Jordan Cody Brandon ‘14
When I first arrived at Rectory, I was not involved in much outside of sports. That all changed when the whole school had to go and watch the musical in the Tang. I vividly remember thinking it was way too bubbly, and I did not enjoy it at all. I was fooling around with my friends, and Donna Bessette, the musical director, came up to me and said that I need to try out for the musical. I was like, that is not happening! I was not into the creative arts and had never really been interested in singing or theater, but I thought I should keep an open mind and give it a try. I tried out for the musical Annie that year and got the part of Bundles McClosky. It felt so freeing to be on stage, and I liked how my performance would make the students laugh. After that experience, I got involved in almost every aspect of the creative arts at Rectory; I sang in the chorus, RECapella, got the lead in Willy Wonka, and started sharing my films.
As a middle schooler, I created films and shared them in the mornings at all school meetings before school started; that’s insane! My films ended up capturing the Rectory community; We had skits with Mr. Ames booming voice talking to students, athletic highlights, and Wolfie doing things all over campus. The peak of my film career at Rectory was when Mr. Williams was starting a campaign for donations to update the gym and create new scholarships. They trusted me and another student, Jordan Xing, to make a film that they would screen in front of parents and send to alumni. This film was what they were going to use to get donations, and they let me and my friend, who are middle schoolers, be in charge of filming it! No other school would trust or have confidence in a student to pull something like that off, but I’m so glad that we got the opportunity.
While the creative arts department was a huge part of my life, it was not the most important thing I took from Rectory. Rectory gave me a relationship that will stay with me for the rest of my life. My tutor, Mrs. Abbott, smiled whenever she saw me, and I soon realized that she wasn’t teaching me just math. She would set aside ten minutes each session to talk about what was going on in my life and how I was doing. We would decorate her room and listen to Christmas music, even in the spring. She was there for me every day and became a parental figure while I was away from home. One day she said, “If you’d like, my husband and I can take you fishing at our lake.” I accepted, and by the end of the day, they had helped me hold my first fish that I caught.
That was the moment I knew our relationship was something special; as the year went on, the Abbotts took me out to dinner or weekend excursions. After I graduated, Mrs. Abbott visited my family in New York. To this day, we speak at least once a week, updating each other about our lives. Rectory gave me two new family members, which shows how cool Rectory is. The teachers can be real friends—someone who is there for you whenever you need them.
Image: 2014 spring musical production of Willy Wonka Jr. (Photo/Mary Lou Seaward 2014)