The McTernan History Book:
The History Behind the History
Anniversaries and birthdays share many commonalities, but there is one distinct difference between the two. Birthdays are used to celebrate the future; anniversaries celebrate the past. This is why the idea capturing and documenting the history of McTernan School was on the very first McTernan Anniversary Committee agenda in 2007.
The question was how this historical information would be shared with the Chase community and the McTernan alumni. The plan initially called for a special McTernan edition of The Magpie, Chase’s alumni magazine. As research commenced in the archives, however, and more information came to light, this format was no longer suitable, and it was decided that this history would need to be a separate publication. The Committee settled on the idea for a softcover “commemorative journal” that would run about 40 pages in length.
At a McTernan focus group this format for the book was mentioned to the assembled alumni. Thoroughly impressed by the efforts to celebrate McTernan, brothers Schuyler ’61, Peter ’65 and Alex ’70 Thomson stepped forward with an unsolicited family gift to ensure that, in the words of Schuyler, “this thing was done right.” With this generous funding in place, the Committee was thrilled to be able to pursue a more ambitious project than they originally thought possible.
Chris Brooks ’59 stepped forward to take the lead on the book and serve as its chief architect. Going forward, he defined two important goals: Comprehensively document the history of McTernan School, and highlight those McTernan traditions that still endure at Chase Collegiate School. This second ambition stemmed from the many comments that Chris heard from his fellow McTernan alumni who heavy-heartedly expressed that “McTernan School was dead.” Chris knew, though, that McTernan traditions were alive and well at Chase and hoped to spread the word.
To assist with the writing, Mat Calabro ’04, a perennial Alumni Office volunteer, was asked to work alongside Chris. With the help of the Committee, Chris and Mat worked for the next 18 months to research and draft the history, locate and select the photographs and images, and review and revise the layout.
After finalizing the design with a New Canaan based firm, Peapod Design, the discussion then turned to the cover. The plan and budget initially called for a softcover, but as the book grew in size and scope, the idea of a hardcover began to be seriously considered. When presented to the Committee, enthusiasm fell squarely behind a hardcover option.
Once printed and bound, the book was formally released on May 21, 2011 at the Middlebury home of Jim ’63 and Cathy Smith. In attendance were 120 people from the Chase community, including more than 80 McTernan graduates. At the release party, the ceremonial first copy of the book was presented to Sandy Larkin ’59, whose efforts that began seven years earlier served as the inspiration behind the book. Additionally, a copy of the book was designated “The Charles L. ‘Sandy’ Larkin III ’59 Edition” and placed within the McTernan Centennial Library on the Chase campus.
Copies of McTernan School: 100 Years of Excellence can be purchased for $30.00 by contacting the Chase Collegiate School Alumni & Development Office at (203) 236-9550 or firstname.lastname@example.org.