Columbust – 2 Weeks late

If you know Hyde at all, you know the time-honored tradition of the “bust.”  It typically occurs after a few student ethics violations – smoking, alcohol, cheating, etc. – come to light and further probing and conscience-exploration over the following day or so reveal a whole lot more.

It’s like looking under a rock.  Whereas a number of schools might simply choose to not look under that rock, at Hyde we always look…….:-). 

While the bust can’t be scheduled, I have observed that there are some perennial trends.  There is often one in mid-October — I call it “Columbust.” — and we commonly experience one in mid-February (“The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre”). 

Anyway, the bust typically wraps up with a student-run meeting.  Finding myself in the midst of one last week in Woodstock, I took a seat in the back of the theatre and took it all in.

I couldn’t help but admire the way seniors Mac McGuire and Mary Barnet led the school meeting.  It was like herding cats for those two and they stayed in the batter’s box throughout.  (Mixed metaphor, I know.)  Anyway, before long the meeting evolved into sharing on the theme of “What I’m currently struggling with is….” 

Invited to say something at the end, I began by noting that Team Hoyt – the amazing father and son triathlon team who presented at the recent Woodstock Fall Family Weekend – had they been at the meeting, would never have said, “We’re struggling with cerebral palsy.”  They were too busy trying to improve their swim, bike, or transition times.  (Check out www.teamhoyt.com) Hence, I encouraged the students to move from “What I’m struggling with is….” to “What I’m committed to accomplishing is…” 

I then told of my own senior year at Hyde and reminisced on three measurable commitments I had crystallized back then: 

1) Go to Harvard.
2) Be the #1 academic student in the Class of 1972.  (We did rank-in-class back then.)
3) Be the best lacrosse player in the state of Maine.  

So, how’d that work out? 

1) I did not get into Harvard. 
2) I never hit #1 in the class.
3) Maine’s All-America slot went to a Hebron kid. 

However…
1) I did get to go to a great college.
2) I was ranked in the top 5 in my class.  (I had historically been about #10 or #12 before that.)  That probably made the above 1) possible.
3) I made the state all-star lax team.

Moral of the story: Shoot for the moon and you may get a star or two.*  Focus on your struggles and you will….stay focused on your struggles.

(* My colleagues in the science department have informed me that “moon” and “star” need to be reversed in the above paragraph.  Hey, I’m a history guy.)

Onward,  Malcolm Gauld