Great Day for a Race By Sophia Schaefer

Editor’s note: Read the article on this award-winning short story here.

“Up from the meadows rich with corn, clear in the cool September morn, the clustered spires of Frederick stand, green walled by the hills of Maryland.” My grandfather muttered this as the race horn sounded. Weaving in and out of boats, he skillfully drew the tiller back and forth to avoid a collision, a look of happiness and determination on his tanned, wrinkled face.

Sailing with my grandfather, surrounded by dinghies on this warm August Saturday, made me feel happy and safe. I was the first person he asked when he needed crew to race with him in his sailboat “Moby Dick.” The starting area was filled with a large fleet of dinghies, gathered for the weekly race. The small, one-sail boats were closely packed together as the horn announced one minute. His eyes gleamed as he spoke the last verses of the Barbara Frietchie poem, which took him exactly five minutes to recite. He said it at the start of every race, instead of using a watch, to know exactly the amount of time before the starting horn.

“Peace and order and beauty draw; Starboard! Starboard!” he cried, while positioning his boat on the line. I always stifled a laugh when he recited the “peace and order” verse during the start, the most stressful time in the race. “Round thy symbol of light and law; quick pull in the sail!” he shouted at me from the side of the boat. I rushed to grab the mainsheet as the five short beeps followed by a long beep, signifying the start, blared from the Race Committee Boat.

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Laughter Followed Him

Allison Evans remembers Brian Crockett

Editor’s note: To honor the anniversary of faculty member Brian Crockett’s passing, his friend and fellow teacher, Allison Evans, wrote the following remembrance.

2014 Evans Brian CrockettAs first year teachers, Mr. Harper, Ms. Schneider, Mr. Crockett, and I attended NENTS (New England New Teacher Seminar) at Pomfret in August of 2013. Part of the application process was to write one fact about yourself that made you unique. Mr. Harper was home-schooled until senior year of high school; Ms. Schneider has 45 cousins; and I have been horseback riding for as long as I can remember.

When it was Mr. Crockett’s turn to share his fact, Ms. Schneider and I laughed in disbelief. No way could it be true. His fact was simple, “I am the funniest person you will ever meet.” Little did we know at the time, that it was true. His larger-than-life personality was present from day one. By the end of the week, the three of us were convinced of this fact and could see that no matter what, a positive energy filled with laughter followed Mr. Crockett everywhere he went.

In no time, we were fast friends. Mr. Crockett lit up any room. Even with his annoying phrases (Ms. Chambers…) or his “real” buffalo chicken dip (because there is fake chicken, right, Mr. McKillop?), Mr. Crockett always found a way to bring a smile to everyone’s face.

There are so many lessons in life that I have learned from knowing Mr. Crockett, but there is one that stands out each and every day: To never give up. Stay true to yourself and your passions. Do what you love because you can. Smile. Laugh. Each and every day. Cherish these moments because you never know when they’ll be gone. People might not remember what you say, but they will always remember how you made them feel.

Mr. Crockett impacted so many lives—more than I think he realized. We are so blessed to have known him. Today, take a moment to remember Mr. Crockett. There is no way a few paragraphs and some words on paper can truly describe the incredible person that Mr. Crockett was. But today I challenge you to take the time to make someone smile today, as he always did, each and every day.

Today, to also mark this one-year anniversary of their coach’s passing, Sam Atkins and Curt Mcleod invite the community to visit Sawyer Field at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4 to remember the great man. They remind everyone that this will be a safe place to talk and ask that people bring flowers, a note, a shirt, a good story, or just a listening ear.

Read on:
Honoring Brian Crockett
by Head of School Bob Hill
In Honor of My Man Brian Crockett by Donnie McKillop

Self-Reclamation by Verdi Degbey

Editor’s note: The following spoken word piece was performed by Verdi Degbey during the Diversity Symposium keynote on Friday, February 20, 2015 in Phillips Stevens Chapel.

This is my self-reclamation.
I was a pumpkin.
The world picked me up prematurely
And placed me on its operation table
Where its people quickly went to work.
Pulling out my roots, the seeds inside of me,
And carving onto my skin the things they wanted me to be.

About a year ago, I spit my first lines,
I called it “OREOS”.
I was really trying to tell you my story bro,
But you only liked my rhymes, you didn’t really get it though.
Instead, you said “Dang” when you heard me,
You called me a poet, Said “you’re an artist, Verdi”
But you just liked the rhymes, not the story
And that hurt me.
Then you tried tell me what to write, man, you don’t own me.
Yeah, you’ve heard some of my stories, but you still don’t know me.
Because if you did, you wouldn’t label me like you do.
Because as much as I aspire to inspire you,
I do this to fight a war inside myself.
I do this to find friends
I do this to try to get some help.
You see, in these words,
These words that I speak,
These words that I leak,
These words that I preach,
I’m just trying to find someone who goes through the same things as me.
And they say that’s what makes it art, but this is not artistry,
To be honest, my performances are reworded entries to diaries.
And they call me a poet, a master of words,
But really, I’m just another kid.
I just like to hide behind my metaphors and similes,
And pretend that my life is in perfect symmetry
And I do try my best in everything I can,
But I’m just waiting for people to tell me how amazing I am.

But I am unscripted.

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