WIW17_JensenWhen I Was 17 features Thacher faculty members of today and looks back at their own high school years. This interview series features photos and commentary to give you a glimpse into their past.

Set the scene:

I wasn’t a student at Thacher too long ago, so the school hasn’t changed much. I took classes with Derf, Ms. Snyder (then Ms. Hancock), both Hoopers, both Perrys, Mr. Manson, Sra. Ortiz, and a few others. The music scene wasn’t too different, but a lot of people who we listen to now were new. Kanye and Eminem had just become popular. Socially, I wasn’t part of any ‘scene.’ But, I was a lower school prefect, and the other prefects were some of my closest friends – our world was taking care of freshman. The dorm was fun; it was the old Lower School, before the remodeling, so we had some hilarious times then that might now be frowned upon.

Sports and Extracurriculars:

I rode in the fall. I was an advanced rider. In the winter, I played soccer, and in the spring I played baseball. Ultimate was a club, so we played weekends, and on Friday nights we played pickup games in town. Cam Spaulding would take us in a van to play against townies – if there were enough people we had tournaments. Outside of sports, I was part of tech crew. I had no idea that I’d be back running the show in only a few years.

Did you imagine yourself as a part of the faculty:

No. I had no idea what I wanted to do. Growing up in Ojai, Thacher was a home for me. Many of my friends were ready to move on, but for me it was more bittersweet. I guess that’s why I came back.

Thacher students can pull some pretty crazy pranks and shenanigans; what happened in your time at the school and how were you involved?

Nothing that has come back to haunt me; whatever we did has been long forgotten. Do not do this, but on April Fools day we took Mr. Mulligan’s entire office and set it up in the commons: the desk, photos, and everything else. But, aside from that we weren’t too rowdy. In Lower School, one of the most popular pranks was to hang people’s things in trees.

First kiss or love:

I’ll put it this way: my first kiss was with someone whose name is on a prominent plaque in the dining hall, but that’s all I can tell you.

What advice (be it academic or social) do you have for current students:

Have fun. Enjoy Thacher, and don’t stress too much. This hasn’t changed at all. There’s so much work and your schedule is jam packed. Go to your teacher if you don’t get your work done. They’re understanding. Don’t take everything too seriously or you’ll miss out on a lot.

Final quote or funny story:

When I was a lower school prefect there was a French-Canadian freshman. He was pretty rowdy, so he started something called the, “French Revolution” against the prefects. He would track the prefects’ schedules and then ambush us in the hallways (because it was the old Lower School, so the corridors were traps). The prefects had an alarm system to support each other and ‘gently’ disperse him whenever he attacked.

Posted by:David Amano

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