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Middle School introduces Alumni Speakers Series
Jessica Fiddes

On April 5, the Delbarton Middle School debuted its new Middle School Alumni Speaker Series with an inaugural presentation by Frederick Honold '70

Organized by Director of the Middle School Rick Cimino, the Speakers Series is designed to stimulate aspirational thinking, encourage early goal setting, and develop intentional skill-building in our middle schoolers. The first group to benefit from this new concept was Cimino's 7th grade Study Skills class. Cimino believes that "middle school is not too early to begin thinking about what one wants to do when one grows up", and the boys' receptive attitudes during and after Honold's remarks confirmed this.

Honold began his talk by saying that "5% of life is planned, and 95% is improv", then used the unprecedented 4.8 earthquake that shaked, rattled and rolled Delbarton -- and even temporarily evacuated campus buildings -- an hour before as the perfect example. "Things can change in a moment," he said, and then talked about his Delbarton years which included a Succisa Virescit experience when, as a freshman football team captain, he broke his arm early in a game. His season came to an unexpected end and, guided by the late Fr. Gerard, Honold was challenged by an Outward Bound program in North Carolina that got him back on track.

After his Delbarton graduation, he studied at Bowdoin College, and then moved to a successful career with AT&T in sales and marketing. In his 30s, he took a skills assessment test that identified him as having natural abilities in the creative arts and military strategy; He requested and received a company transfer to a role in strategic planning. Later, he launched a second career as a consultant where he worked around the world with over 100 companies including Google, Microsoft and Amazon. Encouraged by his wife, he also committed to taking several years off to "get to know our four children", a domestic detour he very much appreciates. 

Back on campus, in a Media Lab filled with Delbarton 7th graders, he encouraged the young men to share what they wanted to do in life, then quizzed each respondent,  "What skills do you think you need to do that job?" Careers in finance, law, sports, law enforcement, and entrepreneurship were mentioned, and Honold talked about the special skills necessary for each role. His thoughtfully designed handout below is a roadmap that both explains his life and helps a young person navigate a life and career path as well.

The event wrapped up with a brief pitch from alumnus Matt Gilfillan '86 about the sustained power and reach of the Delbarton alumni network, and its ability to connect alumni from across the decades.

Finally, Honold received a parting gift from Assistant Headmaster for Advancement & Alumni Craig Paris '82.

Cimino hopes to invite more alumni to participate in the new Middle School Alumni Speakers Series where young students, just starting out, are inspired to think ahead, dream aspirationally and intentionally develop skills to get them where they want to go.