Every year, as he’s driving home from the Annual Fund kick-off, Andy McElaney ’96 calls his father on his cell and thanks him, again, for sending him to Roxbury Latin.
The gala that inspires Mr. McElaney every October has followed the same format for years: cocktail reception followed by dinner and remarks, featuring a student and a member of the faculty. Yet every year the celebratory spirit and the candid perspectives of the student and the teacher leave attendees feeling “blown away”—to use the words of one of the guests. “I remember all over again why I love this place and believe in its mission.”
In his after dinner remarks, Joe Nero, a senior, described all the ways RL has changed him. One theme stood out—stepping out of one’s comfort zone and joining up. Taking up cross country as a neophyte sixie; signing up late for Junior Chorus when he noticed how his classmates enjoyed it; and competing with the debate team as an upperclassman—Joe espoused a great RL truth when he said, “We’re at our best when we are part of a team. And so many experiences at RL have ‘team’ at their core.”
The faculty speaker, Kate Stearns, is RL’s writer in residence. She is also an RL parent, having piloted Nate ’04 and Sam ’07 through years of carpools, late rehearsals, and athletic contests. The carpools, she said, were “an excellent source of information for the parent who understands that his or her job is to drive silently and invisibly,” and she provided an example of one of the four-way discussions, which were often “filled with ethical dilemmas and intricate plots.”
She offered this insight into teaching at RL: “You teach a discipline you love and are passionate about, but of course you are not only teaching English or Math or Latin, you are teaching Joe and Ayinde and Robert. Everything that happens has to do with our close acquaintanceship, which makes teaching here both a privilege and a lot of fun.”
A school, more than most institutions, can be constant yet always fresh because a stream of new students flows through it. Roxbury Latin knows that by knowing itself, loving its boys, and daily putting its mission into practice, it will merit future waves of gratitude from the present generation decades from now.See photos from the event here.