Friday, March 05, 2010

Winter Term Report Card 2009-2010

To the Great Class of 1969:

It's been a year since I wrote, "Mirroring the harsh New England weather, the S&P 500 declined 24% during the Winter Term, bringing the cumulative drop since the school year began to a staggering 45%. Who would have guessed things could have gotten so bad or would like to speculate where we might be by graduation in May or our Reunion in June?" This timely question set off a record rally in the markets within days and, for those whose chose to speculate that we had bottomed, it's been a remarkable run as long as you overlook the inconvenient fact that the market is trending along where it was a year before our 30th Reunion.

While things on Wall Street improved, the harsh weather on the Upper East Side of Manhattan where I live did not. In Central Park the snowfall in February eclipsed the previous record for the month by 32%, a record that had lasted for 75 winters. It also surpassed any single month since 1896.

Academy News

As a result of the fire in the basement of the the Dining Hall last December, the maintenance staff has had to improvise by moving some tables out into the lobby. The Academy is making the best of a bad situation by expanding the "south bubble" so that the Dining Hall will be able to accommodate all the students when it returns to its target size. Construction is expected finish sometime this fall.

This May "The Greer" (which we once knew simply as "the school store") will be gutted and replaced with a substantially expanded facility which is scheduled to open in October. The renovation of The Greer and the repurposing of the adjacent old squash courts as a health and fitness center were funded, in part, by the parents of the classes of 2008 and 2009. You can read about the plans in The Scroll.

The addition of new international squash courts several years ago seems to have attracted some top talent to Deerfield. This year's girls team - 15-2 heading into the New England Championships - was a standout this term. Boys Swimming finished the season with its only loss to an undefeated Andover team. It competes in the New England Championships at Hotchkiss this weekend where it has a chance to avenge its one loss and repeat last year's win in this season-ending event. Boys Hockey, once a stronghold, ended the season virtually unchanged, finishing 12-12-1 vs. 11-11-2 last year.

You may have noticed that the order of finish was the same in both men's and women's hockey at the Olympics, however, you probably overlooked that Molly Schaus '06, on leave from Boston College, was goalie for the Americans. I revisited Deerfield's athletic archives out of curiosity and found this summary of the 2005-06 season, "Despite a final showing of 11-10-3, Schaus, who was voted the team’s MVP, still managed to post some statistics that would make any college coach smile. She finished the season with a 1.99 goals against average, stopped 92 percent of the shots her opponents sent her way and registered five shutouts". From 11-10-3 in Deerfield's rink to the Silver Medal in Vancouver four years later...not bad!

Deerfield applicants will learn their fate next week. This should be a particularly competitive year on account of the Academy's desire to manage down the enrollment over the next few years. Applications from legacies and siblings once again exceed the number of available spots although they are likely to comprise less than 15% of the total applicant pool.

Last, but by no means least, Deerfield's greatest patron, David Koch '58, was named the first lifetime trustee of Deerfield.

Class News

Hank Louis continues to make news as founder of DesignBuildBLUFF. Next week Hank will speak in Salt Lake City about recent architectural projects and the importance design plays to nurture and improve the lives of people who experience it. The DBB program takes architecture graduate students from the Unversity of Utah to the Navajo Reservation in Bluff, Utah, where they design and build homes each year for Native American families.

The editors of Talkers magazine recently ranked the top 250 radio talk show hosts for 2010, and Howie Carr ranked #51. Howie is characterized as a "consistent performer" in the afternoon drive market on WRKO in Boston. Howie recently interviewed Tom Merrigan, a member of the Massachusetts Governors Council. To listen to Howie and Tom, go here and fast forward four minutes.

Last month Christopher Beach, the La Jolla Music Society’s president and artistic director since 2006, hosted the Chopin Bicentennial Celebration at a La Jolla Music Society recital which he called the “largest Chopin exploration anywhere in the U.S.” Christopher originated the idea for the Chopin festival and organized 18 concerts in coordination with three other local performing arts organizations.

Another classmate in the news was Jonathan (f/k/a "King") Carter who is the director of the Forest Ecology Network. As you may recall, Jonathan has been a devoted environmentalist and former candidate of the Maine Green Party. Despite the fact that Jonathan has favored wind farms for 25 years, last month he found himself in the unenviable position of arguing against a local project, saying that wind turbines would raise the background noise level in the forest to nearly 50 decibels and reduce the ability of animals to communicate. You may remember that about a year ago Jonathan went on record advocating using forests to sequester carbon emissions. You can read what he has to say on the topic at the Forest Ecology Network website.

Steve Estimer and his band When Cousins Marry, a long running UNC-area cover band that defies easy characterization, are planning a new release for sometime this summer which will include a song with a reference to our Class. You can get a sense for the band by visiting their website.

The "Mystery Classmate" in my photo trivia question last term elicited one or two inexplicable guesses but was too obvious for others. The correct answer was Charlie Bishop.

Best wishes to all.