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Scott Purdy

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English
Head Coach Boys Track and Field
Faculty member since 1998
B.A. Williams College
M.A. Middlebury College, Bread Loaf School of English

What drew you to Loomis?

My wife, Becky, and I were looking for a community where we could teach, live, and raise our children. At the time I was in graduate school earning my MA in English and was fortunate to take classes with Jeff Scanlon, the previous English department head at Loomis and learn about the school. Becky and I visited the Loomis and were impressed with the friendly and welcoming environment, not just among faculty and staff, but students as well. I was also impressed with the unique school culture, where high expectations meet humility on a daily basis.

What is your favorite class/lesson/material to teach and why?

I always like to teach the junior seminar, which is the equivalent to AP English at Loomis. I really enjoy the seminar because it’s the first time students get put into advanced English and they face challenges as well as learn – it’s an exciting learning experience for the students and an exciting time academically to be a part of their lives. I always want students to be true to themselves and as a coach of boy’s track, I always say that the “track is the truth,” and “everything matters – nothing matters;” I don’t mind when students don’t achieve what they’ve set out to do, but I do mind when they lie to themselves and hide behind other excellences.

What is your favorite book to teach and why?

I can’t say that I really have just one favorite book; I like teaching literature in general. If I were to choose, I’d probably pick The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton. Both of these books are great pieces of literature and demonstrate valuable lessons to students. Alumni still say that they remember The Great Gatsby and I love teaching Cry, the Beloved Country because it teaches students about the world by mixing hope and pessimism, teaching them to look at the world in a more realistic manner. Both books involve a great deal of philosophical underpinnings, and I constantly ask students to think about philosophy as we are reading these books to better understand themselves.

Why is it important for students to experience a writing workshop in high school?

For a lot of students, writing is viewed as something that is just graded and not many teachers break it down to a very simplistic level. It helps to break writing down to a common denominator – it puts a strong lens on a competency students need to excel; the writing workshop focuses on small goals that all add up to the big picture, which is helpful for those who are great writers and for those who have difficulty.

Who would you say is your hero and why?

Heroes to me are special people who strive to make good choices. My heroes are ones that wouldn’t be well known to other people, such as my two closest friends’ parents growing up – they always cared about what was right or wrong and lived their lives striving to do whatever was the right thing. I think having heroes such as these is what makes it so easy to work at Loomis. Everyone here strives to do the right thing and not just what would look best.