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John Quirk

John Quirk is the Head of School at Tabor Academy.

Recent Posts

Tabor Together: Building our Future

Posted by John Quirk on Feb 12, 2018 1:22:22 PM

John Quirk joined the throng at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, February 11, where over 200 alumni, parents, and friends gathered to celebrate Tabor at our annual Tabor Together New England event. What follows are his remarks in that very inspirational place. We hope you were able to join us!

Many of you have heard me talk about the state of the school, the state of our plans, our vision for the future. How inspiring to be standing here in front of you, in a location that symbolizes for me what it means to be competitive, and to try to extrapolate from this message and this organization’s accomplishments, our own lessons.

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Topics: Events, Alumni

"Let Your Light So Shine That Others May Be Your Good Work"

Posted by John Quirk on Sep 12, 2017 3:27:31 PM

In 1968, not too long after I was born, Andy Warhol, the iconic pop artist known for his Campbell’s Soup Cans declared: “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for fifteen minutes.” Without going too far into it, he was referring to his belief that the hierarchies of the world of that time were dissolving quickly, that lines were blurring. To him, and to his contemporaries, this meant simply that the opportunity for things or people to be worthy of fame were unbounded, in the absence of habitual delineations, and therefore that anybody – or actually everybody – could be famous. A plain old can could be Mona Lisa’s equal. I don’t think Andy Warhol could possibly have imagined the rise of YouTube or other social media, where the most mediocre of people can be famous for a time. Nor could he have imagined that, like regular people or regular soup cans, ideas or memes – even regular ones, even terrible ones – can gain fame and support. Still, he seems to have been essentially correct. In the future – meaning today, if looking forward through a decades old lens – everyone can enjoy some level of fame.

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Topics: head of school blog

Seniors 'Gotta Go!'

Posted by John Quirk on May 24, 2017 2:30:52 PM

There are a few precious days each spring when I am awakened by the sound of progress, of literal and figurative moving forward. I think it has to do with the harbor being mostly empty of boats, or perhaps the density of early spring air. But with the windows open, in the quiet and blissful few moments before the mental gears engage and then start to spin, from somewhere out there, it comes in through the screen, light as a breeze and nudging me into waking. It starts with a sort of knocking sound. Then there are a few splashes, the slight hum of an outboard. Voices next. The ordered confident barking of a coxswain, maybe a little coaching in between. Together now. Pick it up. Power ten! Let’s Go!

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Happy New Year from John Quirk

Posted by John Quirk on Jan 4, 2017 12:00:56 PM

I have had so much on my mind these past months, across an incredible array of topics. Many of you have heard me talk about Tabor being “on the move.” It is, for sure, but it feels in some ways to me like the movement of a small planet within the much bigger context of a swirling solar system or galaxy. We’re going pretty quickly, that is, but we are part of other things, a larger system that is surely moving even and ever more quickly. This pace of our world in flux connotes uncertainty, and a breathless sense that things don’t quite add up. For some, it has led to a declaration that 2016 might have been one of the worst years ever! I can tell you, it’s not that way here at our school. We have challenges to face, and we will face them together in the year ahead. But the successes that have blessed us – this is what’s on my mind as I write.

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On Ideas and Discourse

Posted by John Quirk on Sep 22, 2016 3:19:40 PM

The following is an excerpted version of Head of School John Quirk's Opening Chapel Talk:

My dad was a great guy – a funny and bright man of inspiring idealism. This trait expressed itself in many ways, but one of the best was his devotion to the Constitution as a living document. Many peoples’ passions are blind, but not his. He knew the document well, recognized and spoke with knowledge about the tensions and “unfinished business” of it, and was an expert in the ideas of the people who were its architects. In this, he was perfectly matched to the times he lived in.

He was a postwar baby born in 1945, with national pride beaming and nuclear fear coldly simmering. He was a high school student during the tumultuous early sixties – the death of John F. Kennedy, the rise of Rock and Roll and the drug culture. He was in college in the mid-sixties when I was born, as two of his heroes – Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. -- were slain, the cold war was heating up in Southeast Asia, and race riots and violent protests were peppering the news.

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Topics: Academics, Global Citizens