April 3, 2020

Please click here for an April 3rd video update from Mr. Mooney.

Transcript of Mr. Mooney’s video message

Good Afternoon:

At Bridgton Academy, our greatest asset is our culture. As I said to the class of 2020 in the fall, BA is different because each year, you get to create the culture you want to have. The key to culture is that you don’t do it alone.

We have been here with you all year, and in some of your cases, for two years. Even though we miss seeing you walking through the Learning Commons, or grabbing a coffee in Goldsmith, or hanging on the steps of Cleaves on a spring day in Maine, we are together in the spirit of our shared mission. That mission continues, regardless of a global pandemic.

Founded only 25 years after the end of the Revolutionary War, the Academy has weathered its fair share of stormy seas before, and we are confident that we will get through this one.

To do so, however, we must remain healthy and follow the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and all of the nation’s health experts. In Maine, Governor Janet Mills has issued a stay at home order for the entire state through the end of April. And, in light of this order, and in consultation with our Board of Trustees, in order to ensure the health and safety of the entire campus, I must extend our online learning through May 8.

It saddens me to say, we will not be able to finish the spring semester, all of us together, here on campus.

Regardless of this global challenge, we will remain focused on our goals, and I am grateful for your resilience and your spirit of community throughout this time. I see this spirit in all of you, from Austin Garrett’s heartfelt video message about getting back on the baseball field, to Alaska’s Ian Byrd waking up at 5:00am for class; to Jalen Brooks’ emphatic engagement on Zoom to Nathan Moore rocking robotics assignments over in Ireland.

Of course I see this spirit in our staff here at Bridgton as well. Your teachers, advisors, and coaches are using every method to communicate with you: email, text, voice, zoom, Google hangouts, Facetime; they lament your absence, but they are working through it with you:

As Coach Marcella said the other day after his conversations with the football team, “Some of them miss the daily routine, some of them the relative freedom and the amenities of campus, but mostly, they just miss each other.”

Another staff member talked about their Zoom advisee meeting, in which the guys showed off their houses, rooms, pets, and family members–not what we usually get on Thursday mornings on campus.

I’m also looking forward to Whit Lesure’s virtual Spelling Bee, as well as upcoming Dorm Wars eSports tournaments, for which I thank Mr. Lindberg, Mr. Bronander, and Mr. Eldredge, and many more opportunities to bond and connect with your classmates.

Gentlemen, this year has prepared you for much and it will go on doing so. You’re remaining committed to your classes and your classmates; you’re taking advantage of Coach Sahl’s home workout plans to stay fit; you are adjusting to the challenges this pandemic has put before us. You do it with appropriate reluctance and some sadness, but with an understanding that there are things out of your control, and to which you must adjust. I am humbled by your commitment and effort.

Ms. Chag talked about this year as learning not only facts and skills, but also “how to act, react, and behave in a situation in which neither our students–nor anyone else at BA–can exact any control.” Perhaps, these skills, of resilience, adaptation, and problem solving in a real world crisis are the most valuable of all.

Because of the spread of this virus, we must do everything we can do to keep ourselves, our families, and our communities out of harm’s way. That is the top priority right now.

For this reason, we will need to keep the dormitories closed, at least until the end of April, in order to follow the governor’s stay at home directive and to be good citizens.

If you need something from your room, please be in touch with Mr. Burgess, and we will make sure to get it to you.

We also want to celebrate your accomplishments this year, and we are deeply committed to hosting commencement on campus when it is safe to do so. In the meantime, we are planning a virtual ceremony in May, and we will send along information about that event in the coming days. Until then, please make sure that you remain focused on your online classes and to contact your teachers and advisors with any questions that you have. We will be providing this information and further details on the BA website throughout this crisis.

In conclusion, I want to remind you that what we’re going through is difficult and painful””-but it is also going to get better with time. None of us knows what will happen in the next week or month, but we do know that we will get through it.

And we will do so together.

Before I end, here’s a quick reminder to tune in for Chapel this Tuesday at 11:00am.

As always, Wolverines, take care of yourselves, do nice things for your family, and keep doing good work.

Thank you,

Mr. Mooney