As we shared last Spring, Judy Hirsch, our beloved Director of Admissions, is retiring after nearly thirty years of service to The John Thomas Dye School. Judy has dedicated so much of her life to our community, and we are incredibly grateful for the time she has shared with us all. I recently had a chance to chat with her and reflect on her time here at JTD.
How has admissions changed during your tenure at JTD?
When I first started, we had a preschool that consisted of twelve students, most of them siblings. That meant about one hundred more applications for approximately one spot for a new student/family in the preschool class. I was sending ninety-nine out of one hundred non-accept decisions. Besides that, what do you know about a two and a half year old? Can they make themselves understood and can they go to the bathroom by themselves? I was interviewing all by myself for years until I was lucky enough five years ago to hire Olivia Mora as my Associate Director. She’s lovely and has been a terrific addition to our JTD Admissions Team.
Do you have a favorite JTD memory?
Probably, the year I did the Fair and was Old Dan Tucker in our skit where I got to hit Mr. Michaud over the head with a breakaway bottle!
What is your favorite JTD tradition?
This is a tie between the Fair and Candlelighting. I think I have every Fair t-shirt from the past forty years, including the one I did! It’s such fun and so full of happy energy. I’ve cooked hamburgers, made s’mores, and this year I’ll be making shakes in the Alumni Drink Booth, so come and see me! Candlelighting is remarkable. Each year, I look at the faces of each child at JTD, lit by that little red “birthday” candle in that marshmallow and think of all the children that have experienced JTD over the years, all the good times and difficult ones, and wish each of our students everything good. It’s such a beautiful moment and…then I get to eat the marshmallow!
What will you miss most about JTD?
Watching our students grow up from four and a half when I meet them, to twelve years and beyond. I’m so grateful to have been part of their lives.
What are you most proud of in your time here at JTD?
Over the years I’ve been Director of Admissions we have become a wonderfully diverse community; ethnically, geographically, culturally, and economically. I’m also very proud of the fact that even if a family doesn’t receive an accept decision for their child, they have been treated with respect and compassion. It’s lovely to run into families that ended up at another school that will still say “hi” to me!
Do you have any advice for future Greyhounds and their families?
Enjoy the years you have at JTD. They go very, very quickly!