Monthly Archives: February 2011

March 1 is Founder’s Day!

The Governor’s Academy celebrates Founder’s Day today, in honor of the school’s opening 248 years ago. Founded by bequest of Governor William Dummer, The Academy is America’s oldest boarding school. It has operated continuously since 1763 on the site of the ancestral Dummer home in Byfield, Massachusetts.

In 1712, while Massachusetts was still a British colony, Dummer was presented 330 acres of land by his father, Jeremiah Dummer, a renowned silversmith and ship owner. William, who was appointed Lieutenant Governor in 1716, also served as acting Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony for several years. In his will, executed upon his death in 1761, the childless governor bequeathed the house and the Mansion House, where he and his wife spent summers, for the purpose of “erecting, building and finishing a Grammar Schoolhouse.” A committee of five Byfield residents and the Byfield parish minister appointed a head of school; appointment to this position was for life, unless and until the Board of Overseers of Harvard College felt the Master displayed immorality or incompetency and should be removed.

On Tuesday, March 1, 1763, the school opened its doors to its first 28 students. Founded more than a decade before the Revolutionary War, The Governor’s Academy was the first private school in the nation to be established independently of any affiliation to a specific church.

Master Samuel Moody, the first head of school, taught Samuel Phillips whose family later founded Phillips Academy at Andover in 1778 and at Exeter in 1781. Though Moody was reputed to be quite stern at times, most felt he manifested “certain qualities of intellect, heart and temperament, which made it comparatively easy for him to curb or to stimulate the youthful mind.

And some of those minds played significant roles in the early years of America. Among Master Moody’s charges were Edward Preble, commander of the USS Constitution; the future Senator Rufus King, a delegate to the 1787 Constitutional Convention and a signer of the Declaration of Independence; Chief Justices of the Massachusetts Supreme Court Samuel Sewall and Theophilus Parsons, Samuel Osgood, a delegate to the Continental Congress who was appointed First Postmaster General of the United States by President George Washington in 1789; Samuel Webber, president of Harvard College from 1806-10; and Wentworth Cheswell, a man of color who was considered a Revolutionary War hero for his all-night ride from Boston to warn his community of Portsmouth of the impending British invasion.

In addition, Paul Revere created the first school seal; Samuel Adams and John Hancock signed the school’s Incorporation Charter; and John Quincy Adams served as Secretary to the Board of Trustees. Visitors to the campus today can enter Boynton House, built in 1764, and purportedly inhabited by a ghost; and Mansion House, built in 1713, and home to past and present headmasters, including Reverend Henry Durant, the founder of the University of California. A granite rock erected in 1708, and known simply as “The Milestone,” directs travelers to Boston (33 miles south) and Newburyport (5 miles north), much as it did 300 years ago.

Today, just as in the past, The Governor’s Academy educates the leaders of tomorrow. Not all will become household names, but they all will be men and women of character and substance, with the motivation and intellectual skills to help guide our society in this new millennium.


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What is The Governor’s Academy?

Govs was an answer on last night’s episode of Jeopardy!  The question is below; do you know the answer?  Remember to respond in the form of a question.

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Kayla’s Snow Report, February 2011

By Kayla Jenson ’11

Even as spring is in the air, some of us are still planning on hitting the slopes for some late season, soft conditions. Check out some of these local resorts.

Okemo Mountain Resort

Okemo Mountain offers some of the best terrain parks in the area. With several parks filled with a variety of rails, boxes and jumps, and the 18-ft Super Pipe, freestyle riders of all abilities will be able to shred. Get up there soon to check out their newest features and softest snow.

Stratton Mountain

Stratton Mountain is located on the highest mountain peak in southern Vermont, with up to 92 trails and over 2,000 feet of vertical, both skiers and riders will be able to find somewhere fun to explore. Coming up from March 7th-13th, Stratton Mountain will be hosting the US Open Snowboarding Finals.

Killington Mountain
Killington offers more than 87 miles of trails across six interconnected mountains. It’s in awesome place for the entire family. Get up there soon to experience Spring riding and skiing like you never have!

Loon Mountain

Loon Mountain offers 49 trails and 275 acres to explore, the mountain offers a great spot for family vacations, weekend getaways, and even weekday road trips.

Waterville Valley

Waterville valley offers much more than simply skiing. They have an incredible cross-country ski center and are located in the center of the White Mountain National Forest. Families of all skills and ages will enjoy the activities offered here, from tubing after 4, alpine programs, and ripping up the terrain parks.

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Blanks is signed, sealed, delivered

Ashley Blanks ’11 signed a National Letter of Intent to play NCAA Division I soccer at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  Watch Ashley celebrate with her teammates, parents and coaches.

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One last Parents Weekend

By Katie Reilly ’11

Parents Weekend. It’s the day when parents follow students to classes, to lunch and to games; the day when the really great food appears in the dining hall; and the day when families experience a role reversal as the students babysit the parents for once.

After four years, this will be my last parents weekend and, for me, it marks the first of the “lasts.” Soon, it will be the last winter musical, the last museum day, the last Founder’s Day re-enactment and the last March break, many of which are minor events that I probably overlooked during the past couple of years. Now, they don’t seem as minor.

Our teachers have been saying it all year long, warning that there comes a point every year (right around this time) when seniors become more nostalgic. I’d say that this blog post is a testament to the fact that, having accurately recognized an annual pattern, they know what they’re talking about.

Maybe it’s the fact that, even though many of us are still awaiting admissions decisions, college applications have been submitted, a symbolic sign that we’re moving on. Maybe it’s because the commencement committee has already begun to plan the festivities for that long-awaited weekend. Or maybe it’s simply because March break is fast-approaching and everyone knows how quickly summer arrives once spring has sprung. Whatever the reason, I have started to notice more of what I’ll miss about Govs and, as I said, parents’ weekend marks the beginning.

As parents arrive on campus, an interesting dynamic will take shape. Parents of freshmen will experience classes for the first time, taking everything in with excessive interest. Parents of sophomores and juniors will exude the confidence they’ve acquired, already pros at the parent’s weekend process. And senior parents will continue to add to the “list of lasts” that they, apparently, started months ago.

At the very least, parents weekend provides students with a day off from school. Even more than that, it offers an opportunity for both parents and students to regroup and reflect, taking a much-needed pause from busy schedules.

With that, here’s to a great Parents Weekend.

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The Wedding Singer

The Governor’s Academy will present its winter musical, The Wedding Singer, this Thursday, Friday and Saturday in the Performing Arts Center.  The stage adaptation of the movie starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore tells the tale of a jilted wedding singer who finds true love at work.  Thursday’s dress rehearsal is at 7pm; Friday and Saturday performances are at 7:30pm.

Video by Eloise Willemsen ’11

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The write stuff

By Eloise Willemsen ’11

This fall The Governor’s Academy entered the Boston Globe Scholastic Writing Awards for the first time. For many years our students have gotten wonderful recognition in the Boston Globe Scholastic Art Awards and for the first time we were able to translate that to writing. Our students’ achievement in the realm of writing is statistically impressive, especially considering that this is the first year Governor’s students have submitted written work to the contest.

Twelve students submitted work, and seven won awards, which places our success rate at more than 50%!  Two of the winners are freshmen this year which is very exciting for our department, and the future of the humanities at Governor’s. The 12 students submitted 22 works, with 10 of those works winning awards!  Not too shabby. One student, Andrew Coleburn ‘12, garnered four awards for his submissions: a Gold Key; two Silver Key; an honorable mention.

Gold Key:  Andrew Coleburn ‘12, Performers, Un-Chosen Destiny (poetry); Silver Key: Andrew Coleburn ‘12, The Devil Wields a Hammer (personal essay/memoir); Silver Key: Andrew Coleburn ’12, Getting Lost in the Pages (short story); Silver Key: Eloise Willemsen ’11, Lace on a Long White Dress; Hair; Perkins Playground (poetry);  Honorable Mention: Jaicey Bang ’13, The Four Questions of Almo (short story); Honorable Mention: Andrew Coleburn ’12, Solitude, Grab a Match (poetry); Honorable Mention: Christine Lee ’12, Petite Lilac (short story); Honorable Mention: Tessabella Magliochetti Cammarata, Sparkle (poetry); Honorable Mention: Christina Merullo ’14, Stone Wall (short story); Honorable Mention: Galaxie Story ’12, Letter to My Mother (personal essay/memoir)

Lauren Bougioukas ‘13, Myles Badger ‘13, Colby King ‘14, and Katie Reilly ’11 also submitted work. 

The Globe contest is part of a nationwide contest.  For more information, visit the Alliance for Young Writers and Artists at:

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