Saturday, March 07, 2015

Winter Term Report Card - 2015

To the Great Class of 1969:

As the unofficial historian of the Class, I write you once again to announce the end of a term. This pattern, though predictable, works best when there is news about the Academy or, more importantly, members of the Class. As luck would have it, there is not much on either score to pass along this time. Happily, for those whose eyes turn increasingly to the "In Memoriam" pages of the Alumni Magazine, we all survived the term as best I can tell!

News of the Academy

When I began the blog more than ten years ago, it was a relatively simple matter to go to the Academy website and find out what was going on. Those days are long gone given changes to the design of the site, and the online version of The Scroll is too truncated to provide a complete picture. What I can tell you from having spent some time spot checking results this term is that the traditional athletics program at Deerfield has continued to decline as a focal point of the school. This decline was borne out in an article this term in The Scroll which quoted Frank Henry as saying that colleges have asked Deerfield to prepare students for college level athletics.That's only part of the story of course since all our peer schools presumably are under the same pressure, and it doesn't explain why Choate has beaten Deerfield an unprecedented six years in a row in Varsity football. As further evidence, Varsity Hockey compiled a record of 4-19-3 this term and Varsity Basketball went 3-16.

In other news, the geographical separation of the upper and lower classes has undergone a shift so that the underclassmen will be east of Main Street now and the upperclassmen will once again populate Barton at the end of Albany Road. Whether or not this is a good decision probably hinges on your perspective as either a parent or a student. Many recent graduates probably would argue that it infringes on their hard earned independence and well deserved freedom from supervision. Parents might disagree.

Much has been reported of the record snowfall in Boston this winter. The Academy had its first snow day in memory this term which, conveniently, extended Long Winter Weekend following the Patriots' Super Bowl win.

News of the Class

Marty Kaiser stepped down at the end of February as Editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a position he had held for nearly twenty years. During Marty's tenure, the Journal Sentinel won three Pulitzer prizes and had to contend with the technological changes that have plagued print journalism. Marty hasn't announced what he plans to do other than to say he's not retiring. I thought my job (with all the perks that come with being Blogger-in-Chief for the Class) might be a natural segue, but Marty is holding out for something better to my disappointment. You can read about Marty here.

I think I may have underestimated how much of the teenager Steve Esthimer still had left in him in my last post. Steve tells me he is enjoying his last semester at Saint Mary's School by making the most of a lifetime's collection of ties by wearing a different one every day. Were I to do that, I think I might last a month with my current inventory. I suspect some others in the Class might last even less time.

Bob Ashton is now President of Mountain Resorts Solutions in Kattsbill Bay, New York after prior stints in that capacity at Ragged Mountain Resort in New Hampshire and Wintergreen Resort in Virginia.

Christopher Beach has proven his mettle as a fundraiser, having raised $50 million from just eleven donors to build a new concert hall for the La Jolla Music Society which he has now headed for ten years.

Rich Berkowitz, founder and CEO of Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors and Accountants, moonlights as Chairman of the Dolphins Cycling Challenge in Miami where he participated last month in the annual charity race to benefit cancer research and raised over $4 million.

Imagine Deerfield is more than 90% of the way towards its goal, having raised $186 million to date. The campaign ends June 30. Gifts and pledges prior to then will also count towards our 50th Reunion which officially commenced July 1, 2014.

Best wishes to all.