Describe your path since graduating from Portsmouth Abbey School.
After graduating from Portsmouth Abbey School in 2015, I went on to Catholic University in Washington, D.C. for a semester before I moved back home to New York City and transferred to Fordham University, where I’m now a senior. Since the Abbey, I’ve had internships at a real estate development firm (which was run by an Abbey parent), an insurance brokerage house (run by an Abbey alum), and a major insurance group. I’ve also worked a few “odd jobs” in the summers as a sailing instructor, an apprentice in a bespoke tailor shop, as well as a wastewater technician for a water sampling company (also run by an Abbey parent). I also had the privilege of founding and captaining Fordham’s Offshore Sailing team. As for now, I’m currently trying to earn a commission as a Marine Corps Officer and to gain acceptance to the Marines’ Officer Candidate School after graduation.
How did your experience at Portsmouth Abbey School help you become the person you are today?
My experience at Portsmouth Abbey was essential in shaping who I am today. Chatting with Dr. Bonin and Mr. Hobbins showed me a perspective that was far outside of the classroom. Playing football for Mr. Gittus and Coach Brown taught me to push hard, especially when your teammates depend on you. Sailing for Ms. Duncan and the sailing team taught me the value of clear communication. All of these lessons are equally applicable in all professional settings. At a more basic level, dressing appropriately for class, showing up on time and being ready to perform as well as mixing in a healthy balance of work, exercise, and play have proven to be especially helpful. The Abbey also introduced me to the people that helped guide me toward the career I want to get into as well as the friends and mentors that I’ll keep for the rest of my life.
What is the best advice you could give to a current student?
I have three pieces of advice for current students:
First, there are a plethora of faculty and students who are of the highest caliber at Portsmouth Abbey. They are your teachers, coaches, houseparents, team captains, prefects, but often they are your teammates, classmates, housemates, and friends. Seek these people out and get to know them well. The faculty will teach you more about life than you would ever learn from reading a textbook. Your friends will be there to keep you warm on your coldest days in the future, of which there will be many. Most importantly, stay in touch with all of these folks; they will be some of the finest people you’ll have the pleasure of knowing.
Second, the Portsmouth Abbey network and community are, as Cliff Hobbins would say, “most shocking.” Abbey alumni are everywhere and are always eager to help out. They are friendly, bright, and enthusiastic people. Reach out to alums and seek guidance and advice. I have reached out to countless Portsmouth Abbey School alumni who have helped me in my short journey, and I am incredibly grateful for all their help.
Third, take full advantage of your situation. Life will not always be as easy as it is by the picturesque shores of Narragansett Bay. Enjoy your time at the Abbey, because it is fleeting- but do not neglect your opportunities. You have a world-class education at your hands with some of the finest teachers alongside the best people on one of the most historic and beautiful campuses in the nation. It would be a sin to not take advantage of all the opportunities afforded to you.
I want to leave you with a couple of quotes that should serve as food for thought. Fr. Edmund used to quote Mark Twain, saying, “Never let schooling get in the way of an education.” An Abbey friend of mine recently quoted Albert Einstein saying, “An education is what remains after you have forgotten everything that you learned in school.” Both quotes are particularly important when you’re getting caught up in the day-to-day of high school life.