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Groton School The Quarterly • Winter 2019

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Winter 2019 • Volume LXXX , No. 1

This tiny, leatherbound edition of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens was read to Groton boys starting in 1899, if not earlier. The inscription inside the front cover says: “Read to the boys of Groton School … 1899, 1900, 1901.” Facing the inscription is the signature of Samuel Endicott Peabody, the father of Groton School founder Endicott Peabody. A letter by the school founder reveals that Groton students sent the elder Peabody a petition in 1889, asking him to come to the Circle and read to them. During that visit, he read the Dickens classic, too.

TOM WRIGHT ’87 KNOWS, AND HE’S GOT BUY-IN FOR SOME BIG SOLUTIONS


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Groton School

The Quarterly

Winter 2019 • Volume LXXX, No. 1

What’s Wrong with NYC? Tom Wright ’87 Knows, and He’s Got Buy-In for Some Big Solutions page 16

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Message from the Headmaster

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Circiter / Around the Circle

12 Personae / Profiles 24 Voces / Chapel Talks 34 De Libris / New Releases 36 Grotoniana / Arts 40 Grotoniana / Athletics 47 In Memoriam 51 Form Notes

Photo by Amy Lu ’19

Cover photo by Craig Adderley


I will share a few stories from this letter: Annie Card

Message from the Headmaster ON NOVEMBER 30, 2018, I introduced a chapel talk by

reading part of an article from the June 15, 1985 New York Times:

“South African commandos attacked Gaborone, capital of neighboring Botswana, early today to strike at targets that South Africa described as the nerve center of the insurgent African National Congress. Sixteen people, one of them a 6-year-old girl, were reportedly killed.” My best friend—also named Temba—died in that raid. I survived because Vuyelwa and I had just had our first child, and the Maru-a-Pula School in Botswana, where I worked, had moved us off campus to a bigger flat. By a stroke of luck or providence, the commandos did not find us. Our complex journey to safety involved a double agent’s warning that I was on a South African hit list; nightly movement to undisclosed locations, with help from a brave colleague from Ireland; the aid of the head of the U.S. Embassy in Botswana; and the sponsorship that finally brought us to New York—from the Hebrew Immigration Aid Society, the same organization publicly targeted by the man accused of the October Pittsburgh synagogue shooting. Reflecting on my own history, as well as on the immigrants who await opportunity in the U.S. today, prompted me to compose a letter to my grandson, who is also named Temba. It is the first of what I hope will be annual letters, lest my grandchildren forget what it took for their grandparents to come to the U.S.

Editor Gail Friedman

Senior Editorial Advisor Elizabeth Wray Lawrence ‘82

Design Irene HL Chu

Form Notes Editor Jessica M. Hart Photographer/Editorial Assistant Christopher Temerson

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After I was arrested in my mother’s high school biology class, a railway porter at the Johannesburg train station helped us. Suspecting that we looked out of place, he stared at us intently and motioned rather urgently with his head to a place where we could hide so that we would not be seen by the police. That ordinary man did an extraordinary thing, and I never got a chance to thank him for saving our lives … Eventually we boarded the train, and alighted about ten miles from the border of Botswana. We walked that distance—our 1970s version of a caravan of refugees— and crossed illegally into Botswana on foot. We presented ourselves to the Botswana police to be arrested so that we would be granted political asylum. In one country we were escaping arrest from police, and in another we asked to be arrested so that we could be classified as refugees. Fast forward to December 1988, when I chaperoned Phillips Academy Andover students to Goree Island, Senegal. With a green card in hand, I thought I was safe, forgetting that, at the time, Senegal had strong relations with apartheid South Africa. As we landed in Senegal, I was immediately separated from the group and detained. Despite my green card, I was a refugee. It took a diplomat from the U.S. Embassy to have me released a few hours later … When [my son Pumi] was twelve, his team won the soccer state championship and their coach took the team and parents to play in the Azores in Portugal. Once again, at the airport, I was detained. My son was in tears when he and the team had to leave his father. You can understand how distraught I was about those children who were separated from their parents at the Mexico border this year. It brought back memories. I concluded my letter to my grandson by urging him to “never treat anyone with disdain, especially those who seek freedom from persecution. Treat them with empathy and understanding because this land is and shall always be a land of immigrants.”

Temba

Advisory Committee Amily Dunlap Kimberly A. Gerighty Allison S. MacBride John D. MacEachern P’10, ‘14, ’16 Kathleen M. Machan

Editorial Offices The Schoolhouse Groton School Groton, MA 01450 978 - 448 -7506 quarterly@groton.org Send feedback, ideas, or letters to the editor to quarterly @groton.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.


DICKENS IN DECEMBER and Other Enduring Traditions

Photos by Christopher Temerson

he clothing and décor have changed, and so has the student body, but the scene in the Headmaster’s House in midDecember mirrored a holiday ritual that has occurred on campus virtually every year since at least 1889. “Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it.” So began Headmaster Temba Maqubela, reading the same words from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol that were spoken by the headmasters before him. Groton’s youngest students, the Second Formers, gathered around quietly, listening to the holiday classic. Mr. Maqubela read the first few pages with extra care, holding a tiny, fragile book. Inside the front cover was an inscription: “Read to the boys of Groton School … 1899, 1900, 1901.” On the opposite page was the signature of Samuel Endicott Peabody, the father of Groton School founder Endicott Peabody. The senior Peabody had read A Christmas Carol ten years before (and possibly in the years in between). In a letter dated December 15, 1889, the school founder wrote to a friend: “The boys sent a petition signed by the whole

School asking my Father to come up for this Sunday and read to them. Accordingly, we had a part of that delightful Christmas Carol by Dickens. It is a pleasant sight to see all the boys together in the parlor, clustered around the reader or lying on the floor and to have such ideas of charity and good will given to them in such a persuasive way. There never was a better sermon on the spirit of Xmas time than the carol.” It is possible that the reading of A Christmas Carol began during Groton’s first year, 1884, but the first reference to it, according to school archivist Doug Brown ’57, is the letter from 1889. The “pleasant sight” of children listening to A Christmas Carol is one of Groton’s enduring traditions, but just an example of what created the holiday spirit on the Circle. On December 15, the annual Holiday Pops concert filled the Schoolhouse’s Sackett Forum with music,

featuring student performers in Soul Sauce, the school’s jazz ensemble, and smaller jazz combos; the chamber orchestra; gospel choir; and the Maqupellas, an a cappella group. Cookie-decorating and holiday card-making enlivened the atmosphere. In late December, dorms strung lights on trees in their common rooms and held “secret Santa” gift exchanges. Sixth Formers decorated the Forum and the Schoolroom, draping the busts that line the walls with traditional (and untraditional) holiday items and covering the tops of antique desks with wrapping paper. Late one night, the seniors decorated gingerbread houses in the Dining Hall, and Groton’s Fifth Formers held a holiday party with hot chocolate, cookie decorating, music, and a movie. Of course, the three services of Lessons & Carols and a carol sing during morning chapel also brought joy to the season.   See the back cover of this Quarterly for the edition of A Christmas Carol read by Mr. Peabody and Mr. Maqubela.

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Below, the headmaster reading A Christmas Carol to Second Formers; above, Lars Fritze, Henry Pomeroy, and Malcolm Fry; top, Daphne Bulley, Maya Luthi, and Riya Varkey

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Photographs by Adam Richins This page, clockwise from top: Griffin Elliott ‘22, Katherine Brown ‘19, Choirmaster Daniel Moriarty, Lilias Kim ‘19, bellringers, and the processional. Opposite page, clockwise from top left: Claire Lee ‘20; Headmaster Maqubela; Andrej Klema ‘21; Lyndsey Toce ‘19, Claire Holding ‘21, Nicole Lee Heberling ‘21, and Yuno Iwasaki ‘19; Groton’s orchestra, conducted by Tim Terranella; Julien Lee Heberling ’19

LESSONS

GROTON’S SERVICE of Nine Lessons & Carols is a tradition so beloved that hundreds tune in to a livestream each year to hear the Christmas readings and the choir’s beautiful carols and hymns. This year, viewers listened from forty-four U.S. states and fourteen countries — from as far away as Chile, Australia, and China. They turn on Lessons & Carols to absorb the holiday music, to remember the services they experienced themselves years before, or perhaps to be with their children, albeit virtually, for this joyful holiday moment. This year, as always, the school presented three Lessons & Carols services: the first, on December 7, was a public service primarily for our neighbors in the town of Groton; the second, on December 9, welcomed parents and alumni; and the last, December 18, focused on the campus community. For about ninety minutes, the service slowed the pace of a hectic world and encouraged reflection on the meaning of Christmas. Lessons & Carols, which originated in England, has been a central focus of Christmas at Groton since 1928.

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    & CAROLS 2018

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UNVEILING LIFE in the “Republic of Imagination”

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efore author Azar Nafisi took the stage at the Campbell Performing Arts Center on November 5, a video showed fun-loving young Iranians posing and dancing to Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” reinforcing the sense that they shared the free-spirited optimism and vitality of contemporaries worldwide. Within hours after that video was released in Iran, the seemingly carefree dancers had been arrested by the theocratic state that has ruled Nafisi’s homeland for four decades. The Iranian-American author of Reading Lolita in Tehran and The Republic of Imagination, speaking at Groton School during a day dedicated to diversity, inclusion, and global education, had several messages for students. Among them: Be curious. Challenge. Fight against conventional wisdom. And read authors such as James Baldwin, who loved America — and loved to criticize its established hypocrisies. Reading Lolita in Tehran, Groton’s summer all-school read, recounted the secret literature classes Nafisi held in her home for several female students after her refusal to wear a veil cost her her university teaching job. She described the rise of totalitarian power in her homeland:

the reduction in the legal age for girls to marry (from eighteen to nine), the restrictions on dress, and broad persecution of minorities. Suddenly, many books — her personal refuge and joy — were banned; even chickens in a children’s book were required to don little veils. Yet Nafisi warned students not to judge a culture by its worst attributes. If the Islamic Repubilc represents her culture, she pondered, is the culture of Europe represented by the Inquisition and the culture of the United States by slavery? When Nafisi moved to America, where the right of individuals to pursue happiness was enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, she understood from experience that American values could not be taken for granted and were worth fighting for. Our greatest enemies, she warned, are complacency and ignorance. “When the Islamic Republic came to power, they targeted three victims — women,

minorities, and culture,” she said. “Is that familiar to you?” Nafisi recounted a scene from a great American classic, Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, where Huck, who had been raised to believe he would go to hell if he turned in a runaway slave, thought of his friend Jim beyond his race, daring to see him as a human being. No matter the penalty for shielding Jim, Huck decided to rip up the note he had written that would have turned Jim in. “How many of us,” Nafisi asked her Groton audience, “have the courage to go to hell but do the right thing?”

Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran, with Lilly Gordon ‘21, Jack Bolton ‘21, Lola Murnighan ‘21, and Josh Golden ‘21

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Bob Low

Fans at the girls varsity basketball game

SECRET TO Zebra Spirit? Darkness

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n two Saturdays in December, fans in the basketball court and hockey rinks provided a louder roar of school spirit than usual for Groton’s home teams. The reason for the energetic outpouring? It was simply a matter of timing: the games were played at night. Since most teams compete during the same afternoons, at around the same times, students find it difficult to cheer on their friends. To Bennett Smith ’19, co-head of the Spirit Committee, that wasn’t very spirited. The idea to request night games crystallized after a friend at a day school sent Bennett a photo of a night game with packed stands and frenzied fans. “Why don’t we have that?” Bennett wondered. When he asked Groton’s athletic director about night games, he was sent to the school’s scheduling committee. Bennett presented a formal proposal to the committee, resulting in a boys varsity hockey night game on December 1 against Deerfield Academy, and both boys and girls varsity basketball games after dark on December 8 against Lawrence Academy.

“I made the argument that we support one another in our academic assignments, we support each other socially, but we aren’t able to support each other in sports — just because of the timing of our games,” Bennett said. Soccer games against archrival St. Mark’s were scheduled for nighttime in the fall, but moved offcampus during the afternoon due to field conditions. Spirit Committee Co-head Amy Lu ’19 said she still remembers the fun of a girls soccer night game during her Third Form year. “It was the biggest turnout,” she said. With winter weather keeping people indoors more, “activities usually were limited to something off-campus or a big thing,” she said. “We didn’t have as many activities that were easy to go to.” The Spirit Committee heads were determined to change that. Their efforts paid off not only by adding night games to the athletic schedule, but by increasing enthusiasm exponentially. At all three games, bleachers were packed and fans were raucous. The darkness outside alone did not generate all that enthusiasm. Under the

guidance of Amy, Bennett, and Director of Student Activities Tim Leroy, and with support from the Athletic Department and the Spirit and Student Activities committees, the night games became major events. The students decided to encourage costumes at school on game days to add to the hype, and also opted to serve food. “Food’s always the answer,” said Bennett. For the first game, students got in the spirit by dressing in black. At the game, they enjoyed hot chocolate and cookies. The two-fer of boys and girls basketball had a holiday theme: students were allowed to dress down for Saturday classes as long as they dressed in holiday garb. Lights decorated the gym, and Santa hats sprinkled the bleachers. A food truck sat outside the Athletic Center, serving up grilled cheese sandwiches. On both game nights, students and faculty left the Athletic Center buoyed by the hoopla. With this kind of excitement, it doesn’t matter if you win or lose … it’s what time you play the game.

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Rob O’Rourke

Eric Wang / Lawrence Academy

Students from Groton, Lawrence Academy, and Groton-Dunstable High School joined forces in mid-January to pack 10,000 meals for Rise Against Hunger at Lawrence Academy. Groton students participating included (right) Aileen Kauffman ‘20 and (far right) Montanna Riggs ‘19 and Kochoe Nikoi ‘19.

GRANTS SUPPORT Virtual Reality, Other Innovations

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help “flip” her AP Biology class, allowing thorough preparation on basic topics outside class and more inquiry-based lessons during it. This included creating videos, putting them in context, scripting, and organizing. The other portion of her work involved the use of virtual reality in her Anatomy class, which is helping students better visualize and understand the human body. To enhance the research process for students, history teacher Eric Spierer used an Innovation Grant to create online resources that answer straightforward questions, such as how to locate library resources efficiently and how to properly cite sources — letting students find answers themselves so class time can be spent on more scholarly pursuits. Mr. Spierer’s work has caught on among his colleagues and is already in use throughout the History Department. During his summer work, he also used a program called EDpuzzle to make educational videos interactive, ensuring that students have the necessary tools to include an abundance of evidence and rich analysis in their papers. Finally, math teacher Jon Creamer’s Innovation Grant helped him create modules that allow teachers to integrate computer science into their curricula. An Algebra 1 teacher, for example, might use a module during the study of integers to teach students how to use code to solve algebraic equations. “Integrating technology and changing the way you teach requires a lot of bandwidth and time,” said Chief Technology Officer Elizabeth Preston. “We wanted to reward and provide support to faculty moving into that space. I hope this inspires other faculty to consider opportunities for their own classes.” Above, Fifth Formers Claire Lee and Oliver Ye

Christopher Temerson

nglish students are wearing virtual reality headsets to immerse themselves in a writer’s world. A different class will use code to analyze how their poetry compares to Emily Dickinson’s. Four teachers received Innovation Grants from Groton’s Information Technology Department for study over the summer, and the results of their projects are already in use. The grants came through Groton’s Dillon Fund, which supports faculty professional development.    English teacher John Capen worked with students to create virtual reality experiences based on their study of Claudia Rankine’s Citizen. In his Fourth Form English class and his Poetry Reading and Writing elective, he plans to teach a unit called “PoetrAI” that he created with support from the Innovation Grant. The “AI” in “PoetrAI” stands for Artificial Intelligence. Students, he explained, “will be playing with code to have the computer generate poetry that we will subject to the Turing test,” designed by Alan Turing in 1950 to gauge whether a machine can show intelligence. His classes will compare machine-made poetry created in Emily Dickinson’s style to Dickinson’s actual poems. “John wanted to give kids exposure to coding in a nonSTEM, non-traditional environment,” said Peter Albert, Groton’s academic technology specialist, who worked with recipients of the Innovation Grants. “He also was interested in how computational thinking would help students explore language and how language comes together in poetry.” The other summer Innovation Grants spanned departments, from biology to history to math. Science teacher Paula Marks’ project had two components: working on recordings to


GIVE2GROTON Breaks Giving Records roton School’s extended family knows how to say “Happy birthday!” For the second annual Give2Groton — a day of gratitude and giving on October 16 — alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and friends celebrated the school’s 134th birthday with 1,272 gifts, more than doubling last year’s impressive total. Activities sparked enthusiasm for Give2Groton throughout the day, from Roll Call announcements complete with birthday hats and noisemakers, to a sweet (and messy) dorm competition during conference period, to the always festive school birthday dinner and the Fifth Formers’ traditional singing of “Blue Bottles.” The day began with a chapel talk about gratitude by Lucy Brainard ’14. A senior at Northeastern University, Lucy described how much Groton has influenced her life — from the steady guidance of her faculty advisor (science teacher Paula Marks), to a transformational Groton trip to Tanzania, to the message of inclusion that Headmaster Temba Maqubela emphasized during his first year on the Circle (Lucy’s final year).  “Mr. Maqubela began preaching inclusion from the first introductory speech he

gave, and while I will admit sometimes the message could go in one ear and out the other, the philosophy is something that has stuck with me since Prize Day,” said Lucy. “I realize how lucky I am to have had the resources, support, and opportunities that have shaped my life, and that only a fraction of our society has such experiences. … I know that whatever job I have after college … needs to be helping to create a more equitable and inclusive world.” After the quiet of Lucy’s chapel talk came a rollicking Roll Call and the student body singing “Happy birthday” to Groton. The morning conference period was spirited too, as students competed for their dorms by diving into plates of whipped cream and trying to find the Hershey’s kisses buried inside. As events were shared on social media and a Give2Groton web page, momentum built. By mid-morning, the effort had met its original goal of 530 gifts (one for each student, faculty, and staff). Many challenges — issued by trustees, parents, the Maqubelas, and individuals — spurred energetic participation. By lunchtime, when students gathered to write notes of thanks to those who were making

donations, the tally was quickly ticking upward. By late afternoon, with gifts approaching last year’s end-of-day total, a group of trustees issued a new challenge, doubling the target number of gifts to 1,060. While the school was celebrating its birthday dinner, the 1,060th gift came in, unlocking the bonus associated with the challenge and further spiking Give2Groton totals. By the end of Give2Groton, 1,272 donors had raised more than $1.4 million for the Groton Fund. Last year, during the first Give2Groton, the Groton Fund took in 940 gifts totaling $694,708. The second annual Give2Groton surpassed expectations of both funds raised and enthusiasm. “I wasn’t sure if the first time was a success because it was a novelty,” said Director of Alumni Engagement Allison MacBride, who organized Give2Groton. “I was super impressed with the number of people who wanted to be involved in our second effort. Even at 10:00 p.m., people were calling and asking if their gifts could still be counted.”

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See the inside back cover for Give2Groton statistics.

Gail Friedman

Dean of Faculty John Conner and Eleanor Sackett at Roll Call, introducing the portrait Eleanor painted of Hugh Sackett, which now hangs in the Sackett Forum

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Photos by Christopher Temerson

DISAPPEARING MESSAGES

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tudents are generally warned not to write in books that aren’t theirs — doodling on pages, cutting them, or pasting things on top of them is off limits. But with guidance from Los Angeles–based artist and graphic designer Lorna Turner, students were encouraged to

invade the precious pages and turn them into works of art. Given old, discarded books from the school library, Turner asked students to contemplate their pages and create collages on them. The overriding theme was the same as the title of Turner’s exhibit in the Brodigan Gallery: Disappearing

Daring to draw with marker in a book; artist-in-residence Lorna Turner demonstrating how an old book can turn into new art; Hollis Maxson ‘21 working on a book’s transformation

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Messages. “The books are no longer what they once were,” explained Turner, who showed classes how creative collages can tell a story. At the students’ hands, the messages on the pages were turned on their side, upside down, or even obliterated by collages — ultimately resulting

in entirely new messages. One collage sends messages about social justice, while another makes a meme of Grant Wood’s American Gothic. With intersecting lines and the New York Times’ logo, a student attempted commentary on responsible and “fake news” in his collage.


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Turner spent January 14–18 on the Circle, courtesy of Groton’s artist-in-residency, the Mudge Fellow Visiting Artists Program — established by the Mudge Foundation in 1992 to enhance students’ exposure to the arts. Throughout the week, the Los Angeles-based multimedia

artist and graphic designer worked with a variety of art classes: Painting, Visual Studies Workshop, Pop Art, and Second and Third Form Visual Studies classes, taught by Jennifer Ho, as well as Ceramics, Drawing, and Third Form Visual Studies classes taught by Melissa de Jesus.

Turner also held a midweek gallery talk with a hands-on project. The students’ book collages joined Turner’s works on display in the Brodigan Gallery. Turner’s own work shows the lure of things that are forgotten — whether deteriorating signage or

abandoned houses (or discarded books). The erosion of the original fascinates her. See page 36 for more information on the Brodigan Gallery exhibit, Disappearing Messages.

Annabel Kocks ‘20 and Evie Gomila ‘19 finding material for their book projects

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THE

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MONGOLIA

Zach Taylor ’64 admits he doesn’t

much like to talk about himself. He doesn’t have to: his conservation work—particularly in Mongolia, which he has visited fifteen times—speaks volumes about a businessman who has harbored a passion for environmental conservation for fifty years. On paper, Zach’s life as a managing director at Silvercrest Asset Management Group in New York appears to have followed a somewhat predictable trajectory: after Groton and Harvard, Zach became an officer in the Marine Corps, earned an MBA at Columbia, and held several positions in the financial world and on nonprofit boards. But Zach’s story is less familiar than the benchmarks that might otherwise define it. His fascination with Mongolia began in 1997. He was visiting friends in Beijing with his wife, Missie, and two daughters, Rennie ’00 and Bree ’05, when they decided, somewhat impulsively, to stop in Mongolia

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before attending the “Hand-Over,” the ceremony marking Hong Kong’s official affiliation with China. He calls the side trip to Mongolia a “serendipitous” decision. “I really just fell in love with the country on that first visit,” Zach says. “Since I was strongly supportive of conservation and protection of the natural world, Mongolia had a lot to offer because it had a very small population and a very large land mass; it’s the least dense country in the world.” Mongolia provided a rare opportunity to protect ecosystems like those already compromised through development and overpopulation elsewhere. Zach’s environmental stewardship in Mongolia followed a long-held commitment to environmental protection, sparked during the early 1970s, when the Clean Water Act was passed. “I saw the start of the EPA, what they were trying to do, how our country took on pollution problems, and how environmental threats could be

modified or eliminated with the right public policies,” he recalls. “I guess that’s how it all started.” He chose the Nature Conservancy as his conduit to channel interest into action. “It’s nonpolitical, science-based, and very effective on a global scale,” says Zach, who has served for years on the board of the Conservancy’s Long Island chapter. He also serves on boards for Long Island’s North Shore Land Alliance and the Chanticleer chorus, was formerly was on the board of the School of American Ballet, and from 1993 to 2005 served on Groton School’s board. Zach’s work with the Nature Conservancy has taken him all over the world—from Central and Latin America to Europe, Africa, and Asia—but he returns, again and again, to Mongolia. He travels with trustees and scientists, frequently camping in a tent or a Mongolian yurt called a ger. The experience, without fail, mesmerizes him. “Toward evening, the animals

Ingo Arndt / Minden Pictures / Getty Images

David “Zach” H. Taylor Jr. ’64


you can see at least twenty thousand gazelle moving toward water for their evening drink.”

come down to the wetlands near our challenges for Mongolia today. camp in the grasslands. On any given “Climate change is very dramatievening you can see at least twenty cally affecting Mongolia,” Zach says. thousand gazelle moving toward water “Temperatures are down in winter and for their evening drink,” he says. “You up in the summer. Rainfall has reduced see all kinds of wildlife, including in recent years, impacting all aspects wolves, lots of birds, eagles, hawks … of the economy and the herder’s And the stars are like none I’ve ever livelihood.” seen anywhere in the world because The Conservancy, he explains, is there is no ambient light anywhere.” working to preserve undeveloped Zach has traveled the country lands and monitor national resource extensively, from the grasslands in the industries, such as mining, to ensure north to the Gobi in the south, from that they are sensitive to those who the mountains that border Kazakhstan live nearby. “It’s community-based to Mongolia’s capital city, Ulaanbaatar. conservation, which is a very important Ten years ago, he and Missie endowed strategy for the Nature Conservancy,” the Taylor Family Fund Chair in Ecolhe says. ogy and Conservation at the National The work is miles, both literally University of Mongolia, which annuand figuratively, from life in New York. ally supports the ecological work of a Zach can’t explain exactly what got him professor and nine Mongolian students. hooked on conservation, but he knows They are tackling existential threats that traveling has helped define his to the country and its landscape: for worldview. “So many of us have grown up shelexample, the burning of coal for fuel, poor oversight of the mining industry, tered from other cultures, landscapes, and climate change all present major and people—many of us still live in a

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the animals come down to the wetlands near » “Towardourevening, camp in the grasslands. On any given evening

Zach Taylor with his Mongolian friend and colleague, Gala

small world,” he says. “We don’t travel much, don’t get out of our own communities or go beyond the big city, but there is much more out there. “It’s very refreshing intellectually, and it broadens my perspective—it has for the past forty or fifty years. And I think it gives me a greater understanding of what’s going on in the world and who the people in the world are besides the ones who look like me.” —Marie Speed

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Mimi Sotiriou Raygorodetsky ’94

Building Equity Mimi Raygorodetsky ’94 has helped construct buildings all over New York City. But she’s also building something less tangible: gender equity in the male-dominated engineering and real estate industries. Mimi is vice president and senior associate at Langan, a highly regarded multi-disciplinary engineering firm that has changed the New York skyline through projects such as Hudson Yards on the West Side and One Vanderbilt near Grand Central Station; it also has an international portfolio from Madrid to Mumbai. For five years after college, Mimi worked for environmental planning firm AKRF, Inc., probing the soil and groundwater for some of New York City’s biggest development projects, and writing environmental site assessments and impact statements. She then spent eight years with the ELM Group (later bought by Integral Consulting, Inc.), building their New York City practice. “What Integral didn’t do when they purchased my

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office was build buildings, which is what I had been doing for the last twelve years in New York City,” Mimi says. “One day I was at my desk for the fourth day poring through volumes of dioxin data supporting a costallocation claim for a group of paper mills in Montana. I wasn’t building anything. That was my ‘aha!’ moment. I knew I needed a change.” Her work at Langan has given Mimi her best fit— “happy once again building New York City”—and her voice. Mimi’s job is to make sure the buildings Langan helps build are safe to occupy, literally from the ground up. She first looks at the history and current use of a property and surrounding area and assesses whether hazardous substances or petroleum may have been used; she then samples soil, groundwater, and soil vapor. When she has a clear understanding of the nature and extent of contamination at a site, she looks at what the developer plans to build. “Are they digging it out, making a park, putting a slab on? Will there be a daycare or will there


be parking on the ground floor?” Mimi then works to dovetail a remedy as closely as possible to the developer’s plans to maximize efficiency. Mimi worked her way up to associate, then shareholder, and is now a practice leader for the environmental group in Langan’s New York office. During her promotion to associate, she had two mentors, one of whom talked with her at length about leadership and advocacy, “two things that I had never really thought about,” she says. The next year, she became involved in Langan’s mentoring program, working with a young environmental engineer who said she found it “amazing” that Mimi was one of two women in a formal leadership position in the New York office. Mimi says that moment marked the first time she actually looked around and realized that there weren’t many women at—or even near—the top, an epiphany that launched the beginning of Mimi’s advocacy work for women at Langan and throughout the construction and real estate development communities. “I looked at developers. I looked at architects. I looked at people on construction sites—everyone was male. I started reading, and the statistics are maddening—only 19 percent of all engineering grads are women,” she says. And she began wondering why she had made it—and others had lagged behind. “I came to realize how important certain things I’d done had contributed to my success: I have confidence, I advocated for myself, I aligned myself with a mentor, and I took risks. I realized many of the super smart women around me did not have or were not doing the same things. And I made it a personal mission to do what I can to move the needle on gender equity in my space.” In 2015, Mimi and six other Langan

Mimi Raygorodetsky, breaking barriers

“I looked at developers. I looked at people »around construction sites — everyone was male. I started reading, and the statistics are maddening — only 19 percent of all engineering grads are women.”

women started the Women@Langan group, designed to support success for women and, in the process, advance gender equity. Mimi also actively advocates for women, mentors at least two each year, and presents on topics related to gender equity at national and regional gatherings. She says Langan hires close to the same number of women as men for those important entrylevel jobs—and she can see an early transformation taking place. Part of Mimi’s confidence took root at Groton, thanks in part to a somewhat tough transition from her Denver home. “For me, it was really difficult to move thousands of miles away—I was horribly homesick. I had to make new friends, get comfortable

tucking myself into bed every night— literally,” she says. “I got over it, and what I learned was a fierce sense of independence. That led to a lot of the confidence I have, really, in everything that I do.” That confidence is especially important when the results of your work are on display in the New York skyline. “Seeing the effects of your work in something as tangible as real estate is hugely rewarding, especially in a city like New York, which is so iconic,” she says. “I built the first Frank Gehry building in New York City. My kids tell their teachers at school that their mom’s firm is building the tallest building in the world right now. That’s incredible.” —Marie Speed

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William Perugini

WHAT’S WRONG NYC? WITH

TOM WRIGHT ’87 KNOWS, AND HE’S GOT BUY-IN FOR SOME BIG SOLUTIONS

by Gail Friedman Tom Wright ’87 may be the most idealistic man in New York City. And perhaps the most patient. As president of the Regional Plan Association (RPA), he oversees reports that have tremendous influence ​on the city, from its subway to its skyline, as well as on surrounding New Jersey and Connecticut. But it can take decades for the group to achieve its goals—when it manages to achieve them. Think of the knotty questions facing the city today: Tom has attended meetings or served on committees to untangle most of them.

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Will the L train, needing repairs from Hurricane Sandy damage, close completely or just for several off-peak hours? (The RPA’s suggestion that the L train shut down for fifteen months to expedite construction created an uproar.) Will a second railroad passage, known as the Gateway Tunnel, ever get built under the Hudson River to relieve a pair of ancient, crumbling tunnels? (President Trump’s balk at a funding agreement from the Obama administration is, to Tom, a negotiating technique.) Or Tom’s favorite—will drivers have to pay the same toll no matter where they enter the city, a plan known as congestion pricing? “On congestion pricing, I’m just a zealot,” he admits. Like many of the RPA’s positions, congestion pricing raises a political firestorm. Under the proposal, everyone driving a vehicle would pay the same to enter Manhattan below 60th Street during the day, regardless of where they enter. Currently, one driver may pay a stiff toll to cross the Triboro Bridge, for example, while another crosses a smaller bridge nearby at no cost. Similar examples face entry points around the city. “Why does someone have to pay $2.75 to take the bus in, while someone else can drive their Mercedes in for free?” Tom asks. It’s

“Why does someone have to pay $2.75 to take the bus in, while someone else can drive their Mercedes in for free?”

Inspired by Groton Groton School may be part of the reason that Tom is serving the public through a nonprofit organization. The school’s message of service, cui servire est regnare, had great influence, something Tom recognized even when he was a student. In 1988, when

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Smithsonian World produced a film called “American Dream at Groton,” Tom was one of the featured students. In the film, he said, “As you go through here and you learn about all the famous graduates who have done really great service — Averell Harriman … and FDR of course, and all

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these people … I think it does make a real impact, at least for me personally. It has made me really start to think about that as a pursuit in life and maybe one of the best pursuits. I think it’s the faculty who give you that kind of feeling because they’re all so dedicated to teaching you.”

almost as if he were hearing Mayor Bill de Blasio in his head. The mayor repeatedly called the idea a regressive tax, though he has warmed to the idea and Tom believes it could pass the state legislature this year. For Tom, congestion pricing is a no-brainer: he believes the safety and viability of the New York subway system depend on this funding model, which he says has been successful in cities such as London, Stockholm, and Singapore. Tom often turns toward international megacities like these, rather than U.S. cities, to uncover solutions to New York’s problems. New York is different from the rest of the U.S., he says, in terms of its size, scale, and real estate market. London, whose challenges mirror New York’s, provides the most city planning guidance for Tom, while Hong Kong, Seoul, and Singaore get Tom’s attention on transportation matters. Sometimes Tom advocates through the megaphone of local media, and other times he influences quietly, behind the scenes. In November, he penned an op-ed about one of New York’s hottest topics right now— Amazon’s decision to bring 25,000 jobs to Queens, one of the city’s five boroughs. Is Tom the person who will try to get more for Queens from Amazon? Tom’s matter-offact answer is​:​ “Yes.” Tom sits on a committee created by Mayor de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo about Amazon’s move. In the op-ed, published in Crain’s New York Business, Tom writes about the steps needed to make the project a success. Like much of Tom’s work, the goals relate to transportation: a streetcar line linking Long Island City in Queens to the Brooklyn and Queens waterfronts; a commuter rail connecting the Long Island Railroad to Long Island City in Queens; a connection between Metro-North commuter trains and Queens; and a connection to Queens from the proposed tunnel under the Hudson.  In Queens and beyond—almost anywhere in New York City—neighborhoods, streets, bridges, tunnels, and shops reveal RPA​​ fingerprints. If not for the RPA, the George Washington Bridge probably would


Tom touring the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where he met with public officials to discuss plans to create more jobs at the historic site

have been built in midtown Manhattan. In the singular occasion, people who cared urgently 1960s, the RPA worked with then Governor about what happens to the World Trade Nelson Rockefeller to create the Metropolitan Center site had a chance to respond without Transportation Authority. (By coincidence, staging a demonstration or filing suit. It was the RPA president was a Groton alumnus then, a heartening experience, as urban planners too​— C. McKim Norton ’25, who presided and secretaries, out-of-work actors and from 1940–69.) construction workers registered their veto of In more recent years, and with Tom’s the first six designs and offered counsel about guidance, the RPA has been a force behind what should replace them. The Regional congestion pricing, the Gateway Tunnel, and Plan Association deserves congratulations for a plan that will move Long Island Railroad organizing this event.” passengers into Grand Central Station rather Hanging over discussions after 9/11 than Penn Station. ​The organization​ gained was intense pressure to just get something the most notoriety, and prestige, after 9/11, done. Then Governor George Pataki, facing when it created the Civic Alliance to Rebuild reelection, wanted action. “Even the New York Downtown New York and helped direct the Times was saying, ‘show progress,’” remembers dialogue, ultimately influencing the design of Tom. The RPA consistently argued that the World Trade Center site today. Imagine New York should be more concerned with the chaos after the terrorist attack: during one doing it right than doing it fast. Evenearly meeting, Tom realized that New Jersey keeled and methodical, Tom and the RPA officials didn’t know they had control over provided a voice of reason, helping to lead to ​ Ground Zero through their representation on today’s​ combination of office and retail space the Port Authority board. Rudolph ​Giuliani, and a memorial and museum at the site. Their then mayor, was arguing that nothing be built steadfast guidance at the city’s worst moment on the sacred ground. elevated the stature of the RPA, moving In 2002, almost a year after the twin it from a well-respected organization to towers fell, the RPA organized “Listening to one that the media routinely describe with the City”—and did just that. A July 2002 New modifiers such as “venerable,” “powerful,” and York Times article praised the effort: “On this “influential.”

Imagine the chaos after the terrorist attack: during one early meeting, Tom realized that New Jersey officials didn’t know they had control over Ground Zero.

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Tom, president of the Regional Plan Association (RPA), with Janette Sadik-Khan, former commissioner of New York City’s Department of Transportation; the RPA was an early supporter of the city’s bike-share program (and gives its employees free membership).

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Reflecting on RPA efforts after 9/11, Tom launches into a detailed explanation about the lease on the World Trade Center that was pending at the time of the attacks and the leaseholder’s efforts to maintain control of the property. “Insurance contracts were not even signed,” he says, showing in-depth understanding of the project’s nuances and also just what an insider he is.​ In the world of New York City planning and transportation, he knows pretty much every player. ​In fact, in 2013, w​hen former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s staffers were accused of purposely tying up bridge traffic in an act of political vengeance, Tom knew all of the characters involved.​

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 E​xamples of ​Tom’s, and the ​RPA’s,​ influence abound. “The Second Avenue subway would not have opened up without our advocacy,” says Tom. “Hudson Yards is not a football stadium.”   Hudson Yards, now a mammoth development transforming Manhattan’s West Side, points to the delicate political positioning that envelops nearly every RPA proposal. When New York City was a finalist for the 2012 Summer Olympics, then Mayor Michael Bloomberg had a plan to turn Hudson Yards—an area above a railroad yard between West 30th and 35th streets—into a


sports arena for the Olympics and ultimately a stadium for the New York Jets football team. “Bloomberg was a great mayor and had a brilliant deputy mayor,” Tom says, cushioning his harsh assessment of the plan. “It was a terrible idea. Every other major civic group lined up behind it even though they privately thought it wasn’t a good idea. We spoke out against it.” Tom and the RPA, using the sort of deep data and analysis that they always use to back up their opinions, methodically explained why the project was a dud, in terms of urban design, economic development, traffic congestion, and public policy. For a variety of reasons, including lack of support by many city residents for the Olympic bid itself, the proposed stadium ultimately died at the hands of a state board. Tom knew the RPA’s position was risky political business, but right was right and wrong was wrong. “It just felt like it was so clear, it was so wrong, that we had to stand up and say something,” he explains. Indeed the position was risky, and retribution came quickly as private companies that helped fund the RPA decided not to renew their contributions. “We lost half of our funding that year,” Tom says. But the story has a happy ending. Despite the backdoor machinations, the animosity dissolved almost as quickly as it had appeared. “To their credit, the Bloomberg folks invited us back to help create a sustainability plan for the city, which became the first PlaNYC,” Tom says. Today, several of the public officials at odds with the RPA over the stadium sit on the RPA’s board. In Tom’s office, and apparently in the mayor’s office, there is no time for grudges.

 Tom’s office, near the southern tip of Manhattan, looks out at the Hudson River and New Jersey, a fitting place to contemplate the region’s challenges. On his shelves, amidst books on urban planning, sits a copy of Exposition by Robert Gula, a longtime Groton English teacher. Groton had a

profound impact on Tom; in fact, he says he might not have become an urban planner if not for his roommate, Sarge Gardiner ’87. At Groton, Sarge already knew he would become an architect. Tom would listen to late-night conversations about architecture and Frederick Law Olmsted; he traveled with Sarge and toured gardens and architectural landmarks. By Prize Day, architecture had fully saturated Tom’s brain, and at Princeton he fluctuated between a focus in that discipline and courses in his other interest, public policy. He spent a summer interning for a U.S. Senator in Washington, and another summer working for an architect in Athens. That left him well schooled in both disciplines and​,​ ultimately, confused. The week before his Princeton graduation, he had the opportunity to meet with urban planner Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk and seek her advice. He told her he was interested in both policy and architecture, and noted that he wasn’t particularly skilled at drawing architectural plans. Perhaps law school would be a good step, and architecture a hobby? Her answer provided an “aha” moment for Tom. “She said, ‘You’re a city planner.’ ” He had never heard of urban planning, but a field that combines the physical world and public policy checked all of his boxes. Tom first worked for the Mayors’ Institute on City Design in Washington, organizing workshops that trained mayors in principles of good city planning. “I’d organize them and hear mayors say, ‘My Main Street is dead after 5 o’clock, my city has no connection to the waterfront.’ I got to soak it all up.” That hands-on education led to formal education, through a master’s in urban planning at Columbia University. One of his professors was executive director of the Regional Plan Association, and Tom landed an internship in 1993. He has been there ever since, with the exception of four years working with then​N ​ ew Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman. After completing the State Plan for New Jersey, he headed back to the RPA, now as executive director, the number-two position. His first day back in

Retribution came quickly as private companies that helped fund the RPA decided not to renew their contributions.

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This page: Tom Wright ‘87 with his father, Tom Wright Jr. ‘58, and his sister, Sally Waxman P’18, ‘21 Opposite page: Tom Wright (second from right) with 1987 formmates Bill Vrattos, Barry Browning, Sarge Gardiner, Whitney Browne, Jon Butler, Bob Greenhill, and Dan Quigley

“I understand why people have different points of view and different perspectives. Sometimes there’s validity behind their objections, and other times it’s just pure politics — and that’s when it becomes full steam ahead.”

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and focuses on four “action areas”—institutions, climate change, transportation, and over a mile from the World Trade Center, was affordability. Addressing future flooding from in overdrive, holding nonstop meetings and offering support to a shocked and heartbroken climate change is the most dire need, according to Tom, who is encouraged by states’ New York. ​ proposals to form resiliency commissions but Since the RPA’s high-profile work on hopes New York adopts the cap-and-trade rebuilding the city after 9/11, Tom’s insights model that has reduced emissions in Califorand knowledge have made him an authority nia. “In the year since the plan came out, the regularly approached by reporters. He was news on climate has been horrible,” he says. quoted in a January 10​, ​201​9​ New York “What we considered the worst-case scenario Times story about using Amtrak train lines is now the best-case scenario.” to provide commuter service to underserved Some of the goals in the Fourth Regional areas, and how that could cushion an Plan are a bit less concrete. In the equity overtaxed transportation system. In a November ​2018 Times ​article about the impact section, the plan states: “By 2040, the tri-state on transportation from Amazon’s move, Tom region should sharply reduce poverty, end said New York could absorb the influx of homelessness, close gaps in health and wealth 25,000 New Yorkers as well as any American along racial, ethnic, and gender lines, and city, but advocated that the Gateway Tunnel become one of the least segregated regions stretch from New Jersey, through Manhattan, in the nation instead of one of the most under both the Hudson and East rivers, all the segregated.” way to Queens. The idealism is the point. Neither Tom If that sounds like a big idea, it is, but nor the RPA expect full implementation of it’s no more ambitious than many of the their grand plan. The plan plants seeds of ideas that Tom champions. In fact, the change. The relentless advocacy—how Tom RPA’s Fourth Regional Plan—nearly four spends his time—pushes ideas toward action. hundred pages of aspirations, suggestions, Sometimes. Some of the ideas in the Fourth and predictions, released in 2017—includes Regional Plan echo ideas, still unfulfilled, from sixty-one goals, including a few that seem the group’s Third Regional Plan, published downright idealistic. in ​1996. “We proposed the Second Avenue The plan is based on four core values— subway in 1929,” Tom says, referring to the equity, prosperity, health, and sustainability— new line that opened in 2016. RPA offices: September 13, 2001. ​The RPA,

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A job like Tom’s takes enormous patience. “It requires a mix of pragmatism and idealism,” he says. “And opportunism.” Since the 1990s, he has been working on the Gateway Tunnel under the Hudson, tentatively approved under Obama and now “a big issue between Trump and [U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles] Schumer. So we’re working on that.” The impasse must break for the sake of the region. “It would double capacity between New York and New Jersey,” he says. “It’s absolutely critical to both states.” Tom’s job requires diplomacy and an even temperament—essentials in a highly politicized world. It also requires an open mind and an ability to listen to people ​even, or especially, ​when their ideas collide. “I understand why people have different points of view and different perspectives. Sometimes there’s validity behind their objections,” he says, “and other times it’s just pure politics— and that’s when it becomes full steam ahead.” But Tom never expects a quick fix—the ideas are way too big for that. Or as he puts it: “I work on things that take a loooonng time.” Ironically, the slow pace is what keeps the adrenaline rushing, even after more than two decades. “I get excited by these big projects and the opportunity to change things on a large scale,” he says. “It is working on the shape of the city and changing its face, and that’s not going to happen quickly.”

GETTING TO GROTON  R​egional ​P​lan A​ssociation​ President Tom Wright ’87 landed at Groton partly because of a coincidence involving Jack Crocker, who graduated in Groton’s Form of 1918 and was headmaster from 1940 to 1965. Tom’s father was a young boy living in Wilmington, North Carolina, when Mr. Crocker passed through town and visited with the local preacher, who happened to be Tom’s grandfather. The headmaster encouraged the preacher to send his son to Groton, and Tom Wright Sr. ’58 attended on a full scholarship. In fact, actor Sam Waterston ’58 has said that a Groton conversation with the senior Wright, showing a Southerner’s inner conflict on issues of racial segregation, inspired his performance in the TV series, “I’ll Fly Away.”

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A C H A P E L TA L K

by Joseph Calvin “Cal” Wilson ’19 September 25, 2018

Sailing on Memories photo credit

Cal Wilson, center, with friends after his chapel talk

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roton is a school of traditions. I like that. It is one of the main reasons I decided to come here. The chapel talk tradition is something you learn about from very early on, through visits or other sources. Then, when you arrive, you begin the cycle. You don’t really know all the people, but you hear from your prefects, maybe the headmaster and some people you vaguely recognize. Then, as you get older, it is people you know through sports and classes and other activities. Finally, you hear from people you actually know. And, all the while, you think about what you might say. It is a bit daunting, but you know you are going to do it, and it is always in the back of your mind. Then, all of a sudden, the sign-up sheet goes out and—if you were me this summer—you

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don’t see it for a few days, and the only slots left are in September, which is the only time you don’t want to be doing a chapel talk. I had a few ideas about what I was going to say. And then, last summer happened. It started, as some of you might know, with a trip to Thailand. Great Groton friends, a new and amazing culture, some good deeds teaching at the Bangkok School for the Blind, and a bunch of other things that I don’t have the time to talk about here. A story for another day, I guess. Then I came home and my world changed forever. I have always had a charmed life. Everything has been good and, as you will hear, I got to do something that people only dream about. But, suddenly, very tragically, my mom died. It was the first great crisis of my life. My grandmother had died a few months earlier. That, however, made some sense. She was ninety, had all of her faculties, and had been able to live right up to the end unassisted in her own home. The only thing she couldn’t do was figure out modern technology in almost any form … and maybe that was a sort of blessing. But my mom was forty-eight. She had sailed around the world, was leading us in section-hiking the Appalachian Trail, and was training for her eigh​th​ or ninth​marathon. She was animated, loved life, and was at the heart of everything that has happened to me during my seventeen years. My dad, brother, and I were devastated. We still are. So now I have a lot to think about beyond college applications and the world after Groton. But, as I thought about this talk, I came to realize that what I was going to talk about today hasn’t really changed much. The gifts I have been given are with me. The many things I learned from my mom live on, and her example to me will not fade.


When I applied here, I wrote an essay that quoted from a prayer attributed to Sir Francis Drake. This was fitting because, as some of you know, I have spent some time on the water. And, as a few of you know, I was able to do what Drake did and sail around the world on a small boat. Well, his boat was a bit bigger—he actually started with five boats and he had fifty-six men with him when he arrived home. I just had my mom, my dad, my younger brother, and myself. And being out in the middle of an ocean in a storm with just your family can be pretty terrifying. Drake asks that we are pushed when we are too pleased with ourselves. He suggests that when our dreams come true it is perhaps because we have dreamed too little, and he decries complacency. These are hard things to live up to, but my mom managed it, and she set an example that leaves me in awe. So, how did we get to a place where a mom and a dad and two young boys set off to sail around the world? For years I had heard my mom talk about something she had once read. After September 11, the ​New York Times​did a short profile of every person who died that day. She was drawn to one profile. It was just a photo and a few sentences, but it changed her life. It was about someone who had always dreamed about sailing around the world, and how he would never get that opportunity. This

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Clockwise from top: Heather Wilson, intrepid adventurer and mom; the Wilson family before embarking on their round-the-world sailing trip; Cal steering, near Cape Town

moved her deeply and it made her sad—for the person who had died too young, and for the thought that maybe that would be her. Some things stay with you forever, and this was something I had heard about for years. Mom was a farm girl from Kansas. She grew up in a place that grows more wheat than just about anywhere in the world. The first time she sailed was the day that she met my father. He hadn’t sailed that much and had never been on a sailboat until after he finished college. Driven on by that newspaper profile, the crazy idea that you can do just about anything if you really work hard enough, and her ability to step away from the conventions that govern most of our lives, she decided that we could sail around the world. She believed that she could make her dream come true and she was so infectiously enthusiastic, she made us all believe. I remember when my mom and dad raised the subject and asked my brother and me if we wanted to leave Washington and attempt a circumnavigation, we both broke out into a spontaneous hula dance. I have no idea why. It must have been television and the image of the South Seas because we had never seen a hula dance in our lives … and, as is painfully obvious to my friends, I can’t do any dance, let alone a hula. Mom knew this would be an amazing gift to my brother and me. Three months after the suggestion and that hula dance, which most incongruously took place in Kansas, we were on our way. We packed up our house, my dad left his job, we made some significant changes to our boat so that it would be safe in the ocean, and we were sailing across the Gulf Stream out into the Atlantic. And, on the very first day, we had a terrible accident. My dad was nearly killed, we lost all of our electronics, and we lost the ability to steer the boat easily. This was definitely not the way to begin! Most people would have given up. But my mom wanted to keep going, and she was convinced that we could do it. She even turned a negative into a positive: if we could manage the first leg down to the Caribbean, we could do anything. So for ten days we kept our damaged boat going, and all four of us had to rise to the occasion. It was tough, but we made it to the British Virgin Islands and suddenly we were in paradise and everything bad faded away. We visited magical islands, transited the Panama Canal, sailed through the Galapagos, made the threethousand-nautical-mile passage to the Marquesas, where the mountains of Fatu Hiva rose out of the early morning on the twentieth day of not having seen a single thing, kept going through all of the places that you read about in Stevenson and Jack London and Melville—the Tuamotus, Tahiti, and the Societies, and even little Palmerston, where my brother and I helped install the first telephone system that the island had ever had … which wasn’t too difficult considering the island has only 150 people and every one of them has the same surname. We continued

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on to Tonga, and then made it to New Zealand after the worst storm of my life. We stopped in New Zealand for a year, played cricket, met All Blacks and saw them win a World Cup at home, and managed to complete all nine of New Zealand’s Great Walks. Once again, I saw how my Mom was willing to fight to reach a goal. We were getting ready to leave, and we had to get out to beat the cyclone season across the Indian Ocean. So, in the twenty days before we had to sail away, we did twenty consecutive days of tramping to complete the last four Great Walks. This included a day where the Milford Sound flooded and we were “walking” through water that was up to our chests and a day traversing Mount Doom in the snow and ice. And I literally mean Mount Doom … the one from the ​Lord of the Rings​movies. We finally got going after our death march across the scenery of New Zealand, went through Vanuatu and battlegrounds of the Pacific from World War II, through the Torres Strait and across the top of Australia, and into the Indian Ocean. At this point, seven days from the coast of Australia and literally in the middle of nowhere, we encountered something so bizarre that I can still barely believe what happened. We were attacked, and men tried to board and take over our boat. They turned out to be refugees, not pirates, but that didn’t matter much because they attempted to ram us, and we later learned that they were prepared to kill us. My role, as my dad was trying to keep the men off the boat and call the Australian military, was to steer the boat. Dad didn’t want the men to see my mother, so he called me up on deck and told me I had to take over. I remember saying: “Dad, I really don’t think I can.” He said: “Cal, we don’t have a choice. Get behind the wheel.” So I steered, we kept the men off our boat, the Prime Minister of Australia was soon involved, and three hours later we had an airplane overhead and a warship alongside us. We found out later that the desperation we encountered came from the fact that the other boat was sinking and the people knew they were going to die in the ocean. The result was 150 lives were saved, and three days later my brother and I got to take command of the same ship that came to our rescue and we even got to do donuts in the ocean on an Australian warship. That, in itself, is a story! We kept going, across the Indian Ocean and on to South Africa where we got to do some amazing things. A highlight for me was going to Robben Island, where our guide, who had been imprisoned on the island for many years, took my brother and me aside and talked to us about his life. When we left Cape Town, my elevenyear-old brother and I were given nighttime watches and we had, for the first time in our lives, the responsibilities of an adult. I could talk for hours about the beauty of sailing through the ocean at night and being in command

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of the boat. And the islands were amazing—St. Helena, Ascension, Fernando de Noronha, Devil’s Island. And then we were back in the Caribbean, and then the Chesapeake, and then home. It was an amazing way to grow up. I learned a lot from the four years I was out sailing. And what I know now—after this last terrible summer— is pretty much what I knew before. My mom taught me that you can do the things in life that really matter to you if you dream big enough and work hard. You have to be able to step away from what everyone else expects you to do. When we said we were going to sail around the world, people thought my parents were crazy. I think some of them might have been on the verge of calling child services to prevent my parents from practicing child abuse on my brother and me. But we did leave, and we made it happen. The example my mom set—her vision, her determination, and her ability to smile when things were really tough—will always be with me. She inspired me through the storms, the tough times, the good times and whenever there was some hardship. Even last year, when I went to play in my first bagpipe band world championship, she was the voice of calm in the back of my mind, whispering: “You can do it!” Thank you, Mom. Thank you for helping me to live up to Drake’s prayer, which I’m going to read now: Disturb us, Lord, when We are too pleased with ourselves, When our dreams have come true Because we dreamed too little, When we arrived safely Because we sailed too close to the shore. Disturb us, Lord, when With the abundance of things we possess We have lost our thirst For the waters of life; Having fallen in love with life, We have ceased to dream of eternity And in our efforts to build a new earth, We have allowed our vision Of the new Heaven to dim. Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, To venture on wilder seas Where storms will show Your mastery; Where losing sight of land, We shall find the stars. We ask you to push back The horizons of our hopes; And to push back the future In strength, courage, hope, and love.


A C H A P E L TA L K

by Rachel Elisabeth Slack Diamond ’01, Trustee November 2, 2018 voces

Brace Yourself and Be There

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eventeen years ago, being South African was a real rarity here at Groton. And now? We’re everywhere … students, headmaster, trustees. Goodness you must be bored of us! We are slowly taking over … in a not so secret way. Today we are conducting our trustees meetings in Xhosa. Zulu will become a language requirement; Dr. Reyes is fluent, didn’t you know? South African history will replace American, cricket will replace baseball, and the South African anthem will be sung at every sit-down. Whew, Temba asked me to break it to you all slowly. Glad that’s done. I joke. Of course, Dr. Reyes is not fluent in Zulu. All this South African influence is fantastic, of course. Thank you, Groton, for being so welcoming and accepting of us Saffas. Walking into our Headmaster’s House and hearing Brenda Fassie and seeing books on South African politics dotted about. My heart soars, as it did the day it was announced Temba and Vuyelwa would be head of school. Temba and Vuyelwa, your commitment to inclusivity and ubuntu is inspiring for all of us and makes me a very proud South African Grotonian. Today I would like to talk to you about something my grandmother said years ago. It has lingered in my mind and has given me strength and guidance during difficult and uncertain times, including my time here as a student. My grandmother was the matriarch of our family—an extraordinary and controversial woman, and she certainly was not of today’s age. She didn’t talk about feelings, show weakness or vulnerability. “Life’s Tough, Get on with It.” She was a Lady of Duty. Strong and determined. During World War 2 she volunteered as a nurse and was stationed at Robben Island (where Mandela was later imprisoned), which at that time was not a prison but a hospital for injured soldiers. Much later in her life, and in

a very matter-of-fact way (like “please pass the cheese”), she told us the story of how a soldier fell and died on the far end of the island. She was ordered by her commander to drive there alone in a pick-up truck and load his dead body in the back. She would have been seventeen years old at the time. After the war, she married my grandfather, a shy and intellectual man who later became a successful businessman and committed politician—Grandma was behind him every step of the way and was much responsible for his meteoric rise in the public space. She ran his life outside of the office—amongst many other things, she organized dinners every night of the week, so business and politics could be discussed and decisions made. In the 1950s, when my grandfather was running for a seat in parliament, she attended all his political rallies. During one rally, she thought nothing of taking off her shoe and bopping the horrible NAT member (from the party of the apartheid government) over the head when he dared heckle my grandfather. Boy, did she give him a piece of her mind. She showed up for us, her granddaughters, in ways my grandfather never could. She read every one of our reports, came to our plays, made us write thank you notes. She watched over our love lives and careers with a very critical eye, always challenging us on areas of our lives that weren’t up to scratch. My sister, Rebecca, was once called to a meeting after breakfast on how to drink red wine—she was probably twenty-five years old at the time. Rebecca had obviously lost her composure at some dinner. She made Rebecca sit down and practice pouring and sipping wine. “For goodness sake, pour it in gently, come on, and then don’t just slosh it down … always drink wine with some decorum.”

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Anyway, so back to what my grandmother said many years ago. We were at their house for dinner discussing what they should do for their fiftieth wedding anniversary. My grandparents sat at the heads of the table with family members dotted down the sides. The grandchildren all chatted excitedly and threw out ideas that were ceremoniously squashed by my grandmother. A party, a trip?? When, finally, my grandmother couldn’t take it anymore, she cut us all off and boomed down the table to our much smaller grandfather, “Harry, what do you think we should do for our fiftieth wedding anniversary?” We all shut up very quickly and stared at him for the muchanticipated answer. He quietly and slowly said, “Darling, I’ve always thought that if you don’t know what to do, you shouldn’t do anything at all.” We dropped our heads in disappointment. This certainly wasn’t what any of us had hoped to hear, least of all my grandmother. She paused for a moment, raised herself to full height and said, “Harry, BRACE YOURSELF AND BE THERE.” I mean, isn’t that the best line ever? My grandmother called Groton “Grow-Tin” and thought it most odd that boys and girls were at the same school and with no uniform. When someone told her it was like Eton in England, she said, “Okay, fine.” So she sent faxes to the library for me every week saying how proud she was and what was the food like? I was terribly homesick here and very aware that I was not nearly as academic as everyone else. So I did a “Grandma,” took deep breaths, rose to my full height (braced myself ), and “SHOWED UP” best I knew how. I’d haul myself up for Chapel, gaze at that white horse, and imagine it was me fighting my Groton demons of homesickness and inadequacy. I’d turn up at teachers’ dorms or houses and ask for help when I got yet another bad grade. And once, by accident, I showed up to help backstage in a play and somehow ended up with a lead part … and loved every moment. Bracing oneself isn’t about NOT being afraid. It’s about managing our fear and showing up in spite of it. Show up for your academics, show up for your friends— in person, for their successes, failures, and sadnesses. Show up for that after-school committee that you think you may be interested in, and seniors—take this out into the world—show up for the job interview you’re not totally sure about … it may take you places. Show up when you’re scared and flailing about, show up even when you know you’re not prepared or don’t know the answer. It’s okay. And if sometimes you can’t show up, that’s okay, too.

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Bracing oneself isn’t about NOT being afraid. It’s about managing our fear and showing up in spite of it.

Move on and show up next time. The most successful are those who show up after failure. Before I married my husband—who is a charming, kind, clever man, but really quite mad; and I adore and love him … if he were here today, he could be wearing a cape, an eye patch, and using a cane, just because. He also has severe ADD so he’d be bouncing off these Chapel walls thinking, “Hurry up Rachel, I am bored.” Anyway, before he asked me to marry him, he took me off on a surprise pilgrimage to California so we could attend a course at this special hippie dippie guru place on relationships. It was American, it was hokey. We had to hold hands with grungy granola people and talk about our feelings … my grandmother would not have approved! “Get on with it,” she’d say, “why all the listening?” So I rolled my eyes at him, at everyone else in attendance, and at all the kale juice, but their teachings on listening made a big impression on me. My grandmother’s version of “Bracing Oneself and Being There” is very stoic, but my idea of “Being There” has evolved and come to include this concept of really listening. To me, this is the very essence of “Being There.” They made my husband and me do a simple exercise of talking and repeating back what the other had said, with no excuse, no explanation or solution … just to repeat it back word for word. Acknowledge what the other had said. Try this sometime; it’s difficult. Show up for your friends, but also really listen to them. I was fortunate enough to make my best ones here at Groton, and these friendships are my biggest source of pride and joy. In the book, A Little Life, one of the characters gives advice to a young boy who is about to go off to a prep school much like Groton. He says, “You won’t understand what I mean now, but someday you will: the only trick of friendship, I think, is to find people who are better than you are—not smarter, not cooler, but kinder and more generous, and more forgiving—and then appreciate them for what they can teach you, and try to listen to them when they tell you something about yourself, no matter how bad—or good—it might be, and to trust them,


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Clockwise from top left: Rachel’s grand­mother Bridget Oppenheimer, grandfather Harry Oppenheimer, and great-grandfather, Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, on Election Day in 1948, when her grandfather was voted into Parliament with the United Party; President Nelson Mandela and Rachel’s grandfather, 1998; at Rachel’s grandparents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary party in 1993 — Rachel is on the sofa beside her grandmother; Rachel’s grandmother during World War 2, when she was a nurse and stationed on Robben Island

which is the hardest thing of all. But the best, as well.” It’s these relationships, these friendships that you’ve made or are about to make here and in college, that will teach you more about life (and yourself ) than any academic course or degree. Hang onto them; listen to your friends. Good leaders listen. They have the ability not only to inspire, but perhaps more importantly, to unify. As Atticus Finch so famously put it, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” Who is a better example of this than President Nelson Mandela, who after twenty-seven years of wrongful imprisonment, led South Africa to a peaceful democracy and avoided revolution. He did this by listening, even to those with whom he vehemently disagreed. He formed a government of inclusivity and partnership. We need more of what Madiba inspired. My grandmother and President Mandela knew

and had great respect for one another. An unlikely pair, perhaps. She was a stickler for the rules, President Mandela not so much. He was famous for his colorful shirts and relaxed demeanor. He fondly told the story of how my grandmother invited him over for dinner— before she rung off, she said, “And Nelson, wear a tie.” He’d pause in the storytelling at this point, and say with a chuckle, “And I did. Only for her.” Brace Yourselves and Be There, guys. Over and over. For yourselves, your friends, family, causes you believe in. You are all going to do great things, big and small, for your community, your country or even the world. LISTEN, listen without trying to solve immediately or get your point across. Just listen, even when it’s difficult and you disagree. Listen harder. Then, of course, if you can drink your wine with decorum and wear the right thing to dinner, that’s a plus, too.

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A C H A P E L TA L K

by Alison M. Brown ’19 January 11, 2019

Stuck on the 405

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hen Katy Perry describes a California girl in her hit song, “California Gurls,” I’m not sure I’m exactly what she had in mind. I don’t wear “Daisy Dukes” with bikinis on top, my skin is definitely not sun-kissed, and I need SPF 50 just to stay indoors. Though all signs point to me being a vampire who has successfully infiltrated Southern California, I think I am very much a California Girl, despite what Katy has to say. As some of you know, I went to a progressive school called Wildwood in Los Angeles, and it was pretty

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crunchy. I distinctly remember my eighth-grade science class, where instead of learning anything about physics, we read the science fiction novel Ready Player One for homework and played SimCity in class to learn about urban planning. It remains unclear in which direction Wildwood is progressing. Outside the classroom, I developed a love for acaí bowls and coffee, especially latte art, and I have traveled all around L.A. in search of the best foam artists in the city. I even once saw Guy Fieri driving a red convertible on the 405. That’s right, I’ve been in bumper-to-bumper traffic with the Mayor of Flavortown. If there’s one thing that unites people from California, it’s that we should secede from the union and become an independent nation with the fifth largest economy in the world. Sorry, I meant to say “traffic”— if there’s one thing that unites people from California, it’s traffic. Anyways, in middle school, I spent a lot of time in the car driving to soccer tournaments. I always looked forward to tournament weekends because my mom and I would wake up early when my brother was still asleep, get egg-and-cheese sandwiches and iced mochas from Starbucks, and then drive for three hours from Santa Monica to Rancho Cucamonga. On the way, we’d listen to podcasts in the car, usually about serial killers and psychopaths. It was great mother-daughter bonding time, albeit with a high body count. One day I got worried that this might be unhealthy, so I asked my mom, “Do you think I’m a psychopath?” “What? No, of course not. You don’t eat pork because you feel bad for the little piggies. Why would you think that?” “Well, some kid at school told me I was weird, and you never really know, do you?”


If a teacher saw you engage in any kind of confrontational behavior, they would make you do the Peace Walk.

“Being weird doesn’t mean you’re a psychopath, it just means you’re different. There’s good weird too.” “Rude!” I thought; even my own mom thinks I’m weird. The only thing I took from that exchange was that psychopaths love bacon because it causes the pigs to suffer. Psychopaths are mean! When my mom was at work, or when she was just sick of driving me and my brother around, she called my dad in off the bench. My dad was originally an East Coaster, but apparently living on the West Coast has changed him. He’s developed this weird list of necessities for life, and here I’m using the not good definition of weird. The list includes being able to make homemade chicken stock and drive a stick shift, but above all, he thinks that an important part of a good education is the ability to identify any rock song released between 1970 and 1990 before the band has sung any lyrics. It goes like this: he tunes his Sirius XM radio to either the Classic Rock station or, if he’s feeling feisty, the Grateful Dead channel. After switching the console screen to the map setting to ensure that I don’t cheat by looking at the title, he presses play. The first few chords fill the car. My dad’s hearing isn’t what it used to be, so you can really feel the music in your throat. “Here we go Ali,” he’ll say, “this one’s a crowd favorite.” The guitar sounds the same as in all the other songs he’s ever played. I lean in closer to the speaker, as if bursting an eardrum might inspire a flash of brilliance. I could hear a light humming sound in the background, which was either Glenn Frey warming up his voice or my dad singing the “Jeopardy” theme song to psych me out. I knew the lyrics would start soon, so I had

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to make a guess because nothing is more shameful than drawing a complete blank in music trivia. “Hint,” interrupts my dad, “It’s from the Eagles’ second album, ‘Desperado.’” “Is it … ‘Desperado’?” “Close, but no cigar. It’s ‘Tequila Sunrise,’ the first single from ‘Desperado.’” “Oh, of course, that was on the tip of my tongue.” I remember driving up to Groton for my first soccer preseason. We were staying at my grandparents’ house in Connecticut, so my dad and I had a solid two hours on the road together before I arrived on campus. My dad tuned the radio to the Grateful Dead channel, and the DJ cheerfully announced that in honor of an upcoming eclipse, they would be playing only live performances of “Dark Star” for the next few hours. “Yes!” said my dad. “This is perfect for you; it’s a psychedelic-jazz-jam classic. No two versions are quite the same, so you’ll learn to feel the music.” I couldn’t wait to get to school. After my dad dropped me off, I watched as the taillights of his car faded out through the gates, and when he turned the corner, they blinked out of existence. I never saw that car again. Because it was a rental. On my first few nights at school, I waited for the tears to come, as they had at all my past sleepaway camps, but they never did. I liked the novelty of living in Massachusetts, of taking classes that were not offered at my old school (like Biology), and even of Saturday classes. I had been dreaming of something new for so long that every day at Groton was exciting. Prior to coming to Groton, I had read most of the past CV articles, and I was especially intrigued by an opinion piece about 6, 5, 4. The author argued that it should be abolished, but I secretly hoped it would stick around, so I could see it for myself. The best part about 6, 5, 4 is that it would never happen at Wildwood. For starters, everyone packed their own lunch and we sat at picnic tables outside, so there was no opportunity to, but also because if a teacher saw you engage in any kind of confrontational behavior, they would make you do the Peace Walk. The Peace Walk is a foldable mat that teachers stored in their classrooms. It has footprints on each side leading towards the middle. Students take their place at the starting footprints, and the only way to step forward and complete the walk is to follow the prescribed steps. Step 1: Each person states their issue in the form of an “I” statement. For example, if a Sixth Former had cut

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Family photos of Ali with her parents, Mason and Karen, plus Ali with friends after her chapel talk

in front of a Second Former at Wildwood, the Second Former might say, “I don’t like that you are cutting in front of me just because you are older.” And the Sixth Former might respond, “I don’t like that you are in my way at the cafeteria because I have a million things to get done and no time to do them and traditionally older students are allowed to cut in front of younger students, and why am I standing on this stupid plastic mat when I have a calculus exam in ten minutes?” Step 2: Each person repeats back what the other person said word for word. Sounds simple, but if you get even one word wrong, you have to start again. In the example I just gave, there’s no way a Second Former would remember exactly what the Sixth Former just said. They’d have to start again. Step 3: The students discuss a plan for conflict resolution. In this case, the Second Former might say, “I respect that you need to go to class. Please go ahead of me.” And the Sixth Former might say, “Forget it. I’ve got an exam to get to. You’re killing me, smalls.” Step 4: The students hug. Only in this example, the Sixth Former would’ve had to leave to take the test. But you get the idea. Needless to say, the whole idea of 6, 5, 4 at Groton

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was very exciting for me, especially because older students did it in full view of teachers. I remember the first time I was 6, 5, 4’d in the Dining Hall. I was minding my own business, waiting in the lunch line, when Brent Chung [’17] slid in front of me and grabbed a plate. Adrenaline shot through my veins, and I looked around to see if anyone else saw what he had just done, yet no one seemed to care. I half expected to hear the plasticky snap of the Peace Walk against the floor, but it never came. Groton was a wild frontier where anything could and would happen, and I loved every minute of it. The newness of Groton never really wore off for me. Even though I don’t love 6, 5, 4 as much as I did when I was a Third Former, I still look forward to sports that encourage competition as well as participation, and science classes that include actual science. That said, while I never became homesick my first year, I did become a little carsick. At the end of each term, I couldn’t remember how I got there. School, dorm life, and sports came at me at such an exciting, rapid-fire pace that each day bled into the next. Together the days formed one fiery ball of energy that I couldn’t fully appreciate. It would’ve been like looking at the sun. I missed the little interludes where I could be silly and ask questions and learn things just out of curiosity.


The beauty of a small campus is that it allows you to get from your dorm to class in under five minutes, but it doesn’t allow for circuitous routes, full of traffic, where you are left with only the interminable longform jam sessions of the Grateful Dead and your own philosophical musings.

Music trivia with my dad is sort of a waste of time, but he might have been onto something. The beauty of a small campus is that it allows you to get from your dorm to class in under five minutes, but it doesn’t allow for circuitous routes, full of traffic, where you are left with only the interminable long-form jam sessions of the Grateful Dead and your own philosophical musings. In these stolen moments, where we stalled time in the stillness of human connection, I didn’t have to rush anywhere or memorize anything, and that gave me the room to think about myself and my life and the musical value of classic rock. Los Angeles is a fast-paced city where it feels like everyone is doing something, and even though we always complain about traffic, I think in a way it keeps us sane. When I was younger, everything was new to me. Looking out the passenger window, I tried to absorb as much as I could, but there was so much to know that it was all a little confusing. Just like Groton, the newness of the world never really wore off for me, but with my mom I could ask questions about it and with my dad I could let it go for a while. They were my two equally necessary forces, and in the transit time between here and there, I began to understand the big, weird world I was living in and how I could find my place in it. Without the convenience of overflowing freeways and gridlocked intersections, we are left to create these moments for ourselves. This act of creation, I’ve discovered, isn’t very hard. The cars were vehicles for me to talk to my parents and have honest, unencumbered fun, but they weren’t necessary. With just a few people and little bit of kindness, these moments begin to crop up everywhere: talking to Mr. Goodrich in the minutes

before the bell rings, talking to Ms. Sen-Das in the minutes after the bell rings, walking with Julien to the mailroom when you know you don’t have any mail, staying up a little later than you’re used to to read a chapter of David Sedaris’ new book. Though it took me a year or two to figure it out, I learned to steal moments at Groton, too; I learned to split up the big, burning sun into understandable fires. And once I had opened up these moments of stillness, the ones that sat in between the sun, I became something of a shoplifter, snatching seconds where I could. I let my thoughts wander more often, and meander along the edges of lines I didn’t realize I had drawn, picking up the images I had lost beneath piles of old flashcards. As [my formmate] Brian Xiao once said, “There are no circuitous routes because you aren’t walking circuitously enough.” And as much as I hate to admit it, he’s probably right. We all have a choice of how to approach Groton, whether to barrel through it, arriving at some preconceived destination in one piece, or to just walk along, around the Circle, ending up right where we started but with more pieces than before. In The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood, the protagonist is describing her boyfriend and she says, “The shimmering is his absence, but it appears to her as light. It’s the simple daily light by which everything around her is illuminated. Every morning and night, every glove and shoe, every chair and plate.” Though she loves him dearly, it is his absence that allows her to see clearly. Groton has been my greatest adventure, but I needed the negative space to see the whole picture, the illumination of the absence of light. This fall, my dad picked me up for Long Weekend. It was bittersweet because, though I was happy to be on break, I could feel Groton beginning to solidify in my hand, becoming more memory than moment. The sun was sinking down in the sky, but the amber light, the half-light, clung to the edges of the Chapel and the Schoolhouse and the dorms. It clung to me, too, making my hair a little redder than usual, and I could see us all clearly, even in the rearview mirror. My dad turned on the radio, flipping to Classic Rock, and electric guitar filled the car. “Too easy!” I said, “that’s ‘Hotel California’ by the Eagles.” “Right you are,” he said. “Someone’s been practicing.”

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new releases

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â–ş Please send information about your new releases to quarterly@groton.org.

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Katie Hutchison ’83 The New Cottage: Inspiration for America’s Favorite Home

Cottages are symbolic of a simpler time and a simpler life, conjuring thoughts of romance, comfort, and nostalgia. But as author Katie Hutchison explains in The New Cottage: Inspiration for America’s Favorite Home, even this time-old favorite has room to improve, change, and evolve. In The New Cottage, readers are introduced to ten design strategies that characterize traditionally captivating cottages. Twenty-five case studies demonstrate how this classic home can be updated for the needs of modern living, balancing competing desires for transience and durability, togetherness and solitude, the hightech and the homespun. Photographs of cottages across wilderness, coastal, and community settings reveal that The New Cottage can exemplify the same ideals in the twenty-first century that it did in the past.

2 John A. Bross ’57 Letters to Belle: Civil War Letters and Life of Chicago Lawyer and Volunteer Colonel John A. Bross, 29th U.S. Colored Infantry

The Civil War letters of Chicago lawyer Colonel John A. Bross describe daily life in the Army and scenes of battle, yet still glow with love for his wife Belle and his little boy Mason. Colonel Bross volunteered in 1862 as an officer in the Army of the

Cumberland; fought at the Battles of Perryville, Stones River, and Chickamauga; and then raised the only African American regiment from Illinois. He was killed leading his troops at the Battle of the Crater on July 30, 1864. The book’s introduction describes the rapidly growing Chicago of the 1850s as well as Lincoln’s election campaigns of 1858 and 1860, in which John and his older brother William (an owner of the Chicago Tribune) played a part.

3 Andrew Piper ’91 Enumerations

For well over a century, academic disciplines have studied human behavior using quantitative information. Until recently, however, the humanities have remained largely immune to the use of data—or vigorously resisted it. Thanks to new developments in computer science and natural language processing, literary scholars have embraced the quantitative study of literary works and have helped make Digital Humanities a rapidly growing field. But these developments raise a fundamental question: what is the meaning of literary quantity? In Enumerations, Andrew Piper answers that question across a variety of domains fundamental to the study of literature. He focuses on the elementary particles of literature— from the role of punctuation in poetry, the matter of plot in novels, the study of topoi, and the behavior of characters to the nature of fictional language and the shape of a poet’s career. How does looking at 3,388,230 punctuation marks, 1.4 billion words,

or 650,000 fictional characters change how we think about poetry, the novel, fictionality, character, the commonplace, or the writer’s career? Enumerations introduces readers to the analytical building blocks of computational text analysis and their relevance to literary scholarship.

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4 Paul G. Stewart ’72 Ya Wanna Go?

Ya Wanna Go? invites readers to join Paul Stewart on his turbulent journey, from the tough streets of Dorchester, Massachusetts, all the way to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. The phrase “Ya wanna go?” is generally issued as a challenge between on-ice pugilists before punches start flying. It is a battle cry Paul knows well: as a professional hockey player, he earned an astonishing 1,242 penalty minutes in just 285 games. However, the phrase “Ya wanna go?” had many other meanings for Paul. His father would ask five-yearold Paul, “You wanna go?” when inviting him to watch as he coached hockey for the Boston English High School team. Paul heard “You wanna go?” differently when he learned, as an NHL referee, that he had stage IV colon cancer. He was not yet ready to “go.” Not only did Paul defeat his disease, he also made his triumphant return to the ice on November 13, 1998. Ya Wanna Go? is a story about finding the will and the courage to fight for what you love.

Book summaries were provided by the authors and/or publishers.

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Christopher Carey Brodigan Gallery WINTER EXHIBIT

Disappearing Messages Lorna Turner Through March 2, 2019

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ultimedia artist, graphic designer, and educator Lorna Turner works in photography, printmaking, and ceramics. The Los Angeles–based artist’s exhibit, “Disappearing Messages,” is a culmination of works exploring the idea of things and places found and forgotten. Drawn to photographing discarded signage, abandoned houses, uninhabited industrial facilities, and public spaces, Turner is fascinated by the deterioration that happens over time — peeling paint on walls, signage that is no longer readable — any place that has lost its luster or, better yet, where the environment has reclaimed the location. Many of her photographs have lonely qualities; through her creative approach, either through screen prints, typographic explorations, or photography, Turner tends to pull toward the years of decay, which she finds mysterious. Lorna Turner was Groton’s artist-inresidence through the Mudge Fellow Visiting Artists Program, and worked hands-on with students January 14–18, 2019. The Mudge Fellowship was established by the Mudge Foundation in 1992 to enhance students’ exposure to the arts.

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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.


de Menil Gallery WINTER EXHIBIT

Battery ​Large-scale digital prints and video

Grotoniana

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.

Jordan Kessler Through February 26, 2019

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n Jordan Kessler’s “Battery” series, the artist uses the detritus of our lives as a starting point for structure and meaning. Using ignored, everyday batteries, ​Kessler creates duo-toned symbols from copper and tin. The very things that keep our lives going, which have no life outside of ​their service, are repurposed as elegant materials for artistic expression. In the process​, patterns of quiet beauty​emerge​. Linear and stark, ​ Kessler’s work echoes pixel patterns on a computer, or the rods and cones in a retina. In the slick and shiny surfaces, they are like messages from a dying culture, or alien code hiding in plain view. In a world where our waste threatens to choke out our very environment, the simple act of using our discarded wares to relay meaning and beauty is not only inventive, but a statement of symbolic importance.

“Battery Flow No. 18_No. 60”

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Photographs by Adam Richins

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MOUSETRAP

In November, Groton staged Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap. A crowd-pleaser that has run in London’s West End longer than any other show, the play is set in a country house where snowbound guests discover that a murderer is in their midst. The audience learned about all the characters and their depraved pasts, hanging anxiously until the killer’s identity and motive were revealed.

Above, Caroline Drapeau ‘21 and Alexandra Kirchner ‘22; right, Alexandra and Mikayla Murrin ‘21. Opposite page, clockwise from top left: Colin Rosato ‘22, Lily Cratsley ‘19, Isaiah Desrosiers ‘21, Julien Alam ‘19 and Caroline Drapeau, Eliza Powers ‘20, and Max Solomon ‘19.

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Grotoniana

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Photographs by Jon Chase

Fall SPORTS

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Caleb Coleman ‘20; right, Robbie Long ‘21

Grotoniana

Football 4 – 4 The Groton Zebra gridders finished the season with a 4–4 record, overcoming adversity throughout the season to finish with a strong 28–0 victory over rival St. Mark’s to even the slate on the 2018 campaign. The season stated with a bang as Fifth Form all-purpose man Caleb Coleman took the opening kickoff at St. George’s—ninety-eight yards to paydirt to start things off en route to a 35–6 victory. Caleb had another long TD gallop, and he was assisted by the terrific running of Sixth Form scatback Chris Sznip, making his first varsity start. The Zebras moved to 2–0 with a solid 15–12 win over Brooks, keyed by the running of Caleb, Chris, and quarterback Robbie Long ’21, behind the solid blocking of Sixth Formers Brent Gorton and Clement Banwell. Jake Kissell ’19 and Obinna Nwaokoro ’21 were a force along the line of scrimmage, helping the Zebras to another strong defensive showing. A string of injuries hampered the gutsy Zebras in the next two games; they lost to a powerful Nobles squad despite a strong and close first half, and then dropped a tough 28–26, two-overtime tilt to Middlesex as a number of players stepped into multiple roles, particularly Matt Kandel ’20 at quarterback; Anthony Romano ‘21, who had four TDs; and linebackers Noah Kader ’19 and Teddy Carlin ’20. The Zebras rebounded with a clutch win over Rivers, 33–14, led by Caleb and a solid defensive effort. Despite solid efforts, the Zebras went on the road and fell to Roxbury Latin and Thayer in tough field conditions before closing out the season with a St. Mark’s victory. It was a satisfying ending for the seven Zebra Sixth Formers: captains Clement and Jake, along with Chris, Brent, Noah, and Autumn Johnson, played their final game on the home turf. Captain Bennett Smith ’19, the two-time All-ISL linebacker who missed the 2018 campaign with an injury, was instrumental with his leadership and his assistance to the coaching staff through his defensive play-calling skills and adjustments. — Coach Jamie Lamoreaux

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Gary Fournier

This page: Yeabsira Gugssa ‘22, Jack Goodrich ‘20; opposite page: Cassidy Thibodeau ‘21 and Freddie Tobeason ‘19; Oliver Ye ‘20

Boys Soccer 11–5 Fresh off a very successful summer European soccer tour, boys varsity soccer enjoyed one of their best starts to the season in recent years, winning their first five games, including wins against perennial powers Belmont Hill and Brooks. With confidence high, the team continued to play free-flowing, attacking football and were unlucky not to beat either Rivers or Middlesex. Though these were both tough defeats, which in years past may have unraveled the season, this team, led by captains Walker Davey ‘19 and Patrick Ryan ‘19, remained focused and steadfast in achieving their collective goal of reaching the postseason for the second consecutive year.

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Groton School Quarterly

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As the regular season drew to a close, with an 11–5 record overall, it seemed that the team had done enough to position themselves among the top eight Class B teams in New England, and as such, extend their season. Word finally came through that Groton had earned the eighth seed and would play an undefeated Middlesex team, at Middlesex, in the quarterfinals. Though the boys gave Middlesex everything they could, and the game could have gone either way, it simply wasn’t our day. Now, as we say goodbye to an exceptional group of seniors, boys varsity soccer is again looking forward to having another successful season in 2019. — Coach Dave Pedreschi P’21

Girls Soccer 4 –12 After a productive trip to Team Prep Camp in August, the girls arrived at Groton optimistic and excited for the season. After a strong performance in a preseason showcase, we opened the season with a competitive 1–0 home loss to Andover that left us disappointed but feeling good about our prospects for the season. Unfortunately, some inconsistency in our quality of play and difficulty finishing led to disappointing results against St. Paul’s, Pomfret, Brooks, and Milton, with a 1–0 away win over St. George’s as the lone bright spot early in the season. Our next seven-match stretch was simply brutal and included the eventual NEPSAC Class A Champion, the B Champion, the B runner-up,


grotoniana

an A semi-finalist, and a B semi-finalist. The other two matches were one-goal victories over rivals Middlesex and Exeter. Throughout that period, and the entire season, this group of girls kept plugging away and resisted the divisive and selfish temptations that come with a losing season. As a result, we finished the year with three very competitive matches, including a decisive 3–0 win over Governor’s, a close loss to Lawrence, and a comeback that fell just short against St. Mark’s. While we will miss the leadership and character of an experienced Sixth Form group, there is a lot of talent and skill in the returning players, leaving good reason to be optimistic about 2019. — Coach Ryan Spring

Field Hockey 3–13 A disappointing record hides the fact that the varsity field hockey team was stronger than the numbers suggest. The ISL is a very strong league; six of the thirteen teams ended up in the NEPSAC tournament, one in Class A (determined by size of school) and five in Class B, and two of our opponents made it to the Class B finals. During the season, the team finished on both sides of several 5–0 scores; on turf, hockey is a much higher scoring game than it was on grass. Highlights of the season included a 5–2 scrimmage (played with refs and game regulations) over Exeter, an encouraging 2–0 win in the league opener against St. George’s, a satisfying 4–3 victory over

perennially tough Thayer, and a 5–0 romp over Proctor. Without question, the best game was against rival St. Mark’s. On a cold, blustery day, the hype about St. Mark’s games reached its usual fever pitch, and for the girls it provided all the best incentive, especially as they were playing at home. To a person, the team played well, both together and as individuals. Regulation time ended with a scoreless tie, and though the 7 v. 7 sudden death overtime went the wrong way, the girls left the field in tears for their final game together but oh so pleased with the way they had played. Though the team says goodbye to five very important Sixth Formers (captains Sarah Conner and Freddie Tobeason, and Emma Matthews, Ishana Das, and Halle Livermore),

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Gary Fournier

four Fifth Formers, nine Fourth Formers, and one Third Former will provide a remarkably solid returning core, and the coaching staff (which includes newcomer goalie coach Hallie Smith, a former Duke player) is excited about what next fall’s “building” year might look like. — Coach Kathy Leggat

Boys Cross Country 11–5 Groton boys cross country kicked off the season by winning our first race against Nobles (23–37) and St. Paul’s (26–29). This was notable because Nobles hosted the ISL Championship race at the end of the season, so we knew we could run well on

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Groton School Quarterly

Winter 2019

their course, and because it has been many years since Groton’s boys cross country runners last beat St. Paul’s. Ultimately, our prechampionship race record was eleven wins and five losses. Varsity placed fifth in the ISL Champion­ ship race, surging ahead of the Belmont Hill team that had beaten us in early October without one of their top runners. Our lead and Most Valuable Runner, co-captain Leo McMahon ’19, placed tenth in this ISL race with a time of 17:35. Leo placed twelfth in the New England Division II Championship the following weekend with a time of 17:28. Leo qualified for the New England All-Star race, but it was cancelled because of flooding. Varsity and JV both placed sixth in the

New England Division II Championship. Ian Bayliss ’22 placed twentieth overall in the JV race, and all seven of our varsity runners placed in the top fifty of 112 runners in their race. Tyler Weisberg ’22 and Aroon Sankoh ’21, our Most Improved Runners of the last couple of years, placed twentyseventh and thirtieth, respectively. While we will miss our graduating Sixth Formers, Lars Caspersen, Owen Gund, Leo McMahon, and co-captain and Coaches’ Award winner Gus Vrattos, our Fifth Form force is strong, with 2019 captains Derek Chang and Joshua Guo. Running alongside them are Fifth Formers John Michaud, Andrew Mazza, and Powers Trigg in the lead, followed by Brooks Anderson, Teddy Deng, John Donovan, and Oliver Ye.


Opposite page: Chioma Ilozor ‘20 and Jay Fitzgerald ‘20; this page, clockwise from right: girls cross country, Christina Oelhafen ‘21 and Lily Kempczinski ‘21, Grace Travis ‘21

Gary Fournier

Our top runners will return to the coast of Maine, as we have over the past seven seasons, for pre-preseason training in Acadia National Park over Labor Day Weekend. Let us know if you’re up in our neck of the woods and come join us for a run! — Coach John Capen P’17, ’22

Girls Cross Country 9–3 The girls cross country team finished 9-3 in the ISL, fifth at the ISL Championship, and sixth at the NEPSTA Division II Championship. Newcomer Wren Fortunoff ‘22 emerged as our top runner and notched three individual wins during the regular season, earning All-ISL and New England honors. Abby Kirk ‘19 and Aisling O’Connell ‘21

earned All-ISL honorable mentions. The rest of our varsity — Lucy Gund ‘19, Marianne Lu ‘19, Katie Reveno ‘20, and Sophia Wu ‘21 — executed strong pack running throughout the season, showing toughness and a fierce competitive spirit that will help to define our team for seasons to come. — Coach Michael O’Donnell

Volleyball 2–8 This was a season of great growth for volleyball at Groton. After one year with a varsity team, we added a JV team this year, making volleyball into a true program. The varsity squad improved substantially over the course of the season, developing skills,

learning to work together, and building some good, old-fashioned stick-to-itiveness. While we took home some tough losses, the season record hides that our squad was able to take games off many of our competitors. Our games against Thayer and Tabor went to five games per set and were extremely competitive. We also won one game per set against Beaver Country Day, BB&N, Milton, Nobles, and Governor’s. And, of course, we were delighted and proud to secure wins against Rivers and Brooks. While we will miss our departing Sixth Formers, Evie Gomila, Gloria Hui, and Montanna Riggs, the program will certainly continue to grow next fall, reflecting the hard work of this season. — Coach Amanda Reichenbach

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Left, Rachel McMenemy ‘20; right, Maddie Culcasi ‘20; below, boys cross country

Gary Fournier

Follow Groton Athletics on Twitter:

@GrotonZebras

BOYS CROSS COUNTRY

GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY

Most Valuable Runner Leo McMahon ‘19

Most Valuable Runner Wren Fortunoff ‘22

Most Improved Runner Aroon Sankoh ‘21

Most Improved Runner Sandra Redjali ‘19

Coaches’ Award Sarah Conner ‘19 Freddie Tobeason ‘19

Coaches’ Award Gus Vrattos ‘19

Coaches’ Award Aisling O’Connell ‘21

All-ISL Freddie Tobeason ‘19

All-ISL Leo McMahon ‘19

All-ISL and All-New England Wren Fortunoff ‘22

All-ISL Honorable Mention Cassidy Thibodeau ‘21

All-ISL Honorable Mention Aroon Sankoh ‘21 Tyler Weisberg ‘22 Captains-Elect Derek Chang ‘20 Josh Guo ‘20

All-ISL Honorable Mention Abby Kirk ‘19 Aisling O’Connell ‘21

FIELD HOCKEY

FOOTBALL

BOYS SOCCER

GIRLS SOCCER

VOLLEYBALL

Most Improved Player Hannah Wise ‘21

Coaches’ Awards Clement Banwell ‘19 Jake Kissell ‘19

Most Valuable Player Walker Davey ‘19

Coaches’ Award Angelika Hillios ‘19 Amy Lu ‘19

Most Valuable Player Montanna Riggs ‘19

Captains-Elect Anna Copeland ‘20 Eleanor Dunn ‘20 Eliza Turner ‘20

Captains-Elect Cara Chang ‘20 Caroline Locke ‘20

Charles Alexander Award Brent Gorton ‘19 All-ISL Caleb Coleman ‘20 Brent Gorton ‘19 Anthony Romano ‘21 All-ISL Honorable Mention Clement Banwell ‘19 Matt Kandel ‘20 Jake Kissell ‘19 Chris Sznip ‘19 Captains-Elect Caleb Coleman ‘20 Matt Kandel ‘20

Most Improved Player Gil Canca ’20 Coaches’ Award Pat Ryan ‘19 All-ISL Walker Davey ‘19 Steve Perchuk ‘19

Groton School Quarterly

Winter 2019

All-ISL Grace Travis ‘21 All-ISL Honorable Mention Maddie Culcasi ‘20

All-ISL Honorable Mention Gil Canca ‘20 Jack Goodrich ‘20

NEPSAC Junior All-Star Game Maddie Culcasi ‘20

Second Team All State and New England Soccer Journal’s Best XI Walker Davey ‘19

Captains-Elect Maddie Culcasi ‘20 Katie Stovall ‘20 Liv Ting ‘20

Captains-Elect Gil Canca ‘20 Max Steinert ‘20

46

Sixth Form Award Eliza Lord ‘19

Coaches’ Award Chiara Nevard ‘21 All-ISL Honorable Mention and NEPSAC Honorable Mention Montanna Riggs ‘19 Captain-Elect Rachel McMenemy ‘20


in memoriam

Hamilton Coolidge ’42, P’75 November 11, 1924–November 14, 2018 by Malcolm H. Coolidge ’75

P H

ammy Coolidge loved Groton deeply, an attachment that fogged the line between school and family. From the earliest days, the Circle had been home to at least one member of his extended family at any given time. Ham created his own unique experience. He formed lifelong friendships with schoolmates and faculty alike. The names Gurney Gallian, Bill Cushing, and many others brought smiles of fond memories. The years softened the edges of others. Take for example a run-in with Paul W. Wright, who, tying his tie one Sunday morning, happened to notice out the window before him a jug of (forbidden) cider on one end of a cord rising slowly from a snow bank and attached on the other to Ham, leaning out a second-floor study, no doubt with an eager congress of collaborators. He tried out for the choir, but failed. The venerable Choirmaster Twining “Ty” Lynes, at the conclusion of Ham’s brief audition, suggested that he might simply— as we’d put it now—lip-sync the hymns. Luckily Ham wasn’t sensitive, and he preferred baseball anyway. He played varsity shortstop. He praised its strategic role, as well as the tactical benefits of the well-placed bunt, which he practiced. Ham’s love for birding, wildlife, and forestry conservation was sparked early during his Groton years by William P. Wharton, a local “gentleman farmer” who for many years managed on his land one of the first

federally granted bird-banding operations for the study of migrations. He often took the boys canoeing on the Nashua River and birding in his forest. Ham later served as director of the Wharton Trust, which today supports conservation-related projects, as well as on its board of advisors. Ham was named after his uncle, Captain Hamilton Coolidge (1914), a World War I aviator killed in action just before the Armistice of November 1918. Ham left Harvard to attend flight training on the P-38 fighter and the B-17 bomber with the (then) U.S. Army Air Corps. Graduating shortly before V-J Day, he did not see combat, but took from his training a lasting delight in flying. Returning to Harvard, he studied architecture and graduated in the class of 1946. He received an MPA from the Littauer School of Public Administration in 1952. Ham was married to Barbara Fisk Bowles in New York City in October 1948. They settled in Brookline, Massachusetts, where they lived for some forty years, and raised their four children: John Hamilton, Linda Bowles, Hope McLean, and Malcolm Hill ’75. “B” died in 2014. In addition to their children, Ham leaves five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. In 1947, Ham went to work at the New England Mutual Life Insurance Company in Boston as an assistant to an architectural team. He eventually served as a senior vice president, from 1977 to his retirement in 1986. He

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Under his leadership in the early 1970s, New England Mutual Life was among the first to provide substantial financing of urban redevelopment projects through loans to minority-owned businesses.

led the mortgages and real estate investment division during most of that period. Under his leadership in the early 1970s, New England Mutual Life was among the first to provide substantial financing of urban redevelopment projects through loans to minority-owned businesses in depressed areas such as Roxbury. At the time, few investors would consider such risk. Although many such projects were ultimately not successful, Ham was acknowledged for his forward-looking efforts. Ham’s lifelong advocacy for land and wildlife conservation stemmed partly from his family’s longstanding presence and stewardship in New Hampshire’s Squam Lakes region. As president of the Squam Lakes Association (SLA) in the early 1970s, he played a key role in blocking a plan to build an interstate highway through the area. With groups such as the SLA raising awareness about the project’s severe environmental impact, a majority of residents opposed it. Ham served as director of the Squam Lakes Conservation Society, which awarded him the first Davenport Stewardship Award for his conservation advocacy at Squam. He served for many years on

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the board of directors of the New England Forestry Foundation, and in leadership positions with numerous other conservation groups and causes including the Massachusetts Forests and Parks Association, the Massachusetts Audubon Society, and the Boston Children’s Museum during its move from the suburbs to its current urban setting on Boston’s waterfront. Ham spent part of nearly every summer of his life at his simple camp on Squam Lake. Along with B, his happiest times were spent swimming, sailing, hiking, and cranking ice cream with his children, grandchildren, and assorted cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends, as well as chopping wood and fixing things (in his way). The camp was his base for his many commitments and causes around the region. Everyone who knew Ham admired his positive attitude, his hard work, and his dedication to important causes, and enjoyed his affable nature and humor. To the end, he continued to enjoy visits with friends and family, and never failed to thank his visitors for their fellowship. As one of his oldest friends put it, Ham Coolidge was a “glass-half-full kind of guy.”


in memoriam

Anthony Wentworth Morss ’49 July 28, 1931 – August 6, 2018 by Everett Morss ’47

I

T WAS CLEAR from very early on that music

P

would be an important part, if not the focus, of Tony’s life. At about three, he received a harmonica for Christmas. He started right away playing it and was soon producing tunes. An accordion was next, and he was able to add chords. All the while he was pecking away, one finger, on the piano. Piano lessons were obviously needed. The first teacher was a disaster. She wanted Tony to play and practice scales. He said that there was no fun in that. He would not practice scales but did continue to peck away. The next teacher Mother picked was a home run. Joseph Sinatra was the piano player and music arranger for Tony Bruno’s band. He also claimed to be a second cousin to Frank, but who cared then? The band played regularly at a Boston nightclub. Mr. Sinatra soon had Tony playing popular tunes with both hands, chords and all. He even persuaded Tony to practice scales as he convinced him of their value. “Boogie Woogie” was popular at the time, and Mr. Sinatra taught him to play it. Tony even composed a “Boogie Woogie” piece. Sadly, no copy of that piece remains. Next came Groton. Piano lessons continued along with the regular schedule. Tony worked hard and gained well in his piano playing as well as his knowledge of musical history and theory. The Classics were favorites. Tony took well to Latin and Greek and was considered one of the school’s best, all-time Classicists. Math and the natural sciences did not interest him, but he got through them. At Harvard, Tony majored in music. It was there that he realized he had a flair and a feeling for conducting. After college, Tony did graduate work in Boston and New York. During that period, conducting became his focus. To that end, he also took lessons on the clarinet and the viola. He wanted to learn about the problems and opportunities of the woodwinds and the strings. He turned out to be quite a good clarinetist but only a

marginal violist. He said he started too late on a string instrument—his hands were too big even for the larger viola. He did learn a lot about bowing, and that had been his main intention in the first place. In New York, Tony also did some tutoring for younger students having various problems. Among his most successful efforts were his math sessions! He told me he knew their troubles—he had had them all himself. Tony’s professional career began after he finished his

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Tony was pretty good at French and had a smattering of German and Italian. He had no Spanish. It was not a problem as he conducted in Latin.

study at Juilliard. He was appointed music director of the Palma de Majorca Symphony. The island is part of Spain, so the language was Spanish. Tony was pretty good at French and had a smattering of German and Italian. He had no Spanish. It was not a problem as he conducted in Latin. Everyone understood, and he learned Spanish quickly. The best description of his career is contained in the Walter Damrosch Award presented to him by the Musicians Club of New York in the spring of 2018. Walter Damrosch (1862–1950) was a German-born conductor-composer who emigrated with his family to the United States in 1871. He was very involved and important in the growing New York classical music scene. The Musicians Club established the award in his honor, and Tony was its first recipient. The award noted that Tony had been an active member of the club for over forty years, had served as both vice president and president, and had been, for much of that time, a member of the jury of the Serge & Olga Koussevitzky Young Artist Awards. The following paragraphs are directly from the award: “Anthony Morss was born in Boston and studied at the New England Conservatory and the National Orchestra Association in New York. While still a student, he was chosen by Leopold Stokowski to be his choral master and associate conductor for his Symphony of the Air. This success led to the position of chorus master of the American Opera Center at Juilliard, music director of the Majorca and Saragossa symphonies in Spain, followed by the Norwalk Symphony in the United States. Maestro Morss has guest conducted the Madrid, Barcelona, Marseilles, and Cape Town symphonies, as well as the Tampa Bay Opera, the New York Lyric Opera, the National Grand Opera, and many others. In 1976 he

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Groton School Quarterly

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conducted the American premiere of Massenet’s Marie Magdalene with Regine Crespin at Avery Fisher Hall. In 1978, he led the Marseilles Opera’s production of Tosca with Marton, Aragall, and Wixell. At Alice Tully Hall in 1990, he conducted a concert version of Fidelio with original instruments, the first such performance of standard repertory opera in New York. “In addition to his symphonic posts, Mr. Morss has served as music director for the New York State Opera Company, Verismo Opera, the Maine Opera, Asociacion Pro-Zarzuela en America, Eastern Opera Theater of New York, and Lubo Opera Company of New Jersey.” In 1971, Tony married Carolyn Charles. She was an excellent pianist in her own right. They had thirty-eight wonderful years together. There were no children. Too bad in one way—can we imagine what sorts of musicians they might have been? Tony loved and cared for his family and hosts of friends. He was very lucky and so were they. During the latter part of his career, Tony spent a great deal of his time working with opera. Last spring, I asked him if he knew how many different operas he had conducted. He said he had recently drawn up just such a list and gave me a copy. There were seventy operas. Some I had heard (either at live performances or on recordings) and many I did not know. I did not see any mention of Wagner. I asked Tony what he thought of his music. He thought for a moment and then said, “If you could only block out the words, the music is glorious.” Tony read widely and, although I don’t believe he had a photographic memory, he remembered much of what he read and could quote extensively to support whatever point he wished to make. He loved to discuss almost anything with family and his legion of friends. I once heard him described as an encyclopedia. After he retired from conducting, Tony continued to participate by singing in several choruses. A favorite was the Schiller Institute Chorus. With both men and women, it numbered about 150 singers. The director of the chorus told me that he often heard people remark, “If Tony Morss is there, it must be good.”


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Winter 2019 • Volume LXXX , No. 1

This tiny, leatherbound edition of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens was read to Groton boys starting in 1899, if not earlier. The inscription inside the front cover says: “Read to the boys of Groton School … 1899, 1900, 1901.” Facing the inscription is the signature of Samuel Endicott Peabody, the father of Groton School founder Endicott Peabody. A letter by the school founder reveals that Groton students sent the elder Peabody a petition in 1889, asking him to come to the Circle and read to them. During that visit, he read the Dickens classic, too.

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Groton School Quarterly, Winter 2019  

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