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Introduction by Heidi Leeds ’18

Jay Ward has been teaching at NMH for 42 years. But his history at this school started well before he became a teacher. Mr. Ward first came to NMH as a faculty child when he was a baby. Although his family moved away, he returned as a Mount Hermon student in ninth grade, and graduated with the Class of 1968. Most of Mr. Ward’s time at NMH has been spent teaching. I did some rough calculations and figured that, if he’s taught four classes a year with the NMH average of 11 students for 42 years, he’s shared his knowledge with approximately 1,850 students (which, to put it in perspective would fill this chapel three times.) He has taught in five different subjects: Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Environmental Science, and Computer Science.

In addition to teaching, Mr. Ward has held many other roles on our campus throughout the years, including coaching wrestling and all levels of soccer, directing the Summer School, acting as chair of the science department, as dean of residential life, and now as the school registrar. And because of this last position, he probably knows your name even if you haven’t met him, because he is the one who works all summer to coordinate 650 busy, complicated schedules so that each of us can take the classes we want, which for me meant taking his AP Physics class this past fall.

Despite the fact that the fall semester was a week shorter than last year, he was able to magically squeeze in all the fun labs and projects. I, like many people, learn best through hands-on activities. In that class, we risked our thumbs calculating the distance a marble would fall off a ramp, shot falling monkeys with magnetic darts, and measured the speed of flying pigs. He even found time to tell us a few stories about what he called “the old days at NMH.”

Instead of yelling about being late to class, he told us that it happens to everyone, but just make sure you come in breathing hard. When he was a freshman, his teacher told them, “You better be huffing and puffing when you come in late,” so he and his friends used to stand outside the door and make themselves hyperventilate before entering.

During your campus tour, you may have heard about the famous Silliman fire that took place during a football game. Mr. Ward was a student at the time, but he was also a volunteer firefighter who held one of the hoses to stop the flames. NFL Films even interviewed him about it a few years ago. It’s still online if you want to see more.

I’m sure that anyone who has taken a class with Mr. Ward will agree that he’s a passionate and patient teacher. He has devoted his adult life to students at Northfield Mount Hermon. It is truly an honor to introduce him today. Please join me in thanking and welcoming Mr. Jay Ward.

Glenn Minshall photo


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