The seniors have now departed, leading to the inevitable and bittersweet shift of energy on campus, with underclassmen busy taking final assessments without much time for anything else. But last week, amidst the flurry of the performance-packed final assemblies and an uptick in sunshine and spikeball games, the campus hum faded to a pause as the springfest vibe shifted to one of esteem and sentimentality.
Each year, on the day before graduation, throngs of Nobles students, faculty and staff fill the classrooms of retiring Nobles colleagues to overflowing for their wistful grand finales—the customary “last class.” On Thursday, June 2, the three final classes marked the culmination of a collective—and impressive—101 years of teaching, coaching, advising and all-around hat-wearing at Nobles. The trio of devoted retiring faculty members included senior master and math department faculty member Nick Nickerson (48 years), provost and English department faculty member Bill Bussey (34 years), and modern language department faculty member Meg Jacobs (19 years).
Tears, laughter, camaraderie and deep appreciation filled these small spaces as students and faculty flanked the brick walls outside of Shattuck, poking heads through worn white window panes just to get a peek—to try and discern a plaudit or two spoken about these selfless educators. Their departure adds to the wistful feel around campus during these final weeks that diverge from our normal schedule but recall the norm that everyone has missed so deeply in recent years. As we continue to adjust to what is “normal” at Nobles after the pandemic, a significant part of that calibration will include adjusting to life without Nickerson, Bussey and Jacobs in the hallways, classrooms and fields.