Field Willingham ’88 talks about being a former student and now a Paideia parent.
When did you start as a student at Paideia and what brought you here?
I started at Paideia in the 7th grade. My parents found Paideia, and it became the perfect place for me, then my brother, and then my sister.
Do you have a most memorable course or person from your time at Paideia?
Yes. The late and wondrous and inimitable Jane Pepperdine. Her class is a bright and vivid memory. She seemed to love us. And I can still recite the opening to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales thanks to her.
How would you encourage other alums to get involved with Paideia?
Easy - come to the alumni soccer game, attend the BBQ, have Carl smoke the meats for your next party, and send your children back as soon as you can.
Now as a Paideia parent, how has your view of the school changed? Do you see any similarities or differences in your children's experience and yours?
Paideia is still the remarkable, nurturing, kind and encouraging place it was when I was a student. And the wood chips, they are very similar.
What do you hope your children will experience at Paideia?
I hope they engineer a sophisticated way to safely drop an egg off the high fire escape. I hope they get to eat fudgsicles together after the blissful sweaty days of Paideia summer camp. I hope they create some artwork out of Ginger Birdsey's oeuvre. I hope they get to take a class with Paul B. I hope they learn to write well, even if it takes a few large red X’s to subtly clarify the fine points. I hope that they will find the friends and community that we found at Paideia.
How does Paideia influence who you are now?
I rely heavily on the teaching, community, mindset, and open-mindedness of Paideia then and now.
How do you stay connected to the Paideia alumni community in your life now?
We are in close contact with the Paideia alumni community. Three have joined my soccer team. One represents us in real estate. One signs copies of his books for my kids. Some are team parents. One we see most weekends, travel with, and our children are close friends. We got to see many out-of-towners at the 25th reunion. And texting. A lot of texting.