On June 5 and 6, 2015 Lincoln Academy opened its doors to past graduates during the school’s annual Alumni Weekend. On Friday evening Head of School David Sturdevant and his wife Beth opened their home in the school’s Borland Hall for guests. About 30 alumni came to that event. “It is great to see how loyal the Lincoln Alumni are to this place,” said Sturdevant. “The school has really impacted many people’s lives, and they don’t forget it!”
The traditional Alumni Banquet took place Saturday evening in the Dining Commons. About 120 alumni were in attendance, and the event paid special tribute to the classes celebrating major reunions. Four members of the Class of 1945, led by local business owner Louis Doe, marched into the Dining Hall in commemoration of their 70th reunion. After them came the 50th reunion class of 1965, represented by a large turnout by about representatives of the class. Other classes were seated at tables together by class.
The Alumni Council made a few changes to Banquet tradition this year. They added a cash bar and live piano music by Sean Fleming to the social hour before the banquet, and the event was catered by Stone Cove Catering. “We got positive feedback from many graduates about the changes, which people commented led to a more festive atmosphere at the event. People especially enjoyed Sean Fleming’s music,” said Phil Page ’70, Lincoln Academy Alumni Liaison and member of the Alumni Council.
Other Banquet traditions remained the in place, including a short business meeting of the Lincoln Academy Alumni Council, and the presentation of alumni awards. This year’s awards honored retiring Alumni Council members, largest class representation, furthest distance traveled, largest gift to the annual fund, and the oldest returning class. The Alumni Service Award went to Cathy Walker, LA class of ‘62, who served on the Council for more than ten years.
The Alumnus of the Year Award went to Glenn Chadbourne ‘78, an artist living in Newcastle who is well known for his illustrations of horror novels, especially many works by Stephen King. During his remarks Chadbourne mentioned two former Lincoln Academy teachers: Virginia (Ginny) Powell, who taught art, and Elizabeth (Peggy) Duckett, who taught English. “Mark Twain said there are two important moments in a person’s life, the moment you are born, and the moment you decide what you are going to do with your life. Without those two Lincoln Academy teachers I would never have gotten to that second one, deciding what I was going to do,” recalled Chadbourne. “Those teachers taught me about art and stories, and those two things have pretty much defined my entire career.”
After the awards, representatives of each class in attendance were invited to give remarks. Chad Lichtenwalner of the Class of 1945 said, “We were the war babies: we entered Lincoln Academy in 1941, the year World War II started, and graduated in 1945, when it ended. I will always remember that we were trying to win a war and finish high school at the same time!”
Michael Kubacki, Treasurer for the Class of 1965 said, “I came to Newcastle to live with my grandparents so I could go to Lincoln Academy. On the first day of school Principal Nelson Bailey asked me, ‘who will be paying your tuition?’ I panicked! My knees started shaking, and I had no idea what to do, since I knew my grandparents couldn’t afford to pay my tuition. I went and asked a teacher, and he said, ‘what town do you live in?’ I said, ‘Newcastle.’ He said, ‘don’t worry, Newcastle will pay your tuition,’ and I was incredibly relieved.”
Phil Page, who serves as Alumni Liaison at Lincoln Academy and graduated with the Class of 1970 recalled, “In a high school career filled with many championships (in my last six athletic seasons, we were Knox-Lincoln Champions 5 times) we also experienced some challenges in our senior year, when Bristol High School closed. It took some adjustment to combine the Bristol and Lincoln Academy student bodies, especially on the athletic field. But we overcame those challenges over time.”
The final class remarks were made by Ed Frankonis of the Class of 2015. “It is amazing to be here with all of you and think about what Lincoln Academy will mean to us in the future. We have been out only two days, and we don’t really know that yet. But seeing all of you here is an inspiration.”
Several class representatives took the opportunity to give a class gift to Head of School David Sturdevant. “We are happy to support the continuing good work that the school does for students,” said Class of 1965 representative Michael Kubacki as he presented a class gift of more than $2000 to the Lincoln Academy Annual Fund. In addition to this and several other class gifts, the Alumni Council gave $3000, and the Class of 1975 gave over $5000 to go towards the baseball and softball fields.
“All in all the Banquet was a great success,” said Phil Page ‘70. “We were happy to see so many members of reunion classes participating in the festivities, as well as other classes. The Alumni Council worked hard on the preparation and execution of the event. A lot of people were organizing the event for the first time, and they worked hard to make it happen. We will miss the outgoing members, who have led the Council for so many years, and we are excited to continue the work of the Council with a combination of veterans and energetic new members.”