David Casanave

Nov 282013

Plimoth Plantation teaches ESL students about early English settlements

Plimoth Plantation teaches ESL students about early English settlements

Tradition has it that a settlement at Plymouth, Massachusetts, was the site of a celebration that, nearly 400 years ago, brought Pilgrims and Native Americans together to share the bounty of their harvest — an event that was commemorated as a national holiday by the first President of the United States, George Washington, in a proclamation that marked November 26, 1789, as the country’s first Thanksgiving holiday.

Students in Lawrence Academy’s ESL (English as a Second Language) Bridge Skills class recently visited the replicated Plimoth Plantation to see firsthand where a small ship called the Mayflower landed in 1620, bringing 102 daring and determined souls to a new world to start a new life.

Actors at Plimoth Plantation take on the characters of the actual English settlers and go about their daily chores in homes and gardens similar to those of the original community. They use the language of that period as well and do not understand references to anything that has transpired or been invented in the past 400 years. Their antiquated language and lack of ability to relate to the modern world added to the communications challenge for international student visitors for whom modern English is a second language.

Through these characters, the LA group learned of the challenges that the Pilgrims faced, as well as their determination to persevere. Several of the ten ESL students, coming from six different countries to a school on a hillside in an unfamiliar world, related to the experience with their own impressions.

Inspired by the spirit of the settlers, Gordon Choi, a freshman from Hong Kong, said: “I’m willing to go on a dangerous trip, but it has to be different and a trip that no one has been on — because I don’t want to sit back and watch people making a difference, I want to make a difference with my own hands.

Angel Xie, a freshman from China, drew similarities between the struggles of the Pilgrims and historic struggles in her own country. She noted that “revolution and exploration need sacrifice” and added, “I think today in American culture, there are still exploration spirits. The USA encourages everyone to do some research for their curiosity and to pursue his/her dream. And during the way to success, there might be thousands of failures. But every attempt is not in vain. People here appreciate everyone to try their best and take the first step to overcome challenge. And I find that both Pilgrims and the American people live in a big community and people all learn to have teamwork spirits since they were young.”

A sophomore from Vietnam, Anh Duong, thought he saw the spirit of modern America in the Plimoth residents. “I have learned that there haven’t been many changes between values held by the Pilgrim and American culture today. At first, before the war was triggered, the Pilgrims were very friendly with the Native Americans by trading things with them and inviting them to their Thanksgiving. That value is still remaining in many cultures of America, and being friendly with others is one of the best values that Americans have nowadays.” Visiting Plimoth, he said was “an opportunity for me to see why the Americans behave the way they behave and where they originally came from.”

The Native Americans that the Pilgrims befriended were from the Wampanoag tribe, and Plimoth Plantation provides a glimpse into their daily lives. Knowledgeable Native American guides explain the activities that might have taken place in their own replicated buildings and answer questions about the group’s relationship with the English settlers.

After learning how the Pilgrims attempted to build relationships with the Native Americans, senior Moss Rittiron was reminded of a tradition in her home country of Thailand. “Initially, Pilgrims are friendly to the native people, giving something from their land to them. Likewise, Thai people think everyone is our family. When we go to a new place to meet new people, we will bring some souvenir from our hometown to them. This is the way to show that you are one of our families who live in the same city.”

While the holiday now called Thanksgiving may be a commemoration of early attempts at friendship between two small groups of people with vastly different cultural backgrounds here on this continent, the same spirit is alive in gestures large and small worldwide.

Happy Thanksgiving to all—may you have many reasons to be thankful during your holiday break!

May 312013

Last Chance To Connect

The end of the Spring Term means many things to many people, but for seniors at Lawrence Academy the close of the school year brings the joy of commencement and the anticipation of beginning a life beyond the “elm tree-shaded hill.”

However, even as the Class of 2013 enjoyed their final moments in class and on campus, the entire student body continued the hard work (and, hopefully, fun) that is the trademark of the end of any school year.

Spring Arts Week featured student-directed one act plays, vocal and instrumental concerts, dance recitals, and visual art displays. The annual NGP Museum also showcased members of LA’s Ninth Grade Program and their Mastery Projects.

Outstanding athletes from all of Lawrence Academy’s spring sports were honored at the Varsity Athletic Awards Dinner just a few minutes after the senior girls took on the juniors and the faculty (in turn) in powder puff football (which was preceded by the freshman and sophomore girls vying for pigskin supremacy).

However, the month of May’s main focus remained squarely on the Class of 2013, who began their festivities (and their long Memorial Day Weekend) with Senior Beach Day and Prom.

A final assembly on Tuesday began the final regular week of school and sent some to their final IIP presentations as well as the business of checkout, but Thursday morning saw the seniors awaken to their graduation dreams coming to fruition.

“You look fantastic,” said Head of School Dan Scheibe to the Class of 2013 who gathered at their senior breakfast. “You are wonderful group of people who are going to represent the school incredibly well in the future.”

Assistant Head of School Rob Moore agreed and added that part of that incredible future was due in part to the adversity the class had faced while at LA.

“That’s what high school is all about,” said Moore. “But what happened is you stuck together.”

Rick Tyson ’87, the president of the Lawrence Academy Alumni Council, which hosted the breakfast, said he had three hopes for the class.

“First, I really hope that you learned a lot here. Academically, as individuals, and also collectively as a group,” he said. “Second, I hope you really get the chance to stay in touch with one another as classmates, because friendships in high school…are very important and very unique as compared to other friendships you are going to make going forward. “And then, third I hope that the lessons you learned here at LA and from one another, from your teachers and from your friends, are something you can draw from for the rest of your lives.”

Later, with the 220th graduating class gathered around a tree planted in their honor, the Class of 2013 heard Dan explain that that school, in planting trees on the hillside, seeks to repopulate Lawrence Academy’s arboreal landscape while revering the human element that makes LA special.

“Obviously, we hope that you will connect with this, that this will be your landscape as the years go by,” he said.

With that, the Lawrence Academy’s Head of School led the entire graduating class in the school song:

Lawrence, Here’s to Thee
On an elm tree-shaded hillside
In an old New England town
Stands a school both old and famous
Worthy of its great renown.
From the many who have loved it
And upheld it gloriously
Echoes down the years this watch-word:
Lawrence, Lawrence, here’s to thee!

Bittersweet Finality

by Charlotte Jones & Olivia Konuk

Lawrence Academy Seniors

Lawrence Academy Seniors

For many reasons, the finality of this time of year can be painful.

Every class seems to have a final project or a final seminar if not a final paper. Not to mention the imminent final exam week filled with crying, mental breakdowns, and general suffering with the sun flirting with us all the while.

Bittersweet is also how to categorize this time of year as it will be strange not having the seniors around next September.

These students have been with us our entire time at Lawrence Academy as we remembered what “Student News” was, learned about zebras together, and went through three headmasters, two schedules, and countless versions of the NGP.

Even as exhausted juniors make their way to the top of the prep school pyramid, sophomores avoid thinking about the year ahead, and freshman settle into an awkward, in-between year.

The seniors, though, are off.

To us in the Class of “14, the seniors still seem like sophomores—16-year olds just getting their learner”s permits—and we probably still seem like shy freshmen to them. Yet, in a matter of months, we will be the ones applying to colleges and they will be in the midst of their first university courses.

The seniors have had amazing four years here at LA. From dance classes to forensics electives to Winterim, all members of the Class of “13 immersed themselves into all areas of the school and, even as they leave Powderhouse Road, they empower us to do the same.

“Take advantage of what relationships you have here with the teachers,” was Nikki Crowe”s advice to the underclassmen.

“Try everything,” added Connor Gowland.

Hannah Cunningham”s words of wisdom were, “Try things you”re scared of.”

Matt Picard-Fraser simply said, “Just be yourself—don”t worry about what other people will think of you.”

Overall, the seniors we talked to agreed that the best thing you can do at LA is explore and continue to explore we will!

We”ll miss you class of 2013! Good luck out there…

Olivia Konuk and Charlotte Jones, both members of the Class of “14, will be the editors of Spectrum for the 2013-14 school year. Any member of student body who would like to contribute to LA”s student-produced newspaper should be sure to contact them in September.

May 202013

Throughout the 2012-13 school year, Lawrence Academy Head of School Dan Scheibe has often talked about the students” ongoing educational mission and, as a way of capturing how LA seniors took up and internalized that task, the head of school asked the members of the Class of “13 to pen sentences speaking to their personal educational experiences at Lawrence Academy.

“Hopefully at the end of four years you feel like you”ve done something that”s about constructing, creating, and living your life in a certain way,” he said to the RMPAC audience during the year”s final Monday assembly. “I think those of us who are lucky to be part of communities like this have the ability to live a centered life like that – call it a mission-centered life.

“It”s a discipline and it”s a practice that not everybody gets and, hopefully, it”s something that you take with you in whatever form you construct your life while you”re here.”

To that end, Scheibe created a mash-up style poem, using both LA”s mission statement and motto (omnibus lucet) and the senior sentences, which was read aloud to the entire student body by Dan, and seniors Jimmy Lawrence and Jillian Thero.

Omnibus Lucet

The light shines…

for all

Lawrence Academy is an opportunity that many people take extremely lightly.

If at first you don’t succeed, blame Garrick it’s probably his fault.

Time flies so enjoy the good times

Things go as quickly as they come, so don’t dwell on what hasn’t or what won’t because you will miss the beauty of what is now.

Four years, three head masters, two proms, one diploma.

You never want to look back on your high school career with regrets, thanks to LA, I won’t.

Lawrence Academy recognizes you for who you are…

This school has taught me that expressing your individuality is true beauty.

I would really like people to know my name is not Julia before this year ends and I depart— Sincerely, Juli Tyson

and inspires you to take responsibility for who you want to become…

“We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves, otherwise we harden.” -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Lawrence Academy has helped me understand who I am as a person and who I’m hoping to become.”

By calling on the school…

To champion excellence in academics and in the arts, athletics and residential life.

I hope more than anything the school will continue to grow the arts program, it’s the only thing that got me through.

When debating on what to eat, cereal beats everything… Almost everything

To offer innovative programs which personalize learning

My wish for the Lawrence Academy community is to take a chance, experience something that you have never tried before and don’t listen to others opinions about it.

We spend 6 hours in class, 2 hours at practice and for some of us 24 hours a day at Lawrence, it has taken us over and we have grown immensely every hour, we are part of this community and as we continue on down separate paths Lawrence continues to help us grow.

To provide students with discerning mentors who support self-discovery and risk-taking

LA has provided me with an incredible amount of support, reassurance, and guidance.

Find those people in the community that love and support you… And thank them.

By calling on each other…

To consider a plurality of perspectives patiently and with curiosity

LA is my second home where I learn American lives, meet nice people, and get new experience.

Lawrence academy has given me the opportunity to meet people who have changed my life forever, I will always be moving forward with a different perspective on how to live

To engage in respectful dialogue and advance the independent thinking and success of others

I live for my prime people.

Create friendships that will not only last through high school, but for life.

To take action for the common good.

Be loud, be vocal, say what you think, stand up for injustice and never let yourself be silenced.

I dunked the ball with the help of my LA brothers.

By calling on yourself

To develop your voice and use it creatively, constructively, and with confidence

Realize, before it’s too late, that you are beautiful and don’t let anything or anyone convince you otherwise.

LA gave me the confidence to be my own person

To reflect upon, understand, and learn from failure as well as success

The world isn’t all about you; there is no point in being offended that something doesn’t work in your favor.

I always try not to use bad language, but when I stub my toe on the kitchen table it all comes out.

To cultivate a personal stake in lifelong learning and make honorable informed choices…

Do not sacrifice trust in the search for triumph.

“Want, believe, commit.”

You will learn with others to think for yourself

The students and faculty at Lawrence have really created an educational and social environment where I can be myself.

I know I will take the friendships and relationships that I have developed at Lawrence through the rest of my life, and I cherish each individual who has helped me find the path I will travel on.

The greats weren’t great because at birth they could paint; the greats were great because they’d paint a lot.

If you’ve really learned how to think, how to pay attention, then you will know and explore all of your options.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned through my time here, it’s to do all those things you thought you’d be too afraid to do when you were a freshman.

Apr 302013

Annawon Weeden educates at Lawrence Academy

Annawon Weeden educates at Lawrence Academy

Virtually every New England town has history rooted in Native American culture, and Groton is certainly no exception. We are in Massachusetts, after all —- Algonquin for “at or about the great hill” -— and long before settlers renamed it, the Nashaway knew Groton as Petapawag -— “swampy place.”

In case anyone thought that culture was something of the past, only to be seen in museums, Annawon Weeden, a descendant of the Rhode Island Narragansett and Pequot on his father”s side and of the Massachusetts Wampanoag on his mother”s, visited the Lawrence Academy campus April 19 and provided living proof that that is not the case.

The learning experience came about because junior Salyna Anza noticed that there was something missing from LA”s diversity celebration during the school”s observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January—so she did something about it.

“Martin Luther King Day inspired me, because we had lots of different people come from different ethnic groups—except for the indigenous people in our country,” she said, not blaming anyone, but noting that “there”s no one in the school, really, that represents those people.”

“I am Native American through my mother; my great-grandmother was full Taino,” Anza explained. “She had hair down to her ankles, she had that bone structure, and she was a very beautiful woman. My grandmother looks very native as well, and my mom has the high cheekbones and long black hair. I got my curly hair from my dad.”

Weeden visited ESL classes -— a first experience with authentic Native American culture for most of LA”s international students. And he created a striking scene on the Quad on the chilly afternoon—an imposing figure well over 6 feet tall and dressed in native garb—where he attracted a group of students and teachers bundled against the cold.

He seemed perfectly comfortable and informed his listeners that tradition says that “Wampanoag babies who were born in the winter were immediately placed in the snow, a symbolic gesture of the strength and resilience that they would need to take their places the world.”

Weeden, who makes a profession of educating groups about Native American heritage and history, easily sympathized with Amadu Kunateh “15, whose roots are in Sierra Leone, and Gary Lai ‘15 of China as they questioned him about the importance of heritage and the challenges of maintaining one”s cultural traditions.

He spoke of the Wampanoag tribe”s efforts to legally claim and protect their historic homeland in Mashpee, Massachusetts—a struggle that has been going on for generations. He notes that they are a well-organized group with a vision to maintain their traditional culture, and he is especially encouraged by the desire and ability of the community”s youth to continue the efforts.

In a well-attended evening “show and tell” in MacNeil Lounge, Annawon was one of several presenters to share stories about culture and heritage.

Teacher Matt Greene talked about the significance of the rooster symbol of his Portuguese heritage; teacher Alyssa MacMeekin shared her experience of moving between the very different cultures in New England and Texas; Gary Lai explained the comfort one can get from the smell of something from home, in his case some familiar bug repellant; and Amadu Kunateh said he has learned to be proud of wearing his grandfather”s hat and a shirt made by grandmother.

The Wapanoag visitor involved everyone in a game of “hunters and ducks,” symbolic of both the hunting tradition and the courting ritual. Listening to the beat of the drum and the changes in rhythm and tone were crucial to the action in the game and made for a very entertaining experience.

Salyna Anza (l) and Annawon Weeden at Lawrence Academy

Salyna Anza (l) and Annawon Weeden at Lawrence Academy

Anza attends pow-wows with a member of the Maine Mikmaq tribe, whom she refers to affectionately as her “grandmother”. The Mikmaq artist sells her work at the gatherings and Salyna, who has accompanied her for five years—”I”m like her little partner in crime”—now sets up her own booth to sell t-shirts. “I have so many friends there, and I know everyone on the pow-wow trail. It”s kind of like a family during the summer and I really enjoy it.”

When her Mikmaq grandmother”s husband passed away four years ago, Salyna felt privileged to attend a Sundance in South Dakota with her. “We were invited there,” she said. “It was nothing like a pow-wow…it was literally a religious ceremony.”

They attended specifically for a ceremony that was held for anyone who had lost someone, but the event involved many different rituals. One that she found particularly moving involved the men celebrating the role of women as child-bearers: “They”re giving back to the women in the tribe.”

While Anza’s Taino tribe is native to the Bahamas and Antilles, she enlisted the help of a more local Native American representative to help bring an awareness of the culture to the Lawrence Academy community.

“Annawon Weeden is from the Wampanoag tribe in Mashpee, Massachusetts, and he makes a profession of educating groups about Native American heritage and history. If you actually go to the Plimoth Plantation,” Anza notes, “you”ll see a huge poster of him right in the front. We”re very lucky to have him come.”

Apr 172013

Lawrence Academy tennis court, softball diamond, and lacrosse team members don purple to support Boston

Lawrence Academy tennis court, softball diamond, and lacrosse team members don purple in solidarity with Boston in wake of Patriot’s Day bombing

On a day whose beautiful spring weather is reminiscent of Patriot Day’s, Lawrence Academy students will take to tennis court, softball diamond, and lacrosse field with Monday’s tragic events still fresh in mind.

However, in a show of solidarity with the people affected by the twin bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, the young women on LA’s varsity teams donned purple and took a three-team picture prior to putting on their red, white, and blue Academy uniforms.

“A lot of people knew people who were effected [by Monday’s events]…it was a big shock when everyone heard,” said LA girls” lacrosse player KJ Davis ’13. “It’s just a way to show LA cares.”

Students indicated that they have felt powerless and it”s clear that the simple act of wearing purple (a la the internet movement designed to rally support for the victims), was helping their psyche.

“When everything happened on Monday, a lot of people were just in shock and they didn’t know what to do about it,” said Lawrence Academy softball”s Lily Jewell ’13. “We’re not in Boston, we’re in Groton, and we wanted to help in the best way that we could.

“And we thought that just showing our support and wearing purple, could help.”

Wearing special outfits prior to girls’ athletic events is nothing new, but obviously took on new meaning on Wednesday.

“It just gets us pumped up for games. We usually wear dresses…or wear our uniforms,” said Spartans girls” tennis player Julia Kopelman ’13. “We wore purple today.

“We wanted to support the people in Boston and we just think it’s important to support them after what happened [on Monday].”

Mar 252013

A League-sponsored etiquette class in February

A League-sponsored etiquette class in February

Back in the late 1990s, with Los Angeles’ nostalgia-driven neo-swing movement serving as a backdrop, the film Blast From the Past depicted what would happen if people from 1962 were transplanted into present day.

While the premise was a bit convoluted (if not entertaining), it is notable that one class of people Brendan Fraser’s character (Adam) found missing in the modern world were gentlemen -— a gentleman being defined in the movie as “someone who always tries to make sure the people around him or her are as comfortable as possible.”

Shift the scene from 1990s LA to 2013 at Lawrence Academy and, lo and behold, there are those who recognize the declining number of this thoughtful, charming ilk, and who have created The League of Exceptional Gentlemen in order to address the issue. And, true to its aim, the League is open to gentlewomen, according to an academy spokesman.

“My mom has always put emphasis on being ‘a nice guy.’ Because we”re from Sierra Leone and have those cultural ties about how (you should) always show respect for someone else and always think of other people,” said Amadu Kunateh “15. “So when you go outside of your house, the worst insult you can ever get is for someone to say you have bad home training—my mom never wanted to hear that.

“When I came here, I thought, ‘OK, what”s one way I can continue to make my mom proud and come to prep school—prep school, which is supposed to prepare me for everything?” Not just in classes, but everything. What”s one way to really utilize the school and use it so it can be more beneficial to me, while also getting other kids to learn with me?”

As such, The League of Exceptional Gentlemen was born and with it came a renewed emphasis on manners.

“At that point, as a freshman, it was really spontaneous—I didn”t have any idea how it was going to be run, what was going to happen,” Amadu said. “So the first year was more just testing the waters, seeing how kids were going to react.”

Now in its second year, The League has added a mission statement:

The LA gentleman aspires to make themselves better and find their true character.
The LA gentleman aims to acquire knowledge and skills that will be personally beneficial and then uses that knowledge to better the community.
The gentleman shares his knowledge and is selfless.

“Now, we always do things as a group, as the League of Exceptional Gentlemen, where we learn skills like tying a tie, or dining etiquette,” Amadu said. “Then we have a class open to everybody in the school, because we”ve acquired that skill.”

Last year, the League hosted a “Tweed Run” to collect clothing and raise money for local charities. Earlier this school year, the League presented a class to help students feel more comfortable in a formal dinner setting prior to a special League-hosted Valentine’s Day dinner on campus.

For the group, etiquette, closely intertwined with manners, seemed a good place from which to build their gentleman”s toolkit.

“I’ve always been shy about attending a formal meal because I never knew what silverware was used for which course,” said Steven Drury “13, one of the attendees. “Now, I have confidence going into formal meals. It’s a great life skill to have.”

“Mr. Cassidy and Mrs. Hughes really knew a lot about it from their experiences,” agreed Connor Melvin “15, who praised the session”s faculty. “I”m sure that what we learned will be helpful.”

League of Exceptional Gentlemen Aaron Salm and Amadu Kunateh

League of Exceptional Gentlemen Aaron Salm and Amadu Kunateh

Obviously, formal dining etiquette is an extreme situation; one that today”s gentlemen might not find themselves in very often. However, League member Aaron Salm “13 said that even beyond the old school rules of dining, simple actions make the difference in any settings both on and off campus.

“We”re constantly being evaluated, whether by a date, client, boss, etcetera, and how closely or loosely you follow these rules has a lot to do with that person”s eventual perception of you,” Salm said. “(Following) these rules signifies self-awareness and maturity. Being able to learn them and showcase them at dinner will leave a good impression.”

Thus far, The League of Exceptional Gentlemen has left a very good impression on the LA community and, with more classes in the offing and a second edition of the Tweed Run planned for the spring, the group hopes to add more “ladies” to their ranks as they expand their skill set.

“I was very happy with the way the etiquette class turned out. We, as a club, aspire to be an aspect of LA that offers opportunities to people to learn skills beyond the curriculum. Most of what we do is a lot of discussion based, and constant conversations about the evolution of ‘the gentleman” and ways to modernize the term ‘Gentleman.'” ,” Kunateh said.

Mar 122013

Alexandre N'Djemba '15 and Jackie MacMullan

Alexandre N’Djemba ’15 and Jackie MacMullan

Jackie MacMullan is one of the most well-known and prolific sports journalists in the United States and on Wednesday, March 6, she took time out of her busy schedule to mentor students in LA’s Sports Journalism Winterim. MacMullan wrote for The Boston Globe for a number of years; she is currently a columnist on ESPN Boston.

Her interactive and dynamic two-hour session spanned topics from the Boston Celtic’s Rajon Rondo to the 2012 London Olympics to Dennis Rodman. MacMullan, who hails from Massachusetts and attended the University of New Hampshire, spoke about her own beginning in the business and a phone call that changed her life.

“I grew up in Westwood, and The Daily Transcript was the daily newspaper that covered all the sports teams, and we had all these incredible girls” teams,” began MacMullan. “But it was always the boys they wrote about, and I used to get really frustrated, and my dad said, ‘Well, all you do is complain, why don”t you do something about it?” And I said, ‘You know, maybe I will.”

“He said, ‘No, call the editor.” And I said, ‘Well, you know, I might, I might.” And he said, ‘No, you”re going to do it right now, because I”m tired of listening to you.”

“So I called up [the editor], and I really didn”t want to, and I said, ‘You know, I just was kind of wondering, you never cover the girls.” And he said, ‘Well, who”s this?” And I told him, and he said, ‘Well, do you want to write for me?” I said, ‘I”m 16.” He said, ‘Yeah, if it stinks, I won”t put it in.””

But soon thereafter, MacMullan had a byline in The Daily Transcript, which, thanks to hard work and years of tenacity, eventually led to bylines in The Boston Globe, Sports Illustrated and ESPN.com.

“They paid me $7, and I wrote it by hand,” explained MacMullan, who in 2010 earned the Curt Gowdy Media Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in nearby Springfield, Massachusetts.

When she first started, MacMullan didn”t write every day.

“There was no rhyme or reason to what I did,” she said. “I was often writing about myself because I was playing all the sports, but that”s how I got interested, and by the time I was a senior in high school, I had my own column.”

Think you can write sports well? Contact us at The Groton Line!

Now an author, columnist, and television personality, MacMullan, who named colleagues Will McDonough, Bob Ryan, and Leigh Montville among her biggest influences, clearly made the most of the opportunities she encountered as a high school and college student. But MacMullan also explained that the most important piece of advice she can give any budding sports journalist is to read and write as much as possible.

“Many of these kids could do the exact same thing. All you have to do is ask,” said MacMullan, who said that many newspapers are looking for young help. “They”re shorthanded. And the only way you can really be sure this is what you want and to be good at it is to write as much as you can and read as much as you can.”

However, MacMullan also pointed out that aspiring sportswriters should read and write about everything, not just the sports page.

“I started out in news, as a news intern, for two summers—one at The Gloucester Times, one at The Boston Globe, and that was also great background,” she said. “My father used to give me the paper, and I wanted to read the sports first, but he made me read the rest of the paper before he”d give me the sports section.”

As for the females in her audience at LA, MacMullan was pleased to report that they’ll enter the business on level ground with their male counterparts—a far cry from the gender bias she encountered as she worked toward her goals.

“It”s so different now,” said MacMullan. “Now it”s just, can you do it, or can”t you? And that”s how it should be.”

Feb 262013

This YouTube video of Joey Mullaney’s dunk has gone viral on the Internet. “Joey Dunks,” as captured by his brother Ryan and posted by his twin brother (and fellow LA senior) Sean, has more than 10,000 views on YouTube (as of Monday evening February 25). The Mullaneys” story has already reached the viewers of ABC’s Good Morning America as well as the web pages of AOL, NBC Sports, WCVB Channel 5, and WHDH Channel 7.

All senior days for sports are memorable, but Saturday’s final go around for the varsity basketball squad might have bounced to the top of Lawrence Academy’s most memorable moments when Joey Mullaney joined his brother Sean on the court for the first time at LA.

Joey is usually the boys’ basketball Spartans’ student manager, and is unable to play sports as he fights a nervous system disorder, Friedreich’s ataxia. Sean is a four-year standout athlete in basketball and baseball who will matriculate at Bowdoin next September. But on Saturday, both Mullaneys — sons of Brenda and David of Leominster, Massachusetts — were in red, white and blue when the team played their final regular season home game versus Buckingham, Browne, and Nichols School in LA’s Stone Athletic Center.

“We”re going to get Joe into a uniform and get him on the court for his senior day to go along with a senior class that includes seven players and three managers,” said LA Head Coach Kevin Wiercinski, pregame. “Joey has been an active member of our program as a manager and, although he would deny this, an inspiration for addressing his health challenges with a great attitude, sense of humor, determination, and a real case of stubbornness.”

That “case of stubbornness” landed Joey Mullaney on the basketball court in Groton and will take him to Quinnipiac University this September, but it”s also solidified his place in the hearts of everyone at Lawrence Academy who has encountered him on campus during his four years. Congrats to all of Lawrence’s seniors as they round out the winter term’s athletic schedule.

Feb 072013

Due to the impending storm, Lawrence Academy will be closed on Friday, February 8, with no classes, activities, or athletic events. On Friday, all faculty and staff should remain home. Day students should not come to campus. Boarders and dorm parents should check their e-mails additional details about this weekend”s activities, dining hall hours and dorm check times. Dorm check is at 7:00 p.m. Boarders are restricted to their dorms from Friday, 7:00 p.m. until Saturday at 10:00 a.m.

Today”s schedule (Thursday, February 7) remains in effect. However, all boarders who are planning on signing out are encouraged to depart after their last Thursday commitment. Please see Mr. Healy or Mrs. Margraf at lunch if you would like to sign out for tonight and the weekend. On Thursday, dorm check is at 8:00 p.m. There will be quiet hours in the dorm and no study hall. The library will be closed.

At this time, with the exception of wrestling, all Saturday athletic events have been postponed. Please check the athletics schedule page for updates.

Feb 042013

Brian Feigenbaum at the Fringe

Brian at the Fringe

Dance can be an expressive art form that transports both the dancer and the audience to new emotional and metaphysical places. In the case of some Lawrence Academy dancers, dance is quite literally transporting them — to Scotland.

Under the direction of dance teacher Brian Feigenbaum, the Lawrence Academy Dance Program has been invited for a fourth time in the last ten years to present work at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. “This is a select troupe of our most mature and disciplined performers,” Feigenbaum said. “They”ll perform an original piece of dance theatre co-directed by me and Theatre Director Joel Sugerman.”

Feigenbaum’s approach to teaching dance in general at LA has been to place total emphasis on the process of creation. He points out that the technical skills of the dancer are developed over time.

“Many students who dance at LA,” he said, “never fully master the technical side of dance but they do master many of the challenges of dance such as self-examination and discovery, the fear of performance, and the experience of giving themselves over to an experience that more often than not feels foreign and uncomfortable. “The fact that many of these young folks are willing to do what I ask and to perform is a testament to their courage,” Feigenbaum said.

And courage, as well as excitement and anticipation, will be some of the emotions that this elite group of LA dancers will be feeling as they prepare for their trip to Scotland.

“I’m looking forward to collaborating with fellow actors and dancers. I’ve never had the opportunity of working with dancers like Patrick (Burns “13) and Holly (Moniz “13), so I’m really excited to get to work,” Joe Casper, “13, said. “In all of the play productions I have ever been in, the structure has stayed relatively the same. We have about six to eight weeks in total to memorize lines, block scenes, develop characters, and then in the final week (a.k.a “tech week”) we put everything together.

“In this case, Brian and Joel are assembling a year’s worth of material from his dance classes and ensembles and giving us a couple of weeks to put it together. The time difference is also a huge thing. As opposed to the 6 to 8 straight weeks of rehearsal in a theatre production, we have a week in June to rehearse, followed by us taking a break for summer, and coming back together in August to go to Scotland and put on our own amazing show.”

Feigenbaum agreed that the Fringe trip offers a very unique experience. “Performing at the Fringe allows us to showcase what we do before an international audience,” he said, “and affords an opportunity to our most stage-ready students to perform and see cutting-edge theatre from around the world.” Critics agree that the work that LA dancers perform at Fringe has been noteworthy. About the 2003, 2006 and 2009 Fringe Festival LA performances, they”ve said:

“The dancing was fluent, accomplished, dynamic and instilled with a touching sophistication that might be expected of much more mature dancers. There were moments of riveting dramatic tension and passages of surprising tenderness” (Christian Science Monitor, 2003)

“Unlike some contemporary dance performances, the dancing is graceful and fluid and a pleasure to watch. The audience is captivated from the first movement…” (Broadway Baby, 2006)

Brian often waxes philosophical when talking about, well, pretty much anything, but especially dance. “Truth be told, the language of symbolic imagery is our oldest form of expression, and as a photographer friend said to me recently, the viewer is only *able* to see what he is *ready* to see.”