It was my first year at this school and the last period before winter break. The entire Academy community gathered for a holiday assembly – a great tradition. According to Mr. Stewart, we have all gathered together before winter break for over thirty years. I remember several parts of the 2001 assembly, which included Mr. Gonzales, Mr. Stewart, and Greg Stewart ’02 playing holiday tunes on saxophones as we walked into Louis Lehrman Gymnasium and a sing-along led by Mr. Gutwein and Lower School students. There were also performances from Middle and Upper school ensembles. But the highlight of that assembly (and every year’s assembly, since it began in the late 80s) was the senior- class-performance of the Dr. Seuss classic, “The Grinch”. It’s an Academy tradition that I hope continues ad infinitum.
When “The Grinch” is performed each year, many things remain the same. The Lower School students listen closely, gathering near the action of the story that many already know from the book or TV special. The Middle School students think about the first time they watched the seniors perform, and the Upper School students are thinking about how to cast the parts in their own senior productions. The faculty enjoy finally finding out which seniors are playing each role. We also enjoy remembering and reflecting on past performances. That’s what makes any tradition valuable, we are able to link the past to today.
Mr. Bowie, who has been at the Academy for 29 years, and seen equally as many “The Grinch” performances, said, “Of course, some senior classes take this event more seriously than others, but the results are always the same…Holiday belly laughs and a wonderful way to start our winter break!” The most memorable moments from the performances that I’ve seen: Max Woolfe ’08 as the Grinch, countless boys already named Max as Max, the dog, and of course, Ben Smith ’03 as Cindy Lou Who.
Like previous years, I can’t wait to hear the seniors singing, “Fahoo fores dahoo dores” while dressed in pajamas and holding hands at this year’s assembly. I hope you feel the same joy this holiday season.