Friday, February 10, 2012

Archmere Academy shaped my life

I thought about using the verb “changed”. Shaped seems more appropriate. I graduated in 1971 from this Catholic (Norbertine) preparatory (high) school in Claymont Delaware along with 72 other young men.

What and who did the shaping?

Books: We had a summer reading program of a dozen or so books every year. When we arrived back each September, we were asked to write about them.

Memorable books, freshman year, ones I still read: Catcher in the Rye, The Arrogance of Power by J. William Fulbright, Language in Thought and Action by S.I. Hayakawa.

The curriculum: a challenging balance of mathematics, science, and the humanities. Religion class that was more like “theology”. Later, at university, my theology classes paled in comparison.

Teachers: Highly educated men, priests and lay, about a 50/50 mix. A wonderful Headmaster and true mentor, Father Justin Diny. The list of teachers makes me smile. Great people.

My classmates and the genuine student body...what a crew of amazingly talented people.

Activities: I played tennis, theatre crew, helped with the Yearbook.

One rarely saw parents on campus.

College entry guidance counselors were assigned to every class.

I went on to attend West Point. The instructors were, mildly put, a disappointment compared with my Archmere “professors”. Archmere had challenged me to develop study skills and self-reliant learning habits. In a good way, at West Point I learned that I could learn in spite of the mediocre instruction…reading ahead, research, and just plain reading with a purpose. I’m so thankful to my Mom and Dad (a secretary and a draftsman) for sacrificing to send me there. They of course shaped me as well.

Pietate et Scientia, “Faith through Knowledge”
pictured, Father Justin E. Diny circa 1971

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