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Stories from the Ridge, The McCallie Podcast
19 minutes | Oct 18, 2021
Squash: What It Is, How It is Played, and Its Role in McCallie’s Varsity Athletic Offerings
Squash, McCallie’s newest varsity sport, is the topic of this edition of Stories from the Ridge. Head of School Lee Burns ’87 introduces the new head varsity squash coach, Dan Sharplin, who discusses his reasons for coming to Chattanooga to lead this growing part of the school’s athletic offerings. Mr. Sharplin, who comes to the Ridge via his native New Zealand and Boston, shares his vision for McCallie’s squash program and how he sees it as a way to introduce squash to other high schools in the Southeast. He and Mr. Burns also share their vision for a squash facility on McCallie’s campus (the squash currently uses a club squash facility in Downtown Chattanooga). For the many McCallie alumni and friends who are unfamiliar with squash, Mr. Sharplin gives a brief explanation on how it is played.
61 minutes | Sep 14, 2021
The Ed Johnson Project
In this podcast, leaders of The Ed Johnson Project, along with a McCallie history teacher, discuss the story of Ed Johnson, who was lynched on Chattanooga’s Walnut Street Bridge more than a century ago, and the five-year effort by community volunteers that has resulted in a memorial being placed near the bridge to commemorate Mr. Johnson and the attorneys who defended him. The podcast also discusses the role the Rev. T.H. McCallie, one of the founders of McCallie, played in trying to prevent the lynching and how he offered shelter on the school’s campus to one of the attorney’s families. And it discusses how McCallie history teachers use the Ed Johnson story to inspire McCallie students to be responsible citizens in their communities. Participating in the podcast are: Donivan Brown, president of the Ed Johnson Project; Eleanor McCallie Cooper, great-granddaughter of the Rev. T.H. McCallie, and a member of the Ed Johnson Project; Mel Cooper, former McCallie Vice President of Development, and a member of the Ed Johnson Project; Bart Wallin ’99, who, with David Levitt ’94, teaches the Ed Johnson story as part of their 8th-grade history classes. Links mentioned in the podcast: The to documentary video on Ed Johnson by Linda Duvoisin: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1730677540326112 PDF of anti-lynching sermon delivered in 1883 by the Rev. Dr. T.H. McCallie (courtesy of Eleanor McCallie Cooper): https://www.mccallie.org/fs/resource-manager/view/05341ae6-0c51-44d0-86e4-52b7c148c9de The Ed Johnson Project website, with a schedule of events for the weekend of the memorial dedication: https://www.edjohnsonproject.com/ The book, Contempt of Court: The Turn-of-the-Century Lynching that Launched 100 Years of Federalism by Mark Curriden and Leroy Phillips Jr., published 1999 by Faber and Faber, Inc., New York, available through most booksellers.
54 minutes | Sep 8, 2021
Recollections of 9/11: Students Discuss their AP U.S. History Project and Perspectives of the Attacks that Shook the World
For the past eight years, students in Dr. Duke Richey’s Advanced Placement U.S. History classes have been collecting stories from family members, friends, and acquaintances about the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. To mark the 20th anniversary of the attacks, the students have launched a website that will be updated weekly throughout the year. That website can be found here: https://www.mccallie.org/911project Four of those students sat down with Dr. Richey to discuss the project and share their perspectives of the tragic attacks on America. The students are Vihaal Vellanki '22, a boarder from Minnetonka, Minn., Luke Gilbert '22, a boarder from Charlotte, N.C., and Nathan Smartt '22, a boarder from Austin, Texas. In addition, Nelson Eiselstein, a 2016 graduate of McCallie who participated in the project when he was a student, joined the discussion. Mr. Eiselstein now teaches math at McCallie.
48 minutes | Jul 20, 2021
From McCallie to Hollywood: Darren Moorman Discusses his Movies And His Days Teaching At McCallie
Former McCallie teacher Darren Moorman is receiving worldwide acclaim for the latest movie he produced, Blue Miracle, starring Dennis Quaid, and now streaming on Netflix. Mr. Moorman, who taught Bible in the early 1990s under the guidance of John Strang, left the Ridge in the late 90s for Hollywood, where he gained fame as an actor before becoming a successful movie producer, concentrating on faith-based topics. In June, Mr. Moorman visited McCallie and hammed it up with his old friend John Marcellis ’85, Director of Weekend Activities, talking about their time on campus and Mr. Moorman’s early ventures (at times with Mr. Marcellis in tow) into acting and producing, and about Mr. Moorman’s latest accomplishments, including the highly acclaimed Blue Miracle movie. The two were joined by Steve Hearn ’87, Vice President of Advancement.
51 minutes | Apr 15, 2021
It’s spring on the Ridge, and a young McCallie man’s fancy turns to thoughts of ... Quack, Quack.
That’s the sound being heard more across campus often as student anticipation grows for the annual Duck Day, in which students are dismissed from classes to enjoy the campus, the formal opening of the Lake, organized games, and just generally enjoying the springtime. Duck Day, along with another McCallie springtime tradition, the senior prank, are the topics of this edition of Stories from the Ridge. In early April 2021, Assistant Head of School Kenny Sholl sat in the Quadrangle with Upper School Principal Hank Hopping, Vice President of Advancement Steve Hearn ’74, and Dean of Admission Jim Daughdrill ’05 to share stories and laughs about Duck Day and senior pranks over the years. If you have a Duck Day or senior prank story you would like to share, please let us know. We’ll even try to record as many as possible (provided they are fit for a general audience) for a follow-up podcast. All you need to do is give us a call at 423-493-5019, and when prompted, simply record your message, being sure to give your name, class year, and a phone number where we can reach you. Or, if you prefer, simply send us a note at email@example.com and we’ll contact you to arrange a time to record your story. We’ll save all the stories in our archives and possibly will gather some for a follow-up podcast. But remember: our attorneys tell us that the statute of limitations does not apply to senior pranks, so you might be required to return to campus to face the Disciplinary Committee. 😉
47 minutes | Apr 8, 2021
The Resiliency of Boys
How have boys – specifically McCallie boys – fared during the COVID pandemic and all the social and educational changes that have occurred over the past year? Five McCallie teachers and administrators sat down recently to talk about that question, and the discussion was surprisingly upbeat – and it led to a broader discussion of how McCallie boys have changed over the past couple of decades. Boys, they concluded, are resilient, adaptive, and appreciative. They’ve learned to grow in adversity, and have become nicer . . . and taller. Joining Head of School Lee Burns ’87 and Assistant Head of School Kenny Sholl in this enlightening conversation are English teacher, coach and former dorm head Chet LeSourd ’72, Learning Center Director and science teacher Suzie Howick, and Upper School chaplain, counselor, and coach the Rev. Josh Deitrick.
45 minutes | Mar 18, 2021
Three Alumni Share Their Experiences of Being Gay at McCallie
The “super-formative” high school years are challenging to all teenagers, but for those who are also recognizing an emerging identity of being gay or bisexual, the anxiety can be significantly increased. During a Zoom webinar with faculty and staff in late February 2021, Alumni Alex Hostetler ’09, of New York, Boyd Jackson ‘09 and Scott Woods ’02, both of Washington, discussed their experiences of being gay at McCallie. They shared their struggles to reconcile their sexual identity with their religious faiths, their families, their fellow McCallie students, and their teachers. This panel discussion was part of McCallie’s “Belonging at McCallie” initiative which is designed to ensure that all students, regardless of their sexual orientation, can experience and participate in the fullness of the McCallie brotherhood. They also offer advice to current students on how to live full, happy, and successful lives at McCallie and beyond.
44 minutes | Feb 26, 2021
Diversity at McCallie – A Conversation With Members of the Black Alumni Steering Committee
McCallie School has made a lot of progress in fully embracing and including its students of color, but more work remains. That’s one of the assessments delivered by three members of the school’s newly formed Black Alumni Steering Committee who joined Head of School Lee Burns ’87 for a conversation about the school’s Moving Forward Together As Brothers initiative. The alumni – Johnny Graham ‘95, Charles Green ‘06, and Keenan Hale ‘11 – provide focused perspectives on the issues facing the school. The alumni also speak with pride about the new mentoring program that they all participate in which pairs Black alumni with McCallie students. Also included in this podcast is a short segment of an interview of David Chatman ’75, who was the first Black student to enroll and graduate from McCallie.
47 minutes | Feb 1, 2021
Heard at McCallie: Otis Redding, George Clinton, The BoDeans, And Many More!
“I would say there’s no school in the country that has had a musical history that McCallie has had . . . as far as having all these great performers come to campus,” says John Marcellis ’85, Director of Weekend Activities at McCallie. Steve Hearn ’74, Vice President of Advancement, agrees: “When you think about great music venues, places where great musical acts come together, . . . people don’t think of an independent school on Missionary Ridge being such a place where great acts perform. It is pretty amazing when you can go from the Dismembered Tennesseans to Luke Bryan and all the great acts in between.” Mr. Hearn and Mr. Marcellis recently sat down with another longtime faculty member, Dr. Duke Richey ’86, to discuss McCallie’s star-filled history of musical performances, from the early days of big-band dances to the legendary Otis Redding, to more recent performances from of Luke Bryan and George Clinton and the P-funk All-Stars. They share stories, have a lot of laughs, and appreciate “all the stars that glitter all the way” through McCallie’s history.
36 minutes | Jul 1, 2020
Finding The Balance: A conversation among three friends about the challenges of being a head of school in today’s changing world
Heads of three of the nation’s top independent schools – Lee Burns, of McCallie School, Kate Windsor, of Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Connecticut, and Greg O’Melia, of The Buckley School in New York City, discuss the challenges they face as they lead their schools through a period of social and political unrest -- as well as a pandemic that forced the closing of their campuses. They share their insights into how school heads must continuously work to express the mission, values, and traditions of their schools while at the same time adjusting to the realities and demands of the modern world.
25 minutes | Apr 2, 2020
How much time should my son spend playing video games?
That seems to be one of the major societal questions today for parents of teenage boys, and it is a question that McCallie teachers and counselors get asked frequently by parents. In this podcast, Headmaster Lee Burns '87 talks with Upper School Counselor Will Honeycutt and Middle School Principal Scotty Jones about this question and other questions that it spawns: how to set limits, how to have difficult conversations, how to “enter into their gaming world,” and how to find moderation and balance.
36 minutes | Jan 21, 2020
“Listen Eloquently:” A Conversation With Jon Meacham About the Legacy of Senator Howard Baker and Lessons Our Nation Can Learn From Him Today
The late Senator Howard Baker Jr. '43 would tell current Senators to “listen eloquently,” during the upcoming Senate trial of President Trump, Pulitizer Prize historian Jon Meacham '87 says in this timely discussion of Senator Baker. “Baker once said, ‘One of the keys to life is to listen eloquently . . . because it is just possible that the other guy might have something to offer,” Mr. Meacham said. In this discussion, he joins Dr. Duke Richey '86, Senator Howard Baker Jr. Chair of American History at McCallie, and McCallie Headmaster Lee Burns '87. They offer compelling insight into Senator Baker’s role in the Watergate hearings and speculate on what advice Senator Baker would offer Senators today.
35 minutes | Dec 16, 2019
Let’s Put A MoonPie on the Moon: Wholesome and Irreverent Branding in the Age of Social Media
Developing a whole new generation of eaters for MoonPie, a nostalgic snack treat from Chattanooga Bakery, is a challenge shared by Dooley Tombras ‘00, President of The Tombras Group and Tory Johnston ‘83, Vice President of Marketing for Chattanooga Bakery. In this podcast they share the storied success of the “Out of This World” marketing campaign that has received national attention with Steve Hearn ‘74, McCallie Vice President for Advancement. Wacky and weird social media, as well as no-permission-needed pop culture sponsorships and memes, have resulted in record-breaking sales for MoonPies and national recognition for The Tombras Group’s branding approach. Dooley and Tory reflect upon the success factors they gained from McCallie as well as the immediate trust in their working relationship born from their common McCallie bond and values. Anyone interested in creating more customer engagement, learning relevant social media strategies, or getting an inside look at a favorite snack treat will enjoy this podcast.
28 minutes | Dec 2, 2019
Christmas Memories: Lew Cisto and James Harr '92 on the 35th anniversary of Candlelight
James Harr '92, McCallie's director of choral programs, talks with former McCallie Music Department Chair Lew Cisto about Candlelight — McCallie's musical celebration of Christmas and the holiday season. McCallie will be celebrating 35 years of Candlelight in 2019 with performances December 6 and 7 in the McCallie Chapel. Lew and James discuss the origins of Candlelight and how it helped spark the growth of the McCallie music program over the next three decades.
45 minutes | Oct 21, 2019
Protecting the Scenic City: Senior Matthew Merritt talks with Allen McCallie '73 and Rick Montague '64 about Chattanooga's environmental history
Matthew Merritt is a senior boarding student and a member of the Class of 2020, and he is passionate about history and environmental issues. Listen in as Matthew hosts a conversation about Chattanooga's industrial history and efforts to clean up in recent years with alumni Allen McCallie '73 and Rick Montague '64, board members with the Southern Environmental Law Center.
25 minutes | Oct 17, 2019
Rethinking education: Hardy Farrow '09 and Ricky Thomas and success through learning
After earning his degree from George Washington University and working as a teacher for Teach for America, Hardy Farrow, a member of the class of 2009, founded the Let’s Innovate through Education program in Memphis. LITE helps Memphis-area minority and low-income students identify their skills and improve their city through entrepreneurial opportunities. Hardy’s work with LITE resulted in his being named to the Forbes magazine 30 Under 30 list in 2017. In this episode, Hardy speaks with Ricky Thomas, McCallie’s Dean of Community and Brotherhood, as they discuss what it takes to help students from all backgrounds learn and succeed.
30 minutes | Oct 10, 2019
Making Music: Sam Sims '80 and his career in the music industry
Sam Sims was a day student at McCallie and a member of the Class of 1980. He began performing music at McCallie and as a student at Morehouse College before making the move to build a career in music. Sam has performed for over 20 years with major artists such as Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake, the Backstreet Boys, Janet Jackson, Boney James, George Duke and many more. In this episode, Sam and McCallie Director or Instrumental Music Brent Alverson discuss what it takes to build a career in music as well as Sam’s memories of making music at McCallie and throughout his career.
28 minutes | Sep 23, 2019
Rivalry Week — Patrick Sholl '04 and John Brock '09 on McCallie football's 11-year run of dominance in the McCallie-Baylor game
Patrick Sholl, member of the Class of 2004, and John Brock, member of the class of 2009 were both part of the Blue Tornado’s epic 11-game winning streak over Baylor, and they will share their memories of that amazing run of success playing for coach Ralph Potter in a conversation with Mark Wiedmer, member of the Class of 1976 and a sports columnist for the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
33 minutes | Sep 23, 2019
Rivalry Week — John Green '84, Peter Hunt '84 and Greg McGuire '84 recall the legendary 1983 football season
Three members of the Class of 1984, John Green, Peter Hunt and Greg McGuire recall one of best Blue Tornado teams ever to take the field for legendary coach Pete Potter, in a fun conversation with Mark Wiedmer, member of the Class of 1976 and a sports columnist for the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
26 minutes | Sep 23, 2019
Rivalry Week—Mark Brock '79, Ellis Gardner '79 and George Robinson '79 share memories of Blue Tornado football
The McCallie-Baylor football game is a rivalry with more than a century of history and the highlight of Reunion weekend each fall. In this episode we feature alumni Mark Brock, Ellis Gardner and George Robinson, three former football players from the Class of 1979 as they share their memories of Blue Tornado football and stories from this big rivalry. Mark Wiedmer, member of the Class of 1976 and a sports columnist for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, leads this conversation as these men recall the fun, tradition and lessons learned playing football on the Ridge.
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