I’m actually thinking of making bracelets, seriously, which say WWNT.
What Would Ned Think??
As many of you know Ned Hall was our founder. I had the privilege and honor to work with Ned for three years, and while at the time (I was only in my mid 20’s) I didn’t fully appreciate his dedication and vision, I now (in my late 40’s) can see the method to his madness a bit more clearly.
Ned was relentless, some would say dogmatic, with his vision. He felt very strongly that this was to be a school where young men learned how to live life, not just how to conjugate a verb or solve a word problem. Ned was always telling me that the true education was outside the classroom, and the best lessons were taught in our tired old Suburban or on the tennis court. Most people who met Ned felt he was old school, that he was stuck in his ways. But I would argue that he was actually ahead of his time. That the ideas he brought forth to start this little school were cutting edge for 1979, and most are relevant in 2016.
But this is not 1979. Things have changed. Milk isn’t $1.62 a gallon and a stamp isn’t 15 cents. Just as I can’t get away with wearing my bell-bottoms and wearing my hair in an Afro, we cannot run the school exactly the way it was then. What we can do, however, is stay true to Ned’s vision; we can ask ourselves, WWNT.
With our commitment to community service, co-curricular activities, Monday school cleanings and community dinners, we are holding true to what has made our school a unique and special place that has educated young men struggling in the academic mainstream for over 35 years now. We doggedly hold onto these principals because they define us, and more importantly, they work. Young men who spend time up here still get the support, academic rigor and care which Ned envisioned.
Like Ned did back in 1979, we continue to think outside the box and try new things. For example, academically we utilize technology that was unheard of even a few years ago and will soon be working in conjunction with Boothbay Region High School to offer full college courses. On the non-academic side, we are now lining up internships and work opportunities for the guys where college isn’t in their immediate future, and we can now have our guys fully participate in all of the extra-curricular activities offered at BRHS, including interscholastic sports Some would say we are changing too much, but I’d like to think Ned would have been pretty excited that we are doing all of this and still deliver a first class education up at his little school.
Yes, Ned would be upset that dinner is no longer at 7:30, and that we no longer have a formal dinner Sunday night. But I know he’d be happy that we now gather as a community every morning to talk about what’s coming up today, and to share any concerns any of us may have.
So, what would Ned think? I think he’d be proud of where Deck House is today. I think he’d love the classes we’re teaching, I think he’d be mad he would be banished to smoking his pipe only in his office, and I think he’d want us to keep going, to keep tinkering and to keep teaching. I think he’d love playing backgammon with the guys, and telling them stories; all the while teaching both the boys and himself. Most of all, however, I think he’d be upset that I spent this much time talking about him!