Walking backwards through Gould Academy

November 9, 2010

(Note: Annie K. did NOT write this blog)

OVERHEARD IN GEHRING HALL: I’m an adult now.  Can I draw a moustache on your face?

I tried to actually walk backwards through the Academy once, just to see if I could get a different perspective.  All I got was knocked down by someone in a hurry, and a coffee stain on my tie.

No, seriously, what I really mean is that sometimes I like to think backwards, through “my time” here at Gould.  For the 9th grade contingent, this activity would be a rather short one (temporally, I mean, although there are a few pretty small 9th graders right now).  For some of us, there are a lot of memories stored all over the campus.   Just a few highlights might illustrate what I mean.  Here are a few “blasts from my past”:

  • The time I accompanied a construction worker who only spoke Spanish on his trip to the hospital, after injuring himself while building McLaughlin Hall.
  • The night I came storming through Davidson Hall in my boxers, to investigate noises, only to find the headmaster in the lounge talking to students.
  • Watching Shelley MacQuinn, ’97, run a backhoe as we commenced building of Ordway Hall.
  • Hearing again and again the legendary story of how Mr. Wight jumped out of his classroom window and into the snow (he taught for many years on the second floor).

Everyone here has a good story of two to share with you.  If you have a few minutes to listen, and if you want to dig deeply into the past, there is no better way to get started than to spend a few minutes looking at the plaques hanging from the wall just outside the library doors.  All of those names immortalized in white-on-blue have stories, and if you are willing to look around you can hear some good ones.

As I sit in the library and monitor study halls during dot 4, I can see students looking at the names, and I’m suddenly struck by the differences in what we see.  That girl looking at the Ireland award plaque, under the year 2000 sees Sarah K. Marshall and Michael C.W. Ricker.  I look at the same thing and I see Sarah as a junior, carrying her soaked-through winter sleeping bag over a raging stream, and I see Michael (back then his name was “Tiger,” I don’t think anyone actually knew his real name) descending from the ceiling during assembly.

Every name on those plaques has a special story, and if you go to the right place you can find out about some wonderful people who did very ordinary and yet very special things during their “time at the Academy.”  Take my advice: Ask around.

Ask Ms Shifrin about Lauren E. Jacobs.  Ask Mr. McLaughlin about Julia H. Rhinelander.

And definitely ask Mrs. Manning about Robert D. Bruce’s famous assembly advertising the talent show.

"What is in a name? A whole lotta history, for one thing."

Photo by Izzy Cohan

5 Responses

  1. Avatar Carry says:

    BEST GLOG EVER!!! Thanks, Doug. I’d love to hear more stories.

  2. Avatar Doug says:

    Is there anybody out there?

  3. Avatar Andrea says:


    So I’m sitting at work on my lunch break and decide to check my facebook page, where I come across this blog site that Gould has set up. I read through the first few and come across this one.

    “What’s in a name?” I will never forget my time there at Gould and seeing my name on that plaque actually brought tears to my eyes. Everyone goes through so much during 4 years of high school and that plaque proves it. Who would have thought at the begging of my time at Gould that I would be listed on that wall. I remember walking past them just about every day, wondering “Where are all of those people now?”

    2001- Andrea Viens- Graduated from college with a 4 year business degree, proudly married to a soldier of the Vermont National Guard serving in Afghanistan on his 2nd tour, has 2 beautiful baby boys and couldn’t have done any of it without ALL of the lessons learned while at Gould (both academic and life lessons).

    Thanks for everything you did for me Mr. Alford!

    • Avatar Doug says:


      You forgot under your bio “rock-solid ski patroller and kick-a$$ advisee while at Gould.” Thanks for reconnecting, and letting us know what you’ve been up to! Please, also, thank your husband for all he does for us. We are thinking of him (and of you and the boys).
      Come back to Bethel for a visit!!! Tacos?…..

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