Class Notes

Gratitude for Teachers at DA

September 17, 2013

I have been teaching, coaching, and advising now at St. Paul’s School for 18 years. My wife and I have four boys, two in college, one starting at St. Paul’s, and one who is in seventh grade. Parenting is getting easier. I had a one-year stint at Deerfield my first year out of college, two years at the American School in Switzerland, and one year at Hotchkiss before getting married and going to work for the Harvard Admissions and Financial Aid Office for five years prior to coming to St. Paul’s.

I am convinced I have been teaching so long because of the great teachers I had at Deerfield: Tim Engelland, whose door was always open to my as new student on Plunkett East I. Peter Estes, John O’Brien, and Tim Littwin who challenged me in the English classroom, even when I was ready to check out in my senior spring. Melvoin, Foster, Mo Hunt, Larry Boye, Jim Smith–we were surrounded by wonderful role models, coaches, and teachers, and what a difference that made for all of us.

Had a chance to get back to Deerfield last summer to attend “Look to the Hills,” a nice opportunity to get a peak back in the classroom and know that the teaching is still as excellent as it always was. Enjoyed a terrific poetry course with John Palmer, and Michael Carey guided us capably through the poetry of Walt Whitman and the Civil War photography of Matthew Brady. I teach American literature and history at St. Paul’s, so I had an even deeper appreciation for Michael’s expertise.

As Head Coach of the Boys Cross-Country team, I cross paths with Mike Schloat, Head Coach of the Deerfield Program, who does an excellent job with a top-notch team. And of course our classmate, Mark Dancer, and my next-door neighbor in Plunkett East I, who has dedicated so much of his career to Deerfield Academy. I am equally grateful to Mark’s dedication to the school.

I had a chance to visit with John O’Brien this summer in Waterford, Maine where my family still owns and runs Birch Rock Camp for boys. OB was built a shrine to Thoreau on Lake Keoka, and it was a real treat to visit his own version of Thoreau’s cabin, built to scale.

And next year, I hope to take a sabbatical after many years of teaching, and I plan to travel, write, and finally get to go on Webby’s September fishing outing in Montana. Those pictures of the big fish that Reed and my classmates catch always make me weep because I can never be there. Next year, Webby, I will be casting flies by your side.

Cheers to all in the Class of ’79! See you at the 35th!

Toby Brewster

Class of 1979