A “Blast From the Past!”

Reed and Visits from AlumniBy Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus

I always love to hear from alums! Often they are recently graduated students such as two college freshman (Charlie Bond G’12, freshman at Seton Hall and Braden Barnett G’12, freshman at Vanderbilt) who surprised me recently by just showing up. But sometimes, a real “blast from the past” checks in and knocks my socks off. This was the case one day last week.

I received an email from Stuart Young. Stuart graduated from the Goshen Campus in 1994 and the Downtown Campus (then St. Francis High School) in 1998. I had kept abreast of his professional career sporadically via articles he wrote that appeared in the Courier-Journal. A very precocious and talented lad here, Stuart graduated from the High School and then earned a law degree from Harvard. That did not surprise me one bit. Stuart was immensely verbal, loved the stage, and loved to argue (with me being on the receiving end of many of those diatribes!). I also wasn’t surprised about his academic success. He was a top-notch student. He went on to say in his email that he has worked for the BBC and in the British Parliament. Impressive! But he has had a change of career plans and hopes to make a career out of writing.

Alum Stuart Young_1The other reason he wrote – besides just sharing an update – was to express his thanks to the late Ed Gupton and me for inspiring him as classroom teachers (this is the “knock the socks off part”). Alums can’t possibly have any earthly idea just how rewarding correspondence like this is to educators. It isn’t why we go into this sometimes-difficult field, but it sure is nice to hear things like this from your former students who reflect back on their past. It certainly erased any trivial frustrations I might have been having that day –  and put a huge smile on my face.

What do I take away from this? Several things. One, we know we prepare our students for academic success beyond the thick Goshen Campus concrete walls or the classrooms of the Downtown Campus, but it’s Alum Stuart Young_2certainly reaffirming to see proof of it in such dramatic action. Second, he said that his St. Francis teachers inspired him more than any of his college professors. What validation! While our courses certainly weren’t as commercially viable to his career as law school, no doubt, it’s the people and their influence on him that has remained. And finally, the fact that he would take the time to look me up (via Alexandra Thurstone) justto say “thank you” in writing speaks to his character. Again, a hallmark of a St. Francis education.

So, thank YOU, Stuart Young, for making this veteran teacher’s day! I’m sure we’ll be reading more of Stuart’s work in the not-so-distant future (and here is a link to an op-ed piece he recently wrote, as well as a couple of pictures of him with some “friends” you may recognize).