Accolades and Awards

Empathy is part of your soul, John; your need to help others pushed you through

procrastination to find your own voice and the way you will make a difference.

With your words you reflect the world back to us, make us see the beauty, the

distress, the injustice. You demand that we see, pay attention and move beyond

selfish wondering to action that will make the world a better place. Of course I am

sad to see you go but delighted at what it means for those you will encounter in

your journey. I am proud to have been a traveler with you.

–The senior tribute John’s adviser, Steve Riege, read for him.


The William Zinsser Writing Award

Chip Apfelbaum

Department Head, English

An activist and a young man with a strong social conscience, this year’s recipient

of the William Zinsser Writing Award observes the world around him with a

sharp eye and a profound intelligence. He has written poems about Cambodia,

mental patients, his front porch, and, most often, the city. He possesses a mature

vision and the verbal dexterity to bring it to life with a heartfelt concern for the

welfare of others, both close at home and in distant lands. He is quite simply the

best student poet I have come across, and I am not alone in noting his unusual

talent, for, this past year, he was the winner of the Wallace Stevens Young Poets

Contest. He has written, “I think I will tunnel with my words to the light,” and he

has done this nobly. The William Zinsser Writing Award goes to the Southend’s

own John Harrity.


Visual Arts Award

Carolyn Pelkey

Department Head, Visual Arts

The 2-D Award in the Visual Arts goes to a photography student of mine. He

is a young man of many talents, one of them being the ability to recognize and

capture the essence of a vision on film and to hold it up to our eyes to reflect

upon. Some of his works are seen on the walls behind you. It is my hope he will

continue to use this visual gift, in combination with his many others, in the future.

This book award goes to John Harrity.


The Sir Winston Churchill History Award

Rob Deitelbaum

Department Head, History

This year’s recipient of the Sir Winston Churchill History Award truly is passionate

about the subject and has excelled in every course that he has taken in the field.

He is articulate and inquisitive, open to opposing viewpoints, and encourages

discussion on issues. He has enlightened this community on a number of

important issues, most notably fair trade, and if you had the pleasure of hearing

him speak at David Holdt’s assembly, then you know his sense of the world is

beyond his years. The book that we are giving him is about one man’s fight to

save the world because we believe that John Harrity is on that same mission.

Congratulations John!


Brackeen Human Rights Award

Steve Riege


This award is shared by an activist, a person who takes every opportunity to

educate himself and then act on what he knows and what he believes through, to

name a few, writing and reading his poetry; by founding the “Smash Something!”

drum corps to bring support to marches, rallies and picket lines across the

region for causes ranging from opposition to the war to supporting universal

healthcare; by encouraging Watkinson students to join him in walking on picket

lines in support of striking workers. We are both proud of, and thankful for, this

young man who uses his education and deep empathy to educate others and

give us all hope. Congratulations John Harrity.

Posted November 27, 2012 by Anna

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