Often at Groton, the countless papers and tests make it easy to forget how lucky we all are to have such wonderful teachers. They are the people who push us to excellence and shape us into who we will be. This year, some fantastic faculty members will be leaving us for the next part of their lives’.
After spending over three decades in our community, Dr. John Tyler, director of de Menil Gallery and the current holder of Davison Chair in History, decided to retire at the end of this year.
Dr. Tyler began his teaching career at Groton in the fall of 1978, and has made a tremendous impact as a rigorous and inspiring history teacher. When he was head of the History Department, he believed that students should learn about religions other than Christianity and ancient civilizations outside Greece and Rome. Therefore, he helped design the Sacred Texts course, which replaced the original ancient history course limited to Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome and the Bible.
In addition to teaching, Dr. Tyler has also listed his experiences of running the de Menil Gallery and being a dorm head as his “Groton highlights. “
As he talked about his future plans, he said he looks forward to traveling year-round. Yet, his main focus would be the remaining three volumes of The Correspondence of Thomas Hutchinson. In fact, he started working with the letters of Thomas Hutchinson when he was writing his dissertation on the economic and political history of Boston at the time of the American Revolution.
“It’s hard to decide when to retire,” remarked Dr. Tyler, “but I guess it has to happen at some point. Plus, the longer I put it off, the harder it would be to complete the project. So, I guess it’s about time.”
Ever since arriving on the Circle in 1997, Ann Emerson has made a home in the Dillon Art Center—both for herself and for her students. Indeed, for nearly two decades at Groton, Ms. Emerson has brought her astute artistic eye and easy-going nature into her classes each and every day. From Third Form Visual Studies to painting classes to even her faculty-sponsored activities with students after school, she has helped inspire and cultivate the artistic passion of countless students with her own love for art and patient guidance.
Surely, her influence on her students and colleagues within the art department will endure, even after she leaves the Circle this year; her legacy of encouraging creative expression and joyful passion will remain at Groton for a long time to come.
Christopher Hampson, choral director and organist, arrived at Groton’s campus in the July of 2011 from St. Mark’s Episcopal Chapel in Storrs, Connecticut. After his arrival, he soon became involved in dorm life and began to teach classes centered on music. His first major act was to enroll the choir in the Royal School of Church Music, a global network of Anglican choirs. Mr. Hampson also traveled with the choir to the UK over spring break last year and to New York City this past long weekend, where they sang in two of the largest cathedrals in the world, St. Paul’s in London and Saint John the Divine in New York.
Mr. Hampson has successfully produced six CDs of the choir’s music, has been musical director of three musicals, started the second form chorister program, and recruited Fred MacArthur, a local organist who “has made such a positive impact on the choir this year.”
His fondest memories are of his advisee group and serving as a Third Form girls’ dorm head for the past two years. The Hampson family decided to make the big move across the country after Mr. Hampson’s wife, Sarah, was hired for a tenure-track professor position at the University of Washington at Tacoma. In his new home, Mr. Hampson plans on composing lots of new music and spending some much needed quality time with Sarah and their daughter Anna, who turns four in July. With appropriately big dreams, Mr. Hampson hopes to open his own choral school on the West Coast one day.
Attending St. Paul’s instilled a love for boarding school in Mr. McDougal at an early age. He taught at Nobles for a year before even setting foot on the beloved Circle. One of the most notable highlights of his time here was working with the students, and being able to get to know them both in and out of the classroom. He also enjoyed chaperoning the Rome trip this past spring break and showing Groton students around his favorite city. This fall, he plans on taking classes on graphic design at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.
Science teacher Mr. Clement has also enjoyed boarding school life; he had previously taught and ran a dorm at Fessenden (a school in Newton, MA) that enrolled students through the ninth grade. He knew he wanted to teach older students but still live at a boarding school, so Groton seemed like the right choice. During Mr. Clement’s two years here, he has especially loved good class discussions that led him to go through a problem that he might not have solved before and discussing with students the science related activities they had participated in over the summer. His time coaching the boy’s thirds basketball included many “exhilarating moments and comebacks.” He also remembers fondly the part he played as a doctor in his dorm’s skit last winter about the Powerpuff Girls. His plans for next year are still settling into place.
Before joining our faculty, Ms. Watkins knew of Groton through working in college admissions at Ohio Wesleyan University. Her territory was New England, meaning that she read Groton applications and visited the school as a representative. Originally filling in as a sabbatical replacement, she loved working with inspiring people and the unique experience of watching students advance during their time here. Ms. Watkins also appreciates the service aspect of Groton like volunteering at Our Father’s House and putting life into perspective. While helping with the tutoring program, she was able to see young students engaged in education and what our own students can do to help. A specific good memory of Groton was when after tutoring ended this spring, the kids wrote notes on bright yellow t-shirts for each of the Groton students. Ms. Watkins loves helping kids through the college process – watching them go from an idea to landing into their place. She will be returning to her family in Columbus, Ohio after commuting for three years. There she plans on starting her own private college counseling practice to fill the need for giving guidance to families. She also will volunteer in her community by serving on a board for arts education.
Although he thought it was a wonderful place, Mr. Quagliaroli and his family left the Westminster Schools in Atlanta, Georgia so that they could return to New England. A position for an English teacher and soccer coach at Groton seemed perfect and eventually he became involved in the college counseling process. Here he has loved the students, counseling, and coaching soccer, especially when the team went to the tournament (and the one time they won it!). Forming bonds with such a great student body over the past thirteen years is something Mr. Quagliaroli has appreciated. And as for his future, he has accepted a position as Director of College Counseling at St. Anne’s-Bellfield in Charlottesville, Viriginia.
After spending a year on the Circle, Mr. Skylar Prill will leave Groton at the end of this year. He taught both sections of French 2 and coached the Boys’ Cross Country, Thirds Squash, and the Girls’ Crew team. Mr. Prill is also sad that his time at Groton, which he describes as “an intimate community”, is coming to an end. He said that he is amazed by the “[t]he enthusiasm with which all of the Groton students engage with their work,” which, as he stated, “makes the Circle a very special place.”
While he has immensely enjoyed his one year at Groton, Mr. Prill stated that it has also been a learning experience for him. He said that no matter where he goes in life, he will apply what he learned about “how to successfully embody so many roles at once.” Before he officially leaves the Circle, Mr. Prill wants to share with the Groton community that if he comes back to visit Groton, he wants “to see Mr. Maqubela’s vision of Diversity and Inclusion accepted and implemented by every student here.”
Despite having been on the Circle for only one year, Mr. Prill’s many contributions to Groton have been extremely valuable. Even though he is not certain about his future plans, Mr. Prill will continue to inspire those around him.