FACULTY AND STAFF REFLECTIONS
"Yet it's hard to really know an institution"
/ Richard Berger
Count your own paths of twenty years. The drive to Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High
School where I work has never been very far. I usually travel the same route. In
twenty years 7,200 trips of 93,000 miles.
My passages there cover only half the life of the institution so someone else did
four score and ten thousand miles for the first twenty. How many have we been in
this going and coming; are we less than 10 million miles? Were it double or half
would it be any more or less astounding.
Part of my daily trips are through a mile of a national park. I've gotten to know
this small corner well, its contours, its changing life and seasons. This area is
frequently in my thoughts. Are the students who also arrive everyday experiencing
their own landscapes at our school and how many thoughts, for how many students, each evening
after classes might there be for forty years? Any more or fewer millions than our
millions of miles? Were it double or half would it be any more or less astounding?
Did the ancients do countings of such things, pressing their lists into the Mesopotamian
clays? Leaving scrolls for some Han bureaucrat? Selecting the proper Aztec glyphs
for tracts later to be burned as heretical numerologies by a culture that counted
different things? Probably not. It's easier to count taxes, eclipses of the sun
or production of our hands than time and thoughts spent in passages. Yet it's hard
to really know an institution, even our small school, except by re-counting its individual and collective histories although they may be as ordinary as miles and dreams.
"This has been a place to learn, to explore, to grow, to dare"
/ Patty Bowdoin
The salient accomplishment of Lincoln-Sudbury is its nurturing environment. For forty
years, for adolescents and adults, this has been a place to learn, to explore, to
grow, to dare. The school has provided challenge with support, and freedom with
While the environment has been remarkably constant, the world at large and the school
have changed dramatically. I think the willingness and ability to change is the
attribute that I prize most about this community because it has helped us to know
one another in true ways and has supported or impelled us to change in ways that make us
better human beings.
Even though we are a community of strong personalities eager to debate with intelligent
gusto, our common commitment to "our kids" keeps us respectful of different ideas
and styles. The students' ideas and needs are the certain guides which shape our
judgments and direct the changes we both initiate and grouse about!
For me, the truth of these reflections is revealed each August by my excitement about
new kids, old colleagues, fresh starts, and the chance to become a better me.
So thank you, Lincoln-Sudbury, for enriching thirty plus years of my life!
"I thought I would try it for a year"
/ Betty Jane Busiek
It was 1966, and suburbia was not where it was happening, Boston was. The racial
imbalance bill had been passed, Boston had its school stay-outs, and teach-ins, and
involvement on many levels. As I stumbled over bits and pieces of construction,
and saw the yet to be completed lab space, I thought I would try it for a year ... and so
it has been every year since then.
Lincoln-Sudbury was then also undergoing change, the student senate asked for the
right to wear jeans to school, the faculty dismissed the entire dress code (with
the exception of wearing some sort of shoes). The student senate felt no sense of
success, we patted ourselves on the back.
There was a strong sense of academic rigor, and one strove to meet the expectations
of the Department. Bram Arnold, Marion Edwards and Frances Ness (Ekstrom) set high
standards. Tradition was also strong, presence at graduation was not negotiable,
the Christmas party was at Terry Miskell's and the year end clambake at John Bowdoin's.
Barbara Athy got me through "Study Hall" in the cafeteria, and Miriam Coombs introduced
me to the art of bathroom patrol.
The school was changing, enrollment kept increasing, and we eventually had a real
contract. The schedule changed too, what one left in June was not what one would
necessarily find in September. We survived flexible modular scheduling, H block,
split periods for lunch and a variety of other schedules. It seems to be a cyclical phenomenon.
We went from hand written report cards to a computer system that left a lot to be
desired, but it was progress. Our scheduling process was also in a state of flux,
students lining up at 5:30 a.m. to get the teacher's signature to allow them into an
Ancient History Course; arena scheduling in a very overheated gym; elective courses
from Outdoor Gourmet cooking, taught by a member of the math department, to canoe
One never knew when one returned in September, what major issue would confront the
school that year, and how many long hours would be spent in its resolution. Politics
played its part. We had our "Loyalty Oath" era, the Viet Nam war, the draft, Watergate, the Black Panthers, change in voting age. All were observed at Lincoln-Sudbury
in one fashion or another. One of the more dramatic assemblies was when Frank Heys
spoke of the war in Viet Nam. There was Earth Day and the involvement of students
throughout. Bicycles were more in vogue then, the environment seemed to have a higher priority.
The school had its fleet of canoes and alternate semester was big.
The enrollment increased from around the 800 I first knew to something approaching
2,000. It was hard to know as it seemed some people just came to L-S, whether or
not they attended classes, it was the place to be. Somewhere along the line we went
from a single administrative form to halls, they evolved or dissolved into houses. Alas,
the names have always struck me as a reflection of our less creative selves and do
not reflect a sense of direction, but enough, no place is perfect. Students had
their rebellions and pranks. Flags were in short supply one year, and then there were the
streaking episodes. Seniors used to have their "prank" night. The school would
be decorated with signs from various points in Lincoln and Sudbury, oddly placed
VWs, and one year bumper stickers were in vogue. To me the most memorable scene was the flag
pole with its necklace of car tires.
Over the years, Lincoln-Sudbury has had a spectrum of people employed at all levels.
The school would not have been the same place if it had not been for people such
as Lily Spooner and others whose names are on the Wall, be they administration, school
committee, faculty, or staff. It is the students, though, who are indeed at the heart
of Lincoln-Sudbury and why one teaches here. A place where friendships are made
There is more to say, and reflect upon, but probably best left to the memories of
those who were there as some events and happenings are difficult to judge outside
of the context of the times.
"I love sitting the hallway with the students"
/ Susan Buta
As a new teacher, I am a little confused about Lincoln-Sudbury. I see a community
struggling with the changes of schedule it is trying to impose while trying to facilitate
a truly special institution amidst the comparatively traditionally minded demands
of the State Board of Education. The flavor of the school described to me is different
than the actual school I am experiencing.
I particularly enjoy the flavor of our student/faculty relationships. L-S is a place
where we can converse over academic, political, social or humorous topics. I love
sitting the hallway with the students and reflecting with them about issues global
and personal. I can be has human as they in this setting.
The trust that I can develop with my students is particularly pleasing to my academic
palette. I like that my students have a sense of honor. We do not expect our students
to graffiti our walls, cheat on their tests, vandalize our school, and disrupt our school environment. So in our school, there are no need for passes, hall guards,
and safeguards from sneaky behavior. Instead our students are encouraged to mediate
differences, constructively pursue their interests in our free press and our student
senate, and negotiate with their teachers. These are wonderful life experiences.
But the sweetness of our school is a little sour lately because it is in so much flux.
We are trying desperately to conform to the State's 990 academic classroom hours
while trying to maximize our learning environment, address the multiple intelligences
of our students, mainstream our special needs students, cope with the pressures of
high academic expectations while trying to minimize the stress level of our students,
satisfy the needs of all the departments in our school, innovate curriculum while
it is being constrained by state curriculum guidelines, etc., etc. Herein lies my confusion.
Are we as a school losing our identity as we conform to more and more outside pressure?
"The 'feel' of this school is more intimate"
/ Midge Callahan
I am in awe of what a special place Lincoln-Sudbury is. I had the opportunity to
put together 17 years of guidance counseling in four other public schools in Massachusetts
and New Hampshire before coming to L-S last year. I therefore can speak with total objectivity, since I have had no virtual history here and take no ownership in having
created this anomaly of public education. The most striking difference between L-S
ad my previous schools is the lack of barriers between students and teachers. I
don't get the "we/they" feeling so prevalent elsewhere. The "feel" of this school is
more intimate and there is a sense of community and safeness which is most conducive
to student receptiveness to the educational process. I've also never been in a school
where it's so hard for a kid to slip through the cracks.
I chose to leave education for a decade and returned a decade ago. I think this helped
to rejuvenate me and I often feel like a new educator, although I chronologically
fall into the average age range of the Massachusetts teacher, which is around 50.
We're relatively old as a group, but the L-S contingency that falls in this age category
is not tired and burned out, unlike a number of our colleagues through the state.
I feel incredibly proud to be a part of this group of dedicated professionals.
They're unbelievably tireless, committed, invested in the success of their students, and
they hardly every whine about the demands that we counselors and other people make
The other piece of working here that I find unique is how the administration is so
invested in the success of their staff. As a rookie to the system last year, I was
amazed at the support that was afforded me. I feel privileged working here and I
am indebted to the people who have created such a wonderful and unique environment for all
of us to learn, grow, and make a difference.
"There is no greater reward"
/ Jan Carvalho
My experience of Lincoln-Sudbury has been through the eyes of a house tutor in the
seventies, a teacher in the L-S West Alternative High School in the eighties, and
a teacher in the Central program at L-S in the nineties. Key ingredients of each
of these programs have been respect for each individual, the development of a sense of community,
and the fostering of positive self images. In this supportive environment of caring
relationships between students and staff, students were challenged to succeed academically and to make responsible life decisions. They developed the confidence to
take risks, to fail and try again, to challenge old ideas, and to experiment with
new approaches. The success and existence of these programs in the L-S community
certainly reflect the strong commitment of L-S to both respect and celebrate individual differences
and talents within the student body and staff. It is an exciting environment which
encourages diversity, the ability to listen to diverse opinions and to think through difficult issues. There is no greater reward than to be involved in the growth
of young people both educationally and emotionally. Our returning graduates now
successful individuals in the "real world" say it all when they return for a visit
proudly sharing news of their present lives and commenting once again, "I never could
have done it without all of you."
"The gradual closing down of more radical experimentation"
/ David P. Clapp
When I first came to Lincoln-Sudbury in the fall of 1969, I entered a school full
of a blend of young and seasoned faculty reacting to the chaotic upheavals of the
late 1960s and early 1970s. Having spent two years in Hong Kong and enamored with
the Chinese attempt to blend theory and practice educationally, I found L-S a school vibrantly
open to getting students into experiential modes of learning to supplement "classroom
theory." I was able to start the Urban Intern Seminar where students 1-2 days per week could work in a variety of inner city Boston settings teaching English to Chinese
adults, assisting in South End schools as tutors, serving as aides in Little City
Halls, etc., with a 2 o'clock Monday afternoon seminar with local community leaders.
In this spirit, I remember sitting around a conference table with Bob Wentworth, Will
Ruliffson, Dixie Person, Brad Sargent and a host of others strategizing with Dixie's
father, a professor of Early American History at Williams, about using Harrisville,
NH as learning lab for History, English, Technology, and other disciplines. We were
terribly excited about the prospect until we realized that the cost of transportation
and distance really made it irrational. The killing of that fanciful dream along
with the murder in Boston of an Alternate Semester student in the mid-1970s which terminated
that vibrant program seemed to mark the gradual closing down of L-S's more radical
experimentation with blending theory and practice in the daily curriculum.
We have remnants of those programs and that spirit of involvement in meaningful learning
experiences (Martin Luther King Action Project and Senior Internships), but the 1970s
were the glory years of getting students out of the classroom--and now 990 hours of the classroom--spare us all!
"All our hearts will fly"
/ Dan Conti
One of my first memories of Lincoln-Sudbury is the whirlwind tour Tom Puchalsky and
Judy Plott gave me during my second interview. It was on an oppressive June morning
that Judy led me from Mary Ann Dence's classroom -- where I had guest taught a class
to the English office. It was there that I was introduced to Bill Plott he rolled
over on the couch and grumbled something about straining his back on the front nine
earlier in the morning. Tom what else but "like a fury" burst in "ranting and
screeching" about the "bloody heat."
I remember little from the actual tour. What I do recall, however, still strikes
me as the ethos of L-S. The motley English bookrooms and the varied titles and authors
in them impresses me as much now as when they first caught my eye and heart on
that June morning. When searching for an elusive set of books, I still find myself
browsing. I may or may not find the books I am in search of; I do, however, often
leave with a new title for my ever-growing "to read" list.
The other moment I remember is Tom's introduction to the Paul Mitchell Russian Studies
Collection in the library. I was left with a sense of awe and wonder: How many other
high schools have a Russian Studies Collection? And, who was this Paul Mitchell,
who, in his oft-quoted declaration, decreed that we, the teachers, "must teach the
students' hearts to fly?"
Although these moments are now just fading impressions, the message remains clear.
Define a niche. Cultivate it. Become an expert in it. Because, as the mysterious
voice from the film Field of Dreams
commands, "If you build it, they will come." Develop a course and repertoire and
the students will flourish. The passion and enthusiasm generated in the classroom
and in the school will become contagious.
Building on the legacies of the past, we continue what has become a tradition of excellence.
This realm of learning, this "different kind of place, " is ours I now realize
only in trust. We add to its character and identity; we don't define it. We merely renew its mission and pursue its vision. The legend is the place, but we,
its sentries, are entrusted with the awesome duty of inspiring young people to ask
"Why?" and "How?" It is then that all our hearts will fly.
"Who would ever leave?"
/ Barry D. Copp
As I sit at my desk overlooking the playing fields (the best seats in the house!)
my first recollection of this place is of an old blue bus abandoned in the sand pit
in the vicinity of the present Ed McCarthy memorial softball field. That was probably
about 1950. In 1957 I spent my 7th grade in this brand new building - was sent to the
office for throwing a paper airplane in Miss Antis' art class - and walked the straight
and narrow ever since.
Four years of glorious memories of high school at Lincoln-Sudbury, class of 1963,
prepared me exceedingly well for college. Although I nearly flunked out it was due
in no way to lack of academic preparation by this high school. I know being happy
in your teenage years is not hip, but I was, and a lot of that had to do with my circle
of friends, many of whom I still know. And by the way in which we were treated here
by the faculty and staff. My teachers: Alex Marshall, Miriam Coombs, Frank Heys,
Jack O'Sander, Bob Wentworth, Dean Aldrich, Bram Arnold, Paul Mitchell, John Bowdoin, Debbie
Lewis, Terry Miskell, and others were mine to savor and interact with. We frequently
were together outside of school as up at Bob Wentworth's house or working into the
wee hours of the night on plays with Jack O'Sander or singing in Special Chorus with
Dean Aldrich. In retrospect we were snobs and outsiders did not easily enter into
our clique. This memory is one of the few things I regret and I would have acted
differently in my high school days if I could change the past.
I never intended to be a teacher, but rather a computer programmer. By fates I entered
this profession and was hired by Alex Marshall in 1971. Here I have taught ever
since for 26 years. Once one has experienced life at Lincoln-Sudbury who would ever
Some of my fondest memories are from the early years. The time and energy put in
as a young bachelor have been given back in equal measure. Early involvement in
Nimbus (L-S's adaptive Outward Bound program) led me to a decade of summer employment
at Hurricane Island Outward Bound School and to the Alternate Semester Program at L-S with
its own winter outward bound component. I spent time supervising kids in field
placements all over New England, living and rehabilitating apartments in Boston,
and building a cabin in Vermont. Another ironic memory is of helping Joe Fratus in a Survival
Living course where the final project involved a week in the woods supplementing
very meager rations with frogs, worms, and bugs, and as a final meal for the week
(surprise, surprise for the students), live chickens that they had to prepare for their meal.
Coaching the first ever girl's soccer team for three seasons at L-S is another fond
memory, but then my free time had to be spent raising my own two kids, clearly with
In retrospect, besides the experiences described above, some of my best years (so
far) in teaching were the six years I spent when L-S West was first initiated at
the Fairbanks elementary school building. A phrase I used at the time was: "Exhausting
but Exhilarating." Some of those kids from 15 years ago are still in touch. We made
a life changing, even life saving difference for many of the kids who passed through
our doors - unfortunately we couldn't help everyone.
My math classes in the traditional classroom have encompassed just about every course
in the department - always with individual freedom to cover the curriculum in my
own way with math labs and computers and graphing calculators available for enrichment.
The math departments' unique group office has also contributed over the years to
sharing and supporting each other in both our professional and our personal lives,
and many of us have raised families and grown gracefully older together.
Teaching isn't for everyone - we in the profession know there is much more than the
academic material to cover and the kids will eat you up if they sense you aren't
genuinely interested in helping them in every aspect of their lives. If ever I feel
I've been bitten once too many times then I will know it is my time to move on.
"The school I always wished for"
/ Jo Crawford
Lincoln-Sudbury is the school I always wished for when growing up on King Philip Road,
South Sudbury (where Linda Hawes now lives).
I wanted a school to go to like the experimental ones we were hearing about that were
developing in the mid-west such as in Evanston, Illinois a high school rich in
educational challenges where everyone in town went and from which they were able
to get into a college of their choice and had fun being a high school coed.
With the formation of the regional high school, our three children had the opportunity
we parents would have chosen for our own schooling. In addition, there were opportunities
for me as a parent of which I took advantage. So I followed the children.
My three children had a great education at Lincoln-Sudbury in crazy times. Becky,
1968, became a political consultant, starting in senate candidate Father Drinan's
successful campaign the summer following the Kent State killings. (Middlebury College.)
- a volunteer in the library with Sue Wheatley
- a charter member of the Civic Orchestra under Don March
- a member of the Student Exchange committee (co-members Tom Puchalsky and John Bowdoin
will remember some colorful meetings) and as the mother of a student ambassador
to Turkey (selected the night that Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated)
- a student in Don Gould's Ancient History and Inter-disciplinary classes
- an assistant to Jim DeSimone, Dave Clapp and Ginny Kirshner, running the Adult Education
- and, in my final resting place at the school I love, I am the coordinator of the Martin
Luther King, Jr. Action Project, which Bill Schechter and I founded.
Tom, 1971, who rode in on the back of a motorcycle with his robe flying askew through
the seated parents at graduation in the current teacher's parking lot, is a professional
salmon fisherman in Alaska. (Evergreen State College; University of Washington graduate school)
Jud, 1975, who followed his brother in chaotic times, is a neurobiologist, in research
and teaching at the University of Pennsylvania. (Duke, Cornell graduate school)
Lincoln-Sudbury has done well by the Crawfords...very well.
"We are more like the dunes"
/ Dan Damelin
Thinking of Lincoln-Sudbury and the stories I've heard conjures images of ebb and
Breathing in ...
The school seen from above as the cycle each day fills it with waves of students,
ideas, bustling movement filling the hallways. You can feel the humanity course
through the veins of our school.
Ebb and Flow.
The day ends and the building exhales. Each of the ideas scattered to the wind like
so many molecules leaving our lungs. However, while the school lives and breathes
us day in and day out like the predictable waxing and waning of the moon, there is
a tension. For the constancy is balanced by the dynamic, ever changing, collective soul
of our school - that consciousness which is the conjoining of each of our lives.
Images of breathing and waves keep presenting themselves in my mind. Each day for
forty years students have streamed through these hallways. Each morning the tide
flows in and as night approaches the current reverses and it flows back to the chaos.
But as the students wash back out to sea they take some part of us with them. They and
we are changed by the ebb and flow, like the oxygen which binds with carbon and is
exhaled from our lungs, permanently altered yet immediately replenished by the drawing
of our next breath.
The school is an organism, constantly changing, growing, pulsing with energy. For
40 years L-S has lived and evolved. We specialize in the paradox of constancy amidst
dynamic change. The school may be made of bricks and mortar but we are not the stone
jetty which resists the crashing waves. We are more like the dunes which are constantly
built up and eroded.
That is what makes L-S "a special kind of place." It is our ability to change and
grow, to evolve, to learn, and to teach.
"Each day I see a student in every window"
/ Tom Danko
When God took clay to form the first human, the Koran remarks that God Himself was
influenced by the resilience and texture of the clay. That what was created had
a direct influence upon the creator.
As I move into my second decade here at Lincoln-Sudbury, I too have come to realize
how much I have been shaped and influenced by the students and faculty here. The
hallways are alive with passionate ideas creating an energy that is both invigorating
and challenging. Can we do it better? Is there another way to master it? What do we
want a graduate to take away with them? I feel proud and worthy to be part of a
community that continually seeks answers to these valuable educational questions.
Only when we ask them, do we truly recognize if we have tried our very best.
On a personal note, Harpo Marx stole my line for what L-S has come to represent for
me. Ed Murrow was interviewing Harpo at home during a live CBS special. Ed remarked
upon how many children he saw. Harpo replied that he wanted a child in every window
when he came home from work. That is what draws me daily to L-S. Each day I see
a student in every window...
"An on-going exchange of ideas is encouraged"
/ Mary Ann Dence
Reading my students' journals this weekend, I am reminded of one of Lincoln-Sudbury's
greatest strengths: encouraging students to weigh all points of view and to think
independently. In their journals, students test ideas, thoroughly questioning evidence
before they believe something is true. Sharing their uncertainties and responding
to their convictions is a privilege for L-S teachers.
This interaction between staff and students best answers the question, "What is Lincoln-Sudbury
High School?" In classes, students are challenged to weigh conflicting evidence,
and in their extra-curricular activities, students join teachers in exploring a wide range of interests and issues.
These experiences are outlined for newcomers in several L-S publications, but the
best understanding of the school comes from being one of the 1160 students and staff
who enjoy a sense of spontaneity and support in the hallways, cafeteria and school
offices. An on-going exchange of ideas is encouraged throughout the day here, as everyone
learns that patiently considering contradictory views promotes new insights.
Before I started teaching, I expected to change careers once or twice, in order to
maintain a sense of challenge and stimulation. The changes never happened however,
because teaching is learning - and at Lincoln-Sudbury, everyone's ideas, questions
and comments make this career new every day.
"What? No bells?"
/ Cynthia English
What? No bells? How do they know when to change classes? (Some of them don't.)
But..., it is peaceful once one is accustomed.
What! No lunch time? Oh well, in the library, we make a lunch time.
No study halls? Great! Kids can use the library like a real library, when they need
to and want to.
No hall passes? What a time saver, not having to collect, sort and deliver library
passes to the proper teachers.
After the routines of a large urban high school, it was a relief to find a place where
one could spend one's time on more substantial and engaging activities. When I saw
the number and variety of resources in the library, even a Russian Studies Collection!, I knew that Lincoln-Sudbury could be a rewarding place to work.
But by far the most impressive and interesting aspects of L-S are the enthusiastic
students, the incredible mix of people who make up the faculty and staff, and the
spirit of intellectual inquiry and endeavor that pervades the atmosphere. I have
felt so fortunate to be a part of L-S, that I finally no longer miss the wonderful Boston
library where I worked for eleven years. I have found L-S to be a joyful combination
of interesting work, inspiring and caring colleagues and the exuberance of youth.
"This school is a gateway to the world"
/ Drew Forster
"This is a public high school?" I'd say that had to be one of my first thoughts when
I entered this building almost two years ago. It's also a reaction many friends
have had when I've described the place where I work. I think it's a common reaction
because this school is so unlike my public high school experience and that is unfortunately
true of too many people. In many ways, I believe Lincoln-Sudbury realizes the potential
of what a public education can and should be.
This is a place of open mindedness and learning. It is learning that is mind expanding
and life changing. I've often said of my own collegiate experience that I probably
learned as much outside of the classroom as I did inside. I can very easily say
the same of L-S, if you look at a classroom as four walls and assorted furniture. The
faculty and students of this school aren't satisfied with that limited space as the
only one worthy of learning. The
L-S classroom extends to the Rogers Theater, the gymnasiums, the auditorium, the playing
fields. It reaches around the towns of Lincoln and Sudbury and the city of Boston
and spans the Northeast as students and teachers travel to New York and throughout
the New England states. Our classroom is truly the world as students and faculty travel,
not merely for diversion, but to search for more than that which can be found in
We, the L-S community, know that there is much more to learning than test scores and
that success can't always be measured on a scale from 1 to 100 percent. This school
is a gateway to the world that opens the horizons of all those who are a part of
it, not merely a toll booth where you pay your fee and have a card stamped. My hope as
I've just joined this proud 40 years tradition is that I remember to reflect on this
opportunity daily and to make the most of it. Thank you Lincoln-Sudbury.
"We are all individuals"
/ John Germanotta
I think the most important aspect of Lincoln-Sudbury that has always distinguished
it from other high schools is its philosophy on how education should be presented
to your people. Yes, we have the standard curriculum guidelines to follow, but there
is an allowance of individuality that solidifies the core of our teaching, thus nurturing
the creativity of each and every member of the faculty and staff. This individuality
then is passed on to the students we teach, which, in turn, allows them to explore
their personal strengths in a healthy and creative manner. This educational philosophy
has been here at Lincoln-Sudbury probably from day one. I remember when I was a
student here some 20 years ago the teaching ideal was the same. One of the most
important lessons I learned from this school then was that we are all individuals with our
own sets of needs and expectations of life, and that we must use our own personal
strengths and abilities to better ourselves and our society. These are the things
I gained most from this community and I feel strongly that these are the things that should
always be emphasized to young people of this age group. They are the ones to carry
the torch of societal restoration. Lincoln-Sudbury is a touchstone of political
and societal awareness and should continue to be so, even more than it is at present.
We as a community need to be well balanced and acutely aware as there is more and
more pressure to fall into the "normal" education system. We need to maintain the
higher level of education that has been the cornerstone of this school for the many years of
its existence. Individuality. That's Lincoln-Sudbury.
"Its welcoming culture...seems to defy time"
/ Dee Gould
Last week I received a note from a woman who was a temporary aide here for a month
and a half. She wrote because she wanted to thank all of us at Lincoln-Sudbury for
making her time here so welcoming and supportive. I thought about what she said
and realized that L-S is really distinctive in what I will call its welcoming culture. This
phenomenon seems to defy time, persist despite changes in leadership, and pervade
the place from student to staff.
I initially experienced the welcoming culture myself when I first came to L-S to teach
math for just one quarter. I knew L-S by its reputation as an unconventional, unstructured,
unprincipled place. With two children under four to support, as I walked through the dreaded doors I actually said to myself, "You have to do it. It's only
a short time. You're desperate." Within a week, I was seduced by the welcoming
culture and have now been a strong proponent of L-S for the past 23 years.
A great compliment was paid to L-S recently which is also a direct result of the welcoming
culture. A student, tuitioned to L-S for a semester described his feelings about
coming to L-S as, "the first time I've had my self esteem back." He said that due to the accepting and welcoming atmosphere in the school, both teachers and students,
he is happier and doing better than he has ever done. His family has now moved to
Sudbury so he can continue to attend L-S. Happy 40th birthday to L-S, a place with
a welcoming culture.
"The place where I have spent my life"
/ Don Gould
More than anything else, thinking about the 40 years of L-S' existence makes me think
of the nearly 30 years that I have spent here. In a very real, and significant way,
my years at Lincoln-Sudbury have paralleled the years I have lived, and made the
institution even more significant to me than I would have thought possible when I arrived
in l968. In those years, the school was young, and somewhat brash. I mostly remember
the faculty as being mostly young, mostly unmarried, and mostly radical. I fit right into that profile. The school seemed always to be under attack from a more conservative
community, and I enjoyed the battles, as the young seem to. As I continued to teach
at the school, the common phrase came to be that the school was 'tightening up.' I guess I was tightening up with it: at least, I think that I slowly became more
responsible. The most important thing that happened during my 'middle years' at
Lincoln-Sudbury was that I met Dee, and got married. As a husband and parent, I
began to see the students at the school in a different light, and in a way that probably made
more sense to my teaching. Eventually, after teaching for 16 years at L-S, I applied
for, and became, a Housemaster, a position which I have continued to work at and
enjoy ever since. However, in the first nine years that I did this job, my memories are
of my children attending Lincoln-Sudbury. Starting in l985, and continuing until
l995, all three of my children went here. I was able to see, in a very different
way, what it meant to be a student here, and what it meant to be the parent of a student
here. My children, who had to make a choice to attend the school, all maintain that
this was an important place for them friendly, with good teachers who cared about
them. They all think that they made the right decision to come here and I agree with
them. I even had the pleasure of teaching two of them in a history course. Now,
as I am nearing my last years at Lincoln-Sudbury, the school seems to have matured
right along with me. Far from being under siege from the communities, it is viewed, correctly,
I believe, as a 'special place,' a school where teachers are given the freedom to
teach, where they care deeply about what happens to kids, and where adults and children alike are able to make real connections. The school, then, has been the place where
I have spent my life, and I am glad that I have spent it here.
Thirty Years On or Walking in Deep Snow with No Snowshoes
/ Tom Hooper
For me Lincoln-Sudbury will always be 1966 to 1973. Dickie Magidoff who taught, or
at least organized, history classes and with whom I lived at 356 Beacon St. in Somerville
on the Cambridge line had been a founding member of SDS, Students for a Democratic Society, at The Port Huron Conference while he was at the University of Michigan.
That fact set the stage for me. It allowed me to be part of the 60s-70s Generation
even though I really belonged to the World War II, 50s crew cut, juke box in the
cafeteria...Johnny Ray, Les Paul and Mary Ford, Frankie Lane...fear of Joe McCarthy era.
So when the FBI came to Lincoln-Sudbury one spring morning looking for Dickie and
Will Ruliffson, the first Superintendent-Principal that I worked for, threw them
out, I learned something about how to be consistent. Steve Goldberg, a history teacher,
went to the March on the Pentagon with Norman Mailler. I remember seeing him leave from
the parking lot. I was good on seeing people go to things I didn't go to; for example,
I didn't go to Woodstock either.
When an English teacher, Andrea Beacock, decided to collect canned goods for the Black
Panthers, the good white burghers of Sudbury marched on the school and the teachers
barricaded themselves in the Lecture Hall. Actually Will locked us in there so we
wouldn't anger them further. That was shortly after Metco had begun and the first
twelve black boys and girls from Boston had come into the great off-white sea of
L-S: Dave Purvis, Ed Haley, Dorothy Woodley, Floyd Armstrong, Henrice Shane, Debbie
Purvis, Kevin Powell, and others whose names are gone from me. Those were four wonderful years
with those students. They were very strong; they didn't all survive, but they were
wonderful for trying. Linda Payne came in one day and announced, "I'm the Metco
coordinator! I didn't know what a coordinator was but we made her welcome and had great
times except that we never did get coordinated.
The Black Panther fiasco was the writing on the wall for Will. He was my favorite
superintendent-principal, but his own persona did him in. The changing times would
have done so any way, of course. In thirty short years we've gone from being one
of the the most radical public schools in the east to one of the more conservative. Frank
Heys said that all educational change was circular; so thirty years from now...
Frank Heys hired me. I had returned from a failed venture in Honduras, and in December,
1966 was looking for a job. I called all the schools in the West Suburban phone
book and the voice on the Lincoln-Sudbury phone said they had a teacher who was sinking under the weight of an impossible class distribution problem and they'd like to
talk to me. I taught a sample class for Frank on a poem of Robert Lowell's which
I didn't understand which strangely enough had a fly fishing image in it. Being
a worm fisherman at the time, I got that wrong, too. Frank knew how to fly fish. He wanted
to hire me, old Harvard men after all; but my previous boss at W.E. Hutton & Co.,
Johnny Blakey, also a Harvard man, called to tell Frank how irresponsible I was.
I'd left W.E. Hutton & Co. on a one week vacation, gone to Honduras, and hadn't returned for
two years. Will called me in to discuss this and also a couple of other omissions
in my resume that had come to his attention. I guess there were no other candidates.
I started January 2, 1967: Eng.. 236, Eng.. 237, Eng.. 232, Eng.. 222, Eng.. 434.
The class # 238 means the eighth worst class in the third worst level in the sophomore
class. I'm sure you get the idea; the previous teacher certainly did and made the
right decision, too. Since then I've taught in all kinds of configurations and arrangements.
Well, not quite all. Miriam Coombs didn't think I could be trusted with freshmen.
It's also true that for the last 15 years, I haven't taught many Ivy League bound seniors and juniors . Being an Ivy Leaguer myself, I know that it is true that the
ivy is gone from the Ivy League in the interest of preserving the brick. For years
I specialized in Special Education students before there was Special Education, but
after the state instituted Special Education, I lost that job.
Except for Patty Bowdoin, Betsey Wood, Don Gould, Hugh Maginnis, and Joe Pacenka,
all my friends from those years are gone. There was Jerry Poznak, the shortest man
in school, who drove a Porsche Spider and who gave Mimi and I a Golden Retriever
for a wedding present and who has never been seen since although he lives in Watertown; Harriet
Rogers, with real native American heritage and reservation experience, and who was
and is a genius in terms of theater, at whose oldest house in Lincoln I first met
the rest of the English department who left us for theater and TV and who is still in
Lincoln in the oldest house, physically frail but mentally as smart as a button;
John Alves, Harriet's assistant, who went to Hawaii to grow macadamia nuts, and
is now publisher of Honolulu Magazine
; Bruce Johnson, crazy Bruce Johnson, ah yes, Crazy Bruce, a graduate of Lincoln-Sudbury,
you would have thought someone would have known better, who rented a house up the
hill across Concord Rd. so we had a neat place to get away to between classes; also Harriet's assistant; Dave Orr, mild mannered English teacher from North Carolina
who thought the Metco kids should be allowed to stay on the basketball team who left
a long time ago and is now first vice president of economics at First Citizen's Bank
in Charlotte which Ephraim Gerber says is the sixth biggest bank in the U.S.; Adair
Lynn who also drove a Porsche, wore one green and one orange stocking and lobbied
for the poor, who married a Japanese doctor and lives in Tokyo. There were a lot
of us, of course. Somewhere in those years the population of the school peaked around two thousand
students. Since we had no Special Education, divide that by about 15.5 and we had
Dave Bronson was the first teacher to speak to me. He came over to me at Harriett's
party and said he'd heard the I was a pirate. In those days we talked a lot at meetings,
hammering out educational ideas. Dave talked in topic sentences, leaving out the very complex paragraphs so no-one but myself could understand him. I became his
friend and interpreter. I met Brad Sargent at that English department Christmas
party in the oldest house in Lincoln. I knew right away I was in the right place
because my glass was always full and I didn't stand out too much. I started to talk with
Brad, probably some junk about looking to do a good job, etc., etc., and to Brad's
credit he ignored me. There were a lot of people who were very much part of my life
day to day: Dixie Pierson, now a bat and turtle researcher; her buddy, Linda Pollard, who
smiled like a high school girl herself, Phil Lemieux who was always on the other
side, Phil Lewis who was always in the middle, (now, he's studying the theory of
knots), Ray Martin, the humanist, and Bob Millett doing discipline and graduations.
I came to Regional having taken no education courses and having taught three semesters
at Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, but with no public education experience
except my own years as a student at Needham High. I got a waiver to teach but needed to take a course at Framingham State to get a teacher's certificate. Of
course, I didn't take the course. I still can see Frank, having found out about
my lack of certification, jumping up and down in the doorway of Room 615. Frank
did not "suffer fools gladly" as many of us learned during our years with him; and it was unfortunate
that the school committee did not understand his worth when they rejected his application
to be named superintendent-principal after Will.
At some point educational discussion at L-S stopped being meaningful to me. For a
few years I tried responding with "The emperor has no clothes." approach, but that
became hackneyed. About ten years ago I learned to ignore what was going on around
me and concentrate solely on my own classes. This approach works for me, but I miss the
old camaraderie of discussing educational ideas ideas with my peers, and the challenge
of trying to implement them. So it looks like I'll end my teaching career thinking
that the reality of education has still not been addressed either at L-S or at the
state or national level. I often remember Needham High, 1954, Bill Pollard, the
principal, another real person, and the juke box in the cafeteria belting out Les
Paul and Mary Ford's, The World is Waiting for the Sunrise
"'Graduation' made me reflect a little"
/ J.J. Horgan
The end is nearing and I guess with "ends" we often think about all that has happened
to bring us to this "end." Unfortunately, with all the craziness of preparing for
exams, correcting papers, and grades we do not have the time to think about all the
good things that have happened throughout the year. Instead, we are stressed and thinking
of deadlines and what the summer will bring for us. Maybe everyone is not feeling
this way......but, I guess "Graduation" made me reflect a little. If you don't mind,
I would like to share some thoughts with all of you!
The last graduation I went to was at the school where I experienced my first year
of teaching. (Or....what I THOUGHT teaching was......) My memories are vague, as
I drove away from that graduation thinking....."I will never teach again!" Let me
give you a brief summary of why.......I'll list some of the rules for you. (Oh....these are
not rules for the kids...these are for the teachers.)
- Sign in by 7:00am in the main office and sign out before you leave.
- If you leave during the school day you must sign in and out.
- Dress code: Jacket and Tie for the men (no sneakers) and Dress or Skirt for the women.
(If you wear dress pants you must wear a blazer.)
- If you see kids in the hall, write them up. (Kids are in class, study hall, or detention
at all times).
- If a student needs to go to the bathroom, phone, or library you must give them a
pass or they may not go.
- You are allowed three sick days total . (If you go beyond that, you lose "points"
on your evaluation which can result in a lower salary for the following year.
(unwritten rule! Just known....! The same goes if you do not follow dress code,
sign-in, etc.........you lose "points" on the evaluation which effects your contract.
- One more thing...you must hand in your plan book every Monday to your Department
head with your plans for the week. Again.....those are just the rules for the
teachers........I'll let you use your imagination for the rules for the students!
(Resources? hmmmm. ....1 VCR for 15 teachers.....
35 kids per class.......)
(And....a few memories to add just to set the scene. On a weekly basis the history
teacher from the room next door (of the portable building where I taught) would welcome
me with her motivational speech of "You're young, you can still get out of this thankless job! But, I am stuck in this job! I'd look for something else to do if I could!"
Just another school where students learn and teachers teach and minds grow?
This year I drove away from graduation thinking.....what a unique school, what a
special place! We are given the chance to create, to challenge, to question, and
to change! We are able to walk into a building (if you can find the door) where we
are given the freedom to not only contribute to the future of these kids, but we are surrounded
by friends and colleagues who have a passion and excitement which is contagious and
that we can learn from. ( And.....on top of all that we are blessed with a wealth
of resources to do it with! ) I think I learn more from all of you and from my students,
than my students learn from me! Yes, we all have a lot to do, and not enough hours
in the day to do it, and I will be the first to admit that I do not always love
to correct all those papers.....and we all deserve to complain on those bad days.....but
I hope we can all take a moment now and then to look around and say to ourselves.....what
a great place to be! Aren't we lucky to teach in a school like this?!
"A place that resonates with spirits"
/ Pina Chiodo Lessard (Class of 1980)
Lincoln-Sudbury to me is a place where Larraine Gandolfi manages to permanently imprint
Spanish verb conjugation onto your brain while challenging you, entertaining you
and becoming your friend. Where Bill Plott grows more humorously profane and inspired, while Judy races about in a hurricane of purposeful activity, the two managing a
synchronicity that takes form in Rogers Theater. Where Anne Marie Plasse takes you
past the initial horror of dissecting a recently deceased pig and on to a fascinating
journey. Where Regina Russell shepherds so many through so much and Pat Lockery is a
lesson in kindness and dedication. Where Vicki, Diane, Leslie, Andy and Duse make
you acutely aware of your body fat percentage and make you laugh. Where Bill Schechter
makes the eradication of complacency his personal mission. Where Anita Pearson is connecting,
motivating, organizing and involved in everything. Where Bea George is always elegant
and always on top of it. It is a place that resonates with the spirits of Ginny Kirshner and George Horton. A place dedicated not only to excellence, but to
the manner in which it is pursued. A place to try on identities, fly on a stage,
charge on a field, to time and time again demolish the limits you place on your own
intellect. A place to return to sixteen years later, to be remembered and welcomed. And
now once again, a place to be missed.
"The spirit ... to do what is right can not be extinguished"
/ Elizabeth Lewis
Lincoln/Sudbury's reputation preceded Matt King's call one July afternoon to ask me
to apply for the job of Housemaster. I had first become acquainted with L-S in the
mid 1960s. My friends who taught there told me that this was the place to be a teacher -- totally different from the buttoned-down, up-tight suburb where I was teaching
at the time. Faculty lay on the lawn on warm spring days smoking dope with their
students (could this really have been true, I wondered in retrospect as Matt extolled
the professional development opportunities and salary schedule that now marked the place
as Nirvana). This was a community that really "took on" social issues such as human
rights, and not mired in trivialities such as logarithms and the Treaty of Westphalia,
spent a full day talking about them. The only "anti-cultural" story I knew was of
a head of a department who lectured away one dull afternoon while a mouse scampered
around his classroom -- not the L-S way. This School was way beyond cool.
But by 1989, as I had changed, so had the School. I met the reality -- and it was
so much better than the legend. I encountered faculty, administrators, and support
staff who were willing to do everything asked to make life better for students, and
who created productive approaches of their own. I found curriculum which honored all
realms of human curiosity, not lock-step and drab, but colorful and nuanced. There
was a schedule with a "directed study," a time for kids to catch up DURING the regular
day, a real gift to such busy students. And the students -- from their imaginative
senior pranks, like putting all the cafe chairs up on the roof, to their brilliant
showing on national exams, to their creativity in plays like a reggae Tempest, to
the hard fought games on the athletic fields -- what a crew! And so much better than the legend.
The event that sticks in my mind with the most poignancy occurred early in my tenure
here, and -- I think -- unites a number of strands that define the School. Historical
perspective and social justice -- Bill Schechter and a group of students decided
to print on sheets of computer paper 6,000,000 zeros, which symbolized the Jewish lives
snuffed out by the Holocaust. They hung the attached papers through the corridors
of the School as a visual representation of those massacred. And then came the conflict, this time from the ecology corner. What a waste of trees, they protested! The
conflict in values had barely been expressed when something else happened: some
students set fire to the papers in the glass corridor. Did they understand the brutal
irony of their deed? Was this some thoughtless act of vandalism by people who were unaware
of the symbol of the zeros? Or was it the protest of the L-S version of eco-terrorists?
I never knew. I have forgotten if the students were ever even named. What I do remember, though, is that the next year, there was another Holocaust memorial, and
the next year after that another, and so on and so on. Which makes me think that
the spirit of the faculty and students at L-S to do what is right can not be extinguished. And I am very glad to be here.
"I don't feel that I've aged much"
/ Dick Maciel
Three things come to mind as I look back and try to capsulize almost thirty years.
First, the opportunity to teach as I wished, to innovate, to try, to fail, to get
the satisfaction of doing it right. I've been respected as a person who knew chemistry,
and knew how to present it. Professionally, I couldn't ask for more.
Second, I think of the students and how they have borne me along. They were 16 years
old when I got here. They are still 16. They haven't aged and I don't feel that
I've aged much in all these years.
And the people that I've worked with. I can't start listing names because then I
wouldn't know when to stop.
"And such was the Sound and the Song of it "
/ Paul Mitchell
A place where the classroom
Variations on "no"
never came down
A place where degrees and
experience counted not
Performance in the
classroom was all
merit salary was the
order of the day
A place where one developed
a teaching style
more of whatever it
was they were
like it or not
A place where the classroom
was joined to
a library and library staff
A place where students
found beauty in wood
discovered problems and
and boys cooked
A place that sent students
to playing fields
A place of few parent
protests never students
A place that sent students
to climb mountains and
to Boston to sing
with the Boston Symphony Orchestra
to collect prizes for
art and drama
to the streets to
to foster AIDS awareness
to help the homeless
Indeed L-S was a
"Personal journeys of life-long learning"
/ Jane Modoono
A student-centered culture, a rich selective program, an unweighted Grade Point Average
with no class rank, no bells, students in the corridor, students with "free time,"
directed study, teachers committed to "individualizing" programs for all students,
high expectations and standards with support for students/ teachers to reach their
goals, nurturing relationships between students and adults, core values of academic
success, caring relationships, and respect for individual differences, Young Women's
Leadership Conference, Gay Straight Alliance, Colors, Martin Luther King Action Project,
many many choices of interesting clubs, inclusive and challenging athletic teams,
inspiring drama productions, teachers who are wise, committed and willing to work
hard, students who are smart, committed, and willing to work hard . . . on their own personal
journeys of life-long learning.
"It is the passing of the light that I recall the most"
/ Jim Newton
In 1813 Thomas Jefferson wrote, "He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction
himself without lessening mine; as he who lights a taper at mine, receives light
without darkening me."
Thinking on thirty years at Lincoln-Sudbury, it is the passing of the light that I
recall the most. I suppose I gave my share, but I also received, and I want, now,
to acknowledge those gifts which enlightened me without diminishing others.
I remember a ninth grade girl coming up to me after a class in the days when Introduction to the Humanitie
s was required in the ninth grade. "What does it mean to pray?" she asked.
I recall the reminder Frank Heys used to give every fall: "They're not the same kids
who walked out of here in June."
Mitchell was good at dosing up healthy prescriptions of humility: "The space you
leave behind will take your place."
"Why is it called the Industrial Revolution?" I was asked in a lab class. "If it
isn't over yet, why don't we call it the Industrial Evolution?"
Individual candles finally gutter and die.
Pass the light!
"I saw the excitement, the fun, the energy"
/ Annalisa Notaro
Outside the place, I felt small. But as I drew closer, I saw the excitement, the
fun, the energy. I wanted to be a part of it and before I knew it, I was. Days
blended into weeks into months into years, and like a thirsty sponge I absorbed everything
the place had to offer. I learned so much
I learned that teachers, staff, students, parents - EVERYONE is human, that everyone
makes mistakes and is entitled to some bad days.
I learned never to give up hope even in the darkest moments because giving up is just
giving in, quitting, or setting a bad example.
I learned to treat everyone with respect and kindness and to stop being so impatient.
I learned that even the toughest person has a soft spot somewhere and can be reached
I learned that laughter really is the best medicine, especially when all else fails,
and that smiles come in a close second.
I learned that things take time and that trust in myself and others is a valuable
And just when I thought I had learned all that I could handle, I discovered how much
more I had to learn, and that, indeed, I would always learn something more from L-S
because it is such a special place.
"A yeasty environment"
/ Nancy O'Neil
Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School is a yeasty environment that magically combines
rigorous academics with athletics and activities second to none! The culture is
clearly student-centered, and individual differences, for the most part, are acknowledged and respected.
Day-to-day life in the school is zesty and stimulating. Rules are few, and most students
handle this freedom with remarkable ease. Relationships between teachers and students
are usually healthy and respectful. Students are afforded numerous opportunities to connect with teachers, and reach their potential. The advisor block, conference
block, and directed study are just a few concrete examples of places where students
can make connections beyond the classroom.
Outreach and volunteerism are two themes which vividly stand out at L-S. This is
accomplished through clubs like the Martin Luther King Action Project, Key Club,
Amnesty International, Colors, or the Gay-Straight Alliance. Students rally and
raise support for national causes, such as AIDS or the Oklahoma bombing. Other more local causes
exist, such as the hosting of the senior citizens for a free Thanksgiving Day meal
in the high school cafeteria.
What truly makes Lincoln-Sudbury unequaled are those who make it tick. The teachers
and staff take great pride in their work. They all bring something unique to the
culture. There is an obvious passion for teaching, sharing, and learning. This
is evidenced in the classrooms, halls, cafeteria, gymnasiums, and fields.
"A place that causes you to think and conquer"
/ Joe Pacenka
To me, Lincoln-Sudbury has always been a place that recognized that people are very
fragile and that things happen to them. However, growing up, becoming educated,
causes you to become aware of what happens to you and to become conscious of how
it effects you. L-S a place that causes you to think and conquer all those things that happen
to you, to rise above them, fix them, build on them, and then move on. Lincoln-Sudbury
teaches kids to become grown-ups and take responsibility.
A place that causes you to think and conquer
"The opportunity that I have had to watch these two women at work"
/ Bill Plott
In the 26 years since I first came to Lincoln-Sudbury, I have had the remarkably good
fortune to have two women as my teachers: Harriet Rogers and Virginia Kirshner.
No education in the world could have been as good nor meant as much as what I learned
from watching these two women work. I learned everything I know about theater from
Harriet and Ginny, not from theory or discussion, but from the only place anybody
learns theater: rehearsal.
The first time I saw Harriet working, she was puffing her cigarette, dressed in jeans
and sneakers, and showing a sixteen year-old actress how to act sixteen And yes,
Harriet was better than the girl. In the four years I worked as Harriet's tech director, I watched her direct 22 productions--everything from one-acts to opera to her own
musical, The Winklehawk
. I blush to remember the set I built for the Lady's own play, a set that fell down
half-way through the second act. She had the typical Harriet reaction to that disaster:
"Well, Bill, at least it got a laugh."
For more than a decade, I taught English and not theater. Then I got hooked again--or,
given her Irish politician's ability, I should say that Ginny hooked me. We started
by team-teaching O'Neill in Production
, Ah! Wilderness
, and then went on to Shakespeare in Production
and Greek Tragedy in Production
. Again I was privileged to watch her work, and so infectious was her love of the
theater that I found I wanted to direct. Under Ginny's careful tutelage, I started
with The Rosetta
, then Macbeth
, and now, more than a decade later, I sit in Harriet's and Ginny's office and try
anything I can to keep their spirits alive at Lincoln-Sudbury.
Few of my colleagues, and none of my students, have had the opportunity that I have
had to watch these two women at work. Fortunately for my students, I had that opportunity;
and as daunting and impossible as it is to sit at their desk in the Rogers Office and pretend to fill their place, at least I learned how to fake it from the best.
Thanks, Harriet, and thanks, Ginny. I wouldn't even have dared try it without you.
"Freedom and surprise...help make L-S what it is"
/ Judy Plott
Shakespeare lives and prospers at Lincoln-Sudbury. Every year we have over one hundred
students who elect Shakespeare classes, twenty-five in the Shakespeare in Production
class, close to a hundred who audition for the Shakespeare play, and many others
who study the plays in English 9 and a variety of other classes.
In the movies, styles in "classics" shift from year to year, but the Shakespeare revolution
has been going on at L-S for decades and shows no sign of slowing down. All of us
involved in teaching and producing the plays recognize that what we deal with are scripts, intended for performance, not simply as a source for final exams; that
understanding of the plays--and the word "play" needs to be seen in all its implications
here --provides freedom and permits surprise. Freedom and surprise educate the imagination and help make L-S what it is.
"The school was jumping"
/ Nancy Ragno
Looking over the past years, I feel very fortunate to be part of this exciting place.
I started working part-time in the Main Office and the following year, September
of 1979, they asked me to be the secretary in West Hall. By October of that year,
I was ready to quit. There were almost 500 students in each hall and the school was jumping.
High school was never like this when I was in high school. How could I possibly
get any work done with all that was going on around me. When I told the hall staff
that I was leaving, they begged me to stay. They said my first job was taking care
of the kids and not worry about the office work, that I would always be playing catch-up.
One of the other hall secretaries asked me to stay. She said that by the end of
the year, I would love my job. I did not believe her, but decided to give it a try.
She was right!
Well here I am 18 years later and loving it. I love the kids, they are the Best!
The staff is very special. They are so dedicated, have strong relationships with
their students and are just great people to be with.
I have seen many changes over the years. Every September, it is always fun to see
what is going on and
see all the new teachers, but the best part is having the kids back in the building
again. Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School is a great place to be and I feel very
lucky to be part of this great school. Happy Anniversary L-S!
Inside Outside Boston
/ Bill Ray
There's not much to say:
A bit of green puckers
A flat fanfare of high walls,
Suitable for a cheap Gothic romance.
Within, in their demoralized rooms, a
the words he
An angry girl turns her back.
A doe-eyed one almost cries at the Success
Of his first poem.
Thinking he's fine under the lean-to
Of his educational imagination, the Veep
Is staked out on the roof,
Sure to preempt the metal detector.
In my classroom
Amongst the Laughter and Disregard,
Glassy-eyed boy, smooth-faced, eyes the clock
to Anna Colligan
she floats up
the hallway: FREE AT LAST!
Pink passes, green passes, yellow passes are now no passes;
It's Us and Them.
We each set our hat just as we please, Indoors
Launched now, her smooth hand reaches for the
Wand of Knowledge,
Outstretched by a ghostly Marx;
She takes a lunge with a wink from Dickinson.
She cocks her rebel hat at the socialite who
Laughs and watches the clock.
Volumes appear to support each
Sturdy step she takes up the corridor,
A conspiracy of poets, shaman, sages, and teachers.
She whirls and whirls,
Eyes fixed on the goal
And not alone:
FREE AT LAST.
"A place where, surprisingly, I have a past and a present"
/ John Ritchie
It was sometime last October, on a sunny day heading east on Route 20 that my past
caught up with me--an unnerving experience under the best of circumstances. I think
I was in a bit of a commuting dream, enjoying the staggering newness of the L-S experience. A new job, new people, new culture, new patterns, intrigues, histories, odors,
sights; new commute, new daily rhythm, new lexicon, new conventions. A newcomer.
A man without an L-S past. Free of the bonds of its history, thus able to revel in
the freshness of its present.
Then my past catches up with me, right near the curve in the road by Arrowhead Nurseries.
I realize this school is not new to me, nor I to it. I have a history. In a peculiar
way, I am an old-timer at this school, not at all a newcomer.
In the spring of 1973, after a short but costly injection of Veritas, I applied for
jobs teaching high school English in the Boston area. As I recall (the lens of memory
grows cloudy), sixty applications elicited responses from two school systems: Boston, where I was placed at number two hundred and ten on the list of candidates and told
not to call; and Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, to which I was invited for
an interview the next day.
I left Newton and, somehow, I found L-S. (I remember hours on piney back-country roads;
horses; men in coonskin caps; golf courses.) I was interviewed by a nice fellow
who was the head of the English department, told I'd fit in well, informed that all
English teachers had offices, and enlightened as to the fact that, if hired, I could
pretty much teach what I liked. I was told to call the next day to finalize the details.
I called the next day. There had been a shake-up of some sort. The man who had been
head of the department was no longer the head of the department. No one knew who
I was. A selection process for the vacancy would begin in a couple of weeks. I should
re-submit my application. My budding career was nipped in the bud. I'd been picked off
But, aha, now I'm back. (Maybe I misheard the nice man and he really said "call back
in 23 years.")
So, what is L-S to me? A place where, surprisingly, I have a past and a present. A
place where, unexpectedly, I am rooted.
"I still feel as excited to be here as I was the first year"
/ Naomi Rosenthal
My arrival at L-S in September, 1991 was truly a new beginning. As my third teaching
position, my job as coordinator of the "Great Opportunities" (GO) program presented
me with my own 'great opportunity.' For the first time I would be able to combine
and use all the skills and talents that I hoped I had been cultivating: teaching, counseling,
and managing. And where else to do this but at L-S, a school whose very philosophy
so mimicked my own? I found the atmosphere refreshing. I could have students call me 'Naomi,' I could dress in a manner that was comfortable to me, and I could
help students make progress in the personal and academic spheres of their lives.
Now, six years later, I still feel as excited to be here as I was the first year.
I love my job. I love the staff and students I work with and feel useful and inspired on
a regular basis. What more could one ask for?
"We've pushed, pulled, prodded and evaluated"
/ Gisele Sampson
The dedication of the auditoruim to Virginia Kirshner brought back many memories of
her, of course, but it also poked into the nooks and crannies of L-S memories I hadn't
thought about for a long time.
I came to L-S as a part-time French teacher, for second semester only, in 1983 and
I've been here ever since. That's over 14 years ago! I still can't believe it's
been that long. The obvious changes have occurred -- there are people who have left
(Arnold Bossi, Lillian Scherban - to name a few language people who made an impression).
There have also been changes in our office space, which used to be one big open
room and which is now divided by partitions. Our curricula have changed. The school
culture toward language has changed - Spanish is now the language with the most sections,
the Latin enrollment has grown from 1 to 7 sections, and French and German enrollments
are dwindling .
Fourteen years ago, and for that matter 40 years ago, there was no "immersion," except
for TIP, "total immersion program," a course offered to juniors and seniors which
met ten hours/week. The computer lab has only been in existence for to to three
We're always looking at what and how we teach language. We've pushed, pulled, prodded
and evaluated what we do in the Language Department. Personally, I think we're keeping
abreast of new ideas, developing technology and new techniques. Hopefully, we're doing it better!
"The World Is Your Oyster"
/ Bill Schechter
In the spring of 1973, I was hired L-S-style, after ten separate interviews in the
history department. Two months later, I headed out to school via a new route (Sherman
Bridge Road) and found myself staring at cows. Certain that I had wandered too far
into the countryside, I turned around and drove back to Rte. 126. Above all, I had
hoped that day to leave myself sufficient time to walk down to my very first class
, 8 a.m.) in a calm and composed manner. Instead, I reached the loading dock entrance
with seconds to spare and found myself running as fast as I could down South Hall,
arriving at Rm. 412 disheveled, out-of breath, and completely discombobulated. I
feel like I've been running ever since.
First and foremost, Lincoln-Sudbury is a place which has allowed me to run, to be
creative, to make the attempt, and even, in the words of Samuel Beckett, "to fail,
fail again, fail better." How daunting--and
liberating --to be allowed to assume the burden of responsibility for one's own work.
How rare. Here impossibly high standards, rarely voiced, were set through example
by teachers like Alex Marshall, Harriet Rogers, Bob Wentworth, Frank Heys, and Ginny
Kirshner. Here Paul Mitchell, my mentor, cheerfully told a terrified young teacher that
had no syllabus and that "the world is your oyster." Has there ever been a more
succinct expression of L-S culture?
The first seventeen years of my life were spent in the beautiful Bronx. I grew up
in the "Amalgamated," a garment union-sponsored, self-managed Jewish housing project,
organized according to the principles of England's "Rochdale" cooperative movement.
I spent the next ten years wandering the Elysian fields (and battlefields) of the utopian
sixties. Then I came to Lincoln-Sudbury--"a different kind of place"--a young radical
who knew it all, hired by the only school which had granted him an interview. "Row, row, row your boat...life is but a dream."
At L-S, I've been allowed to work out my own vision of being a teacher. I value the
life-long friends I've made among faculty, staff, and students. They've taught me
much. Looking back, I see that all this was possible because the tradition bequeathed
to us valued freedom, passion, and empathy far more than order and regulation. As
new state "reforms" approach with the hurricane force of good intentions, I fear
for our future.
"What a wonderful bond can form between kids and teachers"
/ Jeryl Trier
Sometimes an anecdote defines meaning more clearly than words. This experience taught
me one thing that makes Lincoln-Sudbury a special community. Fourteen years ago
I entered Lincoln-Sudbury for what I regarded as an audition. I was 22 years old.
I had just finished graduate school and I desperately wanted a first teaching job. Earlier
in the week I had completed an up beat interview at L-S, and Phil Lewis and Bill
Galvin had invited me back to teach a couple of mathematics classes.
I recall feelings of absolute terror. I spent countless hours preparing to teach
one honors Geometry class and one Advanced math class. I remember little about the
experience except how nice I thought the kids and the teachers were. The teachers
were relaxed and flexible about their classes and what I planned to teach. The kids appeared
to listen intently; they asked great questions, and I remember leaving L-S both relieved
and enthusiastic about an experience that I originally had dreaded.
Three years later, one of my Calculus kids felt that we needed a mathematics break,
and she asked a question in class. "Ms. Trier, do you remember teaching us Geometry
that day in Mr. Galvin's class?" I must have look a bit stunned, so she continued,
"We could tell that you were kind of nervous. You used a bunch of terms that we hadn't
heard before, but we didn't say anything because we wanted you to do a good job!"
I remember thinking, what a wonderful bond can form between kids and teachers. Perhaps
this is one of the many reasons that L-S is such a rich environment for learning.
"I'm glad it's still my home"
/ Paula Wolfe
Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School has been my professional home since I came east
from Minnesota at the tender age of 21. I was incredibly lucky that such a wonderful
school would take a chance on such a young person and I've felt lucky to be a part
of this place ever since.
In the 1970s the school was a growing and exciting place with a large and lively art
department. We taught things like batik and tie-dye, stained glass, candle making,
leather crafts, etching, silk-screen and weaving. There wasn't computer in sight.
Virginia Kirshner approached us with the idea of a festival to showcase the arts and
Springthing was born. The first one was held outdoors in a courtyard with student
art work hanging on clotheslines. Since then I've worked with many gifted artist-teachers and I've seen my students go on to become architects, artists, jewelers and glass
My early memories of L-S include trying to teach Don Gould how to throw a pot on the
wheel, having a bit part in a faculty Midsummer Night's Dream where my colleague
Phil Albergo stole the show as "the wall." I remember taking students to Maidstone,
England, beginning an important British connection for me. I produced a scholarship fund-raiser
with over 50 faculty members up on stage in an L-S version of Hollywood Squares or
competing with hula hoops and tricycles or dancing with pillowcases over their heads. L-S has always been populated with unusual and fun people. I'm glad it's still
"Students are the point of why we do what we do"
/ Bella Wong
I am fortunate to have entered the world of secondary school teaching through the
auspices of Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School. This was my first teaching job
and it is now my sixth year teaching here. As a new teacher, I was intimidated as
well as impressed by the quality of teaching I saw taking place here. I couldn't imagine
how I was ever going to measure up to those around me. I was and am constantly inspired
by the things my colleagues do here to better themselves for the general good of
the educational community and in particular, for their students. Being surrounded by
good teachers has made me strive to be like them. As an educator, Lincoln-Sudbury
has been a dynamic place to learn and grow.
Over the past six years, Lincoln-Sudbury has provided me with the opportunity to investigate
with my colleagues solutions to various educational problems that confront us daily.
I have found being able to debate these issues with other practitioners an invaluable educational experience. My colleagues are the richest collective source
of information and educational wisdom I can think of.
Various relationships I have had with students over the years have also enriched my
life and experiences as a teacher. It is wonderful to be in a place where the value
of student-teacher relationships are expressly acknowledged, nurtured and encouraged.
We don't deny that students are the point of why we do what we do.
The past couple of years, while always remaining a teacher, I have worn other hats:
President of the Teachers' Association, Department Coordinator, Faculty Advisor.
As such, I have experienced how multi-layered Lincoln-Sudbury really is. Faculty,
administration, staff, School Committee and families working toward a common goal of doing
what is best for the students are all essential pieces of what makes Lincoln-Sudbury
what it is. And because we are passionate and human, sometimes we say discordant
things to each other. But I have seen that as long as we acknowledge our common purpose
we remain resilient against fracture. This resilience has come from knowing this
about each other.