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“Moving In and Moving Out” by Nick Jaczko ’15

The other day, Jake Atwood and I were put in the same boat for a particularly windy Varsity Sailing race. We completed the first leg of the triangle-shaped course without a hitch, but then decided to jibe on an upwind leg. For two notably inexperienced sailors on such a blustery day, this was a pretty poor decision, because the boom whips across the boat when it turns across the wind. When the boom flew across the boat, I let go of the tiller and the mainsheet. When I let go of the tiller, it got stuck to one side so the boat kept spinning in circles with the sail slamming back and forth. I grabbed at any rope I could get my hands on, but none of them miraculously ended our hellish donuts. Our boat was listing precariously and filling up with the Charles River. I swear Mother Nature’s fury was trying to finish us off. Of course, all the other boats finished while we were fighting for survival in the middle of the triangle. In a way, this episode is kind of like graduation—amidst all the events that are meant to give closure to our Nobles careers, all the goodbyes and all the dinners, it is hard to keep your head straight. You’re looking forward to next year and then catch the wind again, and you’re reminiscing on your Nobles career, and then you feel stuck.

Mr. Henderson has been reminding the senior class for a month or two that “finishing well is intentional.” Once that little mantra started feeling important a couple weeks ago, I set about figuring out how I was going to cope with leaving this place and moving out into the world. Admittedly, I procrastinated for a bit and focused on my Frisbee game on the Beach. But, when Mr. Henderson told me I was going to have to talk for a bit during graduation, I started to reinvestigate how I was going to give closure to “The Nick Jaczko Nobles Experience”: I just wanted to succinctly say what I was taking away from Noble and Greenough. I started to figure out how I was going to wrap up my Nobles career by considering all the things that had made it so good, all the things that had made it worthy of a conclusion.

My earliest campus-life memory hails from fifthie English with Ms. Crowley, when I turned in a paper written entirely in capital letters. Since that may not have been my first offense in that class, Ms. Crowley took away my chair in retribution. Nobles is all about gaining new perspectives, and the one from under the tables in the middle school sure is a new one.
One of my highlights of this year was the trip to Cambodia and Vietnam in March. We worked at an elementary school in Kampot for a week and attempted to teach our new friends some basic English. One of the only phrases they had really mastered before we arrived was “Are you married?” and they would ask me over and over again. They understood “Yes” better than “No” so I started going with that after a while. But then I had lunch with Lucy Lyons one day, and rumors started to fly when the kids became convinced that we were a couple. Things just became hopelessly complicated when we tried to backtrack while dealing with the language barrier.

I thought about my first real date in high school too. Yeah, it was junior spring; my mom says I’m a late bloomer. Anyway, I was trying to keep things low-key, so I figured a nice dinner in Needham would be safe, since 100% of Nobles kids live in Wellesley. I parallel parked absolutely perfectly right out front. Unfortunately, we happened to get seated at the one table in the entire world that was directly next to the entire Girls Varsity Tennis team. Cringe-worthy. You really hate to see that!

I perused five years of memories in search of some sort of quintessential lesson that sums up everything I’ve learned here. Don’t dine in Needham if you want to keep a secret from the Nobles community? I was trying to wrap up my Nobles experience and put a pretty little bow on it, but I don’t think that’s the right way to go about it anymore.

Mr. Henderson has told the seniors a thousand times that, when you come back to campus the day after graduation, it won’t feel like yours anymore. Tomorrow we won’t own Nobles, Class of 2015, but we will have our stories as we move out into whatever is beyond 10 Campus Drive. After spending five years in our little bubble here, I kind of forgot that there are people out there who have never heard of Noble and Greenough School or Mr. Kern or Alasdair or Syra or the Regurgitator. I realized this when I ran the Boston Marathon this year with Jordan Sandford and he wore a Nobles T-shirt. We got just as many cheers for Barnes and Noble as for Noble and Greenough. Nobles won’t go out into the world with us unless we make a point of bringing it.

If you like my sailing metaphor, you could say I’m still doing donuts, but I just can’t put a finger on what Nobles has meant to me. When you look at all the proud graduates, it’s clear that they’ve figured it out. If you want an example, take Stanley Pratt, of the class of 1949. He loves this place so much that he has sacrificed a lot for his grandson to come here, to get in trouble with Ms. Crowley and to go to Cambodia and to meet the tennis team. So, Grandaddy, thank you for everything.

But Class of 2015, I’d be surprised if any of you really know what Nobles has meant to you. We don’t have the experience to see how Nobles really fits in with the rest of the world and what you’ve actually been prepared to pursue. Whether you think you know or not, just hold on to all the stories that we’ve shared together. If you don’t remember them, no one will, and all of them will be important when you come to a point where you can figure out what Noble and Greenough School has meant to you.

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“Moving In and Moving Out” by Nick Jaczko ’15