Sometimes the sequence of your photo feed tells a story. Case In Point: Here’s the last photo I took in the Old Normal.
Dated March 8, 2020, it shows Tom Bragg’s Wolfpack squad after winning Hyde’s second consecutive New England Prep School championship. We celebrated. Then we sent the students and faculty off for Spring Break, telling them we’d see them in a couple of weeks. A week later, our campus was a ghost town. Six months passed before we had students on campus.
Here’s the next photo that shows up in my feed.
Before March was over, signs of Covid were omnipresent. I took these pics of downtown Bath storefronts on a single afternoon.
At Reid State Park, social distancing was in full force.
Even the Georgetown (ME, not DC) Frog was wearing a mask.
From March thru May, All Things Hyde occurred virtually. Spring Family Weekend was done on Zoom. So were graduation speeches.
This may not have been the way Ken Grant ’72 wanted to close out his stellar 40-year career on the faculty, but it’s hard to imagine a more fitting parting shot.
The campus was a ghost town during the summer of 2020. In addition to facing Covid, Bath was no stranger to the racial unrest and protests across the nation.
After things opened back up in late August, “In-Person” learning moved to The Great Outdoors. On any given day, I could look out my Mansion office window and see something happening.
Classes were outside.
So were Disco Groups
In place of our regular schedule of athletic games with rival schools, we did a lot of outdoor stuff. One beautiful September day, I took a group of students stand-up paddling on nearby Nequasset Lake.
We even did a fall performing arts show in the Sunken Garden and Zoomed it to parents.
Maine being Maine, things moved indoors come winter. In an effort nothing short of heroic, the community established community-wide “bubbles” at three distinct intervals: 1) the opening of school in the fall; 2) upon returning after the Holidays; 3) upon returning from spring break. In each case, students and faculty quarantined for a specified period and engaged in what might be called Covid Testing-Palooza. But we made the best of it. We also had some fun. The Best-of-7 hoop series between the JV guys and varsity women was a blast. I got to run with the ladies.
Beyond fun, we have also had inspiration. I speak for many in noting that the high point on this front was when Dorothy Counts-Scoggs joined our Evening Howl and told her stirring story of integrating a Charlotte, NC high school in 1957. Honest. Open. Riveting. An American hero.
Throughout the past year, I think everyone did something to fight off the boredom. I grew a beard.
To get my disapproving spouse and children off my back, I pledged to go clean shaven as soon as I got my second vaccine. Beard’s gone.
With six weeks to go before graduation — an event we have scheduled for on-campus and outside — spirits seem to be on the uplift. Soon the ducks will be on the pond.
So will the students.
The Umbrella Tree and campus will re-green.
And a new normal will commence.
Onward, Malcolm Gauld