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Top Ten Reasons to Ring the Bell for Northwood

Top Ten Reasons to Ring the Bell for Northwood

by Stephen Reed 

This year, my first in Northwood’s alumni office, has given me the chance to reconnect and recollect with many former students from my five decades. My phone conversations and in-person meetings with you, as well as your responses to my pieces on our electronic media, have been heartwarming and gratifying to me. For that, much thanks.  

With the departure of the much-loved Stephanie Colby and Christine Ashe, the 2022 Ring the Bell campaign is now in the capable, creative hands of Tom Broderick. Having learned much in hundreds of conversations this year about what was most special about your experience here, I offer my top ten reasons to Ring the Bell for Northwood. 

10  The laughter – From John Friedlander’s announcement at school meeting that he had hidden Linda’s Christmas present where she’d never find it -- the oven, to Roger Loud’s hilarious introductions to the awarding of diplomas at graduations, to eight kids from perhaps five countries at a dining room table good-naturedly debating who is the best soccer player, Northwood has always applauded the witty, the whimsical and the waggish. 

9     Our Adirondack setting – Your gifts won’t do much to improve the mountains and lakes, but few schools offer such an idyllic venue to learn and grow.  

8      The times when you may have messed up – You lucked out. Faculty and/or administration thought you were worthy of another chance (and they were right). 

7      The opportunity to try something new - Perhaps you came here as a hockey player or skier or city dweller but found new ways to use your talent on rock faces or with the literary magazine or in the school band or, most recently, the robotics lab. 

6      The independence and responsibility - Sure, there was much supervision, but you made some important decisions in a new context, without parental eyes. 

5      The classes - We have had so many memorable teachers who did a brilliant job of getting you ready for college. Warren Witherell, Harry Fife, John Kluge, Ed Good, Brody, Marcy Fagan, Jill Walker are a few from a much longer list who made the classroom a playground for the curious mind. When Mike Maher was visiting the campus prior to accepting the position of Head, he asked a random student what he liked best about Northwood. The response: “The teachers here believe in me.” Enough said.  

4      Extra Help - Ever since I have been here, our teachers have offered their free time without complaint. When Dave Woo, for instance, appeared as a faculty flashback on Facebook, dozens applauded his efforts beyond the classroom. 

3     Growth in the non-academic area you loved most - For many, it was a sport, but for an equally impressive group, it was drama, art, photography, music.  

2      Friendships with faculty - I know most of you can think of a teacher who was there for you when it mattered. For many, the relationships have lasted well beyond graduation. From my perspective, I treasure the good fortune I have had in counting so many of you as friends for so long. One character in a Thomas Hardy poem says, “Instead of preaching forty years/I wish I had stuck to pipes and beers.” My friendships with so many of you have been splendid gifts, the reasons I have never regretted my decision to teach and to make Northwood my home. 

1       Of course, your friendships with your peers - This past fall, ’73 graduates Bob Collier and Pete Remington came to school and retook their Epitome photo sitting in a window frame of the West Wing of the Allyn Building. Five decades and not a speck of dust on that friendship.  

Ring the Bell for Northwood