Mr. Smith Goes To The Dungeon

It’s always interesting to see what is going on behind the scenes. And nothing more more interesting to students than to see what makes their teachers tick, right?

Case in point: This week Scott Smith is debuting a Kickstarter for his latest off-hours project – a tabletop game called “Dungeon Drop.”

Yep, one of the teachers who offers the Winterim, “Beyond Monopoly: Board Game Design,” is producing an actual game of his own invention – neat how that works!

Scott Smith and “Dungeon Drop”

Growing Up Gaming

“I grew up with gaming as a thing, you know?” explained Scott when he visited the Communications Office to show us the new game. “I’m a father now, but I’m kind of part of this first generation of people that aren’t innately averse to gaming.

“But at this phase of my life, just sitting down at the computer and doing that type of gaming is not so appealing anymore,” continued Scott. “Board games are a wonderful way to make gaming a part of your adult life; where you can sit down at a table with your friends… [and] I can game with my kids and it feels good.

“We’re talking together and we’re sharing actual time at a real table together,” said Scott, with a smile. “As opposed to the kind of guilt that goes along with just staring at a screen.”

Dungeon Drop: Game-Play

With a quick paced game like “Dungeon Drop,” there’s very little staring at any one thing. Check out the game-play video from Tantrum House, who reviewed “Dungeon Drop,” below:

The impetus for Smith’s game was a contest on “Game Crafter“; a game design competition, which employed restrictions that had Mr. Smith’s mind churning (about a game that needed to be constructed only from “bits and pieces”).

“I kept thinking about it and just was on ride home from the grocery store one day and came up with this idea,” said Scott. “I was going to design a game that didn’t have any [board or traditional printed components] and I wanted a way to visualize something cool that made sense to me.”

Voila! Thus was born the unique design for “Dragon Drop.”

Creating Abstraction

“So basically the whole idea for the game was kind of circumventing the restriction of having this really abstract game. I wanted to actually be able to see a ‘picture’,” explained Smith. “So I came up with this idea that you drop all these random pieces, but once you understood what you were looking at… you actually started to visualize an actual dungeon on the table.”

And as far his team, Scott was thrilled to see both the game, and the team take shape.

“Everybody wants this; this feeling that a whole small team of people are working really hard together for the same goal… So that’s another great thing.

Scott Smith

“And in the Winterim, that’s a part of it, too,” added Smith, who saw shades of his own process in the work of his students. “For their final project, the students are in a small group and trying to work to each other’s strengths.”

English, Art… Game Design?

Looking at Mr. Smith, and watching him explain the ins-and-outs of the rules, and the game’s design, it was fun to think that the once English teacher, turned Art teacher, may now carry the title “Game Designer.”

“Oh, right now I still say I’m an arts teacher, which is absolutely true,” said Smith. “That is what I do for a living.

“But yeah, the more you do some of this stuff, the more you do start to incorporate it into your language of who you are.”

Congratulations to LA’s Class of 2019

Lawrence Academy’s 226th Graduation Exercises

Groton, Mass. — Sunny skies greeted Head of School Dan Scheibe as he moved from the Schoolhouse to the Quad and stepped to the microphone to preside over Graduation 2019.

“226 graduation exercises at Lawrence Academy,” he began. “That is an awesome substantial history and you, the class of 2019, are an awesome, substantial class.”

No doubt feeling the crescendo of joy that back-dropped the morning, and with 109 smiling senior faces staring back at him, Mr. Scheibe took a moment to take it in and revel in the wonder of the Class of 2019’s collective accomplishment.

An Awesome Class

“Things can be so good,” said Dan of life’s ups-and-downs. “We have this sense of exaltation, but we have this sense of vulnerability too.

“You may feel giddy and sad and agitated all at the same time. There’s nothing wrong with us. We’re just experiencing constant recovery from the human condition.

“The fact today, and any day is that life can be complex. It has beauty and it has its burdens, but somewhere in life’s extremity, there is this transcendent, disruptive, transformative mystery and maybe that’s where life’s real energy emerges and we happen just to be sensing it now,” he said.

Change The World

In the “now” was where Kate Williams (of “1% for the Planet”) placed her keynote remarks.

“I know you have a million thoughts and emotions running around in your head on this big day and that’s as it should be,” said Williams, who brings a deep passion for and commitment to the power of collective action. “I hope this one point, this one gift of perspective that I can offer you can penetrate and stick: Our world needs you and you have power to change the world.”

To that end, Ms. Williams spoke to the work of LA’s current students and that of former Spartans.

“At Lawrence Academy, you’ve not only learned in the classroom but you’ve also learned by doing; you consider the real issues facing the world,” added Williams. “You rolled up your sleeves and you’ve gotten to work.

“Through Winterim projects, both near and far, that are focused on improving communities, to awarding your Greater Good Award to alumni like Rob Kaplan, [who is] investing in solutions to plastic waste in the ocean, to working diligently right here on campus to eliminate single use plastics.

“[I want to thank] Shelby [Guinard ’19] and Emily [Leung ’19] and the Environmental Sustainability Council for their great work right here on campus,” she said. “So as you leave here today with your diplomas in hand, I invite you to act. I invite you to keep an eye out and an ear to the ground.

“And invite you to own your stake in a healthy and dynamic planet.”

From Now to Nostalgia

From the now to nostalgia, senior speaker Will Adam took to the stage to paint a picture of life at Lawrence Academy, and admonished the Classes of 2020, 2021, and 2022 to look up from their books.

“This is by no means me supporting an indolent, carefree lackadaisical mindset for you,” he said. “But it is me encouraging you to focus on making memories; because you won’t remember that homework you took hours to complete or that test you studied a week for or that bad grade you got at midterm, but you will remember the good times you had with friends.

However, Adam reminded students to choose those friends wisely.

Learn From Your Peers

“Most importantly, learn from your peers,” said Will. “They are by far the biggest influence on who you are in high school, but also who you can become…so make sure you are surrounded by those who will make you your best self.”

Nicole Winthrop ’19 added to Adam’s painted picture, speaking to the building blocks the Class of 2019 had garnered along the way at LA.

Building Blocks

Nicole Winthrop ’19. Jon Chase photo

However, Nicole explained that those “LEGO blocks” of experience don’t come in one shape or size, and didn’t necessarily come from inside a classroom.

“They can be ideas, mannerisms, friends, or just straight up joy; whether I’m playing with record on stage as you guys walk into assembly or making a winning dragon fruit smoothie with Justin [Chen ’19], I’m showing not only my classmates but also myself, who I am,” said Winthrop.

“And yeah, I’m not exactly sure what I’m building with these LEGO-type clocks.

“And I know that the things that I did at la, are not the only thing is that the defined me. It simply added on to who I am and who I want to become,” she said.

Get After It

Scheibe, who set the caps flying to complete the ceremony, left the graduates with final words of instruction.

“Class of 2019, make of yourself a light,” he said. “Absorb as much light as you can, spread as much light as you can.

“The world needs your radiance. Get after it,” he said.

Click here for the 2019 Graduation Program.

Theatre Students Perform “Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons”

Juniors Mia Gage & Rachel Gallant on Stage

Congrats to Mia Gage ’20 and Rachel Gallant ’20 who did an amazing job performing Sam Steiner’s “Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons,” last night in the theatre classroom.

Their second performance of the play will be Wednesday, May 22 at 7:30 PM.

Don’t miss it!

Boston Marathon Director Dave McGillivray to Speak at Lawrence Academy

Dave McGillivray

On Sunday, June 2, Boston Marathon Director Dave McGillivray will add one more audience to the 1,900 he has already addressed as a motivational speaker. He will begin speaking in the Richardson-Mees Performing Arts Center on the campus of Lawrence Academy at 6 PM. The event is free and open to the public, and free parking is available.

A veteran of 156 marathons, McGillivray began with a dream most would consider modest: He wanted to be an athlete. His rise to national prominence began when he ran across the country to raise money for the Jimmy Fund in 1978. His story, however, begins at the playgrounds and in the sports he played that place a premium on strength, size, and speed.

McGillivray draws from a deep well of experiences and many accomplishments as a runner and businessman to deliver messages that audiences of all ages find uplifting, inspiring, and invaluable in helping them achieve their own goals regardless of their interests.

Questions: Email LA cross-country coach Andrew Brescia.

Join Us for LA Reunion 2019

We’d love to see you back on campus!

Alumni, don’t miss our annual gathering on the Quad…

We’re calling back classes ending in “4” and “9”, but former LA students (and faculty) from all years are welcome to join us on Friday, June 7, and Saturday, June 8.

Join us!

Reunion registration, schedule, and info available here: www.lacademy.edu/reunion

Want to see who is going to join us on Powderhouse Road?
https://www.lacademy.edu/page.cfm?p=827

Questions?
Contact Caitlin O’Brien (978-448-1574).

See you soon!