The Feeling Abides

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How have alumni brought the feeling of the Catlin Gabel community into their college, home, and work lives?
From the Spring 2010 Caller

Catlin Gabel is the standard I have set for a great independent school and is the backbone of my vision for being on the board of Cascades Academy of Central Oregon. I cannot think of an experience that has had a stronger influence on the way that I hope to help my community through nonprofits, education, parenting, and business. —Danielle Easly Nye ’87

Catlin Gabel taught me that I can work hard and have fun doing it. It also taught me to take pride in my work, do the best I can, and to not be afraid to keep learning. However, I think the most important thing I learned is to question without judgment. Why do we do it that way? What’s the reason for that? How can we do it better? Why did they put it together like that? —Ashley Tibbs ’92, at right, in his role as CGS basketball coach
Catlin Gabel provided me with a foundation in critical thinking skills that I use on a daily basis in the course of my work as a police sergeant. This helps me complete a wide range of tasks, which include everything from managing critical incidents, to addressing training issues, to navigating the various shades of gray I encounter on the street. Although I didn’t fully appreciate it at the time, Catlin Gabel also instilled in me the importance of service to others, which manifests itself through my commitment to providing service to the community when I go to work, as well as service to the department. Finally, Catlin Gabel gave me an appreciation for learning that has led me to pursue various classes and interests that enrich both my personal and professional life. —Joe Okies ’90
I’m not sure how much I truly understood the value of “the feeling of Catlin Gabel” until long after graduation. When I think of Catlin Gabel, I think of a near-perfect balance of critical analysis with an environment supportive of intellectual risk. Much is made of the importance of collaboration in professional work, yet as my career life advances I find that the truly excellent examples of effective interpersonal intellectual teamwork are rare. The “life of the mind” that Catlin Gabel espouses thrives in large part because of its environment of tempered judgment. The line between a stupid idea and a brilliant one is sometimes entirely dependent on the willingness of the audience to engage in the discussion, and Catlin Gabel never lacked for engagement. —Justin Andersen ’91
Catlin Gabel gave me the confidence to be an independent thinker. My teachers fostered an environment where friendly debate was not only encouraged, but expected. In my business (the entertainment industry), a lot of the creative decisions we make are entirely subjective. So you can’t be afraid to throw your opinion out there even if you think you’ll be in the minority. But ultimately, you have to have the confidence in yourself to concede that the best ideas aren’t always your own. —Maril Davis ’90
Upon arriving at the University of Virginia, I was dismayed at the lack of on-campus recycling bins. I brought this up with a professor who shared my discomfort in throwing away recyclables. Through some political maneuvering, we were able to procure funding for bins to go alongside the trash receptacles in high-traffic areas around the grounds. I credit all of this to my 4th grade experience at Catlin Gabel, where recycling was ingrained into daily life. —Markus Hutchins ’02