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The Little Things and the Big Thing About Baseball

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By Chris Potts

From the Spring 2010 Caller

The argument that “baseball is a game of little things” is, to me, unassailable, as is the philosophy that high school sports should be used as vehicles to teach students lessons that can carry them through the rest of their lives. Holding these truths in tandem, you quickly realize that the avenue to reach these larger lessons is to build a cohesive team, a community of ballplayers. Unfortunately, there’s no handbook for this, there’s no one way to do it. Just like baseball, it’s putting all of the little things together in the right way.

When I interviewed for this job, I was told, “Baseball at Catlin Gabel is on life support.” But when I first met the team, I realized that they were a great group of young players who needed somebody to give them some discipline, some foundation.

We’re not a winning program. In my five years at Catlin Gabel, we’ve lost many more games than we’ve won. It’s not even close. I would argue, however, that we’re an extremely successful program. Each year, this group of students comes together. We’ve grown in numbers every year. Our baseball team is an inclusive and incredible, albeit unique, community.

What follows isn’t that elusive handbook for team-building. It’s a look at a few of the little things that we’ve done together.

Each year I choose a theme around which to build our team mentality. The theme for our first year was “Building Something We Can Be Proud Of.”
 When we won our first game, I worried that our players were so excited that they’d offend the other team. Then again, when you haven’t won a baseball game your entire high school career, wouldn’t you jump up and down and scream when you got your first “W?”
 
February 26—Manhood—Outside the gym, after practice, I pull one of the new players aside. He’s been struggling this week. He’s a good player (we’d say, “he’s got a lot of upside”), but we need to rebuild some of his fundamentals. He’s also never had to work this hard, physically, ever.
 
There’s a big transition between middle school sports and high school varsity athletics. We’ll be playing against 200-pound gorillas looking to play in college. Wrestlers. Linebackers. The kid I’m talking to is 14 and could probably make the scale hit 140 if I handed him a 20-pound dumbbell.
 
We do a lot of physical conditioning. The younger players typically take some time to adjust. During this physical adjustment period, the boy I’m talking with has lost all accuracy with his throwing. We’d say “he couldn’t hit the ground if he dropped the ball.” I’ve been playing catch with him during warm-ups to protect the other players. I’ve seen tears well up in his eyes during three of these first four practices. Time for a chat.
 
At one point in the conversation, I say, “This is why I love baseball, because you can learn lessons through the sport that you can apply to the rest of your life. Right now you need to learn to make the adjustment from 8th grade baseball to high school baseball. Just like how you’re making the transition from 8th grade academics to high school academics. In both things you’re going to have to get tough, you’re going to have to work harder than you’ve ever had to before and you’re going to have to learn to control your emotions. I think you can do it.”
 
I do think he can do it. I need a #3 starter.
During my second year, the theme was “Playing the Game with Class.”
March 1—Playing in the Mud—It’s still a little wet to be using the whole field, but we need to put in defense and relays as soon as possible. The first game is two weeks away. The field is still holding too much water.
 
The players circle around the third base cutout, and we talk about the geography of our field. There are three layers. First, there’s the soil underneath everything. That’s what the grass grows out of. Surrounding the bases, there’s a layer of clay that builds the foundation for the cutouts. On top of that is a top-dressing. I explain to the players that this stuff is baked at like 5,000 degrees so that it becomes porous and can absorb three times its weight in water. This, I believe, is the science portion of baseball.
 
We squat around the perimeter of the cutout, grabbing chunks of clay that we’ve churned up during defense and conditioning, and rolling them into balls. When we’ve grabbed the biggest chucks, I have the players throw them so that I can lay them out for one of my captains to tamp back into the clay foundation.
 
One of the sophomores says, “I get to throw mud at my baseball coach.” I’m not too fond of how this sounds, but I don’t think I can argue with him.
The theme of my third year was “Learning to be Competitive.”
We drive a long way to get to some of the games. To the Pacific Ocean, literally. The team was shocked when I instituted the no-headphones, noelectronics, human-interaction-only rule. “Why can’t we listen to our iPods?” The answer was no.
 
In deference to my totalitarianism, a group of students began singing on the bus rides home. They got very into it, going so far as to print out lyrics.
 
It was awful: adolescent boys screeching the lyrics to Britney Spears, NSYNC, the Backstreet Boys. It was an assault on human musical aesthetics. It was the sound of my group of boys coming together. It was music to my ears.
 
The dynamics always change after our first road trip.
During my fourth year, our theme was “Working as a Team.”
Close to the deadline for this article, I get an email from a former player. He’s hoping to be in town and catch the end of a Friday double-header. I want him to come to the game, to cheer us on, and for the younger players to realize that they’re a part of something bigger than the second game of a double-header.
This year’s theme is “Respect for the Game.”
April 26—Heart—An unusually large wet-weather system has rolled in. We’re in the gym, hitting practice balls, tennis balls, softies, and whiffles. We’re looking ahead at the season: 8 tough games in 11 days. The arms are ready. Though we’re having difficulty getting on base, I’m fielding the best defense in my time at Catlin Gabel. We’ve seen each of the teams in our league. We know we’re the underdogs, but there’s a palpable sense that we can put it all together and make a run at the playoffs. I’d say our biggest asset is our cohesiveness. This team is all heart.
Chris Potts is an outdoor education teacher at Catlin Gabel and is in his fifth year as the head baseball coach.

 

When Homework is More than Homework

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By Leah Weitz '10

From the Spring 2010 Caller

I’ll admit it—when I found out that my Spanish V Honors class had required community service hours, I was miffed. I had essays to write, classes to teach, tests to take—and geez, now this? But our teacher, Lauren Reggero-Toledano, insisted that to supplement our class focus on the Hispanic presence in Oregon, each student should go out into the larger community and engage in community service with an organization catering to Hispanics.

 
The only Hispanic community service opportunity of which I had any awareness at all was Homework Club. Here’s what I knew: Catlin Gabel students went somewhere and helped Hispanic kids with their homework, and staffer Mark Lawton plugged it in assembly a lot. With no more information than that, and slightly resentful of the fact that I could be preparing for my next history test instead, I hopped on a bus after school one Thursday bound for this mysterious and elusive Homework Club.
 
What I found was wonderful.
 
Homework Club, which is run by Bienestar, a Hispanic farm worker housing service, meets twice a week after school. Five to 10 Catlin Gabel students go to the community center at Reedville Apartments, where we meet up with 20 to 30 kids ranging from 1st through 6th grade. First we help them with their homework, which may consist of writing short stories, completing work sheets, or studying vocabulary. After their homework is done, the students practice reading to us. After a heartily nostalgic dose of Dr. Seuss or Maurice Sendak, it’s play time. Catlin Gabel tutors and their students mix while completing puzzles, playing hide and seek, or coloring with crayons.
 
I work with the 3rd graders. Note that I say work, not worked—for all of my moaning and groaning that first afternoon about the hassle of spending three hours helping kids with their homework instead of completing my own, I somehow found the time to come back . . . every week. It’s worth it to watch the kids improve, knowing that you’re the one who taught them how. Take Brenda, whose shy smile hides a spunky and charismatic attitude. When I first met her, her reading skills were excellent—but sometimes she would suddenly halt, staring at a word with blank eyes, before struggling through it and resuming her regular flawless read. I soon learned that Brenda, to whom English is a second language, had never seen or heard a lot of these words before. Now we sit with a dictionary next to us when we read, with the frequency of pauses always decreasing.
 
It’s not just Brenda’s vocabulary that has grown during the months I’ve been working with her. After a few months she hugged me goodbye for the first time, melting my heart like butter, before skipping off like it was no big deal. The next week she showed me a story she had written for school, featuring a character she’d named Leah. Her eyes sparkled as she laughed at my stunned expression. I’m not the only one fortunate enough to have blossoming relationships with these kids: take junior Lily Ellenberg, another Homework Club regular, who finds herself greeted by a cheering cluster of 1st graders every time she arrives.
 
Over the past months at Homework Club I’ve come to realize that the relationships we have with these kids isn’t just serving them alone. While my 3rd graders have been learning how to multiply, I’ve been learning how to teach—and realizing how much I love it. I can safely say that I have Homework Club to blame for my projected career choice, and I deeply thank Lauren for pushing me to get involved—because at Homework Club, teaching can be a learning experience too.
Leah Weitz ’10 chose to intern at Bienestar for her senior project. She will attend the University of Puget Sound this fall.   

 

Teachers & Students: The Heart of the Community--Dave Tash

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Upper School math

"I treat my students like people"

From the Spring 2010 Caller

I don’t really know what I do that creates good relationships with my students, but I’ll make some observations. When I have a good relationship with kids, it’s not because I decide to get close to them. They choose if they want you to be close and what they’ll share. You can fool little kids into thinking you care when you really don’t—you can do the same with adults. But teens seem to know if you like them or not. If you like someone, they like you back.

 
There’s a tendency for teachers to like good students, but that’s not a good test for what kind of person they are. If they’re strong in your area, that doesn’t make them a good person; if they are weak in your area, that doesn’t make them bad.
 
I kid around a lot in class, and my students love it. I like high schoolers’ sense of humor. I went on stage at a coffeehouse after a student asked me, “How do you feel about public ridicule?” If I pass it out, then I need to take it as well. I teach with a sense of humor, but I don’t think I hurt any feelings—I hope not. Their honesty is also a very good thing. If they don’t like something, they’ll tell you. I just go out and have fun and be who I am, and kids respond to it and like it. As long as we’re learning math together, we might as well have fun. I like these kids and want them to go on and do well in life. I wouldn’t teach if I didn’t care.
 
I’m a former Navy SEAL. I was injured on a night jump from 20,000 feet. It broke my back, and I was already blind in one eye, so the Navy retired me. The kids know that I was a SEAL. It’s a big deal to some of them. They probably give me more slack than I’d have otherwise. I’m seen as different from most teachers because I had a whole life in the military before I taught.
 
I didn’t get into teaching to teach. When I got out of the Navy I went to Idaho and thought I wanted to coach. I helped coach a football team, but I had to be a teacher to be a head coach. So I earned my degree in math and my teaching credentials. I then started teaching in Alaska, where I didn’t coach football, but became much more interested in education. I was actually the principal of a little school in Alaska.
 
I want to motivate kids. Kids sometimes say that they’ve learned a lot in my class, and that’s because of their attitude; if they like you, they don’t want to let you down.
 
At Catlin Gabel, all the kids care about their education. I’ve told them, “I won’t care more about your grade than you do, but if you want to work on it, I’ll work with you.” I’ll never turn down a kid who needs help. I’ll always find time.
 
Students here are just good people. I respect them. I trust them to play fair. I expect them to be honest. I’d rather be that way than assume they’ll cheat. I occasionally get to teach about integrity. I treat my students like people. They are people.
Dave Tash began teaching at Catlin Gabel in 2004. He graduated from Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho, with a BS in math, and from the University of Utah with a BS in computer science. He has pursued graduate studies at the University of Alaska–Anchorage.  

 

Teachers & Students: The Heart of the Community--Pat Walsh

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Upper School history

"Students know I'm on their side"

From the Spring 2010 Caller

What makes teaching young people so special is that they give back so much. We cover subjects, but I’m willing to let there be serendipity. They know that if something occurs to them, they can raise their hands, and we’ll kick it around. They learn American history, but they also learn that what they know is valued. That’s what learning is: constantly applied knowledge.

 
I talk about my own experiences, and my family’s ancestors. I talk about my father, and why he voted for Eisenhower, or signed a loyalty oath to teach at the University of California. History is about stories and trends, but it operates on a human level. When we talk about immigration, I talk about when my family got here from Ireland, and I ask if they know when their families came here. When we talk about the growth of labor unions, I talk about my grandfather, who joined the United Auto Workers. I use his story as color in terms of big trends, like the explosion of union membership.
 
What happens before and after class is important. We talk about our families, and I tell them about taking my mother, who has Alzheimer’s, out to lunch. I’m trying to show them there’s no boundary here. Our lives are saturated with history, and an educated person brings that to bear on daily life. I find that pleasurable. I model behavior for my students: this is how someone who is curious about the world lives his life.
 
I was more professorial when I started teaching at Catlin Gabel. I’ve become more informal: I walk in, say hello, ask what’s for lunch today. The feeling is that we’re all in it together and having a good time. If I act naturally, it seems to match what students are looking to find in a teacher. I never have to dumb it down for them. Students are respectful, kind, and polite to me. No one needs to prove who’s in charge.
 
I try to create bonds with students during extracurricular activities. Besides coaching Mock Trial, I play basketball at lunch with sophomore boys. It’s great when a student comes in his first day of history and we know each other from playing basketball. He’s already seen me in this vulnerable place, since I’m old and slow, and has come to see me as a person.
 
At C&C you get to know students on a completely different level, more as a mentor than a teacher. Students are free to argue or disagree, and my opinion doesn’t matter more than theirs. It’s not social or academic, it’s community-building. We talk about assemblies or special schedules, or admire someone’s clothes. Sometimes kids bring things they’ve baked. It mixes up different social groups and ages, and that sloshes out into the rest of their school experience.
 
Students know I’m on their side. They’ve learned that their success has nothing to do with how I feel about them. I don’t like a student better because he or she does better in class. It’s all about them as people. If they’re struggling in my class, I get to know them best and have the best relationship, because we get to meet and chat. I try to give them a taste of success so they don’t feel like a bad student or a loser. Sometimes life makes it hard to be successful. I have yet to meet a bad kid at Catlin Gabel, just kids having a hard time.
Pat Walsh came to Catlin Gabel in 2006 from teaching at Minnesota State University, Concordia College in Minnesota, and the University of Texas–Austin. He was also a Fulbright lecturer in Germany. He is a graduate of the University of Texas–Austin and California State University–Chico, and he holds a PhD from the University of California–Berkeley.  

 

Teachers & Students: The Heart of the Community--Aline Garcia-Rubio '93

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Upper School science

"Sometimes all it takes is just reaching out"

From the Spring 2010 Caller
I respect students and listen to them. I listen to whatever they want to talk about: their dogs, their assignment. Spending time and looking each other in the eye shows that I care about them. And I really do care. I really get to know them in those after-class moments.
 
Sometimes it’s very natural and things just click with a student, and there’s an easy interaction. It’s harder when there’s friction. If there is, I make sure that I go and sit with those students. When students are active in the lab, I’ll stand next to them and interact with them as humans, beyond the content of the class. It doesn’t take much, and the students appreciate it.
 
I tell students little stories about who I am. They get a sense of me as a human being with a family, so I’m not a distant figure. I make myself vulnerable in appropriate ways. In my advanced class, in genetics and environment, we were talking about skin color. I showed them photos of my two children—one is blond, and the other is Mexicanlooking. We can talk about my kids in terms of biology, and it helps them explore who I am. Once we had some crickets escape, and we all chased them together. I wasn’t the all-knowing leader, but someone who could share in the humor of the situation.
 
I’m very deliberate. My students’ success depends on it. If we don’t have a connection, they won’t do well. If there’s not a connection, I ask my colleagues about the student. I continually watch my students’ affect. If I see changes, I tell them, I see you’re motivated, or tired, or angry, or sad, and ask what’s going on. In science their lives don’t come out as much as they might in other kinds of classes. But I do watch them, even if they don’t know I’m watching them in that way.
 
I try to be a part of whatever’s meaningful to students. I go on the senior trip, which is our last chance to cement those relationships. During Campus Day, or on trips or Winterim, we make the best connections. Together we have enriching experiences that invite conversation. Outside of class we let our guards down in different ways.
 
I feel proud to have a class that has six minority students in it. I take ownership of that. I tell them it’s cool. We create emotional connections and become part of each others’ lives. I think those are the common, invisible threads that strengthen the sense of community and identity. Teachers work deliberately to create those invisible threads. Sometimes all it takes is just reaching out to someone.
 
When he was first at Catlin Gabel my son felt anxious about walking to the curb alone. But he soon felt safe in the knowledge that people are watching out for him. His 1st grade class did a poetry unit, and he wrote a poem, “I Am From.” He wrote, “I am from Mexico, I am from Hawaii, I am from Portland, I am from I love you, I am from Catlin Gabel.”
Aline Garcia-Rubio ’93 spent her junior year at Catlin Gabel as an exchange student from Mexico City. She holds a medical degree from the Facultad Mexicana de Medicina, Universidad La Salle. She has been at Catlin Gabel for three years and previously taught at an international school in Mexico City and at Punahou School in Hawaii, under former Catlin Gabel head Jim Scott.

 

A Dream Playground We Built Together

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By Karen Katz '74

From the Spring 2010 Caller
What lifts spirits more than watching children run, swing, jump, and bounce on the playground adjacent to the Fir Grove? Answer: Watching them and knowing that my family, colleagues, and friends—my community—had a hand in building the structure that provides a magical venue for boundless, expressive play.
 
With little prodding, I can recapture 15-yearold memories of Lark and Schauff (former headmaster) drilling bolts into place and chatting about the state of education while the playground underpinnings took shape around them. I picture volunteer co-chairs Leah Kemper and Jennifer Sammons cheerfully gathering the troops, with the aid of bullhorns, to announce the next task requiring attention. And I remember tiny preschool hands sanding the boards that hold the playground together. Those once-tiny hands typed college application essays this year.
 
For five days in October 1995, the campus was a flurry of activity when hundreds of school families busied themselves from dawn until past dark building the playground. Torrential rains early in the week triggered complications but did not dampen our spirits as we mucked about in ankle-deep mud chatting, laughing, working, learning, working more, and scooping out buckets of standing water.
 
The work was hard and the mood was festive as the community came together with a common purpose. Everyone had a job—moms, dads, grandparents, teachers, trustees, alumni, friends, and kids of all ages. First graders rubbed bolts with bars of soap to make it easier to screw them in. Middle Schoolers shoveled gravel into wheelbarrows and put their muscle into urging their heavy loads across rugged terrain to lay the drainage. Upper School students, now raising families of their own, toiled alongside adults sawing, routing, and sanding miles and miles of railings.
 
Before the building process even began, students and teachers had worked together to plan how our playground would reflect the campus aesthetic and our children’s imaginations. Excitement intensified as students worked together to come up with drawings and ideas. When a design group requested a castle tower, the plans were adjusted to include majestic spires. The children insisted on multiple tire swings, hidey-holes, and a spiral slide, and incorporating the beloved wooden boat. Community members suggested every feature of our grand playground.
 
Tremendous volunteer effort went into organizing work crews, each with a crew boss to direct traffic, assign tasks, and make sure people were properly trained. Skilled carpenters took novice builders under their wings. The mother of a newborn baby took charge of volunteer check-in. The cooks among us, and parents with restaurant connections, labored tirelessly to feed the hungry crews. The food was fantastic, and meals in the Barn were raucous breaks from physical exertion. Occasionally, someone would break into song. “If I had a hammer. . . ”
 
Dappled sun filtered through the Fir Grove when everyone came together at the end of the week to christen our beautiful new playground. Gathered there, we got that goose-bumpy sense that we were part of something bigger than ourselves. With a new pair of Catlin Gabel-blue scissors Lark cut a ribbon made from paper cutout hands: tiny preschool hands and great big grown-up hands. Children exploded onto the playground in a whirl of arms, legs, flying hair, and whoops of joy. We looked around at our enormous accomplishment, the children’s smiling faces, and each other, consumed by a powerful feeling of community.
 
How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it is the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!
Robert Louis Stevenson
Karen Katz ’74 is Catlin Gabel School’s communications director. She has been at the school since 1986. Photos of 1995 playground construction by Karen Katz ’74 and Steve Bonini.  

 

Communitas: The Gift of Coming Together

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By Lark P. Palma, PhD, Head of School

From the Spring 2010 Caller

What is a community? It’s undoubtedly different for every person, and each of us may have many different intersecting or distinct communities in our lives. A school community, like the one we have here at Catlin Gabel, distinguishes itself because in the process of education we explicitly teach children how to become good members of their society and their world, and we model behavior constantly for them. We show our students that we are always there for them, and that they are surrounded by caring adults who are ready to catch them if they fall, both literally and metaphorically. Students who have been at Catlin Gabel for any length of time feel that this school community, in which they have been immersed for hours every weekday, and maybe even evenings and weekends, is an enormous part of their lives.

 
We are fortunate to have the sense of connectedness and formation of social networks here at Catlin Gabel that we do. Grade-level friendships among parents and children, sports team affiliations, interactions among divisions of the school, and extracurricular and other groups help weave the complex whole that is our school. So many different kinds of people make up this entity—from facilities workers to fundraisers, to teachers and students of all ages, and families of all backgrounds— that building community takes time, empathy, and trust.
 
Scott Peck, in his work The Different Drum, offers some useful ideas on how to think about community. He asserts that when people are able to move beyond fear of controversy or revealing of strong opinions and talk frankly with each other, greater community can occur. Sometimes these processes are difficult, even painful, but, as Peck says, at the end of the process true community can exist.
 
True community comes to fruition when we are each able to speak our truth about our feelings and ideas, when we are able to listen to and appreciate one another, and are able to subsume our own personal desires to the higher, social good. We endeavor to teach our students to be humane and open to others’ needs, that sometimes the needs of a few spotlight important issues that need to be addressed, that any community needs to order itself through its guidelines, and that often the needs of the community must trump the needs of the individual. That is why the notion of community is so complex and elusive. Good community is like good communication: you know it when you really have it, but sometimes the journey to that point is long and uneasy.
 
We struggle along on that journey together, for good and bad, old and young, and share our deepest selves in the process. All of the stories in this issue of the Caller explore this notion of community and offer wonderful examples of how we try to live true community every day. How can we not be successful with all of this effort?
 
Enjoy this issue of the Caller, and please accept an opportunity to come to one of the many events that secure true community here. It’s wonderful to join together and see how our children learn to be part of a greater whole.

 

"Yale Fan Chooses Harvard"

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The Harvard Crimson, June 2010

Faculty reach 100 percent participation in annual fund

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Bravo!

We are grateful for the outstanding efforts of Faculty-Staff Giving Committee members Kathy Qualman, Lynda Douglas, Ginny Malm, Kate Grant, Ron Sobel, Chris Balag, Chris Woodard, and Spencer White.

Thanks to everyone who made a gift to the 2009-10 Annual Fund. Your contributions directly support our students and our school.

Graduation 2010 photo gallery

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June 12, 2010

 

 

Upper School summer reading announced

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Dear Upper School Students,

We hope you will enjoy a summer filled with reading, and we encourage those of you already on campus to stop by the Upper School Library before your departure and pick up a few texts to peruse this summer. In addition to your leisure reading, all students will be required to read a book or two to keep their analytical skills in fighting trim and to prepare for English class in the fall. All Upper School students will read Billy Collins’ Sailing Alone Around the Room, in anticipation of the author’s visit to campus as the 2010 Karl Jonske Memorial Lecturer. In addition, freshmen, sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors will each read another book keyed to their fall courses. All of these books are now available in the Catlin Gabel bookstore, as well as at bookstores in the region. To make sure that everyone is on the same page in fall discussions of these works, your instructors request that you purchase the following editions of these texts:

All Upper School Students
Billy Collins, Sailing Alone Around the Room, Random House, 2002 (ISBN-13: 978-
0375755194)

English 9
John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men, Penguin, 2002 (ISBN-13: 978-0142000670)

English 10
Iris Murdoch, Under the Net, Penguin, 1977 (ISBN-13: 978-0140014457)

English 11
Toni Morrison, A Mercy, Vintage, 2009 (ISBN-13: 978-0307276766)

Senior Electives

Classical and Contemporary Rhetoric
David Foster Wallace, A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, Back Bay, 1998 (ISBN-13:
978-0316925280)

Infernos
R. W. B. Lewis, Dante: A Life, Penguin, 2000 (ISBN-13: 978-0143116417)

Modern and Contemporary Drama
Anton Chekhov, Chekhov: The Essential Plays, trans. Michael Heim, Modern Library,
2003 (ISBN-13: 978-0375761348)

Modern Queer Literature: From Whitman to Winterson
Jeanette Winterson, Written on the Body, Vintage, 1994 (ISBN-13: 978-0679744474)

Modernity and Modernism
Charles Dickens, Hard Times, ed. Fred Kaplan and Sylvere Mondod, Third
Norton Critical Edition, 2000 (ISBN-13: 978-0393975604)

Please complete this required reading before the first day of classes in anticipation of discussion and quizzes. Enjoy a healthy, restful summer.

—The Members of the English Department

 

Lifers photo gallery

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Members of the class of 2010 who have been at Catlin Gabel since preschool, kindergarten, or 1st grade

Click on any photo below to start the slide show.

Poet Billy Collins speaking at 2010-11 Karl Jonske Memorial Lecture

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Two-time U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins will return to the Catlin Gabel campus this fall, as a Karl Jonske Memorial Lecturer. His last visit was in 1999, the year of Karl Jonske's graduation, as a Jean Vollum Distinguished Writer.

The date for the Karl Jonske Memorial Lecture will be announced in late summer. Due to space limitations in our theater, this event will be open to Catlin Gabel community members only.

Upper School students will prepare for the lecture by reading Collins' Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems (2001) this summer. This volume will soon be available in the Catlin Gabel bookstore.

We also highly recommend Collins' latest collection, Ballistics (2008) to those who might be interested in his most recent work.

The "Billy Collins, Action Poetry" website, which offers a series of animated versions of his poetry, is a flat-out hoot: http://www.bcactionpoet.org

The Poetry Foundation has a bio and links to several poems and audio files: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/archive/poet.html?id=80600

Publication history for Collins can be found at http://www.billy-collins.com

The Karl Jonske '99 Memorial Lecture Series honors a devoted student of English and lover of the written word. Karl graduated from Catlin Gabel in 1999, where he was a National Merit semi-finalist, a member of the varsity tennis team, and a captain of the varsity basketball team. He went on to attend the University of Chicago, where he was active in community service, sports, and the Model United Nations.

His many interests included reading, writing, scuba, and travel. He had a passion for working with young people and volunteered with middle school youth as a math tutor. He hoped to become a professional writer. In addition to the lecture itself, the memorial has provided for the acquisition of 687 titles to date by the Upper School library.

Past lecturers have included poet and essayist Ted Kooser, journalists David Lamb and Sandy Northrop, photographer Anne B. Keiser, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Kidder.