Don Williams '80
Father of Gray '14, Marion '12, and Connor '10
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO CONSIDER A BOARDING SCHOOL FOR GRAY ’14?
We have so many friends who attended boarding schools, all from different backgrounds, different ages, and different geographies. The boarding school experience seems to connect everyone in a positive regard. When people talk about their respective experiences, there is an energy and warmth that indicates a deeper experience than the normal day school. It is so clear that boarding schools challenge young people to grow into independent, confident, and aspiring individuals, with broad friendships that cover the globe and last a lifetime.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO SEND HIM TO EHS?
It is important to note that Gray was the one who chose to attend Episcopal. He had choices. Gray attended a popular sports camp at an all-boy boarding school. While his sports camp experience was excellent, he was wary of four years in an all-boy environment. From a parents’ perspective, we were confident that the coed experience would produce a more well-rounded individual after four years, one who could acclimate to the college environment more easily and confidently. I was supportive because we had proven and positive experiences with his two sisters, Connor ’10 and Marion ’12. I view EHS as a school that provides great balance to the student’s life – academics, sports, arts, culture, and general life skills. At the core is the academic challenge and support; there is no better preparation for college and beyond. These kids are expected to embrace responsibility and accountability at a level that they generally will not see at home. Gray loves sports; the sports programs, facilities and coaches at Episcopal are exceptional. The 100 percent boarding aspect was very important, too.
HOW HAS GRAY'S EHS EXPERIENCE COMPARED TO YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE AS A STUDENT AT THE HIGH SCHOOL?
The honor and integrity expected of each student is the same today as it was in 1980 and probably all the way back to 1839. The faculty and coaching relationships appear to be every similar in their depth, uniqueness, and enduring nature. The benefits of these mentoring relationships are still powerful and (he does not know it yet) will stick with him for his entire life. I see very similar friendships developing for him that I recall sharing and still enjoy today. The biggest differences are that the academic aspirations are even greater, the facilities have had tremendous additions and renovations over the last decade, and the coed nature of the student body has created a more positive and resilient culture than the single sex EHS that I attended.
HOW HAS EHS IMPACTED HIS LIFE?
The boy we dropped off in September of 2010 has transformed into a young man of whom I could not be prouder. He embraces the core values and honor that the School represents and I truly believe he understands how that will serve him for his many years ahead. Generally a quiet and humble person, he has maintained those attributes while developing into a leader on the fields and among the student body. When he has encountered adversity or underachieved, he has learned how to cope, adjust, correct, and move forward. He has a level of empathy for others that is amazing. His experience and relationships at EHS have played a large role in forming who he is today.
HOW HAS THE DECISION TO SEND GRAY TO BOARDING SCHOOL AFFECTED HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH YOU?
Our relationship could not be better. While at EHS, there are times when he needs a friend and a sounding board outside of the campus, and he will call me. That makes us close friends in a way, but it does not compromise my role and his recognition of me as a father. It is the best of both worlds.