Dear Bearcats

Dear Bearcats,

So much has changed since I graduated from Hotchkiss over a decade ago. When I think about the constants in life, the list that I come up with is a short one: death, paying taxes, and change itself. I’ve come to understand that the bright and fortunate individuals who pass through the walls of Hotchkiss may add something additional to that list, something that I am certain you will all come to understand one day if you do not already. During my four years there, our Head of School, Robert H. “Skip” Mattoon, often suggested that the greatest gift we would receive from Hotchkiss was the inculcation of a “lifelong love of learning.” He was absolutely correct; when you harbor a love of learning, a sense of adventure is never absent from life, and Hotchkiss planted that seed within me and it continues to grow to this day.

Some lessons come easily. Others are difficult and we must revisit them several times before they finally sink in. The most important thing that I have learned about learning itself is that it’s actually our failures, not our successes, that offer us the most profound teachings and the deepest wisdom. My life hasn’t turned out like I had it pre-planned the day I walked to the podium, shook Skip’s hand, and received my Hotchkiss Diploma. Something tells me that might turn out to be the case for many of you as well! Believe me when I say that it’s going to be OK! The school’s motto, Moniti Meliora Sequamur, is translated to mean, “Guided by each other, let us seek better paths.” In the spirit of this simple yet profound credo, I would like to offer advice from a fellow Bearcat a little further down the road of life who wishes to share the modicum of wisdom he has gained in hopes that it may benefit others. If you feel lost and need a signpost, have a burning question, or just need a second opinion, I am here to field any questions you may have and I hope that my insight proves useful.

The New Year is upon us and with it comes resolutions. I recently came across a quote by one of my favorite writers, Khalil Gibran, and it inspired this year’s resolution.

“The very strength that protects the heart from injury is the strength that prevents the heart from enlarging to its intended greatness within.”

This year, I resolve to be more vulnerable. When I look at the world around me, it is perhaps vulnerability, above all else, that is needed most right now. When one is vulnerable it engenders within ourselves and others the very best of human qualities. By being more vulnerable, I commit to opening my heart to others in hopes that they will do the same.  If done earnestly, I am certain we will see ourselves in one another and come to understand that when it boils down to the things that really matter in life, we are all much more similar than different. Then, guided by each other, we may seek better paths.

I’d like to leave you with a few questions to meditate upon. What does it look like to be vulnerable? Sound like? What does it feel like? How might your life be different if you were just a little more vulnerable? I hope that the answers you find are fruitful. I wish you all a very Happy New Year.

Yours truly,


Brother Bearcat  ’07