It’s All New… It’s All Good

By John Bishop

Head of School Dan Scheibe told a packed Richardson-Mees Performing Arts Center (that’s RMPAC for you newbies), “It’s all new… It’s all good.”

An important message for everyone attending Athletic Preseason Registration to be sure; after all, each person in the building — parent/guardian or student-athlete — is preparing for another school year. Some boarding, some day. Some varsity. Some JV. Some nervous. Some confident. All (secretly) hoping they’re ready for an unknown 2019-2020.

However, there were the words on the screen: It’s All New… It’s All Good

Sad to be leaving home/student? NBD. It’s not goodbye. Instead, “It’s ‘Hello, until the next time we see you,'” said Mr. Scheibe. Nervous? Anxious? New or returning? “That’s good energy… Use it,” emphasized LA’s Head.

“I think what it’s really important to capture, and we’ll do this a few different ways while we’re still feeling new, is just that sense of renewal and energy that you get at the beginning of a school year,” he said. “And for those of us who have repeated that cycle — basically our entire lives — there’s nothing like it.”

However, the uniqueness of that cycle isn’t because of the required renewal. It’s unique because of what it anticipates.

“Yes, there’s a lot of new and different stuff happening, but… the most important thing that happens in a human’s life happens in a school year,” said Dan. “That’s developing your sense of who you are, becoming, we are going to become and getting this incredible sense of empowerment. “

Perhaps sensing the necessary juxtaposition between the Head of School before them, and the first-year students sitting in the audience, Dan brought out pictures of his own initial moments in prep school.

“At the same time [as we begin anew], we know we’re also becoming something else and somebody else,” said Dan. “So just to kind of make that point, please go to the next, uh, horrific slide.”

There stood young Dan Scheibe, like all new students, unaware of where he’d be 37 years later; carrying the benefit and the burden of “potential” – and, admittedly, all nerves in the moment.

“That’s the energy of you looking forward to something and about to become something,” said Scheibe, pointing to the teen in well-branded athletic gear. “There is a universality to it.”

So, whether it’s your first year at LA or your 38th, best wishes to everyone in the community during the 2019 – 2020.

#TBT: Winterim In The Dominican Republic

My Experience by Bianca Drouin ’21

This is the one of an occasional series penned by students. The stories focus on their experiences at Lawrence Academy and within the school’s many programs. Enjoy!

The Mariposa Foundation

For my Winterim, I went to the Dominican Republic, where we worked with little girls and built a structure at The Mariposa Foundation. The Mariposa Foundation takes in girls who live in extreme poverty and gives them better education so they can have a better life than what was laid out for them by their socio-economic status. The Foundation takes girls starting at age 7 through high school graduation. The Foundation began in 2009, and it has grown tremendously since then.

The Maripositas

Every morning, we would get to the Mariposa Foundation at around 8:45 am. The first day, we were split up into groups of five to go to classes with the Maripositas. Every day my group would go to math, then reading, and then sports or board games. I became very close to one of the Maripositas named Katiana. She was adorable, sassy, and full of energy. Wherever we went, she would hold my hand and make sure I never left her side. These girls come from almost nothing, yet they are the happiest I have ever seen a child. They all have such an energy about them that radiated joy and compassion in everything they do.

“Eco-brick” Project

During our time in the Dominican Republic, we built the Maripositas a music room made out of “eco-bricks,” which are water bottles compacted with trash. We used these because of the trash problem in the Dominican. The streets are littered with plastic and garbage that people will throw on the ground, not thinking about how it could affect the environment. Using these “eco-bricks” will help put some of this trash to better use. The Mariposa Foundation paid locals to find water bottles and stuff them with debris. 2,000 bottles were collected, and we used every last one. Each day from around 1pm to 4pm we worked on this structure; by the end of the 10 days we were there, our work was finished!

The Blue Moon Retreat Center

During our stay in the Dominican Republic, we stayed at the Blue Moon Retreat Center. There were four bungalows that we all lived in for 10 days. There was even a saltwater pool next to the huts, where we ate breakfast and dinner. The owner of the Blue Moon would cook our food, which consisted of all different meal styles everyday. The owners live in a house on the top of the hill, which the Blue Moon sits upon. They have two kids named Samuel and Khyla, two dogs named Luna and Rico, and a cat named Cookie. Samuel and Khyla would come down during dinner to eat and hang out with us. They loved spending time with everyone. We all became very close to these kids and loved them just as much as they loved us.

Life-Changing

Throughout Winterim, my group became very close. I didn’t know most of the people who came with me to the Dominican, but by the end of it, we were all good friends. Furthermore, this trip really opened my eyes to how good we all have it living in the United States, going to a private school, and having a safe home. As such, I’m so grateful to have had this opportunity and wouldn’t trade anything for this incredible experience.

Check out Bianca’s gallery from the Dominican Republic

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.

9th Graders Learn About Intersectionality Via Artistic Expression

Mrs. Jenny Cooper always keeps us informed about what is happening in her classrooms, and Wednesday she sent in: