Thornton Academy Postscripts Alumni Magazine Winter 2007

Thornton Academy What’s Inside POSTSCRIPTS Crossing the Finish Line Mondor steps away from coaching after 33 years Supercharged Science With donors help, Thornton has added laptops for student use during high school science classes. Read more about how the technology has changed teaching on pages 4-5. Awesome Athletics From the induction of the Thornton’s first Athletic Hall of Fame class and the addition of middle school sports to coaching milestones. Read more on pages 7-11. Welcome Grades 6-8 In September, Thornton welcomed middle school students for the first time since 1848. Check out the photos on pages 12-13. TA QUOTE “There are moments when I think ‘maybe I am too involved,’ and then I see someone else giving so much more. That’s what keeps me driving forward.” year. It was After more than two decades of coaching cross not until he country and three decades of coaching overall enrolled at at Thornton Academy, Director of Guidance Paul Providence Mondor ’68 has put away his coach’s whistle for the College that last time. his love of This fall, Mondor finished his last season running coaching boys and girls cross country, marking 22 developed. seasons coaching the boys team and 17 seasons “At that coaching the girls team. time, I lived While Mondor has no plans to retire from his with a bunch post in Guidance any time soon, he says he wanted of guys on the to step down from coaching while he still connected cross country with students and so he can spend more time with team. They his family in the coming years. In the last decade, were a pretty Mondor has coached both his daughter Nicole great, pretty Durand Derr ’00 and his son John Mondor ’07, who is focused group of guys, and they would get me to run expected to graduate this spring, in cross-country. with them,” says Mondor. “[My wife and I] wanted time to visit our son When Mondor came back to Thornton to teach, he next year at college, and it would be tough if I knew he wanted to begin coaching and immediately were still coaching,” says Mondor. “It’s tough. All got his feet wet as the assistant boys track coach. coaches give up family time. I was fortunate to have “Since then I have never looked back,” adds coached my daughter and my son. This a great way Mondor. to end…seeing John Since that first season, Mondor has through.” coached girls and boys freshman basketball, In 44 years indoor track (assistant coach), freshman of cross country, baseball, baseball (assistant coach), spring Thornton Academy track and cross country. has had only three Over the years, he has evolved into boys team coaches: an “outstanding coach,” says Thornton Dominic DiBiase, from 1961 to 1970; —Paul Mondor ‘68, Academy Director of Athletics Dick Agreste. “When we were starting out, he had Dick Parker ’60, on coaching. a deep caring for his athletes. He worked from 1971 to 1984; hard, was well organized, and very well and Mondor who prepared. Therefore, his athletes were well took over coaching prepared,” says Agreste. “The big thing with Paul is duties in 1985. Paul Nannery ‘69 coached the girls his communication skills with athletes. All of those cross country team up until the 1990 season, when things were present when we were young coaches the two teams combined under Mondor’s leadership. and, as athletic director, just seeing all of those Under Mondor, the boys team has had only seven qualities evolve, they are what his athletes have losing seasons in 22 years, with only 9 individual benefited from.” meet losses from 1993 to 1998. During his 17 years As a Thornton coach, Mondor is most credited for as girls cross country coach, his teams only had building the prominence of cross-country as a sport one losing season, and from 1998 to 2001, his worst among student athletes, says Thornton substitute season for the girls team was a mere 11-2. In all, his coordinator and girls track coach George Mendros boys and girls teams combined have qualified for 24 ‘76. state meets and boast a 345-171 record (174-109 boys; “Mondor is very charismatic, down to earth and 171-62 girls). very loyal to his athletes,” says Mendros. “When he Despite a long career coaching track and cross started taking over spring track, we were getting country at Thornton, Mondor himself did not run in about 20 boys. A few years later, we were getting high school. Rather, he played football, basketball, over 50. When he started coaching cross country, it and baseball at different times, and completely was very similar. There were very few boys on the abandoned athletics for academics during his senior team. Now Thornton has one of biggest teams in the league in both boys and girls cross country.” This is due mostly to Mondor’s enthusiasm for the sport and his belief in his athletes, adds Agreste. “His passion just permeates his athletes. He puts the sport as a very meaningful activity in “It’s never frustrating; always the best part of my job.” See Mondor on page 10 Cross country coach Paul Mondor takes in a little practice with members of the 1986 cross country team. —Trustee and Alumni Board President Ken Janson on volunteering at Thornton. To read more, turn to page 3. POSTSCRIPTS * WINTER 2007