Traditionally, the word “Homecoming” generates visions of decades’ worth of alums returning to campus to reminisce and celebrate the “good old days.” While Homecoming Week at Carlisle might eventually morph into something like this, what happens on our campus is something quite different.
Homecoming at Carlisle is a week-long celebration of school spirit. Certainly we do our best to include alumni, this year moving the annual benefit golf tournament to Homecoming Week and sponsoring a Saturday gathering of graduates. But, in the main, the success of a Chief Homecoming is measured not by how many alums return to visit, but rather in terms of what class, advisory, or division wins a variety of spirited competitions and games. As one who has attended and planned Homecoming activities on a number of high school campuses, I can say that Carlisle’s celebration is unique — and in many ways refreshing.
When I came to Carlisle five years ago, I knew that I would always feel my sixth grade math teacher and Lower School Head, Charlie Cumiskey, looking over my shoulder. Mr. C, who left Norfolk Academy to serve as Carlisle’s Head from 1969-1980, was one of my boyhood heroes. As many in our community know, he passed away this summer. I traveled to Columbus, Georgia, to attend services and pass my personal (and Carlisle School’s) respects to his wonderful family. Last week, I received a note of appreciation from his daughter Jeannie, in which she wrote that Carlisle was “the school he was most proud of.” She concluded by saying that the family is “certain we now have the greatest guardian angel in the heavens looking out for us.”
As long as I am lucky enough to be part of this school community, I will continue to feel Mr. Cumiskey’s presence here. I feel sure that, as he looks down from the heavens upon Carlisle this week, he will continue to be proud of the students and teachers in this place and smile when he sees the enthusiasm and love they share because of it.