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March 8, 2022

Finding One’s Place with Mr. Gordon

From 360° Asheville School Views Magazine, Winter 2022

Finding one’s place, making new friends, and calling a place “home” takes time. Finding our place “amid rugged mountains,” and beyond continues to be a part of our mission. We strive to find what that is, that spark that sets so much in motion that will “baptize us with fire.”

It has become more apparent to me over the past two years that this place has instilled some aspirational feeling or calling. In the lyrics that Howard Bement penned, and generations of young people have sung since, we are at this place which is “set with hills to which our eyes aspire.” We are searching for something that is constant and can provide an anchor in the midst of any storm.

Place. A place to call home. A place that, for a short stay, enables a young person the ability to feel like a big fish in a small pond. A place to feel known and heard and valued.

I believe that we all have a place or two that we can think back to as our space. That space either helped to define us or it gave refuge and solitude in time of need or it gave us a sense of belonging and identity. For me, those places include The Blue and White room in Lawrence Hall; my dorm room on Third Anderson (319); a pew in Boyd Chapel; the gym laundry room (as a manager of teams); Ambler Pool; the azalea-lined patio of the dining hall where I would sit after a seated dinner in May of 1986 and watch the sun set behind Boyd Chapel.

This campus continues to provide that space that helps to ground, nurture, and recenter students. Alumni and parents of alumni find themselves in Asheville, at the intersection of interstates 40 or 26, and are pulled down Patton Avenue to take that hard right turn and up the driveway, to reconnect, perhaps to catch a glimpse of that space that was, at one time, center, or as one alumnus told me, his “true north star.”

I do feel that we continue to be a place, by our location and the buildings, to inspire young people to develop a sense of worth that enables each of us “to take our strong stand” wherever we may go.

Stop by the Bement House and say hello sometime. We hope you will plan to join us for Alumni Weekend in 2022. Mark your calendars for April 22nd – 23rd — we look forward to welcoming you home. 

A grateful alumnus,
Burt Gordon

Go Blues!