Though most Concord Academy student careers span a quick four years, there are CA teachers and staff who have been a part of this community for many decades. In conversations with Andrea Yañes P’22 ’24, Jonathan Smith, and Martha Kennedy, these individuals communicate what compelled them to stay at CA and the ways in which our school community has changed and remained the same through the years. 

“We get a great blend of students,” said Kennedy, who has been working as CA’s librarian since 1994. Kennedy’s jobs as librarian, former Freshman class faculty advisor, and student advisor have allowed her to interact with students and faculty from all walks of life. “I think in other big schools that’s a harder thing, [but it’s] a piece we do well here. We have connections to students who aren’t in our classes but through the type of work we do, the library is a place everyone can come to and there are no restrictions,” Kennedy said. She noted that, though she has certainly seen students grow and change in four years, “The community allows you to grow as an adult as well.” Kennedy emphasized the importance of adaptability with teachers who have adjusted their work to help support the community, such as teachers taking on administrative roles or vice versa.

Kennedy and Smith had similar ideas when it came to the ways in which the CA community responds to shifts in their environment. Kennedy recalled clubs forming and ending as the community needs varied. “If you go back into old yearbooks you’ll see clubs that don't exist anymore—conservative groups, or the CCP. It depends on who comes in as students to CA: Do they take it in, or do they do something new?”

Smith, who has been at CA since 1989, discussed the ways in which CA students respond to changes within the selectivity of the college process and other societal shifts. In describing his entrance to CA, Smith recalled, “I knew this was my school instantly.”

As the very first Wilcox fellow at CA, Yañes remembered her first teaching year in the fall of 2000 to be a mix of emotions. “[It was] frightening but amazing.” When asked why she stayed at CA for so long, she responded, “There is a way in which as a teacher, I am respected as a person who knows what I'm doing.” The CA community was able to follow Yañes through changing and gaining multiple identities as first the Wilcox fellow, and then a science teacher, as a mother and now as parent to alums and current students. Yañes admired the “prescriptionless” way of teaching that CA offered teachers, as she felt she has access to the freedom to teach what she feels needed to be taught. In her years here exploring the private school world, Yañes explained, “I lucked into what I think is one of the best schools in the country.”