Who is Pingree?

My name is Isaac Poritzky and as my four years of high school are coming to an end, I felt compelled to share my love for Pingree school with prospective students. I have immersed myself in all that Pingree has to offer as a soccer captain, Head Tour Guide, and even co-taught a class with Dr. Johnson. After spending four great years at Pingree, I chose to interview students and teachers to highlight my favorite part about my high school experience, the people. Inspired by "Humans of New York," I spent time with each person, interviewing them, and selecting the most inspiring, funny, lighthearted, creative, and thought-provoking quotes they decided to share. I hope you enjoy the many faces of Pingree and I encourage you to come and hear their stories in person!

Oliver Pinyochon, Class of 2019

How do you want to be remembered after you leave Pingree?

I want people to say, "that kid did everything," where I believe it is easy for people to do that at Pingree, but I do not believe people always take advantage of it. I want them to remember me as a good soccer player, but also someone who was into arts and a goofy, all around good kid.

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Gracie Carrigan, Class of 2019

Have you ever done something that you even surprised yourself that you did?

It would definitely be the Barcelona Exchange. If you told me three years ago that I would travel to a foreign country for ten days, stay with a family who spoke no English, and travel with a group of Pingree students who I really did not know going into it, I would have never believed you. By having the opportunity to go on this trip and the community at Pingree giving me the self-confidence to go on a trip with a group of seniors who I had never talked to before, allowed me to have one of the coolest experiences of my life.

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Colette Combs, Class of 2019

What is one thing you want the Pingree Community to know about you?

Everything I do and everything I put myself into, are generally my passions like when I lead write to your rep, take part in Model UN, or run for class representative, or even when I’m working as a head tour guide, it is because I want to be as involved in the community as possible. When I came in as a freshman, I was scared of everything and Pingree has helped me transform into someone who is a lot more confident so every opportunity that I have had, I have taken it because I feel confident enough to do so.

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Meg Sullivan, Class of 2018

Now that you are graduating, what sort of impact do you believe you had on the Pingree community?

I know that I am pretty vocal in the community and I just hope that other girls who are not as outspoken or do not feel like they have as much of a voice in the classroom or the community can look at me and know that they can speak up in group discussions or morning meetings and not be ashamed of their voice. I also want them to be able to wear clothes that don’t necessarily look like everybody else's clothes. I just hope that at least one girl has looked at me and felt empowered.

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Adams (Chef) Lopez, Class of 2020

Where does your nickname come from?

So in english class last year I had Ms. Ramadan and there were about eleven kids in the class and on the first day, she told us to make a name tag. On the name tag we could put a nickname that you wanted to be called in the class and any drawings that represent you. So I did not realize this but everybody in the class just put their normal name while I put Chef Adams and drew a Warriors jersey for Steph Curry and a basketball. Then everyone asked me why I put Chef and it was because it was supposed to be funny like ‘I sauce it up and cook it up on the court’. Everybody then started laughing and sprinted out of the class when it was over and by the end of the week, everybody in the school knew me as chef.

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Isaac Poritzky, Class of 2018

Every winter break my grandparents take thirteen members of my family on a vacation, and three years ago, we went to Curacao. My family vacations are centered around food and that was no different this vacation. So as we ate our way through Curacao, there was this food truck that kept catching my eye. Then on the third day of our trip, after my cousins and I were heading back to our house after scuba diving for the morning, I convinced them to stop at the food truck. It was one of my proudest moments. It was a neon orange truck with three chubby women inside who could not look happier to be working. They only had two things on the menu, pupusas and smoothies. A pupusa is a sort of thick corn tortilla that is cut open and stuffed with grilled chicken, lettuce, fresh avocado, onion, cheese, and two homemade sauces. We all did not have high expectations until we put them in our mouths and everyone's eyes lit up. In that moment, I do not know if I had ever tasted something more delicious. Right as the pupusas were starting to get too hot, they handed up thick mango smoothies that they made with fresh mangos they had picked that morning. Lets just say we went there for lunch every single day for the rest of the trip, we even considered bringing the women home with us on the plane. 

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Maddy Harvey, Class of 2018

Have you ever done something that you have not told your parents about?

Well one time I poisoned my dogs by accident.

With chocolate?

No, rat poison.

Oh, wow, you really poisoned your dogs.

Well we have a barn in the backyard and in the winter we store my dad’s tractor and my mom’s BMW in there, but a lot of rats go in there so we have rat poison in there. So one time I went in there, we really aren’t supposed to go in there, and my dogs followed me in, they also usually hate going in there too, but they decided to follow me in. Then before I could stop them, one of my dogs started eating rat poison. This was before I had my license so I couldn’t drive to the vet, so it was a mess. Luckily they both made it out alive, so we are all good.

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Sam Bianchi, Class of 2018

What’s your favorite movie of all time?

Ohh, Miracle On Ice. I’m pretty sure I have cried every single time I watch it.

You are so in touch with your emotional side, I love it.

Hey I’m not afraid to admit it. But, it's not the necessarily the comeback story as much as how they portray the team. I have always loved team sports where there is just something special about being a part of a team. I love how the movie gets into how they hate each other at first because they are all from rival colleges, but how these bonds form and how it becomes obvious that they all love each other at the end of the movie. It really gets to me.

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Tim Johnson, Head of School

Do you have an ultimate professional goal?

Well my goal is to be a leader in the field of education that makes a difference in the lives of students. It doesn’t have to be in a secondary school because I have thought about writing a book, about having an exhibition of work that connects to leadership and school change. My ultimate goal is to do what I’m doing now. To be a part of a great institution where students and teachers take care of each other and striving and stretching and everyday is an adventure. In a way it feels like everyday I’m living the dream.

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Lily Pulver, Class of 2019

What’s the best thing you own?

I can’t say one thing, but I guess I would say my clothes. I believe that fun pieces are what make a person unique. It’s like a cover of a book, it’s what make a person look interesting and makes people attracted to them.

Are interesting clothes like, your thing?

Oh definitely, like if someone else has the same clothes as me I’m like “shoot, I just want it to be me.”

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Casey Finch, History Teacher

What’s the best thing you own and why?

I would say my car. It doesn’t matter to me which car it is, I just love being able to go on road trips. Even when I travel overseas, I always rent a car. I love being able to go anywhere I want and stop anywhere I want. I love bringing friends with me or bringing my dog with me. I could be happy living in my car if I had to. Last summer I went to Quebec city with my wife and some friends and we choose to go a really back way through Maine that allowed us to stumble upon some really cool places that I would normally never go. The car makes your local area a lot more exciting. It’s always nice to return home, but I love the freedom the car entails.

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Kristin Brown, Dean of Academics

If you could invite three people to a dinner party, who would they be?

Kathryn Graham who was the publisher of the Washington Post when they released the Pentagon papers. Her autobiography is actually one of the most moving books I have ever read. I would love to also invite Otto Von Bismarck, a smart, ornery, crotchety, and extremely influential figure in our history. He loved to provoke people so I think seeing him and Kathryn go at it would be interesting. Lastly, I would pick Alice Paul who was instrumental in women getting the right to vote and she was willing to use force because she argued that men used force, so if they wanted to be treated like men, they would have to do the same.

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Allen Williamson, Dean of Students

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received?

Well I went to Amherst College, played basketball for four years and the first couple of years I did not play as much as I wanted to or thought I should be. It was frustrating to come from Pingree where I was playing every minute of everything game to go to sitting on the bench was a real challenge. So we had this home game with an alumni reception after the game and that game was one where I got a few minutes, played OK in this few minutes, but still did not play as much as I wanted. After this game, this one alum who graduated a couple decades ago, came up to me and said, “You’re a good player, I can see you have some skills. Make sure you are patient. I bet you want to play more, but be patient. Wait your time. And when your time comes, be ready so that coach can’t afford to not have you on the court."

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Ed Kloman, English Teacher

Did you imagine being a teacher?

I knew that I was going to be a teacher, so I did everything possible to avoid teaching. So I got out of college and coached rowing. I knew that I wanted to go to Europe every summer for free, so I coached at Princeton and got connected with the national team coaches, so for seven summers in a row, I went to Europe for free. I then still knew I was supposed to be a teacher so I went into boat building and sold sail cloth. I wanted to know what the business world was like. It cured me of my curiosity about being in the business world because I found the work about as interesting as watching grass grow.

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Owen Cootey, Class of 2021

What was something that you did that you surprised yourself you did it? 

Well my biggest fear is that I am scared of heights so one time my friends and I, and a couple of girls, went to Canobie. They all wanted to go on Untamed and being around my friends, and a couple of girls, I felt obligated to go on. It was my first roller coaster in five or six years, I wouldn’t say that I conquered my fears but” --

Did you enjoy it? 

I did not. We went twice. I’m pretty sure I had my eyes closed.

Have you gone on a roller coaster since?


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Koze Wonokay, Class of 2020

What's the best piece of advice you have ever received?

Basically anything my mom has ever told me. She's definitely the most influential person in my life. I would say the best thing my mom has ever told me would be ‘To not let other people let you feel inferior just because you are different.’”

When has she said that before?

When I was starting Pingree, I was nervous because people had told me that everyone at Pingree has so much money and it is going to be so awkward. You know how people who don’t go to Pingree only see the price of tuition and they don’t really know us. Then when I got here, I realized it totally didn’t matter. And being a woman of color is hard because people say to me, ‘You are so smart. You are going to get into an Ivy League because they need black girls to improve their diversity rate.’ I find that so irritating because people can be smart and their race does not have to matter. College’s do not just take you because you are diverse, you need a wide range of attributes. That is also where my moms quote comes in because you should not let people make you feel inferior because your work is valid.

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Buddy Taft, Major Gifts Officer

What has kept you at Pingree for thirty-nine years?

There are two things about Pingree that keep me here and keep me fresh. The first being the value on humanity. It really is a place that values people. And it is the only school I know of, in the country, that includes humor in their mission statement. I think that really speaks to what the school is about. A lot of people believe that humor is almost anti-intellectual, while I don’t believe that all. I believe that humor, good humor, is the greatest form of intellectual exchange.

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