An Interview with Dr. Hulsey

John Pittman ’16

The majority of the senior class this year has a unique perspective, having been at Woodberry for two years with Dr. Campbell, and now in their second year with Dr. Hulsey. In these past two years, we, in particular, have seen a lot of change. When we rolled onto Woodberry in the autumn of 2012, cell phones had to be kept in your respective dorm rooms, computers could only be used during the second half of study hall, and socks had to be worn at all times. Since Dr. Hulsey’s arrival, all of these rules have since been repealed, and there are likely still more changes to come.


Dr. Hulsey leads a ‘short Tiger’ cheer on the eve of The Game.

Our day-to-day class schedule, designed by Mr. Huber in the 80s, has been the same since its introduction. Next year however, this too shall change. The underclassmen will have a schedule that more-or-less resembles our own now. But the juniors and seniors will be the ones to potentially experience schedule alteration. Rather than our current 45 minute classes, we will have a block-like schedule, with class times lasting around an hour and a half.  This increase of class time will not only probably prepare Woodberry’s boys for college, but will also allow for material to be learned with a more solid foundation. For example, the first 30 minutes of a class might be a lecture, the following 30 minutes would then be dedicated to collaborative work, and the final third of class time could be used as needed.

This example is not to be taken so heavily, and is not geared for every subject, but is a general model nonetheless. A math class might allow more individual work, a science class might have more in depth labs, a history class might have more debates/discussions, and an English class might have more reading time in class. These are all potential examples. I am neither a teacher, nor have I interviewed enough of them to net a definite response.

With this change, the teachers, as much as the students—if not more so—will have to adapt. And while we pity, or sometimes envy, anyone who might be stuck in Reimers’s class for that seeming eternal ninety minutes, we should also be mindful of the teachers who will have to adjust (quite possibly) their entire teaching styles so to accommodate this change. Like the Woodberry Cup, this new schedule will have the potential to be very beneficial in the long run, but its initial moments will probably be rocky. And the length of these initial moments will last depending as much on the students as the teachers. It’s a great leap forward, that we will all be taking. This next bit of change will be some welcome news: classes on Tuesday will start later.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Classes will be starting on Tuesdays around 9 or 9:30. This change will allow students more hours of oh-so-precious sleep—that commodity that teenage boys always seem to have a high demand for. For teachers though, this time will be dedicated to faculty meetings. One can hopefully assume, that if the teacher is not in a meeting he or she will be in the classroom, available for consultation. Or maybe they are sleeping in, as well. They are, of course, human too.

The next bit of my interview with Dr. Hulsey consisted of questions gathered from consensus, concern, or inquiry. Such topics included a two-day Formal and cars on campus. In regard to the two-day formal, a former aspect of Woodberry life that is not yet even cold in its grave, the reason that it ended was not the product of internal problems—that is to say, it was not the fault of Woodberry boys. The downfall came from the fact that the fairer sexed guests and dancing companions, possibly doubting the fun they would have, would smuggle onto this very campus, alcohol.


A recognizable centerpiece found on the way to the Headmaster’s Study in the Walker Building

And while Ben Franklin has been accredited with the statement “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy,” at the adolescent stage, consumption of alcohol is usually illegal off campus. Needless to say, it is also an unquestionable dismissal offense for those Woodberry boys who so choose to indulge themselves on campus. Many a date stumbled her way up the steps of the residence, in an impaired state over the years. The decision was finally made to reduce Formal to just an evening. This way, the time of contraband that temptresses would bring onto campus would be reduced.

Now, if en masse, we could not only convince the powers that be that our dates would be as dry as the Prohibition, but also that we, ourselves, shan’t be tempted thus, then a two-day Formal might be brought back. However, as a school, especially the seniors now, our track record is not impressive. Though the rule breakers are gone now, their legacy seems to have tainted us. In any case, only time and group effort can prove otherwise.

For cars on campus, the main hindrance to it is liability; liability of all sorts. Issues could arise with students whipping around campus, going off campus freely, and regulating the potential student passengers of these vehicles. As Dr. Hulsey explained it to me, it is one thing for a school that has both day students and boarders (like VES, or that regrettable institution in Alexandria) to allow students to have cars, because the custody (i.e. the blame) is usually shared.  As the world devolves more and more into a overly sensitive collection of liberals and conservatives, and as it gets easier and easier for a bogus trial to drain a benefactor in a lawsuit, the legal dangers outweigh the student benefits.

Thank you to Dr. Hulsey for allowing me to interview him.

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