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Headmasters’ Societies Games - Day 2

From February 18 to 22, Blair students of all class years will come together for the 16th-annual Headmasters’ Societies Games, a fun and sometimes silly competition in which the school is randomly divided into four teams named after former headmasters: Breed, Howard, Kelley and Sharpe. 

The festivities kicked off at Monday School Meeting, where Head of School Chris Fortunato officially opened the 2019 games and wished students and faculty luck in the lead-up to Friday evening’s decisive talent show, an event that inevitably determines the winning team. He thanked members of the Junior Class Council, who have taken a leading role in helping the student life office plan the 2019 Games, designing gear for each team and creating an exciting way to tell new students to which team they had been “sorted.”

“We came up with riddles that new students will have to solve in order to figure out which team they are on,” said Kate Antonelli ’20, a member of Team Breed who is most looking forward to this year’s water polo competition. “Figuring out the riddle gives them a location where they can meet the rest of their team, and it was a really fun way to kick off the start of Headmasters’ Week!” 

The Junior Class Council worked hard on new clothing designs for the four teams, which will be unveiled throughout the week. “Being involved in planning and design has been a really fun and good learning experience,” said Savannah Lee ’20. “Everybody has so many amazing ideas that are going to make Headmasters’ Week spectacular!”

Kate and her fellow members of the Junior Class Council agree. “Planning Headmasters’ has been really fun and it definitely got me in the Headmasters’ Games spirit,” Kate concluded.

This year’s events, of course, will benefit enormously from the opening of the winter sports complex, affectionately known on campus as the “Blair Bubble,” which encloses a portion of the tennis center during the coldest months of the year and features two tennis courts and a temporary turf field. The climate-controlled space will host a range of Headmasters’ competitions that will bring the whole community together. 

And nothing brings Blair students and teachers together better than the Headmasters’ Games, which brighten a dreary time on campus as the winter sports season ends and students prepare to leave campus for spring break. 2019 co-commissioners and associate deans of students Andee Ryerson and Caroline Wilson hope students of every age see the Games as an opportunity to try something new and embrace the chance to step outside of their comfort zones.

“I always hear new students saying ‘I'm not good at volleyball, so I'm not going to play’ or something along those lines, and it takes them a few years to realize that it really doesn't matter,” said Mrs. Ryerson. “Participation is so important. If your team has enough players—sure, bow out—but if they don't, it's silly to worry about your skill because even a poor player is better than no player, and the other teams are dealing with the same thing, so it's all inexperienced players together!”

In fact, when asked what one word comes to mind when they think of the Games, the co-commissioners don’t hesitate: plain and simple “fun.” “Truly, that’s what the Games are all about,” said Ms. Wilson. “Loosening up, taking a break, meeting new people and good old-fashioned fun.”

 

Mind, Body, Spirit Elective

English and freshman seminar teacher Sarah O’Neil is excited about the new course she is teaching this semester in Blair’s religion and philosophy department. In “Mind, Body, Spirit,” she is helping six students explore the practice of mindfulness and discover how staying connected to the present moment can lead not only to inner peace and better physical health, but ultimately, to the ability to do greater good in the world.

“The course is designed around the idea that your relationship with yourself and your ability to recognize what is going on in your mind is the foundation for everything in your life,” Ms. O’Neil said. Thus, she developed a five-unit progression in which students begin with a focus on mindfulness and then explore how their thoughts affect self-esteem, physical well-being, relationships with others and, finally, the perception and pursuit of happiness.

Students are delving into a varied reading list throughout the semester. They began with Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now and Michael Singer’s The Untethered Soul and will continue with other books, selections and articles. TED talks and inspirational and educational videos are among the online resources the class is utilizing. Ms. O’Neil regularly assigns written reflections and journaling, but breathing exercises and meditation are also important elements of the course. 

“I want to further develop students’ ability to read, write and think critically while, at the same time, offer them the space and time to practice what we are reading about,” Ms. O’Neil said. “These are tools that students will use throughout their Blair careers and beyond. As they become more mindful and peaceful, they will also become more productive and better students.”

Abby Schwartz ’21 has found “Mind, Body, Spirit” to be a relaxing, peaceful addition to her academic schedule, and through this course, she has discovered the rewards of introspection. “Mindfulness is so powerful in so many situations,” she observed. “Training our mind, body and spirit to look at situations under a positive light can help us achieve any goal and overcome any obstacle. I would highly recommend this course as it helps you look deep within and explore your most positive and peaceful self.” 

Having developed a mindfulness practice and realized its benefits in her life, Ms. O’Neil felt it was important to share what she had learned—and is still learning—with Blair students in a formal way, beyond her roles in Kathryn Hall dormitory and as varsity field hockey and lacrosse coach. She is grateful for the opportunity to teach “Mind, Body, Spirit” this semester and is looking forward to offering the elective again next year.

“The ultimate goal of the course is to have students take this more-connected and aware sense of self out into the world, share it with others and do good with it,” she reflected. “Taking the time to look inward and develop self-compassion may seem like a selfish undertaking, but it is actually the opposite.”

Boys' Basketball Livestream

The Bucs play KOA Prep in their final game of the regular season on February 15. The game begins at 5:30 p.m., and you can watch the livestream here.

Girls' Varsity Basketball

Blair’s varsity girls' and boys' basketball teams won their respective Mid Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) championships on February 10 at Peddie School. The girls defeated Lawrenceville 76-47, winning their ninth-straight conference title, while the boys overcame Hill 65-56, marking the team’s fourth conference title in five years.

The girls posted an all-around team effort led by Camille Clarin ’19, who broke her own School record by hitting 11 three-point shots (10 was her previous record set earlier this season). Camille’s 33 points helped the Lady Bucs dominate most of the game with no signs of stopping.

“Camille is our captain and leader, and she is committed to our team’s success,” said head girls’ varsity coach Quinten Clarke ’87. “It is not easy to defer to younger players, but she has pushed her ego aside for the good of the team, and it is only fitting that she is the star in our MAPL championship game. It is gratifying and rewarding to work with such a cohesive and dedicated group of athletes. While we are very young, I have been impressed with the mature way we have approached an extremely difficult schedule this year and the way the girls have stuck together through adversity.”

The varsity boys defended their title as MAPL champions with their win over Hill. In this thrilling game, Jordan Dingle ’19 led the team’s offense by dropping 22 points, and he played with grit on the defensive end, too. Jabri Abdur-Rahim ’20 notched the second-highest point total with 11. In this back-and-forth match up, Blair remained persistent in the final moments, making key defensive steals and offensive plays.

"I thought we played at a high level on Saturday versus a strong Hun team, and then on Sunday, we survived a very physical game versus a scrappy Hill team,” said head boys’ varsity coach Joe Mantegna. “Jordan scored more than 20 points in each game, and our seniors finish undefeated in MAPL regular season and tournament play for their final two years."

Both teams enter the NJISAA state tournament as #1 seeds. They will play in the semifinal round on Monday, February 18. 

St. Jude Hospital Trip

Many members of the Blair community headed home for rest and relaxation during the School’s winter long weekend, but about two dozen students took advantage of the break to travel with faculty members to two exciting destinations. The first group headed to the Cayman Islands with science teachers Rod Gerdsen and Marianna Paone, and the second traveled to Memphis, Tennessee, with history teacher Joanne Brandwood and Blair’s registrar Kecia Tillman. While the focus of the trips was different, all of the travelers enjoyed meaningful outside-the-classroom experiences, as well as the camaraderie of fellow students and teachers.

Cayman Islands

Marine science, community service and daily exploration of the pristine beaches of Grand Cayman were on the itinerary for the annual long winter weekend trip to the Cayman Islands. Mr. Gerdsen and Ms. Paone accompanied 15 freshmen through seniors to this “little piece of paradise,” where everyone enjoyed the warmth of the weather and the Caymanian culture.

The trip included many opportunities for students to get up-close-and-personal with marine life, especially while snorkeling at the beach and at Stingray City and visiting a turtle farm. For the third-consecutive year, the Blair group also volunteered at an island primary school, where they assisted with an after-school program for nearly 50 students. 

“The Caymans trip was amazing,” said Kaki Jacobs ’21, who felt that the experience help strengthen her independence and leadership skills. “We had to challenge some of our fears by swimming and even kissing stingrays. The last day of the trip was arguably the best, though, because we spent time helping at the local elementary school. It was an incredible experience to play with these children and learn about the Caymans from a local perspective.”

Corey Downey ’20 cited his top three memories of the trip: spending time with new Blair friends on the beach, eating tasty island food and playing soccer with local kids. “It was great to meet new people from Blair and experience new things together,” he said. “In just a few days, I bonded with friends I’ve known for years and with people I just met. It will be great to continue to see one another on campus!”

This year marks Mr. Gerdsen’s 12th Blair trip to the Caymans, and, as always, he enjoyed introducing students, whether or not they are currently studying marine science, to the islands’ native tropical wildlife and habitats. “I hope students returned to Blair with a healthy respect and love for the marine world of the Caymans and for the culture of this island nation,” he said.

Memphis, Tennessee

Meanwhile, eight service-minded students traveled with Ms. Tillman and Mrs. Brandwood to Memphis, where they volunteered at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Their mission over the long winter weekend was to brighten the spirits of young patients who are battling life-threatening illness, and the entire Blair group shared smiles and good cheer when making “superhero” capes with children at the hospital. Teachers and students also helped prepare and serve meals for patients and their families at the nearby Ronald McDonald House and had a great time making crafts and playing games. 

McKenziee Belton ’16, a long-time St. Jude advocate, organized Blair’s first service trip to the world-renowned research hospital in 2015, and she and her mother, Lori Belton, joined the Blair contingent again this year. Mrs. Brandwood and Ms. Tillman found the experience of interacting with young patients and their parents especially moving, and they were proud of the Blair volunteers’ efforts.

“Our students dove right in to any task at hand, from preparing food for a meal, cleaning up or taking out trash to playing with patients or talking to their families,” Mrs. Brandwood said. Ms. Tillman described how, during one crafting session at the hospital, Blair students started singing Disney and pop tunes, and the patients they were working with chimed right in. “You could see students’ joy in sharing with the kids at St. Jude,” she said. “It was a beautiful moment—we didn’t want to leave!”

Ashton Martini ’20, an aspiring nurse, jumped at the chance to join Blair’s annual St. Jude trip this year, and her experience was unforgettable. “I met the most amazing kids and families and became quite close with a couple of young girls at Ronald McDonald House,” she said. “We had karaoke sessions, played with slime, built two xylophones and had a mini rock band that filled the room with out-of-tune music, and shared a lot of laughs. Those girls, among others with whom I spent time, amazed me with their enthusiasm and joy in the face of something so terrifying. Their smiles lit up the room and made mine grow a million times wider. This was probably one of the greatest trips and experiences of my life; definitely one I'll never forget.” 

While in Memphis, the Blair volunteers also took some time to explore the city’s rich history during visits to the National Civil Rights Museum, Sun Studio, Graceland and the Blues Hall of Fame, and they thoroughly enjoyed the food and music at B.B. King’s Blues Club. “It was a great trip!” Mrs. Brandwood said enthusiastically, and it’s one Blair students will likely continue to experience in for years to come.

‘Artists' Journey’ Showcases Couple’s Lifelong Love of Art

On February 11, an exhibit showcasing the work of photojournalist Tyson Trish and painter Gina Danesi Trish opened in The Romano Gallery. The lifelong artists, who met as undergraduates at George Washington University more than 20 years ago and came to Blair when Mr. Trish joined the fine arts department in 2015, are excited to share with students and faculty a retrospective collection of work from different stages of their lives and careers documenting their journeys as artists and people.

“We have lived in Blairstown for over 15 years, so we are very rooted in the local community, and it is even more meaningful to exhibit here and share our work with our extended Blair family,” said Mr. Trish, whose photos have appeared in a number of New Jersey newspapers. 

After meeting as art students in college, Mr. Trish says that “art has been a part of everything we have done since.” The opportunity to exhibit on campus—which the duo calls a place “we have treasured being a part of for the last four years”—is an added bonus. 

They hope the show, which runs through March 9 with an artists’ reception taking place on February 28 at 7 p.m., will leave visitors with a strong sense of how much art can be part of life and encourage them to take away something positive—a feeling, an awareness or something new learned. 

“We have always created art, whether it be for our jobs or for personal interest,” said Mrs. Trish, who comes from a family of “makers” and worked closely with Blair students for years as Leadership Stories Project coordinator. “There are times when our ideas converge, as we share similar interests and ideologies, but we practice different mediums.”

Mrs. Trish, who has shown her work at galleries in Blairstown and Morristown, New Jersey, as well as at Peter’s Valley School of Craft in Layton, New Jersey, where she spent time as an artist in residence, will be exhibiting some of her older work, as well as a few new pieces that explore gender, politics and equality. Her perspective is especially unique since she joined the communications office of New Jersey’s first female African American Lieutenant Governor last year. Mr. Trish, on the other hand, has enjoyed revisiting work from early in his career in the Blair exhibit.

Betsy Schamberger P’22

“Environmental Cleanups—When Is It Clean Enough?” was the thought-provoking title of February 12’s Society of Skeptics lecture, presented by licensed professional geologist and Blair parent Betsy Schamberger P’22. She joined the Blair community in the Chiang Center for Innovation and Collaboration to discuss the timely topic and engage in Q & A with the audience. 

Mrs. Schamberger earned her undergraduate degree in geology from Princeton University and master’s degrees in hydrogeology and geochemistry from Montana Tech. Her college studies focused on low-temperature geochemistry with an emphasis in mining, but after moving from Montana to Pennsylvania 22 years ago, she started working in the environmental industry. In 2006, she founded her own firm, Moonstone Environmental, LLC, which specializes in environmental due diligence and brownfields redevelopment. 

With over 20 years’ experience in the environmental industry, Mrs. Schamberger has a broad perspective on how environmental regulations function and what makes them effective (or not). The Lehigh Valley Business Journal recognized her as one of the Lehigh Valley’s Women of Influence in 2016.

The History of Skeptics

The Society of Skeptics was established as a forum for students and faculty to discuss and debate important global issues; it has grown to become one of the premier high school lecture series in the United States. Each week, speakers from the political, social, scientific, economic and literary arenas share their unique perspectives with students, who are encouraged to engage with presenters, asking questions and debating points of view.

The program was an outgrowth of the Blair International Society, begun in 1937. Forty years later, former history department chair Elliott Trommald, PhD, Hon.’65, established the modern Skeptics program as a regular forum for student discussion and debate; history teacher Martin Miller, PhD, took over in the mid-1980s and molded the program into a weekly lecture series, one that has since continued without interruption. Under the tutelage of Dr. Miller, Skeptics has featured a wide variety of speakers who are engaging, accomplished in their respective fields and often controversial. For a listing of upcoming Skeptics programs, please click here.

Blair Buccaneer

 

Blair's wrestling match against Benedictine Prep, scheduled for Friday, February 8, at 5 p.m. has been canceled. The Bucs' next scheduled competition takes place on Saturday, February 16, when Blair hosts the national prep regional qualifier. Wrestling begins at 1 p.m.

Godspell
Flyer for Godspell

The Blair Academy Players will present Godspell on February 14, 15 and 16 at 7:30 p.m. in Armstrong-Hipkins Center for the Arts’ Dubois Theatre. With music by Stephen Schwartz and book by John-Michael Tebelak, this rock musical is composed of various Biblical parables from the gospel according to Matthew. Godspell opened off-Broadway in 1971 and has since been produced by multiple touring companies and in many revivals.

Godspell tells the story of Jesus Christ recruiting a group of followers and teaching them various lessons through song and dance. Toward the end of the second act, the show begins to follow a more linear narrative as Jesus is betrayed by Judas and eventually crucified. With a mix of pop, rock and vaudeville, the production delivers a message of peace, tolerance and love through songs including "Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord," "Learn Your Lessons Well," "All Good Gifts," "Turn Back, O Man" and "By My Side."

Godspell has become such a staple of the musical comedy stage,” said director Craig Evans, Blair’s veteran English and theatre teacher. “This telling of the Bible is based on the love and community that is forged around Jesus and provides an entertaining experience for the whole audience. Our cast has completely enjoyed their first experience with Godspell.”

The catalyst character of Jesus is played by Robbie Donnelly ’20. Performing the dual roles of John the Baptist and Judas is John Zoetjes ’19. Soloists in the show include Victoria Crow ’20, Sadie Donnelly ’22, Audrey Sacks ’20, Ryan Gomez ’20, Alex Kirby ’20, Samantha Antonelli ’22, Hannah Starorypniski ’20 and Matthew Bottone ’19. The student director is Gardner Coates ’20.

Reservations not required. 

Psychology Class

More than a dozen juniors and seniors are learning how relevant the study of psychology is to their daily Blair lives and beyond, thanks to a yearlong science elective taught by Associate Dean of Students Caroline Wilson. Having spent the first half of the year studying subjects such as human memory, motivation, interaction and connection, the class is now testing psychological theories and piloting small case studies with their roommates and friends.

Ms. Wilson, who earned an MA in education, policy, organization and leadership studies from Stanford University in 2018, says her graduate studies highlighted many of the topics her course is now exploring. While some of the curriculum touches on subjects studied in AP psychology, students have much more freedom in the applied class, which is driven in part by student interest and has included projects focused on technology, multitasking and wise interventions.

“My overarching goal is to teach students to always be curious and realize how relevant these topics are to their everyday lives,” said Ms. Wilson, who earned her undergraduate degree from Williams College and has worked at Blair since 2013 in the admission office, as a psychology teacher and in the student life office. “I love people and connecting with them, which is my primary job in my current role, so teaching this course dovetails nicely and gives me the chance to teach students new skills and also give them the opportunity to practice them.”

The course is project-based, meaning there are no tests and no memorization, even if, ironically, memory has been an intense area of focus as students consider its role in relationships, the law and our society. The best part for Ms. Wilson has been seeing these connections form as members of the class tackle small and large projects and report back about “conditioning” roommates to clean up or make their beds or documenting the effect of caffeine on behavior. 

Students have found the class offers them “immediate gratification” in the sense that they can explore topics that interest them as they learn to read human behavior and adapt in the face of challenges. “The biggest takeaway from this class is my new knowledge of psychology and how I can apply it to my everyday life,” said Laney Vasseghi ’20. “I am now more aware of my sleep schedule and my nap times based on REM and nREM cycles. This class has really sparked my interest in psychology and taught me in a discussion-based environment without the stress of an AP exam on the horizon.”

The immediate application of what the class is learning to everyday life is also Sejal Grizzetti ’20’s favorite part of the course. For example, she and her classmates have studied the best ways to memorize information for tests, the proper times to sleep and how brains function at different ages. “I've developed better study and sleep habits as a result,” she said. "This is my favorite class because we get to do a lot of cool stuff. I already wish I could take it again."

Given Ms. Wilson’s roles outside of the classroom (as housemaster of Locke Hall and coach of the varsity swim team), she enjoys having the opportunity to get to know her students well. “I love teaching and then seeing students’ lives outside of class,” she said. “If you can understand students and know how they are wired, it helps immensely in your role as teacher. This just gives me another context in which to know them and help them learn more effectively.” 

As the new year got underway, each student picked a developmental theory, some opting to try out the Rouge Test of self-concept, while others are looking at object performance or the theory of conservation. With tests of the theories now in progress, Ms. Wilson is excited for students to report their findings to each other and apply a new understanding of different areas of psychology to their lives at Blair. “This course is an eye-opener because it requires us to stop and think about why we do what we do,” she concluded. “And learning to examine and understand motivation is something that the class will undoubtedly take into many other parts of their lives.”

Jack Bogle

Jack Bogle was one of the early adopters of The Blair Leadership Stories Project and sat down with Head of School Chris Fortunato to film his story in 2015.

Inventor of the index mutual fund and founder of The Vanguard Group, Blair Board of Trustees Chairman Emeritus John C. Bogle ’47 was a titan of the financial industry and an extraordinarily dedicated favorite son of Blair Academy. His spirit of innovation, drive to excel and vision for a better future led Vanguard to become the world’s largest mutual fund organization, and he brought those same sterling qualities to 47 years of unparalleled leadership, philanthropy and service to his beloved alma mater.

Mr. Bogle entered Blair as a junior in 1945, together with his twin, David ’47, and following in the footsteps of his older brother, William ’45. A scholarship recipient, Mr. Bogle worked as a headwaiter in the dining hall and distinguished himself as a high honor roll student, editor of The Blair Breeze and ACTA, and class treasurer. He was known for his “ready wit and smile,” and his classmates elected him “best student” and “most likely to succeed” as he graduated cum laude in 1947.

Mr. Bogle credited his Blair teachers with having made a tremendous difference in his life, and his Blair experience propelled him to Princeton University, where he studied economics and wrote his senior thesis, “The Economic Role of the Investment Company.” That pivotal work launched his career in the investment industry, and his ingenuity and dedication to business integrity and hard work brought him to its pinnacle.

Hired at the Wellington Fund upon his magna cum laude graduation from Princeton in 1951, Mr. Bogle rose to become the company’s chairman in 1970. An “extremely unwise” merger—that Mr. Bogle considered his “biggest mistake”—led to his dismissal from Wellington in 1974. However, from there, he founded Vanguard and, in 1975, created the world’s first index mutual fund. His insistence on the superiority of the index fund and his concern for the individual investor were radical departures for the investment industry, but his wisdom has been borne out in Vanguard’s success.

Mr. Bogle served as Vanguard’s chairman and chief executive officer from 1974 to 1996. He retired as chairman in 1999 and then became head of the firm’s affiliate, Bogle Financial Markets Research Center. A prolific writer, he authored 12 books and countless articles, op-eds and features on investing, financial markets and the investment world.

Recognition for his contributions to the financial industry came from many quarters over the past several decades; among the most notable were his designation by Fortune magazine as one of the investment industry’s four “Giants of the 20th Century” in 1999 and his being named one of the world’s 100 most powerful and influential people by Time magazine in 2004. In 2016, the Pennsylvania Society awarded Mr. Bogle its 108th-annual Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement, an award that recognizes leadership, citizenship and contributions to the arts, science, education and industry. Last year, business magnate Warren Buffett described Mr. Bogle, a man who “helped millions of investors realize far better returns on their savings than they otherwise would have earned,” as “a hero to them and to me.”

Even as he invested himself fully in his career and his growing family, Mr. Bogle gave generously of his time, talent and treasure to the institutions he held dear, especially Blair Academy. Inspired by his strongly held values and genuine desire to pay back the gift of his education, he joined Blair’s Board of Trustees in 1972. At that time, Mr. Bogle’s mentor, the late Chairman Emeritus J. Brooks Hoffman ’36, was in the midst of his crucial 16-year Board Chairmanship, a period during which Mr. Hoffman almost single-handedly brought the School from the brink of bankruptcy to firm financial footing. Mr. Bogle deeply admired Dr. Hoffman’s strong, decisive, energetic and good-humored leadership of the Board and his indefatigable quest for financial support. At the conclusion of Dr. Hoffman’s Chairmanship in 1978, the School was poised for the growth that would take place over the next several decades.

Mr. Bogle was elected Board Chair in 1986, a role to which he gave his utmost until 2001; he then served as Chairman Emeritus since 2009. During his Board tenure and especially his Chairmanship, Mr. Bogle built upon the foundation established by Dr. Hoffman and helped to lead an historic School renaissance, characterized by significant campus enhancements, robust admission, a strengthened endowment and expanded programmatic offerings.

Blair’s transcendence to a boarding school of national and international prominence is unequivocally a result of Mr. Bogle’s leadership and the deep loyalty to his alma mater that enabled him to attract great talent to the Board and the School. He was named Blair’s Alumnus of the Year in 1990 and received the School’s inaugural Citation of Merit, its highest honor, that same year. The Citation noted that more than anyone in Blair’s history, Mr. Bogle “embodied the notion that one man can make all the difference.”

Mr. Bogle’s Blair philanthropy encompasses every facet of the School. He is a benefactor of faculty support and teaching excellence through the John C. and Eve S. Bogle Teaching Prize, and his many gifts include those that have generously supported the construction of Bogle Hall, Blair’s science building; Armstrong-Hipkins Center for the Arts; Hardwick Hall, the School’s athletic and activity center; and the Tournament squash court. Especially dedicated to the support of scholarship aid for deserving students, Mr. Bogle established the Bogle Brothers Scholars Program in 1968, which has since provided the gift of a Blair education to nearly 200 students. Mr. Bogle delighted in meeting his scholars at an annual luncheon and kept in touch with many of them long after graduation.

Beyond his involvement at Blair, Mr. Bogle also gave of himself as chairman of the board of the National Constitution Center from 1999 to 2007; as a generous supporter of Princeton University; as a trustee of the American Indian College Fund from 1996 to 2002; and as a leader and member of numerous organizations, including the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He received honorary doctorate degrees from more than a dozen colleges and universities.

Mr. Bogle leaves an enduring legacy of care for Blair Academy, one that will live on in his many gifts to the School, his kindness to all he encountered on campus, and his legendary leadership, vision and service as a Trustee. His loving family survives him, including his wife of 62 years, Eve; his brother, William Y. “Bud” Bogle III ’45; six children; 12 grandchildren, including Rebecca Renninger ’04, Molly England ’09 and Christopher St. John ’10; and six great-grandchildren. Mr. Bogle’s twin brother, David C. Bogle ‘47, predeceased him in 1994.

Watch Swim Meet in Real Time

On January 30 at 4 p.m., Blair’s swimmers go up against High Point High School and Wallkill Valley High School. Watch the meet live here.

Latin

The study of ancient languages is alive and well at Blair Academy. This year, nearly 60 students are enrolled in Latin 1 through Advanced Placement (AP) Latin—with one senior tackling ancient Greek. Classics teachers Chris Sheppard and Kelsie Fralick could not be more enthusiastic about the subjects they are teaching, and students are learning that so-called “dead” languages are anything but. As Latin 4 student Summer Will ’19 put it, “Latin is entirely and exquisitely alive, thriving in all Romance languages across the world and hidden in nearly every crevice of history.”

Learning Latin

Mr. Sheppard and Ms. Fralick have designed a six-course succession of Latin study that not only teaches students the language but also brings ancient history and culture alive. “Acquiring a language provides keys to a culture that you wouldn’t otherwise possess,” Mr. Sheppard said. “As our students move from pure comprehension in their first years of study to analysis, synthesis and evaluation in Latin 4 and 5, they gain an understanding of not just what a text says but how and why, and connections to modern-day language and culture become apparent.”

Students begin their study of the language in Latin 1 and 2 with an introduction to grammar in culturally immersive readings; the reading of successively more complex texts is a key component of Latin courses all the way through AP. In Latin 3, students encounter “real Latin,” as Ms. Fralick describes it, as they translate extended, unadapted texts of Cicero and Catullus and delve into poetry and oratory. With the reading of Ovid, Virgil, Caesar and other ancient authors in Latin 4 and 5 (AP), advanced students deepen their knowledge of ancient Rome as they accurately translate the works and analyze them from a historical and cultural perspective. 

Cam Bentley ’20, a Latin 4 student, has been increasingly challenged as she has progressed in the language and increasingly rewarded, too. “Through our translations of Ovid this year, we have come to discover the complexity of Roman culture, religion and daily life,” she said. “We spend time discussing everything from the importance of myths to literary devices to ancient feminism. Although I sometimes find myself frustrated with the complexity of Ovid, Mr. Sheppard always does a great job of acknowledging my frustration and using it to pull me back in. I have really enjoyed working with Mr. Sheppard and can’t wait for another semester of Latin.”

Summer observed that even with all of the translation she and her classmates have done throughout their studies, translation itself is not the central aspect of Latin classes. “We Latin scholars (as Mr. Sheppard calls us) must go beyond the simple translation and discern precisely what the text implies,” she said. “We investigate questions such as: Why was this written? Why did the author portray this character the way he did? How does this relate to other authors of this time? With the tools to pick apart the language and the encouragement to delve into its meaning, exploring Latin has deeply expanded my ability to learn and think critically.”

Beyond the Books

To help their students engage even more deeply with Latin texts, Mr. Sheppard and Ms. Fralick have incorporated a number of hands-on projects into their classes, including the staging of a play, translation of English songs into Latin, creation of music videos and the translation of actual fragments of ancient papyrus. In the papyrus project, Latin 4 students head to the Chiang Center computer lab where they use large-screen monitors to study digitized scrolls and papyri from Germany’s Berlin Papyrus Database. They create line-by-line translations of the Latin text and, essentially, do the work of classicists to unlock the ancient writings. 

Noting that classics is an inherently interdisciplinary field of study, Mr. Sheppard brought Blair’s Director of Vocal Music Ryan Manni into his Latin classes last year to highlight the ancient language’s musical roots. He would like to bring in theatre, math, English and science teachers in the future to help Latin students appreciate connections to those disciplines, as well.

Outside the classroom, Mr. Sheppard and Ms. Fralick traveled to Rome with Blair classics students in summer 2018, and they hope orchestrate similar trips every couple of years. “Classically themed travel helps our students see that this language and culture they have been studying is not as far away as they might think,” Ms. Fralick said. “Even though Latin was created and spoken thousands of years ago, the ability to experience the language amid the culture of modern-day Rome certainly helps students connect more deeply to it.”

Knowledge for Life

“Ms. Fralick makes it fun to go to class every day,” said Latin 1 student Timmy Xi ’22. “Her teaching has made my first experience learning a new language a lot more enjoyable than I was honestly expecting it to be. I've learned not only the basics of the Latin language but also about Roman culture and a bit of Greek, too. I'm excited for the next few years of Latin and maybe even more Greek!”

Cam will likely wrap up her study of Latin at the end of the year, but she believes she will carry the lessons she has learned with her forever. “I love how much the language has transitioned to my success in other classes, specifically the humanities,” she said, noting that she has strengthened her command of English grammar through her study of Latin. “Latin has taught me how to solve problems that initially seem really scary by breaking them down and asking why. Regardless of the challenges I face, I now have the tools to take them piece by piece, be flexible and build something beautiful.”

Having completed Blair’s entire Latin curriculum by the end of her junior year, Linda Tong ’19 is currently exploring ancient Greek, and she will likely continue her study of classics in college. “What I love most about studying classics at Blair is finding the intersections of the ancient and the modern and seeing how the texts I read impact my own worldview,” she said. “Because of the flexibility of being in a one-person tutorial, I actually took a week off this fall to read Ovid's Metamorphoses (in Latin) with Mr. Sheppard. We had an amazing discussion about how Ovid can be read as a commentary on current social issues. Mr. Sheppard and Ms. Fralick have also helped me explore my interest in the classics outside the classroom through Blair's Classics Club and other activities. I am incredibly inspired by Mr. Sheppard and Ms. Fralick's teaching. Studying the classics has been a very meaningful part of my Blair experience.”

Summer chimed in with praise of her classics experience at Blair. “Latin is my past, present, and future. It silently corrects my diction and syntax; it is a backseat driver in any form of communication I attempt,” she said. “I will be forever grateful for the knowledge and joy Latin has provided me.”