Dear Alumni & Friends,
From Mr. Mitchell reading Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory to a packed house in MacNeil Lounge, to the Holiday Dinner & Concert, to the sad goodbyes of students to friends they have made as many of them head home for the first time since August, to Doc’s annual announcement about his Doggy Products, the hill is alive with holiday spirit and sense of community. At LA, we are tightly knit. We work hard. We support each other. We strive to learn and improve. Our bustle and business pull us all together.
For thirty-three years, we all felt the warmth of community through our school nurse, Sue McKenna. Throughout those years, she taught us about life, and in the past year and a half, she also taught us about death as she faced a battle with cancer to which she succumbed in November. Sue epitomized everything that LA stands for: care, support, humor, empathy, humility, and being oneself. She will be missed.
Here at school, all of us received an outpouring of support from so many. Alumnus Jared Mezzocchi ’03, a multimedia designer and freelancer, was able to get back for her memorial service. His words of reflection sum up not only the amazing human being that was Sue McKenna and the spirit she continues to inspire, but also the community at LA, of which she was such a vital part:
After spending the morning with my 99-year-old Papa yesterday, I found myself entering a time warp as I walked into the church on Powderhouse Road at Lawrence Academy, where I went to high school and was always taken care of by the fantastically nurturing Sue McKenna, our nurse. To walk into this church, I was confronted with Time- as all of my most impactful mentors, my teachers through some of the most formidable years, sat like giants in a fairy tale I build in my memory- over a decade since I saw many of them- to mourn and celebrate the loss of their friend. I saw one of my closest friends - Stefanie Marcoux - who silently entered and sat next to me and we wept together.
The reception after reminded me of the importance of community. The importance that while you live your life, you surround yourself with people who will stop everything to remind you that you are loved and you have an incredible voice in this world and that we are in this together, even when we journey far away from each other. The Lawrence Academy lost a cornerstone this week, but it's truly remarkable that the moral compass and imperatives of this institution are still ripe with the support of so many incredible mentors still at work, being themselves. They all shaped who I am today and continue to show their deep rooted love of arts and education and pursuing the deepest realm of comprehension in this world. It's been over 10 years and we all just leapt back into philosophical and aspirational conversations.
Don't just build community, folks, build it as deeply and honestly as possible. It's a beautiful thing to walk back into contact with people and immediately be able to lean into the deepest means of love you once nurtured together. It defies the passage of time and you quickly realize nothing else matters.
Travel far, but love hard.
So good to see you Lawrence. The elm tree shaded hillside will certainly hold up the legacy of Sue, through all of you. You're a beautiful bunch.
I thank Jared for letting me share his words with all of you.
From the hillside, we send good tidings of peace, good health, and happiness for the year to come,
Associate Head of School
BTW: Save the Dates - LA Circle Event - Los Angeles, Thursday, February 16, 2017, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. The Nest at Redbird...LA Circle Event - San Francisco, Friday, February 17, 2017, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. University Club of San Francisco...Reunion 2017, Saturday, June 10 (for class years ending in 2 and 7) and Friday night, June 9, for Golden Alumni (Class of 1967) dinner at Park House...Finally, we look to spring and are asking for nominations to the LA Athletic Hall of Fame, Alumni Faculty Appreciation Award, and Alumni Notes for the 2017 Academy Journal.