The man gives for a living. If you doubt it, visit his classroom. From the few slices of cheesecake left over from the last class, to the posters that seem to scream that Latin is worth learning, it is clear that this man is devoted to the school.
Classics teacher Peter Brush was hired by Frank Boyden 43 years ago. Now the last remaining faculty member who can make that claim, he reflected on his time at the school with vivid clarity as he considered his retirement this May.
Sitting with the comics section of the Greenfield Recorder folded across his lap while on duty in the common room of Field Dormitory, he recalled his first course load, which years he lived in various dorms, memories of coaching the thirds’ cross country team in 1966, taking over the reins of the program and ultimately handing them off.
While telling those stories, he sprinkled in the names of fathers and sons he had taught, coached, and lived with and recounted the school’s history in minute detail.
Fellow Latin teacher John Burke reflected on Mr. Brush’s profound involvement in Deerfield life. “In a school that so values the teacher-student relationship, this is what you’re talking about.”
Mr. Brush served as a teaching mentor for Mr. Burke six years ago.
“He has a real knack for bringing classics to a popular level,” Mr. Burke added. “There’s a very wry way about his teaching that is both challenging and calming. He understands there’s a dimension to teaching Classics that requires a certain levity.”
Pat Adams ’09, who has learned Latin from Mr. Brush for three consecutive years, described him as an energetic teacher whose passion for the subject is unmatched.
Chemistry teacher Steve Anderson, who took over Mr. Brush’s cross country team after serving as an assistant to it for the past 12 years, described the role played by Mr. Brush in leading the team as “paternal.”
And Mr. Brush also shows this quality while nourishing and nurturing generations of Deerfield students in the dorms. His recent years in John Williams were marked by famous daily feeds such as shrimp cocktail.
Dr. Burke noted that Mr. Brush’s retirement marks the “passing of a generation.” He has worked with several heads of schools, seen the effects of technology within the community, and witnessed the return to co-education. He is “a repository of institutional memory.”
And Mr. Brush’s favorite memories of the past 43 years? “All of them.”