Today At LA: Back to Class…

The re-start of the winter term can feel like being dropped onto a treadmill rolling at full pace. So, we wanted to remind everyone of the resources available to the community to help keep the calendar straight.

First, be sure to peruse the Spartan Newsletter (weekly academic newsletter) to reaquaint your brain to the full schedule.

Everything is in there, including the Dining Hall menu and schedule.

There’s also plenty to be gleened from The Page (LA’s community information page), including Weekend Activities and Community Service Opportunities.

Best wishes for a smooth term, and a belated “Happy New Year!” to all…

BTW: Check out the new tables in MacNeil Lounge.

Elm Tree Press: Boarding at LA

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By Kevin Weaver ’20

When I first knew I was coming to Lawrence Academy, my biggest worry was boarding.

Throughout my life, I had never spent a lot of time away from my family, so living on appropriately accommodatedcampus for the next four school years seemed like it would be the toughest thing I would ever have to do in my life.

But this big change of living in an entirely new environment quickly became one of my favorite things about Lawrence Academy. On the first weekend on campus, I remember making some of my closest friends and haven’t worried about boarding since…

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Whenever someone asks me about weekends at Lawrence Academy, I always tell them there is never a dull weekend on campus. Every week, Lawrence Academy creates a packed lineup of activities that spread across a wide range of offerings.

Some of my favorite activities from my past three years have been: football and snacks in MacNeil lounge – always a great way to decompress on Sundays; mall trips – where I have made some of my favorite memories; movie trips – it’s always great to see the latest movies with friends; and open houses in the dorms – it’s so much fun to make new friends in another dorm.

And these are just four of the many activities that make weekends at LA seem like endless fun.

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One of the best part about boarding is that Lawrence Academy really makes sure that boarding students are accommodated properly.

In the past, whenever I have needed anything on or off campus, faculty members have done all they could to help me. This includes times as simple as when my advisor drove me to CVS or the grocery store.

However, few times have been as memorable as when my doorknob stopped working.

It was my sophomore year, and my doorknob wouldn’t turn all the way, so unless I left my door open, I was locked out of my room. When I told Mr. Gagnon, the faculty member on duty that night, he said to me that he’d help when he was done checking people in.

So, when he was done, he came down to my room to see what he could do to help.

When we realized that this was something we couldn’t just solve with our bare hands, we borrowed a screwdriver from a friend and began to take apart the doorknob. While lead by a YouTube video, we ended up taking the doorknob off completely before realizing that there wasn’t much more we could do, and the smart move was to notify our Building and Grounds team.

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Even though we walked away unsuccessful, I remember thinking about how fortunate I am to be part of a community where people will do whatever they can to help me, even if it means getting back to their wife and kids past midnight.

That’s the kind of community I love being a part of…

#WaybackWednesday

Shep’s Place # 48: Say Cheese!

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Headmaster Arthur Ferguson dedicates the new Sheedy Hall, 1962…

 

For my second Project Only a Retiree Could Love (the first being cleaning out and digitizing alumni records and transcripts, last year), I got the OK to attack Hellie Swartwood’s closet in the Alumni Development House. I figured that Hellie, who works with LA’s parents, would like to have the space back, and I was dying to get my hands on the contents: about 40 huge three-ring binders of Kodachrome slides and prints of school life from the 1970s to the 1990s. Fortunately for us, Karen Serach, a previous occupant of Hellie’s office, had been a meticulous collector and organizer of just about every photograph taken at LA, by every photographer the school had employed at the time.

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LA’s Bicentennial

The albums were organized by year or by topic (major events, teams, graduation, etc.); some were general in focus, some more specific. The problem was, what to do with them once I’d emptied Hellie’s closet? Conversations with folks in the development and communications offices generated the idea of an online archive, kind of a complement to the Whipple Archive in the Ansin Building on campus. A bonus came with a search of the third floor in Alumni Development House, which produced another gold mine: hundreds of black and white photographs dating back as far as the late 1950s! Some had been taken for the yearbook, while others were just stored up there because no one knew what to do with them.

The school kindly set me up with a slide viewing table and a digitizing device, and I went to work about a year ago in a spare office on the first floor. First, the thousands of pictures had to  be culled, and then sorted by year, subject, team, event, or whatever seemed appropriate. I knew that photographers took a number of pictures of a subject  — say, a senior speaker at graduation —  to get just the right shot, but I had  no idea just how many! I counted something like 73 slides of one late-1970s thirds lacrosse team; one made the cut. The prints were easier to deal with, as the photographer had presumably printed only the best shots.

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Building the Student Center 1980

When the selection and sorting operation was done, I took the pictures over to the communications office to digitize the slides and scan the prints, and put everything into folders on the computer. From there they were uploaded to the new Online Archive on LA’s Smugmug page.

The result of this work is a wonderful visual record of the last 50 or 60 years of LA’s history. You’ll see pictures of major events, like the Academy’s 175th and 200th birthdays, the dedication of Sheedy Hall (and its demise some 40 year later), or the construction of the Madigan Student Center in 1980. There’s also a separate folder containing pictures of about 125 faculty and staff between about 1960 and the 1990s.

Not everyone is there, but we’re working on it.

When you visit the site, which will be up and running soon, be sure to read “Welcome to the Online Archive.” Besides providing easy navigation instructions, it also contains an appeal for contributions: photos, documents, videos, etc. There’s an email address where you can send contributions, which will be duly credited. Enjoy!

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…and Sheedy meets its end to make room for Ansin in 2003.