Continuing the Legacy of Hillsdale Mentors
Written by Chandler Ryd
I was in eighth grade the first time I heard about Hillsdale College. My band teacher and middle school track coach graduated from here. Back then, I played the clarinet and ran the 800. I attended The Classical Academy—a K-12 charter school founded by parents in my home-town of Colorado Springs. My teachers all believed in classical liberal arts educational values, and I grew to believe in them as well.
When I moved on to high school, I quit band and stayed on the track team. My new coach, Tim Daggett, also graduated from Hillsdale. He was an All-American 400 runner in the indoor distance medley relay. His picture is on the wall outside of the weight-room in the sports complex. He now has less hair than he did in college, and I tease him about it sometimes. On my first visit to campus, I took a picture and sent it to my friends back home: Look! Coach had hair! His hair isn’t even that long in the picture, but he wears it buzzed now and has a beard.
My English teacher during my senior year graduated from Hillsdale as well. Noticing a pattern? Eager Hillsdalians fresh out of their caps and gowns moved to Colorado Springs to teach at this brand-new school created by idealistic and entrepreneurial parents rather than by a government mandate. I haven’t even mentioned my History teacher, Zach Holmes, or the more recent English graduate, Mary Feeney. Like many students here, I come from a Hillsdale legacy. I have friends with brothers and sisters who graduated from Hillsdale. Some with parents who are a part of the President’s Club or who listen to Hugh Hewett and hear Dr. Arnn or an occasional professor on the radio. But my legacy is a little different. I come from a legacy of Hillsdale mentors.
My English teacher, Jeremy Reed, met his wife, Regan, at Hillsdale. He told dozens of ridiculous stories about his time as a somewhat foolish college student. On his first date with Regan, he accidentally drove off and left her at the Sage Center in the middle of winter. Another time, he angered a football player who then tried to knock his door off its hinges in Simpson. He was a student under Dr. Somerville and Dr. Sundall, and one of his professors even performed the ceremony when he eventually married Regan. “Stay foolish,” he told our graduating class before we left.
I’d like to say that I have followed his advice so far during my time here. I’m especially thinking of particular dorm shenanigans—including a Simpson lip sync of Lou Bega’s Mambo No. 5 currently on YouTube—when I consider whether or not I’ve stayed foolish. When writer Greg Wolfe came to campus last semester, he mentioned that we should never look down upon the foolishness of our youthful years. I whole-heartedly agree (and not just because it gives me an excuse to goof around). Even though my exuberant go-get-‘em attitude will fade as I grow older, hopefully I will be able to share stories of my own foolish days at Hillsdale College when I one day continue the legacy of Hillsdale mentorship.
As Mr. Reed would occasionally admit, “I think everyone should go to Hillsdale.” I can now agree with that, too.
Novelist, filmmaker, and resident root-beer snob, Chandler Ryd is a freshman and the vice-president of the Creative Writing Club. He studies English in his free time. You can usually find him in the periodicals section of the library.