Once a Lion, Always a Lion

My wife had always wanted to take the violin and now that we were back in the United States, after a season of living in Russia, she sought out a private instructor, Ms. Virginia Ewoldt. Dana had taught French at the Anglo-American School of Moscow and although pregnant with our first child, she was interested in teaching at least part-time. Ms. Ewoldt told her about this great private school in Bettendorf, St. Katharine's/St. Mark's. When the school saw how remarkably talented Dana was as a language instructor, they hired her to teach French and Spanish, even though at the time she didn't know Spanish! I was now a Rivermont spouse. The year was 2000.

Our son Kenton was born and when he turned three years old, he began pre-school at Rivermont Collegiate (by that time the name of the school had changed). His teacher was Mrs. Collie, and he was one of two boys in a class with ten girls. Kenton seemed to rather enjoy the class! I was now a Rivermont parent. The year was 2003.

Following Kenton, our children Jaden and Ashlann also joined Rivermont during their Early School years. I witnessed firsthand the quality of education that Rivermont gave to my own children. It was an environment that was safe, friendly, and scholarly. I enjoyed the company of the faculty and the students and found myself frequently on campus. Mr. Knupp saw me hanging around and knew I had mad hoops skills, so he invited me to become his assistant basketball coach. I was now a Rivermont coach. The year was 2007.

One of the most popular Rivermont teachers resigned in February because of family reasons. Mrs. Paxton taught geography, and it can be challenging to find someone to finish the school year as a part-time Middle School instructor. I didn't have a lot of teaching experience, but I had a passport with a lot of stamps. Could I teach geography for the rest of the year, asked Mr. St. Laurent. I can try. I was now a Rivermont teacher. The year was 2011.

I sat at the table at the Duck Creek Starbucks with some of the members of the Rivermont Board of Trustees. Mr. Zachary had resigned in order to relocate and be with his wife. The Board would be searching for a permanent Headmaster to succeed him. In the interim, they hoped I could provide stability and leadership to the Rivermont family. I was now a Rivermont headmaster. The year was 2015.

Each stage of my Rivermont journey has been marked with happiness and crowned with satisfaction. At times I find it hard to believe that I have had the privilege of serving in so many capacities at this esteemed institution. As lovely as the campus is (thank you, Mr. Charlie and team), the true beauty of this school is found in the people. Teachers care about their students. Students care about their studies and about each other. Parents are involved in the education and promote the welfare of the school. Rivermont rejoices in triumphs and rallies around those who are hurting, just as a family should. So, when the time comes to say farewell, it is not an easy task. But when the right time comes, you try to recognize it, and then do the right thing. The year was 2016.

I look back with fond memories of my years at Rivermont Collegiate. The school has grown and prospered under the direction of Mr. Roach. I appreciate the kindness that he has shown to me personally. Students continue to achieve at a high level, and the faculty is as committed and devoted as ever. Life has spun me to a different part of the globe, but I continue to be involved in shaping and influencing young minds and great hearts. Wherever I go, once a Lion, always a Lion! The year was 2020.


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