A few hours ago, my brother called me and told me that someone he knew from Galloway had just informed him that Mr. Galloway, the founder and headmaster emeritus of my high school alma mater, The Galloway School, had died. He asked me if I had heard anything and if I could verify this information. While local Atlanta news and Google searches proved fruitless, seeing the status messages and notes on the Galloway School Facebook page corroborated the story. I sadly called my brother back and told him that I believed it was true.
That probably seems like a silly story to an outside observer; a tale of Web 2.0 communication and inter-personal relationships in the digital age. But to me, it speaks to how students and alumni of The Galloway School hold together as a community. We all came together because we went to the same school; we stay together because of what we learned there. When you truly believe in that motto to “Play the game of learning and not the game of school,” then it’s not about competing with your fellow students over who has the highest GPA and who’s going to which college. When no one is allowed to get cut from any team or any theatre production, then it’s about being part of a team rather than creating a hierarchy and separating people into groups. This community exists because Mr. Galloway had an idea for a different kind of school and a different approach to learning. For all the amazing people I’ve met through Galloway, I would say it works pretty well. It’s a community that whole-heartedly believes in the creed of “Behave yourself and try,” and laughs together at the school’s other rule: “Always wear shoes.”
I don’t know if it seems callous or even appropriate to share my thoughts on Mr. Galloway’s passing on my blog. I never knew him personally. For me, he was a symbol and his school was a gift that I’ll treasure throughout my life. It’s painful to think that future students of Galloway will only know him as the name on the school and a couple of paragraphs in a pamphlet. Despite retiring as headmaster many years ago, Mr. Galloway was never an abstract in the Galloway community. He came to the musicals and he was still running in Elliott’s Run. The man was 87 years old and still running marathons. I just got winded typing the word “marathon”. That would be embarrassing if it weren’t so inspirational.
My thoughts and the thoughts of the many lives he and his school touched are with his family tonight. Rest In Peace, Sir.
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