A View from Glen Hill: The Five Musketeers

As the school year ends and Independence Day arrives, I find myself reflecting on our youth and what the future holds.

Singling out any is fraught with peril, of course, since that necessarily means that others are unfairly omitted. With that unfairness very much in mind, I want to focus here on five young men with whom my life intersects, all rising seniors in Wilton High School — though I could just as easily have focused on other schools, other class years, and young women to make the same point.

That point is simply that we are in very good hands.  I say that notwithstanding the enormous pressures on youth today that come from many different directions: staggering growth in technological capabilities, competitiveness moved to a world stage, to which must be added growing environmental concerns and international turmoil.

The five in alphabetical order are Jack DeAngelis, Jack Kaelin, Endy Perry, Connor Peterson, and Sam Schmitt. All share in common a great sense of calm under pressure, depth in personality and character, ability to lead both by organizational skills and by example, intelligence, and a genuine concern for others that serves as a constant reminder to us all of how to live our lives. They also have a delightful sense of humor combined with resilience and adaptability to the demands of life, and they always know how to make a task an adventure.

With that general background, I turn to each:

Jack DeAngelis radiates warmth and concern for others.  Whatever task he undertakes, it is done thoughtfully and well with intelligence and insight and with the needs of others always foremost in his mind — and a smile lighting his face from ear-to-ear! When I see him interacting with everyone from the youngest children to us seasoned adults, I know that he can be a great political leader, accomplished business executive, or inspiring educator, whatever direction his life journey takes him, and that those around him will definitely be the better for it.

Jack Kaelin is generally quiet — but get him talking about a complex academic subject and you immediately see his brilliance.  He is also an excellent debater, and as Solicitor General (and Wilton High School alumnus) Donald Verrilli said when he spoke at the library a month ago, “nothing matters more when you are trying to persuade people than maintaining your integrity.” Jack has that in spades with outstanding argumentation buttressed by compelling sincerity and conviction. His many interests include philosophy, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him moving into a career in that field.

Endy Perry is the consummate leader and public speaker.  He received his Eagle Scout Award at Troop 125’s Court of Honor last month, and I can speak from first-hand experience that when you need two 26-foot trucks unloaded in an hour, Endy is the one you want organizing thirty Scouts in that effort, seeing that those endless 50-pound sacks of ingredients get moved where they need to go, and leading by example in careful preparation followed by hard work himself to make sure that everything goes well. And when Boy Scout fundraising wreath-sale time comes each year, Endy’s eloquent church announcements make sure that there are no “wreath agnostics"!

Connor Peterson, thanks to family travel that has taken him to challenging destinations like the forests of Guatemala, has spent significant time in outreach work to help others in locations around the world where the needs are greatest, in addition to outreach done closer to home. When you see him working at the Village Market, you might not realize that this is a young man who has seen firsthand the challenges of life for the poorest of the world’s people. His compassion for others reflects his knowledge gained in this remarkable hands-on way. He is also one of the wittiest fellows around!

Ask Sam Schmitt to build something, the more complex the better, and you will get a beautifully designed and constructed piece of work that meets the need perfectly and also reflects the style and substance of its creator.  Ambler Farm has benefited greatly from his skills and dedication, as has the WEPCO Church Complex. Sam also has a great heart, a wonderful work ethic, and never fails to step up to the plate when something needs doing for others.

The really good news is that these five are just the tip of a huge iceberg of their fellow richly accomplished young people across our schools, our town, and our nation.

Mr. Hudspeth lives on Glen Hill Road.