve Fowler ’12 and Adam Lamont ’12
my head. And at the end of college, I was thinking about practical applications of my knowledge, like jobs jobs jobs jobs jobs. It was just a lot less fun. That was probably part of why this seemed like a nice place to be. Adam: Senior year I was taking more interesting classes and working harder. I think that was part of the reason I ended up coming back— because I realized that teaching here would allow me to explore a lot of the things I was just beginning to figure out, that I’d have the freedom to still have intellectual pursuits. What kinds of things are you exploring? Adam: One is just getting better at translating Greek. I’m going to teach Greek in the spring, but for now I’m sitting in on two Greek classes, so that’s helpful. And my elective, Ancient Athens and Democracy, explores the relationship between government and Athens and how everyday people in Athens saw themselves and made decisions. It synthesizes a lot of the classics classes I took.
What exactly are you teaching and coaching — what are you doing here? Adam: One of my students asked, “Why does your email say you’re an Intern at Large?” That’s my technical title. But you’re mostly in classics? Adam: In terms of teaching, I’m just in classics. And then I’m coaching football, basketball, and baseball; doing some admissions interviews; working in the dorm; leading Choices. Genevieve: I’m teaching two sections of physics. I helped out with Mr. [Bert] Hall’s engineering class in the fall and I’m helping again this winter. And I’m doing an FSA [Faculty Sponsored Activity] in the Fab Lab with a student who is working on a system that will use phytoremediation; it uses plants to get pollutants out of water. She’s going to test that and build that in the Fab Lab throughout this semester. I’m also doing a climbing FSA. Climbing? Genevieve: Rock climbing. And then basically opening the Fab
Lab space for students during their free periods. Last semester we started letting the Second Formers sign out of study hall to go to the Fab Lab during their free periods, and they love it. What’s it like being on the other side of the desk? It wasn’t that long ago that you were the student, and now you’re the authority figure. What was the first day like? Genevieve: I was insanely nervous. I feel like I’m still a student. I remember that I’m the authority figure, but I feel like I have to act more mature than I feel. Not that I feel immature, but . . . I’m digging a hole for myself. Adam: No, I had that feeling, too. Because I’m back in a place where I was a student, sometimes I do have to go another extra step and consciously withdraw myself a little bit more and, I guess, act more like a teacher. Genevieve: There’s a binary: you are a teacher or a student. At most entry-level jobs, there are the young, new employees and the people who have been there forever. But the dynamic is very different between teachers and
Genevieve: Energetic, I guess. That, I think, creates a different atmosphere in my class. I also think some of it is the students, who are also engaged and energetic. I have two different classes that have different personalities. They both have energy, but one has a lot of energy. I’m excited about the material, so I hope they get excited about it also. But sometimes it goes poorly, like when I was trying to describe things about circular motion and I accidentally hit myself in the face with a rubber stopper. They found it amusing. What informs your teaching? Is it instinct? How did you know what to do? Adam: I mostly have tried to think about the teachers that I’ve enjoyed the most over the years, both at Groton, someone like Mr. [John] Tulp, and some of my professors, and just try the things that they did. I can’t be those people, but I can try to incorporate some of the activities or day-to-day structure they would use. Genevieve: I think that’s part of it for me as well — thinking about the things in classes that I
is wanting to go back to that curiosity. I felt like, » Part ofatit the end of Groton, I was having an intellectual party in my head. students — adults and children. I do sometimes feel like I have to make sure I seem like I know what I’m talking about because I’m younger and I don’t have the credibility of somebody who’s been around for a while. Yet the students in your class are extremely animated and energetic and seem very eager to learn. How do you do that? Genevieve: Part of my natural state is playful. Playful and easygoing. Easygoing isn’t the right word . . . Adam Lamont ‘12 teaching Latin
Groton School Quarterly
thought were the most exciting, trying to incorporate those things. From college classes or Groton classes? Genevieve: A mixture. With the Fab Lab, most of my experience was in college. I did a lot of classes in Yale’s Fab Lab, and those classes influenced how I think about Groton’s Fab Lab. I took a lot of physics classes here, so I think about those as well. Obviously, there are some teachers who did really cool things that I can’t do. I took a few classes with [English teacher] Ted
Goodrich, and I cannot have conversations in the way he does. I feel that he had an aura, and I can’t do that. You’re also not teaching Moby-Dick. Genevieve: True. The other piece is that a number of things I did in college were like informal teaching of my peers. Were you tutoring? Genevieve: I was involved in the aerospace club; I led the PR team and then I led the club. Being in charge of groups of people, trying to get them to decide on something or trying to motivate them — applying that here is useful, trying to convince students they want to learn things because those things are exciting and interesting and fun, not just because of the grades. Do the students seem different than they did when you were at Groton? Adam: There are definitely moments when I see students and think, he’s just like one of my friends or formmates. Some of that, too, is because there are lots of siblings on campus. There’s a little bit more diversity, and that’s definitely a good thing, even just in the four or five years since I was here. Genevieve: I would second that. That’s been really cool to see. In our form there was some diversity, but it seems so much better. I know there are people still not happy with exactly how the conversations are going, but the very fact that we’re having conversations is a huge improvement. Besides the students, in general, what seems the most the same and the most different? Genevieve: Different, the [Schoolhouse] building. Obvious answer. What seems the most the same? Genevieve: I don’t know . . . the
day-to-day life at Groton. Sort of the cycle of it all. Adam: Chapel is something that I appreciate more now. Maybe it’s just because I’m better at waking up. After you go to college and you don’t have that way of starting your day — that makes you appreciate it more. Just the rhythm — the rhythm of it and the sense of all sitting together, all ending with a hymn, and then going on with the day — is something that I really liked. Genevieve: I really missed Chapel. Is there any particular challenge that comes with being a new faculty member and also an alum? Adam: I always personally try to make 2012 seem like it was eons ago. What do you mean? Adam: It’s almost a personal mechanism, more than anything, just to distance it. Genevieve: I can see that. I could hide that I was a student here, but I feel like it is a nice way to connect with the students. But then they immediately say, “Oh, when did you graduate?” And then they want to know who was in my form, who they know in my form, or who I know that they know, and then that makes it more clear that we’re pretty close in age. Do you feel that you have to fight more for authority because everyone knows that you were here a few years ago? Genevieve: That might be in my head more than in reality. But I could be wrong. Who knows?
Genevieve Fowler ‘12 in the Fabrications Lab
How do you like being called Mr. Lamont? Of course, that’s your father [history teacher Tom Lamont]. Adam: What makes it easy is that we’re actually not in the same place very often. I don’t see him that much. Genevieve: You guys were wearing the same shirt. You’re not in the same department. Adam: We’re not in the same department. Yeah, I guess sometimes we dress the same. But it hasn’t actually been as big of an issue as I thought it might be. Who was your advisor at Groton? Genevieve: Mr. Creamer. Adam: Mr. Gracey. Both of your advisors are still here. Are they still advising you?
You know the ropes.
Adam: I’m doing some work for Admissions, and I think Mr. Gracey pulled me in because of that. I’ve had one or two dinners with him, and it has been a lot of fun.
Adam: I know the ropes, and kids actually say, “OK, Mr. Lamont, I understand.”
Genevieve: Mr. Creamer made me cupcakes for my birthday. I might’ve sort of requested them.
Adam: In some spaces, being an alum definitely gives a little more authority. Like, in the dorm.
When you tell your formmates about working here, what do they say? Genevieve: They ask for faculty gossip. So I tell them that there’s not anything really interesting happening. Adam: Over Thanksgiving, I saw a good number of formmates, some of them I had barely seen since graduation. When I told them I was teaching, they were like, “Are you kidding me? How’s Groton letting you do this?” But they also said, “That’s a really, really fun thing to do and sounds great.” Genevieve: I’ve run into a number of people who are still at Yale. Evan Haas [’15] is now really involved with the aerospace club that I was involved with. It was really fun to have him get involved in it. And at the Yale-Harvard tailgate, I ran into a few former Groton students who are younger than me who are still Yale students. I sort of felt like I was a student, but I’m not. It’s your reunion year —you’ll be facing a lot of your formmates. Genevieve: No escaping that.
IM GINE THIS
ED FINN â€™98 BELIEVES THAT WHEN NARRATIVE AND SCIENCE MEET, BIG IDEAS HAPPEN By GA IL FRIE DM A N
ROBOTIC FRIENDS SURROUND ED FINN ’98 AS HE READS HIEROGLYPH, AN ANTHOLOGY OF ESSAYS FOCUSED ON “TECHNO-OPTIMISM.”
wo wooden robots wearing cowboy hats, wires jutting from their chests, rest casually in folding chairs. A bin of colorful Legos perches atop a cardboard box, and sciencefiction movie posters lean against the walls they once adorned. In a corner of the Arizona State University office, waiting to be packed, is a roulette wheel with words such as cyber, droid, and asteroid where numbers normally would be. It’s moving day for Ed Finn ’98. Ed works at the intersection of technology and literature, of dreams and ideas, of optimism and pragmatism. While his office is only moving across the street, his work travels much further — all the way to the future. As founding director of ASU’s Center for Science and the Imagination (CSI), Ed connects creative thinkers and writers with scientists, engineers, and technologists, encouraging them to brainstorm “moonshot” ideas that might lead to innovation. The center celebrates ideas that others might discard as impractical — on a campus that U.S. News recently ranked #1 for innovation. Ed’s work inspires people to believe that they can change the future. Really. “It’s easy to be cynical,” says Ed. “It’s actually much harder — and a braver thing — to spec out how the world might be better in twenty years.” At ASU, Ed wears several hats: he manages CSI’s staff and programs, represents the center as a scholar (recently screening grant proposals for the National Endowment for the Humanities), writes his own papers and proposals, and generates publicity for the center’s events. Wordsmith, technologist, imagineer, dreamer, and teacher, Ed aims to create “a better informed and more engaged public.” He stresses that the enemy of our collective future is the laissez-faire attitude of so many people — the belief that “someone else is making the decision; it’s not my problem.” All of those striving to create, including the ASU students he teaches, must think not just about science, technology, and engineering, but also about the consequences of what they ultimately achieve.
Groton School Quarterly
Langdon Winner/Frankenstein Bicentennial Project
o Ed, a former journalist, narrative is power. He recognizes that language and invention rely upon each other. “As a researcher, you have to be able to explain what you’re doing,” he says. Ed thinks a lot about the challenge of creating things that are so new, so unimagined, that words don’t exist for them. “We don’t have the words to describe what we want to make,” he says. “I think a lot about the power of language in building the future.” Much of the center’s work rests upon the belief that narrative can improve the world. Science fiction in particular — whether Ray Bradbury’s works, Star Trek, or The Jetsons — is both tool and inspiration. Star Trek’s Dr. Spock and Captain Kirk communicate on something akin to a cell phone, and characters in 2001: A Space Odyssey, which premiered in 1968, use tools that strongly resemble iPads. If writers can imagine it, chances are that — someday — engineers can build it. Ed is convinced that today’s seemingly wild ideas might solve some of the world’s problems. Since Ed works with the unknown and unmeasurable, some of his efforts seem amorphous, focused on a future good that is
destined to result when imaginations are set free. For example, he helped launch a bicentennial celebration of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, an enormous, multi-pronged project that he is currently co-directing. Three mission questions have guided the planning: “What is life? What does it mean to be human? Why do we create?” As he explains this, his mind starts bouncing. “Is the flu alive?” he asks. “Is the Internet alive?” Planned events — including scientific demonstrations, a festival featuring some of the 250 Frankenstein films, scholarly workshops, and a writing contest in which authors will imagine the next monster — are designed to examine how science, technology, and ethics relate to one another and to society. The bicentennial hopes to generate discussion about creation and social responsibility — broad philosophical discussion that has wide-ranging relevance two hundred years after Shelley let loose her own eighteen-year-old imagination and created a monster. “There are so many crucial decisions coming around the ethics of creating new life,” Ed says. “Artificial intelligence, genetically enhanced humans, animal rights . . .” What should scientists
TONGUE-INCHEEK (AND BOLT-IN-NECK): ED IN A VIDEO PROMOTING THE FRANKENSTEIN BICENTENNIAL
Ed is convinced that today’s seemingly wild ideas might solve some of the world’s problems.
(mad or otherwise) be building to benefit society? Frankenstein, it turns out, is powerfully relevant today. Other narrative projects at CSI are more tangible. The 2016 Climate Fiction Short Story Contest resulted in entries that described a challenging future and helped readers to envision the potential results— decades from now — of inaction or denial today. In addition, Ed has commissioned a writer and artist to create a comic book about Arizona in 2050 to educate the next generation of scientists and thinkers. “I’m especially interested in climate change,” he says. “I don’t think we can solve it in a neat mathematical way, but I’m interested in giving people better tools to grapple with messy problems.” CSI is not afraid to link innovation to pop culture. One program, “Inventing the Future All Over Again,” brought members of the production team and advisors from the Steven Spielberg/Tom Cruise film Minority Report together with ASU professors and students to discuss the movie, in which characters anticipate the future and arrest those who plan to commit crimes before the crimes occur. Was Minority Report’s premise far-fetched? Not to Ed. He points out that websites and social media already know which ads will interest us, and says that Google can even spot a suicidal person and pop up resources to help. As complex as humans are, he says, “We are very predictable.” How long, Ed wonders, before technology’s assumptions will dictate who gets fired, who gets life-saving medical care, or even who gets blown up on the battlefield? Governance could stymie that outcome, but trying to fight a war against technology is hopeless. As Ed sees it, technology already has won. It simply is moving too fast for society to catch up.
Groton School Quarterly
hat doesn’t darken Ed’s worldview. This futurist is an optimist. A “thoughtful optimist,” Ed clarifies. That outlook drove one of the center’s early initiatives, Project Hieroglyph, for which twenty leading thinkers, writers, and visionaries contributed works of “techno-optimism” that challenge readers to dream. The anthology, Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future, presented clear-eyed, not starry-eyed, optimism. In a sense, Ed teaches optimism, too. The description for a course that he created, Prototyping Dreams, asks, “How do you build your dreams?” Inspired in part by the far-futuristic, science-fiction book The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson, the course stretches imaginations and guides students to build ideas upon multiple media platforms. Class members build tangible objects, virtual designs, and the stories that bring them to life. The class begins by reading poet Wallace Stevens and contemplating the power of language. As students create, they are prompted constantly to think about what kind of creator they want to be. The course is literary, philosophical, and hands-on. Ed aims to take CSI’s brand of education beyond ASU through outreach to local schools and the community. In one series of Frankensteinthemed workshops open to the public, small children were invited to build a simple robot called a “scribble-bot,” which they programmed to scribble on paper. But these preschoolers and gradeschoolers did not stop at simple fun, or even at engineering. They were asked to ponder: Is it your art? Is it alive? If it scribbled over something important, whose fault would it be? Coming soon: reaching high school audiences using alternate reality games, in which players direct characters through a story blurring the boundaries between fiction and reality. Ed admits that the hardest people to reach — no surprise — are adults.
(continued on page 26)
WHY PLAY CHESS OR CHECKERS WHEN YOUR ROBOT INVITES YOU TO A GAME YOUâ€™VE NEVER HEARD OF?
ot all grown-ups share Ed’s open mind, which may be the product of a particularly peripatetic childhood. His parents both worked for the U.S. Department of State, and Ed spent his first nine years in Turkey and Pakistan, then lived in Washington, DC, for three years, and squeezed in a last stop in Germany before calling Groton home. During his years on the Circle, going home for Christmas break meant heading to Germany, Austria, Azerbaijan, or Croatia. While he was in college, his parents lived in New York, Washington, DC, Turkey, Kazakhstan, and Afghanistan. Since a very young age, Ed was keenly aware that there are many ways to live, speak, and think. He was never boxed in — to a single school or city or suburb — and neither was his imagination. At Groton, formmates may remember a hint of Ed’s intellectual pursuits: he remembers receiving a stern admonishment for playing Doom, a sci-fi computer game, instead of studying. He also remembers the influence of a course co-taught by Classics teacher John Tulp and math teacher Jonathan Choate ’60 — Modes of Order and Disorder — which combined music, math, and aesthetics. Interdisciplinary work made sense to Ed. He went on to study comparative literature, computer science, and creative writing at Princeton, then earned his master’s and PhD at Stanford in English and American Literature. In 2011, when Ed’s wife, an attorney, secured a job in Arizona, the couple noticed an opening
Groton School Quarterly
for an “innovation fellow” at ASU. The position allowed him access to ASU President Michael Crow, who is emphatically open to experimental ideas that might inspire his university’s growing student population to pursue the big dreams that could rebuild the country’s infrastructure and improve our future. Sparked in part by a conversation in which Crow told sci-fi writer Stephenson that storytellers bear some responsibility for failing to give people optimistic visions of the future, Ed proposed the Center for Science and the Imagination. It would be a bold beginning for an untested academic discipline, but he knew that ideas sure to flop at more traditional universities could fly at ASU. “I realized this was an unusual place, not only because it has this status quo–destroying visionary in charge who is so interested in thinking about the future in a different way,” says Ed, “but also because there are a lot of people here who are open to new ideas.” CSI opened in 2012. Whether it is inspiring contemplation about a novel written two centuries ago or solutions for our planet in years to come, all of the center’s projects focus on the future. That’s where Ed, like an academic time traveler, spends his days. When we finally join him there, if the future is not dystopian after all, it may be because people like Ed are determined to help us imagine a better future right now. And imagining it is the first step toward making it real.
ED PROPOSED THE CENTER FOR SCIENCE AND THE IMAGINATION AFTER HEARING A SCI-FI WRITER LAMENT OUR COLLECTIVE FAILURE TO BUY INTO OPTIMISTIC VISIONS OF THE FUTURE.
A C H A P E L TA L K
by Langelihle Chinyoka ’17 Sepetember 16, 2016 voces
Flowers that Didn’t Grow Ellen Harasimowicz
“all my layers have become trees . . .” 1
Langa in The Wiz
n one of my earliest memories, I am sitting in the shade, hiding from the sun. My sister is beside me, under a tree, and we are eating the fruit as it falls. The ground beneath us is a burning color, our feet have turned the same, and we are catching our breath, having run across the hot floor to get there. This is one of the memories I know is mine. There are others, of course—being carried on my mother’s back and rocked to sleep; going to school and being mistaken for a boy; the first sunset I remember, burning orange against the sky—but mostly my memories of home come from stories, from pictures. Some of these stories are cute, are funny—for example, how I got the scar in the middle of my forehead when my cousin pushed me off, rather than down, a slide because I annoyed her, or how I learned to talk by watching Shrek on repeat—but some are less so: how I woke up one morning and saw my dog bleeding on the patio, how the police came to our house, knocked on our door, and told my parents to leave the country. I don’t remember anything about this day, or the subsequent panic, or fear, and I haven’t ever really wanted to fill in the gaps with stories so I prefer to remember the tree, how my sister and I raced to get there, how we sat on the red, red hot dirt, how it caught beneath our fingernails, and how we stayed outside until it was dark and the ground was cool enough to walk on.
When I was seven, I convinced myself I could never make anything grow. I was stubborn, prideful, and super dramatic; so after planting a row of sunflower seeds that never so much as sprouted, I came to the conclusion that I did not have the hands for planting things. These were the days when I wanted to be perfect, to make perfect things. My name Langa means the sun, and I considered it cruel irony that, despite my best efforts, the name of the flower, and the fact that sunflowers are—literally—supposed to grow towards my namesake, I couldn’t do what should have been so simple. Looking back, I think I was trying too hard. I think I overwatered the seeds, disregarded spring and its rain, English summers and their rain, and therefore ruined the soil. I didn’t think of this then, however, and I watched two summers pass where the patch of dirt remained a patch of dirt before accepting what I really already knew.
I think of these years and think about everything sweet. This was the same summer I tried to make perfume out of rose petals because I read somewhere that the ancient Egyptian women used to. My sisters and I made a mission of this. We picked the petals off the pink rose in the garden and put them in a glass filled with warm water. Of course, the day ended and we smelled more like sweat than anything else, but we weren’t discouraged, we moved on to better things: baking cakes until the whole house was flooded with the smell and putting chamomile tea bags in the insides of our shoes. When the boys came round, we were less soft. With them, it was more about the brutal games we invented, the water balloon fights, running after the ice cream van with our feet bare. Still, we had our quiet moments. My favorites were the lazy days, the still ones, the days we went out into the garden and sprawled out on the grass, watching the clouds make shapes in the sky. Just imagine that: all our growing limbs spread out in the summer, the whole world spinning around us as we lay still.
The same summer I met a boy who became my best friend. In our first encounter, he was wearing a grin he would eventually grow into and a pair of yellow underpants. I had seen him and his brothers before. They lived across the street and were always brimming with energy: running down the road, chewing on ice pops, and laughing so loud I could hear them from my bedroom. Here’s how it happened: I was sitting in my front yard with my siblings when I heard the sound of wheels racing down the pavement, and there he was, limbs sticking out of his baby brother’s stroller and one of his other brothers pushing him down the hill. They reached the bottom and I watched with wonder as this reckless boy jumped out of the pram, walked towards the gate of my house, and asked to come in before we even knew his name. Being decently intelligent people, we hesitated; but, at the same time, we were still kids, still wide-eyed in wonder at these boys who were so different from us, who had been raised wild. And so that summer was yellow, not for the sunflowers but for the boy and his boldness, the way he was everything I wanted to be. 3
We were always eating rotten things. On the hedge that bordered my house and the next, wild blackberries grew faster than we could eat them. Each year, summer came and we would pick them by the handful, filling up before dinner on the sickly sweetness of overripe fruit.
Groton School Quarterly
This summer, my mother came home carrying a bouquet of flowers in one hand and a potted plant in the other. Call it wishful thinking but, as we left for the weekend, she left the flowers—in all their gaudy glory— sitting in a vase full of water in the sink, hoping they wouldn’t die while we were away. They did. My mother, Angeline, being the person I get my slightly dramatic nature from, made a huge deal out of the whole thing. She mourned the loss of these flowers, despite having had them for merely three hours before we left them, and mourned even more heavily the Uber she wasted taking them home so that they wouldn’t get crushed by rush hour on the New York subway. The other plant, however, survived. It wasn’t the beautiful bouquet, but Mom offhandedly made me promise to water it and I did, despite knowing my bad luck with keeping plants alive. Still, I kept it by the light, I watered it before I went to sleep, and put it by my windowsill so I wouldn’t forget it. When I left home to come back here, to this place, I told my brother to take care of what had quickly become my plant. I ask him periodically how it’s doing but expect that, knowing my brother, he won’t tell me anything and it won’t last long. I think it’s better this way: understanding that things don’t always happen the way you want them to, that sometimes it’s like just that and there’s nothing you can do to make the sunflowers come out of the ground and bend towards you.
Right, Langa with friends after her chapel talk; below, Senior Prefect Langa with other Sixth Formers after decorating the Schoolroom for Christmas
Maddie Ferrucci ’17
I will say, focus on the good things. Forget killing the bee, remember the fruit. Forget the flowers that didn’t grow, remember the ones that did. Remember every summer and how it leaves you, remember that every spring a garden blooms. Despite my saying this, the whole world doesn’t have to be all sweetness all the time, though it doesn’t have to be all bad either. In this place, there will definitely be bad days, you-against-the-world days, barely-awake-after-pulling-an-all-nighter-to-writeyour-research-paper days, but even these won’t be all bad. It is easy to let Groton become the bad nights, let winter become the bad nights, to let the bad nights become you, but it’s more fun to not do that, to do the
opposite: to focus on the good things, on the people you’ll meet here, the dinners at Pops’ house, and the days you spend lying on the Circle with your best friends, limbs spread in every direction, watching the clouds make shapes in the sky. I promise you’ll be happier for it, I promise you’ll have more fun here, and I promise I am trying to do the same. I am remembering the fruit trees, the summers I spent laughing, remembering the way things seemed so simple and were. I am remembering the roses, the boys, the things I did and the things I couldn’t. I am becoming a person I want to be and leaving my old self underneath the berries, in the dirt. I am trying to take everything so lightly. I am planting a garden here and hoping that it grows.
A C H A P E L TA L K
by Stacey Clover Symonds ’84, P’17, ’18, Trustee November 4, 2016 voces
A Tale of Curveballs Stacey chose “Anthem” by Leonard Cohen as the reading preceding her talk. Its refrain:
Ring the bells that still can ring Forget your perfect offering There is a crack, a crack in everything That’s how the light gets in. That’s how the light gets in. That’s how the light gets in.
have a really hard time believing that I am standing here. When I was at Groton, I would never have stood up here in front of my teachers and peers—too scary, too much judgment. Yet, here I am, and I have no idea how I got here. I might be here because in a few weeks there may be a wall and I may not be able to return. I’m not the CEO of a major company. I have not performed a major humanitarian miracle or discovered a cure for cancer. I’m just me. And, I guess that’s what I should talk about. A few years ago, I found a copy of the essay I wrote for my Groton application. I made the mistake of reading it so many years later. The question was: “What kind of a person are you? How would you describe yourself?” I cringe as I tell you the opening line, but here goes— “I would describe myself as a citizen of the world.” Really? I was thirteen. I had lived in New York City, Houston, and Paris in very privileged contexts. And I had the hubris to consider myself a citizen of the world. Sometimes, though, teens are more perceptive than we give them credit for. My essay might just have been a message to my future self of the change that I would have
Groton School Quarterly
to undertake to survive—of the necessity both of being true to myself and engaging with the world in which we live. In some ways, this essay was a forewarning of the many curveballs of life. Today’s talk is a tale of curveballs. I don’t know much about baseball, but the image of a curveball seems the most adequate for the way life comes at us. It never happens in a straight line. First curveball:
As a small child, I lived in a perfect world. But as I was starting Groton, my world had just imploded. My parents had had a nasty divorce and subsequent custody battle. My father and idol had been forbidden to see me by his new wife, and my mother had pretty much decided that she would rather be in France than at home with me. The message seemed quite clear to my thirteen-year-old self. You’re on your own. I came to Groton Revisit Day and immediately felt the home and support I was missing. We spent the night at a faculty house (there were only twenty girls in my form) and I stayed up all night talking to my future roommate and the person who would become my soulmate and the godmother of my first child. Imagine my total embarrassment when, the next morning, I fell asleep in Mr. Polk’s Bible class! He just laughed and asked how I was—blowing me out of the water with his sideways smile. If I could survive that, I knew that Groton was the place for me. I came with high hopes. Groton was more than good to me, although I must admit that not every day was perfect—far from it. I wasn’t the popular one. I wasn’t cool. I wasn’t the star athlete. But I found my space and my passions and created a future that I was looking for.
Hope Nichols Prockop ’86, P’15, ’17
Soccer, crew, math, and science became my safe havens— yes, I was a consummate geek. But I was happy. Things seemed to be much more on track than when I had arrived. When you feel alone in the world, make a place for yourself. Find your individual niche and build around it. Create a personalized support system. No one else can do it for you, no matter how protected you are by others. And trust yourself. My favorite saying is one of Dr. Seuss’. “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.” Second curveball:
As a result of my first crash in life, I became a bit obsessive about having control over everything. You can ask my kids about that. When I started college, I already had a life plan. I was pre-med, on the way to being a pediatric trauma surgeon at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. Nothing was going to stop me. Then came life, once again. My freshman year, I had a clinically diagnosed kleptomaniac roommate and another who announced on day one that she hated all boarding school kids as a rule. But the real disaster came when I failed organic chem and barely passed applied calc. Life, as I saw it, was pretty much over. Here’s where the beauty of failure comes in—no joke. When you fail, you are forced to reinvent yourself. And this is a vital skill for survival. Thomas Edison once said: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” And then he found the one that did. This is precisely what happened to me. I “found” archaeology. The archaeology courses I began to explore focused mostly on the evolution of civilizations and the development of complex societies. The examination of these subjects underscored several recurrent themes that have helped me to better understand the different communities of which I am a part. I won’t go into all the theoretical detail, but what stood out across the world was man’s desire for structure, belonging, and explanation. When I was a TA of human evolution at Vanderbilt, a freshman once asked me if “all anthropologists were atheists.” She was an evangelical Christian. She couldn’t reconcile evolution with the Bible. That would be my job. So, with the backdrop of her classmates’ snickering, I calmly answered: “No, we’re not. All religions seek to explain the unexplainable. Creation and death are two of the greatest unknowns. All humans seek answers in different ways. The Bible is yours.” Truisms are such because they are real. At this stage in my life, I would have to recognize the inherent truth in the saying that “when one door closes, another one opens.” Take the open door. That’s the one for you. I found mine in anthropology and archaeology.
Stacey Clover Symonds ’84 with her children, Nico ’17 and Yan ’18
I began to believe that I was on my way again. I had just found my new place and was renewing my sense of purpose and belonging. But, at the same time, I was also forced to expand my horizons. Until beginning my career as an archaeologist, I had lived a very privileged, U.S.and Euro-centric existence. I spoke French, Italian, and English. I went to France to see my mother, and to Italy, where she spent the summers. My profession, however, was developing in another sphere—Central America. The snag at this point in my life is quite painful to recall, but I guess it might be the most relevant for all of you today. It is why I adamantly believe that the country cannot risk turning back the clock on the social progress made over the last fifty years. As I began graduate school, my college advisor warned me that all female archaeologists were either spinsters or divorced and alone. Art history was better for women. My first year advisor sat me down and said (I quote), “You will have to work twice as hard as the boys, twice as many hours, and go to the worst of all places. That’s the way it is. You’re a girl.” Given that I am by nature stubborn, this didn’t faze me. I went ahead.
What they promised was true. However, what I hadn’t considered was the unspoken. It was assumed that I would also develop a “special” relationship with my program director. That was not in my plans. It took me a while to realize that my career was being stalled, but once I “got it,” I knew I had to go. I’d spent three years working on a thesis that would never get done. This was the point at which I really thought I should just quit. But a wonderful professor called me to Mexico and convinced me that I could succeed on my own. She pulled me through the abyss and across many obstacles to my PhD. My grandmother used to always say I was the most stubborn person she knew. She would say, “It’s too bad you have so little natural talent, because with your determination, you could really go far.” I used to bristle at that comment, until I read an interview in which she quoted my grandfather in Forbes magazine. He said: “They may know it all. They may have fine personalities. But if they haven’t drive, they won’t get anywhere.” Have drive in all you do. As Winston Churchill famously said: “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense.” Never give up. You can and will succeed. Final twist:
So I ended up in Mexico and twenty-four years ago met my husband. He was the farthest thing possible from my young-girl fantasies of whom I would marry. No one plans on becoming a second wife or a stepmother, but that’s what happened. This experience has been one of the greatest lessons of my life. When I started to become serious about him, a wise friend of mine advised me not to ignore the religion “issue.” I was a good, northeastern WASP. Paul is a Mexican Jew. My studies and life taught me that we need to respect all religions because, as I said, they explain the unexplainable, they give each individual solace. I thought that would suffice. My friend, from experience, disagreed. Religion becomes divisive with any pretext. After much soul searching, I decided to convert before I had children. I wanted one family, not a first and a second. I also wanted to give my children a base from which to jump into the world, a community that would be theirs. They could decide themselves what role to play in that community. Unifying is hard. There are always reasons to create differences. But we are only strong as a whole, so we have to make the effort, every day, all day long. When I wanted to give up, I would often visualize Yoda standing on my shoulder saying: “Do or do not. There is no try.” I think I have succeeded. At least, I hope I have.
Groton School Quarterly
There is a passage in the Talmud that says, “We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.” This is what creates so many problems in today’s global world— the need to conciliate the fact that everyone interprets life from a different angle. But think about how boring life would be if everyone were the same. In that vein, I come full circle to my Groton application of too many years ago. Yes, I am a citizen of the world. We all are. It is our duty to make that world a better place by stressing the unity that underlies diversity. This is the battle that you will face in a global world. Please fight it—because diversity is wealth. Diversity is crucial to development because it fosters creativity and growth. It is also inherent in American culture. Even before the Constitution, Jefferson recognized the importance of this diversity when he drafted the Virginia statute for religious freedom. It is a document that admonishes us to never forget respect and tolerance, to remember that this was the spirit in which the United States of America was founded. As you go out into the broader world, your experiences will be largely shaped by your ability to adapt to ever-changing environments and circumstances. Take them as they come, and enjoy the ride. Don’t fight change. At fifty, I am no longer a northeastern WASP. I’m a Mexican Jew. I’ve lived in Mexico and Central America for thirty years. But I am still the same person with the same goals and the same stubborn determination. I am also still very much an American. The important thing is to be “proud of your roots, understand the history that has shaped your community, and respect the history of others.” 1 As you go through life’s ups and downs (and there will be many), listen to the advice of David Ben Gurion: “In order to be a realist, you must believe in miracles.” Be an optimist. Life is a trip to be enjoyed. If you’ve read Steinbeck you will realize that this is his primary message. Not only is life a journey, but also it is a journey that takes us. We will end up where we need to be. In the past six months, I’ve been living another curveball that has required a move to Switzerland for many months a year, away from the center of my life, Mexico. My mountain guide recently told me this ancient Swiss moral. It goes like this: “There is always sun above the clouds.” Reach through the clouds. You will find the sun.
“My Lesson From White America,” by Héctor Tobar, The New York Times, October 10, 2016
A C H A P E L TA L K
by Jack Fanikos ’17 September 29, 2016 voces
The Art of Learning G
ood morning, comrades. I believe that everyone here has been presented with a fantastic opportunity. We can all undergo tremendous pain here and come out on the other side as better people. Yes, we are blessed in other ways as well: drug use is rare, fights are unheard of, we can get as many bagels as we want during the school day, and we can acquire a large bit of knowledge. We are certainly fortunate to have these things, but they are not why we are here, and they are certainly not what makes Groton Groton. We are all here for self-improvement.
In the words of William Johnson Cory: In school you are engaged not so much in acquiring knowledge as in making mental efforts under criticism. A certain amount of knowledge you can indeed with average faculties acquire so as to retain; nor need you regret the hours you spent on much that is forgotten, for the shadow of lost knowledge at least protects you from many illusions. But you go to a great school not so much for knowledge as for arts and habits; for the habit of attention, for the art of expression, for the art of assuming at a moment’s notice a new intellectual position, for the art of entering quickly into another person’s thoughts, for the habit of submitting to censure and refutation, for the art of indicating assent or dissent in graduated terms, for the habit of regarding minute points of accuracy, for the art of working out what is possible in a given time, for taste, for discrimination, for mental courage, and for mental soberness. In other words, we are not really here to memorize the third declension or to understand the difference between
a red oak and a white oak or even to translate Xenophon, though I will admit I like to do those things. And we are definitely not here for college. Instead, we are here to suffer those things and become better people in our suffering. We are here for a certain set of arts and habits, and, though I certainly haven’t mastered them, they will make both you and me better people. I. The Habit of Attention
This is something that I think is vital to living in Groton. We all have a lot of homework, and we all want to do well on our assignments. You don’t write a good essay or chapel talk if you check Facebook every five minutes. If you want to do something right, you need to focus, buckle down, and study for hours on end. We all know this, but it can be difficult to acquire in practice. My first encounter with attention occurred in French 1. Around this time of the year in Third Form, my grade began to fall precipitously in that class. We all have at least one subject during our first year where we just don’t get it—where we don’t understand it and are afraid to ask for help or where we suddenly stop doing our homework or where we roll our r’s way too much. Second and Third Formers, you’ll find out what I’m talking about very soon. Anyway, French was just one of those classes for me. I remember getting a test back, looking at the top righthand corner, and panicking when I saw it was a 60. I had not really studied and knew that this was what I deserved. In response, I tried to pay attention in class and actually listened to Mr. Mees (whom, by the way, I would like to thank immensely). I hit the books and did my best to piece this strange language together. The next quiz, I did a bit better. I studied more for the next assessment and then the next one and then the next one until I was
Photos by John Capen
Clockwise from top left: Will Norton ’17, Paul Michaud ’18, and Jack Fanikos ’17; Jack running solo; Noah Aaron ’18, Cherian Yit ’17, Jack McLaughlin ’17, Sammy Malholtra ’18, Lars Caspersen ’19, Jack, Matthew Higgins Iati ’17, Will, Paul, Westby Caspersen ’17, and Christopher Ye ’17
done for the year. I grew as a result of this. The general principles are painfully simple: review and memorize. These both require attention. That is the most important thing I learned in my French class in Third Form. Sure, I learned the present and past tenses and some basic vocabulary, but if that is what a Groton education is, then my parents could have saved a lot of money and bought Breaking the Barrier and a dictionary. Also, no college will ever say to me, “You took French 1? You’re in!” All that is just fluff. II. The Art of Assuming at a Moment’s Notice a New Intellectual Position
When I arrived here, I was a socialist. Not a wannabeBernie Sanders-break-up-the-big-banks socialist, but a nationalize-everything socialist. In Fourth Form, a founding member of the ironic Young Marxists, Alaric Krapf [’16], was my prefect. Shockingly enough, we debated a lot. Should we have state-run factories? Would a brain-drain ensue if we depressed the wages of doctors and lawyers?
Groton School Quarterly
Would the march of society freeze in a Communist nation? It is obvious to me now what the right answers are, but at the time I fiercely defended my extreme leftist views, and I was pretty good by this time. I even held my own against this famed president of Debate [Society] on some occasions. But I was wrong, and if it weren’t for Alaric, I would still defend the state-run economy. Sometime in spring term, I was analyzing a particularly bad rhetorical beating when a thought flashed through my mind: “I am a socialist. It is a part of my identity.” I realized that I had lost. It had taken months to understand my error, but it was there plain as day. I had been a socialist for years. I confused my opinions with myself. They are two separate things. You are not a dot on a spectrum between liberal and conservative. You are not a treatise. You’re a person. So debate some ideas regarding the school, government, and ethics. Have your ideas challenged, and be uncomfortable. Do your best to win, but also know when you’ve lost, and be willing to take up a new, better opinion. It is hard to do so, but it is necessary. Nobody likes some stubborn blockhead.
III. For Taste, for Discrimination
I would be lying if I said I totally understood what this means. From what I have gathered, these are a type of judging. For example, you don’t have to act as if you adore every book in English; it’s not possible. I personally did not like The Awakening. Some of its messages were questionable at best, and the writing was generally lousy in my opinion. There is no learned skill that will ever get you to like something that you don’t like. You can respect it; I respect The Awakening, but that does not mean I like it. On the other hand, you may find something else that you really like. Heart of Darkness remains as one of the best pieces of literature I have ever read. That’s my opinion, and, while I can certainly back it up with a logical argument, it is not a fact. There need to be different tastes in the world so that we may progress to a better state. If we liked everything, the world would be pretty bad. This building is a neo-gothic Chapel because Endicott Peabody and the founding masters thought neo-gothic buildings were cool. Just imagine if they had thought brutalism was fine architecture. We would be in a Soviet office building. To me, that is not terribly appealing. IV. For Mental Courage, and for Mental Soberness
Deep in the depths of January, it gets pretty hard for many of us. We go through the motions of life without really living. We mechanically attend classes and then do our sports and then begin a pile of homework. Then we go to bed way too late and wake up with not nearly enough sleep so that we can restart the process. This is an objectively unpleasant routine. Unless you are a masochist, you do not enjoy the systematic fatiguing of mind and body. I think it is entirely impossible. Time with friends and small flashes of happiness are nice, but they cannot possibly make up for everything else. Life can be painful.
But we are here for the pain. Who really expected to live a life of comfort here? Nobody. This is the land of discomfort. Unhappiness is everywhere. It is a fact. But it is also a fact that makes us all stronger. Physical exercise involves breaking down your muscles so that your body can rebuild them and make you stronger. It is the same with the mind. We work hard and break down, but we (hopefully) get back up as stronger people. We earn our abilities. We become tough. Nobody ever sat down and studied for eight hours without doing so for five or six beforehand. Only by hard work can we hope to acquire any of these virtues. We are here for stoicism, not hedonism. And even if none of this is true, if the pain really is just pain with no hope of any kind of benefit, then I still think it is valuable because, in the words of Aeneas, “forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit.” Perhaps at some time it will be pleasing to recall even these things. Of course, I—like anybody else here—would not be able to tolerate much pain on my own, and I have quite a few people to thank. Thank you to Dr. Nelson, the best advisor I could ask for. Thank you to Mr. Capen for not only teaching me how to run but also how to like it. Thank you also for inviting us up to your house in Maine so many times. Thank you to Mr. Fry. Thank you to boys cross country, the swimming team, and the rowing team. Thank you to Machan’s [Dorm] 2015. Thank you to Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. Thank you to my family; you made me, both literally and figuratively. Thank you to John, Tom, and Eleanor Lyons; I try to uphold the family honor. Thank you to my roommates over the years. Thank you to all friends dear and true, particularly Hanna Kim, Matthew Higgins Iati, and Will Norton. And finally, thank you to Dr. Reyes, whose abilities both as a Classics master and as a man are so great, so indescribably fantastic, that I need not remind any of you of them. To all of you, I am forever indebted. Comrades, I have just a few closing remarks for those who just woke up. I don’t claim to be the physical incarnation of diligence or any other virtue. I am not the best student in the world who has somehow found the way to master all academics, but knowing that I am here for a reason has always comforted me while in the bowels of work. When I am utterly exhausted but nowhere near done studying for a Greek test, I know that what I am doing is for my own good, and then I can continue. Remember that, however fatigued you are, a time will come when you will walk from this beautiful Chapel to the tent. You will be freshly made diamonds. You will proudly stride before your younger peers and the masters as you finally finish this great marathon. Or you won’t. You don’t have to finish. It is your choice: work and succeed, or endorse sloth and fail.
This building is a neo-gothic Chapel because Endicott Peabody and the founding masters thought neo-gothic buildings were cool. Just imagine if they had thought brutalism was fine architecture. We would be in a Soviet office building.
Groton School Quarterly
1 An Adventure in 1914
Thomas Tileston Wells, the author’s great-grandfather, wrote An Adventure in 1914 after a harrowing journey he took in the summer of 1914 with his wife and two children. Instead of the pleasurable hikes in the Swiss and Austrian Tyrol that he had planned, he was a witness to history’s greatest train wreck—the outbreak of World War I. Wells wrote poignantly about the mobilization of European armies and its effect on soldiers’ families. He wrote about the impossibility of using a return ticket on the French railway because all trains were transporting soldiers. Wells was even arrested, accused of being a Russian spy, and threatened with immediate execution by Austrian authorities. Wells escaped, but never published his manuscript. Instead, Christopher Kelly retraced Wells’ journey, staying at hotels where he had stayed, traveling by rail and boat, and taking photographs along the way. A historian (and author of America Invades and Italy Invades), Christopher applied to his ancestor’s story his fascination with a period when the world fundamentally changed.
3 Merrill Stubbs ’95 and Amanda Hesser
A New Way to Dinner
Two children are left in their grand parents’ care for a long weekend, ready for a trip to the zip-line park or another adventure. These grandparents aren’t the type to hide behind the newspaper or fall asleep in an armchair. In fact, they are the most fun people around. But how well do these children really know their grandparents? A man with a briefcase and a scar on his face is watching, and
5 Ben Coes ’85
Merrill Stubbs and her co-author acknowledge that their readers are busy, overcommitted, and short on time—but also want to live better. A New Way to Dinner makes great weeknight dinners achievable by establishing a game plan for home cooks, with seasonal menus that can be mostly prepared over the weekend. The book is a glimpse into the authors’ home lives, delving into how they cope in the kitchen while nurturing families and a growing business. A New Way to Dinner removes the burden of planning, helping people maximize their time and regain control in the kitchen.
4 Bradford F. Whitman ‘62
The Way Out: Retracing America’s Steps to Find Our Future
Anson Montgomery ’90
Your Grandparents Are Spies
America as the healthy, resilient democratic republic intended by Madison and his colleagues—in contrast to the mix of plutocracy, despotism, and oligarchy that now prevails. Brad presents processes for rehabilitation, truth, and reconciliation—and specific reforms that meet the founders’ standards and compare to actions taken in other countries.
Christopher Kelly ’77
the children overhear a surprising conversation. If their grandparents are top-secret spies on a dangerous mission, can they still babysit?! Anson is also the author of Escape from the Haunted Warehouse and other children’s books.
Attorney Brad Whitman retraces our steps to discover the civic principles upon which the American democratic republic was founded—the “civics” that have been swept out of our classrooms and society. The book contains seemingly clairvoyant analysis and advice from centuries and millennia past (including wisdom from Aristotle). The author pairs his own perspective from his Washington years (the 1970s) with authentic, historical sources to formulate a picture of
Deep within the Pentagon, a covert, multibillion-dollar, arms-for-influence program was created to protect the United States and its allies from terrorist acts by enabling a handpicked leader in the Middle East. But the charismatic Tristan Nazir double-crosses America, twisting the program for his own violent ends to create ISIS. Now America is at great risk. Elite operative Dewey Andreas is sent to Syria to retrieve details about the source of ISIS’s funding, but his cover is blown mid-operation and chaos erupts in the streets of Damascus. Trapped and outnumbered, Dewey manages to send proof of the awful truth—unknown at even the highest levels in the government— that ISIS’s munitions were indeed provided by America itself. This information arrives in time for the United States to cut off a final arms shipment, but the vicious Nazir is far from finished. He launches a bold strike into the heart of America, sending a terrorist cell to take over a dorm at Columbia University, capturing hundreds of college students as hostages. For every hour that the shipment of weapons is withheld, the terrorists will publicly execute one student. In a situation with no solutions, there remains only one option—Dewey Andreas.
6 de libris
Rick Ford ‘54
The Parables of Jesus & the Problems of the Word: How Ancient Narratives Comprehend Modern Malaise
Jesus’ subtle but rich provision of irony, hidden inside the hierarchies of power that so dominate his parables, profoundly addresses the perils inherent in the privileged positions occupied by many of us today. In these ancient interpersonal tragedies, Rick Ford helps the reader discover modern global analogues—where the powerful still control the powerless, and where others, immersed as we are in prerogatives, are still willing to side with control.
Reminiscences include crawling onto the Great Buddha’s head at Bamian, mounting the first modern art exhibition in Afghanistan, picnicking on mountain meadows later pummeled by Soviet gunships, and directing Broadway hits with young Pakistani actors who were destined to become Bangladesh’s foreign secretaries and top ambassadors. Ivan describes flying lessons with the Pakistan Air Force; living it up in Calcutta; rousing welcomes for his talks on Faulkner or the Kennedy-Nixon campaign; and the nagging moral conundrum of an extraordinary artistic sensibility throughout Bengal, cheek by jowl with material poverty and physical pain. The book, available only for Kindle, is a nostalgic anecdotal romp through worlds long since lost.
Ivan Hall ’50
Happier Islams, Happier US Too!
Michael Knapp ’64
As a fragile peace in Afghanistan breaks down once again, and as machete murders of progressive intellectuals by radical zealots—in broad daylight—erode the rare heritage of religious tolerance in secularist Bangladesh, Ivan Hall brings back to life the now counterintuitive “Happier Islams” he experienced as a young cultural officer with the U.S. Information Service, sent in 1958–61 to promote America’s good name in Muslim South Asia. In Kabul a half century ago, Islam, though forbiddingly traditional, was still politically quiescent. In Dacca, East Pakistan (today’s Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh), a less rigid type of Islam had long accommodated its large Hindu minority. And American diplomats worked in lightly guarded embassies, enjoying an individual and political popularity unthinkable throughout the Muslim world today.
In his spare time, Michael Knapp constructs footbridges across creeks in the Cascade Mountains. His hobby provides a metaphor that he employs in this exploration into how academicians in education build bridges between people, ideas, and possibilities. Neither a memoir nor a scholarly work, the book reflects primarily on Michael’s thirty-five-year career in academia and educational research. Written for academicians, To Build a Bridge probes enduring challenges confronting academia particularly around inequities, and the ultimate challenge of bridging the divide between the university-based world of ideas and the world of everyday practice in schools, districts, higher-education institutions, and community settings.
To Build a Bridge: Reflections on an Academic Career in Education
9 Hannah Wellman ’08 and Marlena Whiting
A Gem of a Small Nabataean Temple: Excavations at Khirbet Et-tannur in Jordan
Khirbet et-Tannur was a religious sanctuary of the Nabataeans, ancient Arabs whose capital was the rose-red, rock-cut city of Petra in Jordan. Excavated in 1937, the temple sculptures from Khirbet et-Tannur are in important public collections of the Jordan Museum in Amman and the Cincinnati Art Museum. Nelson Glueck’s fascinating finds of cult offerings and equipment were buried deeply in the Harvard Semitic Museum until they were unearthed by scholars decades later in 2002. New research on those discoveries and the site’s sculpture by an international team of experts, led by Judith McKenzie of Oxford, has illuminated the religious practices and art of the Nabataeans. This gem of a small Nabataean temple has a fascinating story. Read about all the Grotonians who contributed to this book on page 6.
bl William Gates ’48
Anniversary Wings: Poems Centric and Eccentric
In Anniversary Wings, a poet has found that, though life may start in loss and suffering, it can climb to celebration—which he believes is the point of poetry. William Gates wrote this book in praise of New Mexico mountains and canyons, of the gala of the spring runoff, of the sounds and smells of Santa Fe nights. Above all, it celebrates the love that grew between two who explored those highs and lows together. Readers will discover
► Please send information about your new releases to email@example.com. 38
Groton School Quarterly
book review a phonetic harmony in odd columns of one-word lines, sometimes solemn as a bare tree, or wild and scattered as snow. And they will find a poet who believes in form shaped by sound, one who reaches out to those who understand that poetry begins in the music and the dance of words.
bm Megan Quigley ‘91
Modernist Fiction and Vagueness: Philosophy, Form, and Language
Modernist Fiction and Vagueness marries the artistic and philosophical versions of vagueness, linking the development of literary modernism to changes in philosophy. The book argues that the problem of vagueness—language’s unavoidable imprecision—led to transformations in both fiction and philosophy in the early twentieth century. Both twentieth-century philosophers and their literary counterparts (including James, Eliot, Woolf, and Joyce) were fascinated by the vagueness of words and the dream of creating a perfectly precise language. Building on recent interest in the connections among analytic philosophy, pragmatism, and modern literature, Modernist Fiction and Vagueness demonstrates that vagueness should be read not as an artistic problem but as a defining quality of modernist fiction.
Book summaries were provided by the authors and/or publishers.
Conversations with a Masked Man: My Father, the CIA, and Me by John Hadden Jr. ’71 Reviewed by Moorhead Kennedy Jr. ’48
HROUGH A revealing portrait of his father, John Hadden ’71 has provided a candid picture of the CIA, which John Hadden Sr. ’41 ended up liking about as much as both father and son liked Groton (not much). The elder Hadden’s tale and his extraordinarily perceptive—if contrarian—character emerge from taped conversations with his son. Much of the book is in question-and-answer format, revealing keen insights into father-son relations. The senior Hadden had departed, in performance and attitude, from a conventional CIA covert career. Wherever he was assigned, he easily made a wide series of friends and useful acquaintances, developing an unusual level of empathy for and understanding of other countries and cultures. Unlike typical CIA operatives, he did not recruit and manage agents, but behaved more like a foreign service officer in an embassy. In environments friendly to the United States, the open Hadden technique paid rich dividends. In 1954, with the Cold War at a peak, Mr. Hadden, after time in Berlin, was assigned to open a one-man station in Hamburg, the major city in what was still the British Occupation Zone. The British did not appreciate this Yankee penetration. Not long after his arrival, they came to Hadden to warn him: “We’ve been here now for six years, we’re iron solid, we’ve set the whole thing up, and we know things that you don’t. If you agree to cooperate with us 100 percent, we’ll make sure that you look good. If you
don’t, we’ll go to all the Germans and tell them not to cooperate with you.” Hadden replied that his orders made it impossible to accept their offer. And the British then made good on their threat. They did not know that Hadden already had asked the U.S. Consul General, his ostensible “boss,” to introduce him to all relevant Germans. Hadden had offered his full cooperation to the Germans, providing them with information they could get in no other way. The Germans were happy to accept. Rebuffed when they approached the same officials, the British discovered that, to use Hadden’s language, “They had absolutely screwed themselves.” Hadden was helped by the reality that, after six years, German officials in Hamburg had come to hate the British and their perceived pomposity, and accordingly were willing to give this friendly American the benefit of the doubt. In Israel, a country even more accepting toward America, Hadden really shone. One of the book’s high points is Hadden’s devastating retort to Langley bureaucrats who were trying to explain Israeli attitudes based on what they had read, whereas Hadden had gone beyond reading to get to know many Israelis. The author’s description of his lively time on a kibbutz is worth reading in itself. And, to their credit, both Haddens show due regard for the Palestinian cause. At the end, fed up with bureaucratic infighting and pettiness, Hadden took early retirement. I can relate, from my own experience, what that is like. In 1979 in Iran, my last Foreign Service assignment, none of us were sufficiently aware of the danger awaiting us. But the CIA, given their track record in Iran, should have been particularly aware of the need for credible covers. I was heading the Economic-Commercial section when I learned that a CIA officer was to be assigned to me for cover purposes. Somewhat concerned, I went to the CIA station chief to discuss what his specific duties would be. “Economic-Commercial officer,” he replied. I pointed out that most of the staff were locally recruited Iranians of long tenure, who would be sure to identify any officer who came without a credible job. And they
Groton School Quarterly
were certainly obliged to report to the revolutionary authorities. None of this, apparently, had occurred to the station chief. “What,” he asked, “did you have in mind?” The new officer had been a shop steward in a factory, so I replied, “How about labor officer? The embassy doesn’t have one.” That, he replied, was an ideal cover, giving the new man the excuse he needed to get out of the embassy to do his covert work. So I directed Mohammad, my senior local employee, to arrange an appointment for our new officer with the deputy minister of labor. But not long after the officer’s arrival, lightning struck. The head of the political section objected. We could not have a labor officer in the economic section. Labor was a political function. A meeting of the country team—the senior officers—was called to discuss whether or not, for sound bureaucratic reasons, to strip a CIA officer, in a dangerous environment, of his cover. Mohammad would really have something to report. The charge said he would consider both sides. Before he reached a decision, the embassy was taken over by student militants—the so-called Iranian hostage crisis that plagued Jimmy Carter’s presidency. Opening the charge’s safe, the militants found a list of the CIA officers, with their covers and real duties. John Hadden Jr. tells similar stories of his father’s life and career; the book should satisfy those interested in the functioning of our intelligence services and those interested in a complex father-son dynamic. I was pleased for both reasons. Moorhead “Mike” Kennedy ’48 is a retired Foreign Service Officer and the author of The Ayatollah in the Cathedral. He was held captive in Iran from November 4, 1979 until January 20, 1981.
PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE
25 ANNUAL TH
Clockwise from top left: Christian Carson ’18, Phoebe Fry ’17, Elyssa Wolf ’17, Kochoe Nikoi ’19, Mac Galinson ’17, and Charlie Hawkings ’17
Photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz
In early November, The 2t5th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee brought crowdpleasing escapism to the Campbell Performing Arts Center. Spelling bee contestants, one more outlandish than the next, chose unwitting audience participants — both students and faculty — to join the fun. “One of the best things about the show was to see students and faculty sitting side by side in the audience sharing humor,” said director Laurie Sales, who heads Groton’s theater program. “Teachers were gracious enough to let our cast poke some fun at them.”
Groton School Quarterly
Clockwise from left: Michael Senko ’18 and Malik Gaye ’18; Christian Carson ’18; Elyssa Wolf ’17, Kochoe Nikoi ’19, and Phoebe Fry ’17. Opposite page, clockwise from top left: Associate Director of College Counseling Rob O’Rourke, Mac Galinson ’17, Phoebe, Charlie Hawkings ’17, Elyssa and Julien Alam ’19, and the spelling bee participants
Christopher Carey Brodigan Gallery WINTER EXHIBIT
Perceptual Paradox Silas Finch Through February 24, 2017
ilas Finch is a storyteller who prefers not to speak. Driven to immortalize the objects that he is obsessed with collecting, Silas strives to keep his sculpture simple, “to strip something down to its last component.” Entirely self-taught, he looks for a story inside his materials, delving into the recesses of human culture and natural history. “I’m very influenced by the art of craftsmanship, something I feel has gotten lost in the pop culture of today,” he says. His methods of assembly often predate welding or adhesives. “I prefer to find a natural connection, a cold connection [between objects], a balance between the two.” The possibility of collapse is ever present, yet that risk makes the moment of connection satisfying to the artist. Silas’ sculptures remind viewers of the multiple narratives that life suggests and the story within every object. “He has a gift for re-imagining the curious debris of the ordinary world,” wrote Stephen Vincent Kobasa in Art New England. “The relationship of part to part is always unexpected, but never forced. Every joining point seems the result of a logical connection. Every one of his battered, artful constructions is an instrument for decoding memories — both his and ours.” The Brodigan Gallery exhibit’s title, Perceptual Paradox, hints at the surprises within Silas’ work. “A perceptual paradox,” explains the artist, “illustrates the failure of a theoretical prediction.” Silas Finch worked with students on campus December 1–9, 2016, through the Mudge Fellowship, which was established by the Mudge Foundation in 1992 to enhance Groton students’ exposure to the arts. Learn more on page 7.
Groton School Quarterly
The Brodigan Gallery, located on the Dining Hall’s ground level, is open 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekdays (except school holidays). It is free and open to the public.
The de Menil Gallery is open 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on weekdays (except Wednesdays) and 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on weekends (except school holidays). It is free and open to the public.
de Menil Gallery WINTER EXHIBIT
Outspoken: Seven Women Photographers Nadine Boughton / Blake Fitch / Nancy Grace Horton / Marky Kauffmann / Tira Khan / Rania Matar / Emily Schiffer Through February 28, 2017
o we hear the voices of women and girls? Curated by photographer and educator Marky Kauffmann, Outspoken: Seven Women Photographers captures those voices, challenging cultural assumptions and provoking viewers to ask what is right, fair, or possible for women and girls. The photographs span ages and cultures; they are intimate and revealing, often carrying powerful statements about gender and society. For example, Kauffmann’s large-scale portraits of older women, from her series, “Lost Beauty,” challenge viewers to question our cultural obsession with youth and beauty in spite of aging’s inevitability. The intimate portraits of Rania Matar capture the passage from girlhood to adulthood in both American and Middle Eastern cultures, focuisng on the universality of growing up. Nancy Grace Horton’s photographs, from her “Ms. Behavior” series, hold a mirror up to society and to media’s influence on female roles. Emily Schiffer’s intimate portraits capture the frank expressions of Native American girls on a Cheyenne reservation in South Dakota. Tira Khan, a video producer and photographer at Sugarhouse Media, documents moments of family life through candid portraits of her daughters and others. Blake Fitch’s photos, from “Dress Rehearsal,” provide a glimpse of young girls: powerful, curious, defiant. Nadine Boughton’s images, from her “Fortune and the Feminine” series, deconstruct mid-century advertising and its messages about gender, power, beauty, and longing.
1 Amia by Blake Fitch 2 Stephanie, Beirut, Lebanon by Rania Matar 3 Emily at Five by Emily Schiffer 4 After Camp by Tira Khan 5 Ironing Bored by Nancy Grace Horton 6 Lost Beauty: Burns Facial Wrap by Marky Kauffmann 7 Birth Canal by Nadine Boughton
Noah Aaron ’18 Opposite page, Maddie Culcasi ’20
Photos by Adam Richins
This page: above, Hanna Kim ’17 and Sophia Wu ’21; right, Tyler Brooks ’17 Opposite page: Michael Xiao ’18 and Maggie Cheever ’18
Girls Soccer 5–7–4 We entered the season with high expectations, and a victory over Andover in our first match only set the bar higher. Nonetheless, after an embarrassing loss to Nobles after our fall long weekend, we found ourselves sitting at 2–6–1. What happened? Well, the truth is that we had been very fortunate in 2015, catching teams off guard and scoring goals at crucial moments against the run of play. This year, a series of one-goal losses revealed that what the soccer gods giveth, they can also taketh away. Moreover, at times we simply did not play well enough to deserve a win. So, at 2–6–1 and fresh off our worst loss in four years, we needed to prepare
Groton School Quarterly
to take the field for a Parents Weekend match against BB&N, a resurgent team with the best player in the league. At this critical juncture, we needed everyone to remain committed and united. We talked about perseverance and resilience. The Sixth Formers –– co-captains Amani Jiu and Carrie Moore, along with Carly Bowman, Caitlyn DiSarcina, Piper Higgins, and Coco Wallace –– showed their strength of character as they remained positive and committed when a lesser group of girls might have become disillusioned and toxic. Thanks to their leadership, and the effort and unselfishness of the younger girls, we went 3–1–3 the rest of the way. In those seven matches, we played four teams that went on to the playoffs. We earned an exciting last-minute victory at
St. Paul’s, we shut out Exeter, and we beat Lawrence Academy in the Groton Derby. Finally, the girls played their finest match of the season on St. Mark’s Day against a team that would go on to the NEPSAC championship game. The girls defended with incredible discipline and toughness. They attacked with confidence and purpose. And they cheered with passion and pride. As a result, we will graduate a Sixth Form group this spring that has never lost on St. Mark’s Day. — Coach Ryan Spring
Boys Soccer 4–9–2 Although Groton returned a number of players from last year’s varsity, the team was
still young. With only three starting Sixth Formers and one starting Fifth Former, Groton conceded size and experience in every game, yet without question this was a talented team that could move the ball impressively, even against the best opponents. The season started perfectly with a 7–1 win at St. George’s; however, this was followed by a string of six games against the top teams in the league. Despite the fact that Groton competed well, the team couldn’t muster a win, and such a gauntlet is hard on a team, especially a young one. For this reason, it was all the more impressive that Groton rebounded to go 3–3–2 for the rest of the season. Fourth Former Chewy Bruni (All-ISL 2nd Team) led the offense with thirteen goals, while
fellow Fourth Former Walker Davey anchored the midfield and also earned AllISL 2nd Team honors. Tri-captain Tyler Brooks ’17 provided outstanding speed on the flank, scoring several critical goals. His fellow tri-captain Roan Guinan ’17 provided much-needed strength and fortitude — in both defense (at the start of the season) and offense (through the strong finish to the season). As always, Alec Reiss ’17 (All-ISL 1st Team) was the heart of the team, serving as one of the captains for the second time and proving to be a cornerstone in both the back four and in midfield. The season ended on a high note, when Groton faced a St. Mark’s team that had just run off seven consecutive wins. After tying 2–2 in regulation, Groton
brought the Wiedergott Cup back to campus after a five-year hiatus when –– in a penalty shootout –– St. Mark’s final shooter put the ball over the crossbar. Additionally, Groton was once again awarded the Blood Trophy (for sportsmanship) by vote of the players in the league. Such a distinction is a fitting acknowledgement of what a fine group of young men this was. –– Coach Ted Goodrich
Boys Cross Country 9–6 We kicked off the season in Maine again this year, with eleven runners repeating our “Around the Mountain” half-marathon in the heart of Acadia National Park and then summiting Cadillac Mountain on Labor Day.
This page: Marcella Flibotte ’17 and Jay Fitzgerald ’20 Opposite page, clockwise from left: Andrew Pearson ’18, Amani Jiu ’17, and Greg Segal ’18
Photos by Jon Chase
Additional highlights included adding yoga to our workouts for post-training stretching, reuniting with former captains Jamie Thorndike ’14 and Simon ColloredoMansfeld ’15 at the Brooks race, and the fast finishes of our captains. Our varsity squad had nine wins and six losses, and JV had eleven wins and only two losses against our ISL competitors. Groton hosted the ISL Cross Country Championships this season, welcoming 638 runners and their entourages onto our campus on Friday, November 4. Varsity placed sixth out of fifteen teams, and JV placed fifth in the ISL championship. Paul Michaud ’18 came in sixth place overall, and Will Norton ’17 came in fourth. These two front-runners went on to finish in tenth and seventh places, respectively, in
Groton School Quarterly
the New England Championships at Tabor on November 12; they then competed in the New England All-Star Race on November 19, where Paul finished in fourteenth place, and Will finished second. –– Coach John Capen
Girls Cross Country 7–7 The girls varsity cross-country team finished the season with a record of 7 and 7 in dual meets, and finished eighth at the ISL Championships and thirteenth at the Division II New England Championships. The second half of our schedule was tough; after peaking on October 1–– sweeping a quad meet at Brooks — we had five races in a row against the top teams
in our league, and we dropped a series of tough, close races to squads that put their packs just ahead of ours. Along the way, though, we saw lots of impressive individual improvements and, as evidence of the depth of our team, thirteen different girls competed as one of our seven varsity runners at some point during the season. Abby Kirk ’19 emerged as the team’s top runner, finishing thirteenth overall at the ISL Championships before having to miss New Englands due to illness. Co-captain Hanna Kim ’17 battled through injuries all season but ran tough races and finished twenty-first overall at both ISLs and New Englands. Co-captain Verity Lynch ’17 provided tremendous leadership all season, as well as toughness and consistency in the middle of the varsity lineup.
The team graduates three of its regular varsity runners, but we have several promising young runners ready to step up, and the tremendous depth of our JV program ensures that we have several runners ready to make a difference at the varsity level next fall. –– Coach Michael O’Donnell
Field Hockey 4 –13 Though the overall record of 4–13 might suggest otherwise, the field hockey season began well, with the team’s first full season on a home turf field — no more away practices! The girls were led by a strong Sixth Form cohort consisting of four-year players and co-captions Maddie Ferrucci and
Caroline Fisher, as well as Marcella Flibotte and Cha Cha McLean; each of the four played her best season thus far. Early highlights included a win at Exeter, an overtime victory at Southfield, and a decisive win on the road at St. George’s with nearly all Groton teams on nearby fields. As the girls headed into the tough part of the schedule, it became clear how strong the ISL is, and the victories were harder to come by. Hard work in practice meant that skills improved on a daily basis, and the teamwork was impressive. This group of girls enjoyed their time together on the field and made the afternoons fun and productive for all. With only four Sixth Formers graduating, a very solid core of girls will return next fall. Goalie Maddie Ferrucci deserves
special kudos for her four years as the varsity goalie, in most years with no backup. Though there is a young hotshot in the wings, it will take some time to replace Maddie’s leadership and experience as the anchor of the backfield. — Coach Kathy Leggat
Football 2–5 Two big memories of my first season at Groton come from the games we won against Middlesex and Thayer. With two minutes left in the game against Middlesex, we found ourselves backed up against our goal line. It was fourth down and goal from the four-yard line. Middlesex handed the ball off to their fullback and we
Photos by Adam Richins
Follow Groton Athletics on Twitter:
gang-tackled him on the two-yard line. We took over on downs, and now we needed to drive the ball out from our end zone. We desperately needed to make a first down and run the clock out –– and we failed. Then we had to punt the ball from our end zone, giving Middlesex a second chance to beat us. Once again, Middlesex put a small drive together, getting the ball down to the seven-yard line. It was fourth and goal to go, with twenty seconds left in the game. This time they threw the ball in the end zone. But our cornerback, Noah Aaron ’18, picked it off and was clever enough to take a knee in the end zone. The ball came out to our twenty-yard line, and all we needed to do was take a knee to secure our first win of the season, 21–17.
Groton School Quarterly
The next bright spot of the season was a nine-minute, ninety-five-yard drive versus Thayer to win the game. During this drive, we overcame a five-yard penalty and also received a little help from Thayer with their own penalty keeping the drive alive. We ran fifteen plays with a good mix of running and throwing when we needed to. The drive was very methodical –– just like the old saying, “five yards and a cloud of dust”–– and eventually we pushed the ball into the end zone. The season did not turn out the way we had hoped, but — looking on the bright side — we have eight returning starters on both sides of the ball. We will all be much more experienced, which makes me very optimistic about our chances for next season.
I would like to thank Athletic Director Robert Low for giving me the opportunity to coach football at Groton School. I was very impressed not only with the quality of the football, but also with all of the school’s unique traditions and how long the team has been playing some of their opponents. I was also very impressed with the Independent School League and how gracious all the hosting schools were. This was very different for me after coaching in the public school leagues for thirtysix years. I also would like to thank my assistant coaches for doing such a wonderful job all season long: Harold Francis, John Margarita, Breandain Keating, Adam Lamont, Bryan McKay, and Daniel Moriarty. –– Coach Jamie Lamoreaux
Opposite page: Caleb Coleman ’20 and Roan Guinan ’17 This page: Caroline Fisher ‘17, Alexa Beckstein ‘18, and the girls cross country team
BOYS CROSS COUNTRY
GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY
Most Valuable Runner Paul Michaud ’18
Most Valuable Runners Hanna Kim ’17 Abby Kirk ’19
Most Improved Runner Sammy Malhotra ’18 Coaches’ Award Matthew Higgins Iati ’17 Will Norton ’17 All-ISL Paul Michaud ’18 Will Norton ’17 Captains-Elect Sammy Malhotra ’18 Paul Michaud ’18
Most Valuable Player Madeline Ferrucci ’17
Most Valuable Player Noah Aaron ’18
Most Valuable Player Alec Reiss ’17
Most Improved Player Eliza Turner ’20
Coaches’ Award Taggart Eymer ’17
Breakout Performers Lucy Anderson ’20 Sophia Wu ’21
Coaches’ Award Marcella Flibotte ’17
Charles Alexander Award Rashawn Grant ’17
Coaches’ Award Tyler Brooks ’17 Mark Bruni ’19
Most Valuable Players Caitlyn DiSarcina ’17 Amani Jiu ’17 Caroline Moore ’17
Coaches’ Award Verity Lynch ’17
ISL Honorable Mention Madeline Ferrucci ’17 Freddie Tobeason ’19
All New England Bennett Smith ’19
All-ISL Hanna Kim ’17 Abby Kirk ’19 Captains-Elect Brianna Calareso ’18 Annie ColloredoMansfeld ’18 Margot French ’18
Captains-Elect Alyna Baharozian ’18 Margaret Cheever ’18 Layne McKeown ’18
All-ISL Noah Aaron ’18 Bennett Smith ’19 ISL Honorable Mention Caleb Coleman ’20 Taggart Eymer ’17 Rashawn Grant ’17
All-ISL Alec Reiss ’17 ISL Honorable Mention Mark Bruni ’19 Walker Davey ’19 Captains-Elect Walker Davey ’19 Charles Pearce ’18
Sixth Form Award Piper Higgins ’17 All-ISL Caitlyn DiSarcina ’17 Amani Jiu ’17 ISL Honorable Mention Alexa Beckstein ’18 Caroline Moore ’17 Captains-Elect Alexa Beckstein ’18 Alison Brown ’19 Elle Despres ’18
Captains-Elect Noah Aaron ’18 Greg Segal ’18 Bennett Smith ’19
Eugene Herr Gardner ’54 March 6, 1936 – July 16, 2016 by Arnold E. Keir Nash ’54
orn in Lancaster, Pennsylvania—the heart of Amish Country—into a family of German ancestry that had settled there during the reign of Queen Anne (1701–14), Gene Gardner was the elder son of Paul Gardner, founder of DeWalt, a major power-tool company. During his teenage years, Gene grew up on one hundred acres in a dwelling that had begun as a farmer’s house when James Monroe was President (1817–25) but which grew to be a gracious Doric-columned residence by the end of Herbert Hoover’s term (1929–33). The mansion looked fine when I first saw it in the early 1950s. Its front driveway was then enhanced by a perfectly maintained, dark green, 1941 Cadillac limousine that was capable of providing fast but stately transportation. It was so advanced that it contained one of Earth’s earliest automatic transmissions. It is hard to say in retrospect which fascinated me most—the house, the limousine, or the father. Paul Gardner had been a foster child and was the first selfmade, industrial capitalist under whose roof I had stayed. I, with a British professor/ clergyman father, had met the Archbishop of Canterbury, great theologians and philosophers, as well as concert musicians, physicists, and far too many psychologists (my mother being one). But I had never met a captain of industry. Paul Gardner had fascinating stories of enterprise— e.g., as a young man surviving a 1920s plane crash en route (with his then-novel portable radial saw) to an
Groton School Quarterly
Alberta city and, undaunted, hopping a train. He was greeted in consequence by the city’s mayor and a brass band—and sold far more saws to Albertans than he had anticipated. The elder Gardner seemed a genuine Horatio Alger, perhaps even a commodore of industry. Gene remained a lifelong Presbyterian despite six years of Groton’s Episcopalianism. Never an Amishman or even Pennsylvania’s distinctive alternative, a Quaker, Gene was supposed to do well—and did—and also did good. He was the model, not of a modern major general, but of an Endicott-Peabody capitalist, one who combined fine ethics, value-style investment, and the inflation-adjusted profit-making required for Class-A standing in the Parable of Talents (Matthew 25:14). Indeed, Gene enriched hundreds of clients by more than an order of magnitude. Decades ago his daughter precociously put the point. During a primary school Father’s Day celebration, kids were asked to name something that their fathers made well. One student said “chili;” another, “scrambled eggs.” Fifth grader Victoria Gardner said “money.” She was right. Gene’s pragmatic orientation coupled with a very high IQ—especially in the mathematics and economics dimensions—gave him an analyzing advantage over most brokers and money managers. Gene made much money in an uncommonly well-grounded and societally beneficial way. So too he was advantaged in investing by the combination of his language abilities and his perpetual student’s wanderlust in search of knowledge
difference to my account without indicating why. Had he not made the addition, I would never have known. Punctilious honesty. Low anxiety investing for the client— sustained by the knowledge that, at annual Berkshire Hathaway meetings, Gene used his many-Master-points bridge skills in friendly foursomes that included Warren Buffett.
of other cultures. These led him, for example, to learn conversational Japanese in the early 1960s prior to a lengthy visit to Japan. Later, his love of opera led him to learn much German. He had more innate musical capacity than is suggested by his not taking up a musical instrument, other than his own six-years-in-the-Groton-choir voice. Proof: my wife and I were on one of our summer auto trips from Santa Barbara, California, to Snowmass, Colorado, to spend a few days with the Gardners at their Sunset Magazine–featured, 9,000-foot-altitude vacation house (featured in part because it had a giant, Russian-style, stone chimney that absorbed sunlight and permitted heating this large edifice for almost no money). Marguerite and I were faced with the unavoidable realization that much of the USA between the Sierras and the Rockies is scenically challenged. In my boredom, I proposed to Marguerite that Gene could tell our Taurus’ driver-door lock combination if I sang it to him using the standard do = 1, re = 2, mi = 3, etc., sol-fa scale. Marguerite hit me in her affectionately aggressive way and denounced me as a fool. Once in Snowmass, over drinks with the Gardners, I sang “do, mi, sol, fa, re.” He correctly replied, “The combination is 1, 3, 5, 4, 2.” Gene also learned considerable Italian and Spanish due to longstanding interest in Renaissance art. He even learned a little Czech—but not enough to avoid a startling moment when toasting a Prague couple. Intending to say “To your health” in Czech, he proclaimed, “To the station!” The languages he learned first for musical theatrics eventually enhanced his international investment decisions and his reputation as an investor—both beyond and within the bounds of the USA. Crucial to his success was a relaxed approach—that is, after identifying through thorough research his preferred investments. Once he chose an investment, he would follow it carefully and usually retain it for a good many years. Three cases illustrate characteristics that, I think, made Gene much more than the usual investment manager and an unusual human being. The first is an example of why one could trust him entirely. One day I received a monthly investment statement with a mysterious $600 credit. Taking more than my typical, professorial, leave-it-to-Gardner approach, I phoned. I learned that Gene had asked a new employee to sell three hundred of my shares in Company X at $81. But the employee had sold them at $79. So Gene added the
The second case pertained to Gene’s (and Anne’s) philanthropy—a philanthropy which he insisted be anonymous and not bruited about in public. I had long known that Gene gave generously to the Santa Fe Opera and to Glyndebourne in the UK—but not of several other quiet instances. One was asking the artistic director of a local opera house what he would do differently about a forthcoming production if he (not the opera house) had the budget he needed. The upshot was the Gardners’ funding the resultant project on condition of anonymity and, as the artistic director said at Gene’s memorial service, refocusing the director’s attention from self-oriented resumé-building toward a what-have-you-done-for-humanity, funeral-eulogydirected goal. The third and most important case surprised me with its concern for African Americans—not what I would expect among staunch, traditional Republicans of our era. At Gene’s memorial service, the minister of a Lancaster church with a largely black congregation related that, for a considerable time, Gene had been anonymously paying medicine, food, and even funeral costs for numerous indigent members of that congregation. No one (except the minister) knew whence came the supporting money. Recounting, the minister advanced from Matthew 25:35, “For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat,” to the heartfelt conclusion that, assuming there is a judgment day, Gene would certainly go to the better side. I had had, despite nearly seventy years of friendship and four years of rooming together at Harvard, absolutely no idea of this side of Gene Gardner. Telling as well are the words of a coin dealer who knew Gene because of Gene’s extraordinary collection of 3,000 eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American coins, which took four auctions—beginning at the Waldorf Astoria in 2014—to sell off as Gene realized he was approaching finis. Said the coin dealer: “Gene Gardner is the finest gentleman in numismatics. He’s royalty.” An excellent example for all royalty. And for us commoners.
Richard Peaslee ’48 June 13, 1930 – August 20, 2016 by Richard Leahy ’48
O MUCH of the world, Dick Peaslee was a
prolific composer, known for his innovative scores for theater, dance, and orchestra. To me, Dick Peaslee was the most approachable and open-hearted person I have ever known. I arrived at Groton in the Third Form, at a time when virtually all of my formmates had already been at the school for one or two years. That could have led to a lonely beginning, but Dick immediately, without hesitation, offered his friendship. He was always up for a little fun, which is apparent in some of his music. Dick and I were roommates at Yale with several others from our form: Bill Erhart, David Low, and Charlie Milliken. Dick was a serious student with a demanding concentration in music composition. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa, but also could be seen at football games on fall Saturday afternoons playing trombone with the Yale “Precision Marching Band.” He was one of the early members of Yale’s Baker’s Dozen, an a cappella group. A sailor, Dick also took up flying. One day, as we were about to land, he informed me that he was colorblind and explained how important seeing colors is for depth perception. We landed safely, in black and white. After graduation, Dick spent two years with the Army, then earned an MA with honors from Juilliard and studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. Early in his professional career, Dick worked with English director Peter Brook to score an unusual production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in which actors on swings recited their lines while flying over the stage. He also wrote the music for the widely acclaimed play Marat/Sade. Not one to shy away from an ambitious assignment, Dick also worked with Peter Brook on an extravagant production celebrating the 2,500th anniversary of the Persian
Groton School Quarterly
Empire, which was staged in a tented setting at Persepolis. Dick explored beyond the ordinary: a number of his compositions are noted for their unusual combinations of instruments, some using synthesizers to great effect. Among his many honors, Dick won an Obie for his work on Martha Clarke’s The Garden of Earthly Delights and an Emmy nomination for his music for the PBS production of Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers’ The Power of Myth. He also received the Marc Blitzstein Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Dick served on the faculties of the Lincoln Center Institute and New York University’s music theater program. Through the years, Dick touched a broad spectrum of the arts scene: in dance, he worked with the New York City Ballet, Pilobolus, Twyla Tharp, and other groups; he composed large-scale jazz works for big bands in England and the United States, as well as concert pieces for numerous orchestras in the United States and Europe. Dick composed music for several of Joseph Papp’s New York productions of Shakespeare plays, and, perhaps, recalling his earlier experience at Yale, wrote a work for trombone, Arrows of Time, for the United States Army Band, which he later re-scored for symphony orchestra. His last major composition was a music-drama, Ahab, based on Moby-Dick. Dick and his wife, Dixie, lived on New York’s Upper West Side for many years, where he mentored and supported many young musicians. Dixie, an artist, developed a love for the Northwest and established a studio in the hills outside Seattle, where the couple moved in 2006 to live full-time. Dick died of complications from multiple sclerosis in his adopted city in August 2016. He is survived by Dixie; their children, Jessica and R. Cutts Peaslee; three grandchildren; his sister Lucy Dougall—and a lasting legacy of original music.
R Form Notes are now password-protected. Members of the Groton community may read them online by signing in at www.groton.org/myGroton.
GROTON TOPS ST. MARK’S IN YOUNG ALUMNI CHALLENGE
IN THE WEEK leading up to the annual Groton–St. Mark’s football
game, young alumni from both schools went head-to-head in an annual fund participation challenge. The challenge, over three-and-a-half days, ended at halftime of the varsity football game on Saturday, November 12, St. Mark’s Day. Though St. Mark’s, unfortunately, topped our team on the gridiron 29–22, Groton was victorious in the young alumni challenge, with 184 gifts. In celebration and good spirits, Headmaster Temba Maqubela and St. Mark’s Head of School John Warren both wore Groton hats for the above photo. During the challenge, videos encouraged young alumni to give: they featured the student Spirit Committee heads, former Headmaster Rick Commons, and even the Fab Lab’s laser saw. Thank you to all who participated and to our amazing form agents. A special thank you to our top participants—the Forms of 2008, 2012, and 2016—for their enthusiasm and generosity.
To keep up with alumni events, please follow Groton School on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or go to www.groton.org/alumnievents. If you’d like to make a gift online, please visit www.groton.org/giving.
P.O. Box 991 Groton, Massachusetts 01450-0991
North Reading, MA Permit 6
Change Service Requested
Non-profit Org. U.S. Postage
There was a time when Boston media covered Groton football. Above, a 1954 cartoon published in the Boston Herald caricatured the team: Dave Schroeder ’55, Dick Bentley ’55, Lee Barnes ’55, John Demos ’55, Carrington Clark ’56, Charles Devens ’55, Hugh Scott ’57, Jim Sheffield ’55, Dave Hopkins ’56, Henry Mosle ’56, Coach Jack Davison, Dave Fairburn ’55, Dave Landon ’56, Pete Higginson ’55, Henry Bakewell ’55, Tom Bingham ’55, Gerry Studds ’55, Nick Embiricos ’55, and Mike Baring-Gould ’55. It also acknowledged team manager Dave Sa’adah ’55.