Editor’s note: At the end of the year, The Log staff dedicated the yearbook to former faculty member Brian Crockett and History and Global Studies teacher Peter Gunn. The following was Mr. Gunn’s response at assembly.
This is incredible. This has been a year of incredible challenges for our community and I think we’ve been brought through it because of the leadership of the Class of 2014, an incredible, exceptional, and dynamic group.
Let me first say that it is a humbling to be recognized and share recognition in this book with Brian Crockett, an outstanding teacher, who I think we all know had he not been taken from us so soon, would be recognized in this way again and again in the future. When Mr. McKillop spoke of his affection for Brian, and what it felt like in losing him, he said it was like losing a brother, and I think that’s something that I know many of us understand and I certainly understand it deeply. And I want to say to you that the compassion and the generosity the Class of 2014 has manifest for me, for my family, for Mr. Crockett’s family and for all the people in this community this year stands above all the other extraordinary accomplishments—artistic, athletic, personal—it’s just extraordinary what you have done and I guess I would like to leave you with a thought.
My brother would stay to me, when I’d be frustrated that I wasn’t teaching well enough or coaching well enough or I wasn’t doing something the way I wanted to do it here, he would say to me, “Just be good at who you are.” And I think I would say to the Class of 2014, that your success has come from being good at who you are.
You are good. And you are special to me. And I thank you very much.
Editor’s Note: Richard Monopoli ’89 presented the following speech during an Upper School assembly on April 30, 2014. Read the article about the talk here.
I want to thank Bob Hill, Eric Yates, Sharon Davenport for letting me join you guys today. I really appreciate it. As Bob noted, I graduated 25 years ago this spring and my 25th Reunion is really special because my niece, Miss Alexandra Lewis, is a six-year senior this year. Williston has played a big part in my family’s life, and we are really attached to this school, we love this place, but I’ll get back to that in a minute.
So when I found out that I could to come speak to you all, I asked myself what would I have liked to know when I was a senior. If I could go back in time and talk to myself as senior what would I say? Particularly if I only had 10 minutes. That’s a really tough question…but I’ll give it a shot.
I NEED A VOLUNTEER…I need a guy to play me in 1989….
You will experience great success over the next 25 years and you will experience great challenge. Success is easy, enjoy it. How we respond to life’s challenges though, is what distinguishes us.
The following was presented at a special assembly at the Williston Northampton School on Tuesday March 25th, 2014 by Head of School Bob Hill as part of a remembrance of faculty member and coach Brian Crockett.
Good Morning Williston:
Whenever our community comes together following a holiday there is always a sense of renewal and hope infused by the joy of seeing old friends. This spring, however, Williston reconvenes having suffered a terrible loss on the Tuesday when we departed for break. Brian Crockett’s untimely and unexpected death has left a hole in our midst even bigger than his NFL lineman’s frame. For students and adults, March 4th was a horrible day, and in my many years in boarding schools it was certainly one of the toughest I have ever had.
The following was presented at a special assembly at the Williston Northampton School on Tuesday March 25th, 2014 by Donnie McKillop as part of a remembrance of faculty member and coach Brian Crockett.
It is an honor and a privilege to stand before you today to honor our dear friend Brian Crockett. Describing all that was great about Brian Crockett is impossible. As we stand here today as a community we know that he had a HUGE impact on all those he interacted with. Brian was a great friend to me and I am blessed to have known him. It is important as we remember Brian, not to compare who was closest to him, but instead remember all the positive relationships he easily created with all those around him. I am going to try and convey some of the things he was in my life and some of the lessons I learned from him. Please bear with me as I might get emotional.
“Larger Than Life”
When I attended Brian’s funeral it was easy to see how many people loved the big man. The service couldn’t be held in his own church because it was too small for the expected audience. Although it was moved to a larger Baptist church, there still was not enough space for the busloads of people that adored Brian. As I stood in the audience and listened to the tribute to Brian I heard so many amazing stories about his life. Regardless of your religion, you could feel the amount of faith and love in that church. It was an uplifting celebration of who Brian was. From the first standing ovation for Brian to the moment the hearse pulled away, it was a room full of singing praise and joy for a life well lived.