Brunswick School welcomed nearly 850 parents and faculty, filling Burke Fieldhouse to capacity, for its Annual Meeting & Dinner on Thursday, Sept. 13.
Headmaster Thomas W. Philip focused his annual remarks on what had been a summer of transition — the “Great Transition,” he called it — on the School’s three campuses.
Brunswick transformed its new building on King Street into a spacious Middle School. It united the Pre and Lower Schools on Edwards Campus. It also created 15 new classrooms and meeting spaces at the Upper School on Maher and Maple Avenues.
And it accomplished it all in just three months’ time.
“Communities are truly shaped and defined as they come together and work through times of transition and challenge,” Philip said. “Our response as individuals in such times is both a measure and a fortifier of our caring for and interest in one another.”
But Philip didn’t limit his remarks solely to the various transitions and building projects at Brunswick.
He referred to his eldest son’s wedding — a loving and joyous celebration of family and friends. He also cited the many members of the recently graduated Class of 2018 who visited him over the summer as they readied to head to college for their freshman year — a more pensive and bittersweet transition.
And, most poignant of all, he spoke of the tragic death this past summer of alumnus Jeffrey Long ’01 — a profoundly sad and sorrowful time.
More than 1,000 people filled Dann Gymnasium in July to hear Jeffrey’s friends and family memorialize his life well-lived, Philip noted.
“From alumni, to faculty, to former parents and friends,” he said, “it was stunning and heartwarming to see how many people associated with Brunswick dropped everything to help his family cope with their sudden and heartbreaking loss.
“Several of his Brunswick classmates, all in the midst of their own budding and successful careers, came from all corners of the earth and worked with me and the family for over a week to plan Jeff’s memorial service. As a result, an occasion of profound sadness also proved to be one of immense reaffirmation of the strength and endurance of our school community.”
What is it exactly, Philip asked, that serves to make Brunswick a place that has such strength and resonance in the lives of its boys?
“I think that feeling comes from the fact that at Brunswick School, we try hard to appreciate that we are all part of something greater than ourselves,” he said.
“At Brunswick School, there is something truly extraordinary going on that we — teachers, students, staff, and parents — are all a part of. That ‘something’ makes us better than we would be on our own.”
To conclude, Philip offered the hundreds of parents in the audience a thoughtful piece of advice — and a promise on behalf of every Brunswick faculty member.
“Alongside you as their parents, we — together – ‘build’ here, so that our boys can persevere in the various transitions that their life ahead holds for them,” he said.
“In the final analysis, if we do our job right, we build the foundation of a life well lived for each and every boy in our care, so that no matter where he goes or what he does in life, he can rely — securely —upon a foundation of Courage, Honor, and Truth.”