“Bridgton was the first time in my life when I achieved things I didn’t think I could achieve.”
Dan Egan, world-famous Extreme Skier and Emmy-nominated Producer/Director, Bridgton Alumnus 1982-83; 2017 inductee, American Ski Hall of Fame
How was Bridgton Academy The Year That Made The Difference in your life?
My experience was pretty typical in that I had no desire to be there in the beginning. Typically those first few weeks when you can’t leave campus are tough at first. Once they let us off campus I thought I’d never go back.
But things started to change for me around Thanksgiving. Our soccer season went very well. We went undefeated and held the record for goals in a season. It was a lot of fun, and I made a lot of friends there.
By Christmas my grades were the best of my life; I had never received an A before Bridgton. I started building confidence. And every college that rejected me straight out of high school accepted me after coming out of Bridgton Academy. I had so many options!
It was the year that basically saved and changed my life. I think young men often need a little extra time to mature and focus. Bridgton helps deliver a strong focus on studies in the classroom and on athletics. At Bridgton Academy, their goal is to get you into college. They keep selling that dream to you and show you how to make it happen.
Bridgton Academy’s focus is what made the difference in my life. It was concentrated and consistent.
Pete Gately was my Oceanography teacher, and we are still friends to this day. He comes to my house, and I see him in Maine. We first became friends as teacher/student, coach/athlete and have remained friends ever since. Pete had a way of boosting your confidence, making things applicable to your life, and being real with the students.
Also, another favorite was my English Literature teacher, Mr Goepel. He was a tough teacher and really challenged us in class. He force fed us tons of great books, including Thoreau’s Walden. To this day, Walden is my favorite book. I use inspiration from it in my tv/video productions and in my public speaking.
My greatest challenge was learning how to apply myself in a productive way. Bridgton Academy has a simple formula for success: boys belong in huddles. In a huddle, the coach gives everyone a series of instructions that result in a positive final result. My life had never been broken down with such explicit directions. Before Bridgton, no one in my life told me to “do this, do that, and by the third action you will succeed.” I believe that is something many young men need in their life. If you give a boy a choice, he’ll choose nothing. But if you tell him what to do, he’ll achieve something.
I’ve never found any institution as unique as Bridgton. Over 180 guys in one place for one year, focused on one goal: getting to college and graduating. Many schools will help you get to college but aren’t preparing you to graduate. That’s a huge difference.
I tell kids considering Bridgton to pay attention, do what you’re told, and give yourself a chance to succeed. You’re going to find kindred spirits and people who will help you, support you, and believe in you. And that’s what young men need to succeed.
How would you summarize your feelings about Bridgton Academy in one Sentence:
It was the first time in my life when I achieved things I didn’t think I could achieve.
Watch Dan speak during one of his returns to Bridgton Academy!