An Incredible Tradition Continues at Lawrence Academy

By Jack Horsman ’18

On Monday, September 23 one of the best and longest running traditions continues at Lawrence Academy. That tradition, of course, being Mountain Day.

Students relaxing at the top of Mount Monadnock after the climb.

“I’m psyched!” exclaimed Rob Moore, Associate Head of School and Mountain Day enthusiast.  “I think it’s a great tradition!  It’s one that’s hard to keep in the schedule because everybody wants class time, but what are kids going to remember – more class time or that they climbed a mountain together?”

Mr. Moore jests, but this memorable tradition has been going on for over 130 years, dating all the way back to the 19th century. 

“[Mountain Day] got started in 1885 with a bunch of boys from the school hiring a horse and buggy and going to Wachusett,” Mr. Moore explained. “My favorite part of Mountain Day is running into people I don’t know very well either climbing up or climbing down and just talking with them.”

Every year, during the Friday assembly before the big climb on the following Monday, Mr. Moore makes an announcement to the students about this extraordinary annual rite.

Mr. Moore giving everyone a brief history of Mountain Day at assembly.

“I woke up this morning and it was 40 degrees.  I said ‘I have to put on shorts and sneakers because I’m going like I’m dressed for Mountain Day,’” Mr. Moore remarked.  “I have to go over to lunch and make a big deal out of [being] dressed for Mountain Day.”

“I’ll just be around and people will be like ‘Hey, Mr. Moore, you ready for Mountain Day?’  I sort of hype it up a little bit, but I do that for the kids so that they get excited,” Mr. Moore concluded.  “It is a really great day for LA.”

Club Fair Rocks MacNeil

By Jack Horsman ’18

To say that this year’s club fair — which was held in MacNeil Lounge on Monday, September 16 — was a success, is a massive understatement.

Students packed the lounge during the club block on Monday to learn and talk about the wide variety of co-curricular offerings this school year.

“I think the club fair went well because any time in our community where we can make space for students… [and see] ideas and plans to come to fruition, that’s a good thing,” Dean of Equity, Inclusion, and Professional Growth Raquel Majeski said.

In previous years the fair was out on the Quad. But this year, in the venerable old lounge, the cacophony created by excited students — and the drum circle club — was amazing.

“I think that the energy was higher because there was a smaller area and everyone was around there,” said Mimi Zahavi, a senior day student from Westford. “Also, because it was in MacNeil it made it easier for people to walk in and out

“I feel like a lot of people showed up and were present,” added Claire Lanzendorf, a senior day student from Sudbury, MA – speaking to the fair’s not having to share the day.

That was the other different about this year’s club fair; it was held during the day in the new “club block” as opposed to after the very memorable, but always tiring Mountain Day.

“We’ve carved out in our schedule this time for clubs and having it during that time was great,” explained Ms. Majeski.  “It was an intentional design oto have that space and that’s awesome.

“I think a good amount of students showed up.”

By our count, nearly half the student body and many, many faculty members, attended the fair. And students enjoyed learning about the many offerings.

“In the past there have been a multitude of clubs that they were serious clubs; [but now] I like that we’ve started with some silly clubs,” added Mimi. “We have Croc club, that’s pretty epic. They just literally trade “jibbets,”

“I think having serious clubs like Umoja and then having Croc club, it’s a good balance,” she concluded.

The Art of Mohammed Daoudi Now Featured in Lawrence Academy’s Conant Gallery

By Jack Horsman ’18

On Friday, September 13, an art exhibit featuring the work of local artist Mohammed Daoudi opened in the Conant Art Gallery at Lawrence Academy.

Daoudi’s work, which features a range of styles — including pencil drawings and scotch-tape collages — is meant to give viewers a look at “a different world than the one they see every day,” explains Daoudi, but also a world with “similarities of the world they live in.”

Lawrence Academy art teacher, and long-time Conant Art Gallery Curator, Laurie McGowan, met the artist when they were both exhibiting at Keene State College. 

Laurie loved the art and decided to have him come and present it at LA.

“I think it’s really great to expose the kids to art that’s happening locally and around the world.”

Laurie McGowan

His artwork brings “a little bit of diversity,” added Ms. McGowan. “Some of his work deals with some Muslim issues, some women [issues], and this idea of xenophobia, and immigration.”

McGowan finished by saying that she is “really hoping teachers bring their students down [to the Conant Art Gallery].”

Daoudi joked that he does art because “it’s cheaper than therapy.” And that he has so many different forms of artwork because he gets bored quickly, so he likes to be able to jump around and switch to something different. 

One style in particular that caught the eye of the LA students who attended the opening were scotch-tape collages. 

Daoudi makes these collages by placing a piece of scotch-tape on to a picture in the New York Times, peels it off, and then places the tape onto a piece of canvas. He repeats this over and over, until he fills up the canvas with the scotch-tape images, creating a much larger picture overall.

Daoudi explained that the New York Times is the only newspaper he’s found where just the ink will come up when you peel the tape off (and not the paper as well).

Be sure to check out the gallery next time you are on campus. The exhibit is on display through December 16 in the Conant Gallery (LA entrance on Rt. 40). Conant Gallery is open to the public, Monday-Friday 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM, Saturday and Sunday 12:00 – 4:00 PM.

For the full photo gallery from Mohammed Daoudi’s art opening click here.

Conant Gallery Art Opening: Mohammed Daoudi

Lawrence Academy welcomes the work of Mohammed Daoudi, Finding My Way Around Home, Art in Times of Xenophobia.

Opening September 13, 2019 6:00 – 7:30 PM.

Featuring live music and refreshments. On display through December 16 in the Conant Gallery (LA entrance on Rt. 40). Gallery open Monday-Friday 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM, Saturday and Sunday 12:00 – 4:00 PM.

Click here to read a short article on the opening and the artist: