I was a Hyde junior watching graduation when Joel McCann ’71 (far left) first presented the Victory Bell to the school as a class gift. Forty-seven years later… let that sink in, early alums… when he and Jim Irving ’71 (middle grey-suited guy) drove through campus last winter, they felt that the bell looked tired. After some discussion with some of us old-timers, we not only agreed, we also realized that Hyde’s evolution has caused the proverbial center of the school to crawl from the Mansion over toward the southwest corner of the Sunken Garden.
(Note: Know that the Mansion itself thanks us for finally coming to this realization, its ghosts having chimed in, “Hey, happy to continue serve as a home for special occasions and serious study, but enough of this daily teenage wear-and-tear stuff. S’about time you all finally realized that I’m now over 100 years old! My reply: “Our Bad.”)
Anyway, in a Hyde first, Joel, Jim, and Craig Mael ’71 committed the Class of ’71 to the task of re-gifting their gift. The design and artisanship (think: stonework, graphics, blacksmithing, etc.) took several months as the new home took shape for the bell. While the bell remains the same, it now has a beautiful granite and cast iron base, complete with a re-dedication to Hyde founder Joseph Gauld and a classic old & bold school inscription (in caps!) in the middle: “WINNERS NEVER QUIT AND QUITTERS NEVER WIN.” Furthermore, the engraved names of each and every class member encircle the granite base of the structure.
Yesterday we dedicated it. (In the above photo, that’s Jon Bell ’71, classmate and current member of the Board of Governors.) During the ceremony, Jim, Joel, and Jon shared remembrances of their own Hyde student days and explained their reasons for taking this project on. As a final word, Joel urged the community to adopt a broad view of the nature of victory: “As great as athletic victories are, we hope you will use the bell to celebrate personal and team victories of all types like the arts, academics, and that young man who won the Maine State Chess Championship [Ed. – Bach Nguyen ’20] last weekend.”
Not only was a good time had by all, only a few hours later, our guys’ varsity lacrosse team returned to the bell to celebrate a hard-fought 16-9 win over a strong Brunswick High School team. They seemed to like it… a lot!
Many thanks to the Class of ’71!