Some of my NMH classmates have described living in an all-male boarding school with six hundred students as a kind of prison. For me it was a sanctuary. My first year, when I arrived home in mid-December for vacation, one of my parents was in full relapse. Christmas was a nightmare and I spent the day visiting my mom in detox. I remember asking my father if this meant I would have to give up Mount Hermon and return to public high school.
“We’ll find a way,” he said.
The next two-and a half years were very satisfying. I immersed myself in my studies and athletics, particularly crew. I worked full-time during winter, spring and summer vacations: stocking shelves and washing floors and windows in a local market, knowing all this menial labor would make it possible for me to return to Mount Hermon in the fall.
The piece de resistance was getting early admission to Harvard, Stanford and Dartmouth. This came as a real treat, as I was told upon admissions that my chances of getting into an elite college were slim at best, due to learning disabilities I now know were likely the product of my dysfunctional upbringing.
Of course there were some difficult moments at the Hog, like the time I slammed a fellow North Farmhouse student into the wall of a bedroom when he yelled some snide remark out the window to my then girlfriend, Kerry McCollester. But all-in-all, I am extremely grateful for the opportunities Mount Hermon gave me: rowing, great faculty, Outward Bound, admission to the University of my choice – who could ask for more?