Tuesday, March 07, 2006

March 2006 Letter

To the Great Class of 1969:

You all will recall from senior English or elsewhere T.S. Eliot’s words from “The Wasteland” that “April is the cruelest month”, but I would submit that he didn’t spend enough time in the Northeast during February. Without ever setting foot in the Northeast, the makers of the Julian and the Gregorian calendars wisely chose to make February the shortest month. Since I last wrote, we experienced the heaviest single day snowfall in Central Park since they started keeping records in 1869, although many have been quick to dismiss the significance of this since it was so localized. Surprisingly, the Academy largely escaped the Blizzard of ’06. Nonetheless, I am told that all the campus constituencies have tired of the frigid temperatures of late and are looking forward to Spring Vacation which begins this Friday, March 10.

News from the Academy

The Scroll arrived today, and the lead story had to do with the Koch Center which is now one year behind schedule and $2,000,000 over budget. There is a lot of heated rhetoric about where blame lies and, I suspect, there will be more to learn before this is all over. The bottom line for the graduating class is that they will not be able to enjoy this stunning building which will, when finished, become an instant destination point on campus. Another item of interest was the story on the eighth annual J. Clement Schuler Concert which took place in January. It might interest you to know that the bequest by Clem Schuler, who served as music director from 1935 to 1976, now totals over $2,000,000 and produced over $80,000 in income for the Academy last year.

The long-awaited article on the School and the far reaching effect it is having in the Middle East appeared this past week in The New York Times. If it escaped your notice, you will find a reprint at King's Academy. We are still awaiting the article in The New Yorker.

On February 19th, Dr. Curtis visited campus where she participated as one of two judges for the “Declamation Finals”. Each junior English class was allowed to vote for the strongest presentation, and all of the finalists were invited to deliver their declamation to the entire community in what is one of the major academic events of the year. Over a hundred members of the community joined Dr. Curtis in the Large Auditorium to hear the students share their thoughts. After Dr. Curtis and her partner deliberated, three students walked away with First Place honors and the bragging rights that go with it.

On February 24th, the Varsity basketball team traveled to Wallingford for the last game of the season and returned the victor, 48-38. The Varsity hockey team had less to say for itself, losing the last five games of the season and finishing 8-16-1. On a happier note, Jamie Hagerman ’99, whose father was once the Deerfield Athletic Director and hockey coach, was a member of the women’s Olympic hockey team which took home the Bronze medal at Torino. The Academy has produced a number of Olympians over the years, including Amnon Krausz ’70 who you may remember entered as a junior in 1967, was a star swimmer for the School and later competed as a member of the Israeli team.

Class News

Since I last wrote, a number of you have logged on to the Academy’s new Alumni website and registered. As of today, we are up to 13 classmates and, as a result, have added Peter Hoover to the e-mail distribution list.

Tom Merrigan, a former state judge for 12 years, announced his candidacy last week for the Democratic nomination for Governor's Council in Massachusetts whose primary task is to approve or reject the governor's nominations for judgeships. For the complete story, see Merrigan for Governor's Council.

Rob Almy continues to moonlight as a lacrosse referee and wrote recently, “I just had (by far) the best two week refereeing ever, two overtime games, two one goal games and a two goal game; all among nationally ranked (college club) teams”.

I had the good fortune to catch up separately with both Tee Johnson and Rusty Young while they were each passing through New York this week. Tee seemed in fine spirits, offering his always well-considered views on a range of topics, including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

For those of you who haven’t kept track of Rusty – and I suspect that’s too many – he has arrived at an enviable stage in life where his children are independent and he has been free to develop a portfolio of activities based on his own interests. After a career as a management consultant, Rusty stepped away from that several years ago and found an opportunity to apply his know-how helping the local YMCA develop a strategic plan which, in turn, led to an invitation to implement the plan, proving the adage that no good deed goes unpunished. When he wasn’t busy with the YMCA, Rusty found time to get involved with The Count Basie Theatre because of a longstanding interest in the performing arts. His work there as Vice Chairman led the Board to ask him to serve as the first CEO of The Count Basie Foundation and, as a result, Rusty is now officially a member of my “Captains of Industry” list within the Class which consists of Classmates who lead or have led organizations. For the press release, go to Young Named Chief Honcho.

Annual Support

Overall, Alumni participation is up 2.3% but the fundraising is about $100,000 behind where we were at this time last year. As for our Class, we picked up a couple of gifts since I last wrote, but there remains a lot of wood to chop between now and June 30th. If you haven’t already contributed and are on the solicitation list, you will be getting a mailing from the Academy shortly which highlights what the School means to a group of current students in their own words. Please take a minute to register at the Alumni website and make an online gift while you’re there.

Class Trivia

In response to last month’s trivia contest, John Lacey receives the good sportsmanship award for fearlessly guessing and, on his second try, correctly surmising that AC Starkey is, in fact, the first acknowledged BowieNetter in the Class. AC may be the only private banker in the country who attended six David Bowie concerts during the last Reality Concert Tour, which included traveling to New Orleans and Chicago for front row seats. Fortunately, AC’s wife Ann also enjoys the music. For reasons I am still trying to fathom, AC felt it necessary to go so far as to write a letter on the topic to the editor of The Boston Globe which they chose to publish. AC may still be a banker by day, but he has found his rock side later in life. Since AC is so clearly a Jersey boy at heart, I have suggested that he need venture no further than Red Bank this year where he can let his hair down at Rusty Young’s annual Fab Faux benefit concert in June.

Surprisingly, no one was able to identify Andy Cohn standing next to Chairman Mao in Shanghai in last month’s photo trivia contest. Lacey recalled having sat across from Andy at the bridge table in the smoking room in the basement of Field a minimum of twice a day every day senior year but confessed he was unable to recognize him today. (For the historians in the Class or the curious at heart, there is a photo on page 205 of the Pocumtuck which captures the moment for posterity.)

As always, I welcome your news, although you now have the opportunity to post it directly on the Alumni website if you choose.

Best wishes to all.