Lawrence Academy Celebrates Class of 2019 Collegiate Athletic Commitments

Groton, Mass. — This week, two sets of Lawrence Academy Spartan seniors announced (and in some cases signed) their commitments to continue their athletic careers in college.

Division I and II athletes from all sports (except for most Division I basketball and all D-I and II football players) may sign a National Letter of Intent.

Wednesday and Thursday in the Gray Building, tucked into the venerable MacNeil Lounge, a crowd several people deep applauded as each student from the Class of 2019 took their turn in the spotlight.

Wednesday’s Group

  • Gabi Bailey (Penn State University Volleyball)
  • Jamie Comeau (Providence College Hockey)
  • Erika Lizotte (Sacred Heart University Hockey)
  • Wyatt Blackshaw (Connecticut College Lacrosse)
  • Mia Fusco (Trinity College Hockey)

Thursday’s Group

  • Jordan Kjoniksen (West Point Baseball)
  • Nikki Arnold (Sacred Heart University Basketball)
  • Max Meier (Stanford University Baseball)
  • Tyler Gonzalez (Stetson University Baseball)
  • Maeghan Foley Rabbitt (Stonehill College Soccer)
  • Mackenzie Ryan (Bentley University Soccer)
  • Brian Underhill (St. Anselm College Soccer)

Both days’ ceremonies featured loud appreciation from the many, many classmates, friends, faculty, and family members as the twelve LA seniors donned their collegiate gear to announce their intentions, sign an NLI, or just celebrate their achievement.

“These are always the best days of the year,” said Athletic Director Kevin Potter with a big smile. “When the kids come to LA you’re simply hoping to give the students a chance to compete at the highest level possible.”

Looking over the huge, happy crowd, Potter added:

“When the kids move on and are able to continue their careers it’s incredibly gratifying for the community and all of us in the athletic department, especially.

“We wish all of our seniors the best, and hope they will come back to share their experiences at the NCAA level with the next generation of Spartans.”

Congratulations seniors!

LA Spartans Volleyball Stays Home for the NEPSAC Class B Semis on Saturday

Groton, Mass. — The celebration — at least the emotion on the court — was muted.

After the Lawrence Academy Spartans volleyball team completed their three-set sweep of Suffield Academy in the NEPSAC Class B quarterfinals, the girls could be seen embracing and walking to the bench, even as bedlam occurred in the stands.

Perhaps noting the subdued on-court celebration, LA Head Coach Steve Engstrom said his club remains determined to complete the task at hand.

“We’re really excited to be still playing at this point in the season,” said Mr. Engstrom, who — alongside Assistant Coach Dina Mordeno — has engineered a steady rise out of the ISL basement over the past several seasons.

“We’re trying to improve on what we have been able to do over the last few years,” added Engstrom on Thursday. “I’m really happy how the team played yesterday.

“It was a well-rounded effort, and we were confident,” he said.

But “not-too-confident” was the underlying subtext of Steve’s message, as much of his team was on the court at the end of a heartbreaking 3-1 loss to Cheshire in the semis of the 2017 Class-B tournament.

On Wednesday, in front of a fully and boisterous crowd in the Spartans new-look gymnasium, there were — of course — minor hiccups during the first round victory, but given the command LA held throughout the match, the players can be excused for having a few momentary lapses against the scrappy Tigers.

In fact, with a third-straight NEPSAC postseason berth — including home court advantage throughout the playoffs — and a tournament victory already under their proverbial belts, the Spartans stand poised to make some more noize this coming weekend, provided that the fan supports continues.

“We had an amazing showing of support from Spartan Nation yesterday,” noted Coach Engstrom. “They brought the rowdy after every point it makes a huge difference to us to have the crowd celebrate.”

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Meanwhile, looking toward Saturday’s game, the Spartans see Dana Hall (who fell to the Spartans 3-0 in a very early season scrimmage in September) and are working toward extending their season to Sunday.

However, these Spartans, who have seen premature exits in their last two postseasons, are taking nothing for granted. There’ll be plenty of team bonding at a dinner on Thursday, and practices before Saturday’s match.

In fact, Coach Engstrom is looking for even more support from the stands to buoy his girls on Saturday – a tough task given that exams end today and Thanksgiving break begins tomorrow.

“We’re looking forward to playing a challenging Dana Hall this Saturday,” he said. “We hope to have the continued support from the LA community.”

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LA Field Hockey and Volleyball Will Compete in NEPSAC Playoffs

Congratulations to Lawrence Academy varsity Field Hockey and Volleyball, who will both be competing in the 2018 NEPSAC Championships (Class B).

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LA Varsity Field Hockey (#3 seed) hosts Governor’s Academy (#6 seed) on Wednesday, November 14 at 2:15 PM for the First Round of the 2018 NEPSAC Field Hockey Championships (Class B).

LA Varsity Volleyball (#1 seed) hosts Suffield Academy (#8 seed) on Wednesday, November 14 at 3:30 p.m. for the first round of the 2018 NEPSAC Girls’ Volleyball Championships (Class B).

Check out photos from both teams, taken earlier this season:
Field Hockey Photo Gallery
Volleyball Photo Gallery

 

Have you checked out the online photo archive?

If you haven’t seen our online photo archive yet, visit https://lawrenceacademy.smugmug.com/Online-Photo-Archive !

We’ve just added a dozen faculty members’ pictures to the Faculty and Staff gallery, and over a hundred “new” photos will be added to several of the other galleries in the next few days.

Be sure to read the introductory page before you delve into the pictures. We’re always looking for contributions, and you’ll find an email address where you can send photos, documents, or even sound files. This is an ongoing project, and we need your help!

Thanks,

Joe Sheppard, Archive Meister

(Faculty 1965 – 2013)

Shep’s Place: Do You Know This Man?

Albert bust

A.E. Pillsbury, Class of 1867

If you’re a graduate of LA, you’ve probably seen him presiding over various corners of the campus: Currently in a hidden niche in Ansin, he has also hung out in the College Office, the library, and any number of other places over the years. And you have certainly seen his house, and possibly lived in it. It was originally located where the Ferguson Building stands, and was moved to its present location in 1966 to make room for that edifice.

Albert Enoch Pillsbury was far more than a bronze bust, however. He was born in Milford, N.H. in 1849, and graduated from  Lawrence Academy in 1867. He entered Harvard College’s Class of  1871, but left (not of his own volition, as we shall see in a moment) after two years to study law with an uncle in Sterling, Illinois, in the northwestern corner of the state. Admitted to the Illinois bar in 1871, he returned to New England to practice law in Boston.

When this brilliant young man came home from the Midwest to start his life’s work, no one, doubtless including Albert himself, could have predicted what an extraordinary career lay ahead of him. A natural leader and a gifted speaker, Pillsbury nurtured a love for animals, a strong sense of justice, and an abiding concern for the plight of minority peoples, especially the African American population of his day. He became vice-president of the National Negro Conference, a predecessor of the NAACP, and was a member of the Boston Committee to Advance the Cause of the Negro. When the NAACP was formed in 1909, Albert Pillsbury wrote the organization’s bylaws. He was a passionate supporter of President Lincoln and the abolitionist movement, and wrote and spoke regularly on the unjust treatment of African Americans. He even resigned his membership in the American Bar Association when they refused to admit a black assistant U.S. Attorney.

Albert_E._Pillsbury

The feisty young lawyer.

Before long Pillsbury had earned a reputation as one of Boston’s finest legal minds. The list of presidencies, chairmanships, and organizations to which he belonged would fill a page or two; among other things, he served as chairman of LA’s board of trustees.

Not surprisingly, Pillsbury’s accomplishments led him to political office. He served in both houses of the Massachusetts State Senate, rising to president of that body at the age of 36, and was the Commonwealth’s Attorney General for three years, from 1891 to 1894.

Concerning young Albert’s departure from Harvard: Along with his keen mind, it seems, came a rather bad temper and an acid tongue. According to an article in Time magazine of June 19, 1931, a few months after his death, he was expelled from Harvard for “pranks.” The article continues:

“Unwary hazers remembered his stocky, undaunted figure: once he beat them off with upraised chair in one hand, menacing clasp-knife in the other. Two years later he was expelled…” After he passed the Massachusetts bar exam, Harvard somewhat sheepishly invited him back, to which he replied, “Go to hell!” In 1891 the college awarded him an honorary A.M. degree, which he did accept, “as of 1871,” the year of his non-graduation.

As involved as he was in social issues of the day, Pillsbury was — as many men were at that time — a staunch traditionalist when it came to one subject: women’s place in society.

His will, quoted in the Time article, left an “unsolicited [and] embarrassing” bequest to four colleges:

“Believing that the modern feminist movement tends to take woman out of the house and put her in politics, government or business, and that this has already begun to impair the family as a basis of civilization and its advance, I bequeath Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Columbia Colleges $25,000 each… [to be used] toward creating or developing sound public opinion and action on the subject.”

Perhaps fortunately, there is no known record of how the colleges used the money. What is known, however, is that the brilliant and combative Mr. Pillsbury had two wives. He married his first, Louise Wheeler, when he was 40, in 1889; he quietly divorced her after a while and, in 1905, married Elizabeth Mooney, with whom he had two children. Eventually she wanted out badly enough that she travelled all the way to Reno to divorce Albert.

Even though he wasn’t much of a family man, Pillsbury attempted to make the world a better place. Unfortunately, his stance regarding women probably explains why his bust remains hidden in that corner of the Ansin Building.

Thanks to Library Director Sara Anderson and LA archival expert Paul Husted ’64 for their help on this article.