Amos Gaylord enrolled in a college last fall that was 12 miles from his home in Waitsfield, Vt., but it could have just as easily been on another planet. When his mom, Beth Huss Young, called on Sunday afternoons to see how he was doing, she was given five minutes. There was even less communication during meals. Students were ordered to remain silent during all three of them.
The poor kid had a long day that first year with his alarm ringing at 4:30 a.m. Intense physical training began at 5:30 and ran for an hour and a half. After finishing classes in the afternoon, he looked forward to being “blasted out” by upperclassmen. Following a two-hour study hall from 7:30 to 9:30, mandatory lights out were at 10 p.m. From the sound of his routine, that would have been the highlight of my day.
As you may have guessed, Amos attends a military academy. Norwich University is the nation’s oldest private military college. It trains cadets for all four branches of the military. Norwich challenges its students with intense mental and physical training in order to develop future military leaders who are competent with strong moral character. You can’t speak with Amos without realizing that Norwich is achieving its goals with him. Amos’s ambition is to fly in the Air Force. The country will be well -served with this fine young man as a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force.
Dan Reid attends the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, which is a similar school. Dan is an Oak Bluffs resident who has been a staff member of the East Chop Tennis Club for the last three years. During a recent conversation, he expressed going through “culture shock” two years ago following his graduation from high school here. Though it only lasted for six weeks, Dan went through an indoctrination program similar to the one endured by Amos. The Massachusetts Maritime Academy prepares young men and women for careers in the merchant marine, the U.S. Coast Guard and Navy. Much of Dan’s training has come from two winter cruises, one each during his freshman and sophomore years. Dan’s career goal is to ship out on an oil tanker following his graduation in the spring of 2015. Again, I detected a quiet competency from this engaging young man. I left our conversation thinking our merchant marine will be well-served with Dan as a member.
Speaking of ECTC staff, our hats go off to Ned Fennessy, our manager. Ned’s boys high school tennis team successfully defended its Massachusetts division three state championship title with a 4-1 win over Bromfield. Ned went out a winner, retiring this year after 23 years as head coach. The team went 16-1 during the regular season with their only loss to Barnstable, a division one school.
Finally, on a far sadder note, East Chop lost a revered institution on Friday, June 21. Rocky Potter, the beloved dog of Joan and John Potter for 17 years, died of old age and cancer. It was a sad event for me because Rocky brought John across our lawn daily. When John wasn’t scrambling to pick up a mess or hide one from me, I could engage him in an animated conversation. Without Rocky, I will just have to knock on his door.