By Tim Bloom
I have lived in Chappaqua my entire life, except for eight summers in Maine and one in China. I loved growing up here, given the beauty of the town, the cohesiveness of the community and the myriad opportunities to do almost anything. There were times, mostly in recent years, where I felt how small Chappaqua is and how insulated we are from what life is really like “out there.” But, that doesn’t mean I didn’t have some defining moments, mostly thanks to some influential figures I had the good fortune to encounter along the way.
Now that I am in college, I can see what a great education I got here; from a terrific kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Kane, at Roaring Brook, to one of my favorite instructors at Seven Bridges, Mr. Knisely, who taught me how to write and do research. At Greeley I learned how to learn. I also learned how to ask the right questions, but most importantly, I learned how to advocate for myself, and to speak up if something seemed unfair, unethical or just plain wrong. I think it’s hard for some to do that sometimes because the ramifications for speaking up can be significant, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t.
There is a sense here that the stakes are high in everything kids do. While that may be true, I am glad I was allowed to screw up sometimes and didn’t always have a backup plan. If we get rescued every time we mess up, we are doomed to repeat those mistakes. There is a lot of pressure on us to always do well, but sometimes that just isn’t possible. I hope parents let their kids fail sometimes because that is how we learn how not to fail the next time.
I played baseball, soccer and eventually football here and was lucky enough to have played for the legendary Bill Tribou at Greeley. He always expected the best from us, and he was a big influence on my determination to always try my hardest at everything I undertake. I also benefited enormously from joining the Chappaqua Fire Department. I believe real community service should be in one’s community or at least close to it. Being a volunteer firefighter has been one of the highlights for me of growing up here. I don’t think it’s for everyone, but it is a meaningful way to help my friends, neighbors and community.
I am now at a university that is many, many times larger than Greeley and I live in a big city for the first time in my life. I play in the band, am pledging a fraternity, and am on the business staff of a professional theatre company celebrating its 125th year. While it’s exciting and a lot of fun, I appreciate having grown up in a beautiful small town, and having received an education that prepared me very well for college. Don’t know where I will end up living, but I do know how lucky I am to have spent my first 18 years growing up in Chappaqua.
Tim Bloom, HGHS Class of 2013, was Student Council President, a recipient of the Chappaqua Rotary’s Jill Goodman Service award. Tim is a first year student at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is studying Political Science and is a member of the business staff of Mask and Wig Club.