Homecoming events on the campus of Colorado Academy
Homecoming events on the campus of Colorado Academy

Homecoming 2021: Fun traditions, honoring a CA legend

I am very excited for Homecoming weekend. When I first interviewed at Colorado Academy 15 years ago, my semi-finalist visit was over Homecoming. After meeting with the search committee, I walked out into the Sculpture Garden where the Lower School Carnival was taking place. Then, I walked over to see the dedication of the tennis courts. Afterwards, I watched a few CA athletic events. What struck me was just how joyous the campus was, and how welcoming people were. The following year, in my first as Head of School, I was asked to lead the bike parade. For much of the past two weeks, Lower School students have already been asking about the “bike race” (as they call it); boasting that they are going to beat me. For us to be back in person this year will be special. On Friday, Athletic Director Bill Hall will emcee the Pep Rally on the baseball turf field. The C Club will entertain and get our younger students all fired up with school spirit. It’s going to be fun and memorable.

Aside from a host of games and activities on Saturday, we will be dedicating the Upper School to honor F. Charles Froelicher, the founder of the modern version of Colorado Academy. When I first arrived, the Upper School building was in need of attention. Two anonymous families made a challenge to the rest of the community to raise enough money to build a new high school building in a year. The generosity of the lead donors, and that of the community, led to a very exciting project that ushered in more innovative learning in CA’s Upper School.

The Froelicher name had been on the theater since the 1970s, and it is important that we honor our history. Given all the dynamic innovation that happens in the Upper School every day, it is fitting that Chuck’s legacy lives on there.

Chuck Froelicher, left, Colorado Academy's former Headmaster and founder of Outward Bound, speaks with current CA Head of School Mike Davis in 2014.
Chuck Froelicher, left, Colorado Academy’s former Headmaster and founder of Outward Bound, speaks with current CA Head of School Mike Davis in 2014.

The Froelicher legacy
Chuck Froelicher came to CA in 1955. He was recruited by Frances Newton, then board chair. Newton and the CA trustees made the historic decision to change the mission of Colorado Academy from that of a military school to that of a college preparatory school. Chuck arrived and reorganized the school’s mission. He hired new faculty. He worked hard to recruit students at a time when enrollment was challenging. He lived in the Welborn House. Some days, while working from his office, he would track down cars that had made a wrong turn onto campus and ask them if they had boys, and then would sell them on attending CA. (In his first year, he was able to recruit a few students doing that.) Chuck was an innovator and visionary. He brought Outward Bound from England to CA and the United States. He was committed to a liberal arts-based mission that exposed students to high-quality academics, athletics, and the arts. In 1972, he again transformed CA from an all-boys boarding school to a co-educational day school. Through his leadership, he had a positive impact on the lives of so many.

Homecoming 2021
Going back to 15 years ago when I first interviewed and was hired, I got to spend time with Chuck. My first meeting with him was a three-hour session in the Welborn House in which he shared with me the deep history of the school. He passed on lessons he had learned and gave me great advice. I loved seeing him on campus. He would periodically come to games. My first year, we had an upset in boys lacrosse over a certain rival, and I still have the voicemail of Chuck gleefully congratulating our students on the victory. He took pride in CA.

I hope you will join us at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 18, when we dedicate the Upper School building to a masterful educator, F. Charles Froelicher.