Beyond Woodberry: Carl Willberg

Carl Willberg, ASSIST student 2015-2016


Carl Willberg (left) sits with his dog and his friend, gazing off into the water

Four months ago I arrived at Arlanda, bags packed with memories of my greatest year thus far. My eyes were tearful as I embraced my mom, dad and sister. It felt great to be home, and during the car ride home I read every billboard that we came across, fascinated by the fact that they were now in Swedish. In the midst of it all, as my teary eyes rested on the green hills by the wayside, I couldn’t help but to think of what would come next. As my mind gravitated towards nationals, I felt a surge of strength through my body. When I thought about School, my heart raced as I thought about all the stories I had to tell. I concluded, as we pulled up unto the driveway of the house which had contained a vacant boy’s room for 10 months, that there was still so much that I could do, even beyond the gates of Woodberry.


Carl plays the saxophone while at Woodberry

First thing I did after returning home was to start prepping for Nationals. Getting back into a 25/50 meter pool instead of a 25 yard-one at Woodberry would take some getting used to. However, time was short and after just a couple of weeks Coach Roos and I went down south to the town of Norrköping, the city where the Nationals would be held, with only a small dose of cautious optimism – this wasn’t supposed to be anything extraordinary, just to “get in to the swing of things.” Little did I know that this would be my best Nationals yet. I felt stronger than I ever had before (Thanks to the rigorous training by Mr. Guldin) and I had quickly acclimated to the greater distance of the laps. The results were above and beyond everything that was expected. The 5-day competition ended happily with me emerging as the Club-record-holder of the 50m freestyle (even though the previous record was set in a 25 meter pool). A great success, and it would not have been if not for the hours I spent in the the Peter Browne Ruffin Natatorium.


Carl (right) shakes the hand of headmaster Byron Hulsey at the 2016 underformer’s awards assembly

The second time made use of my experiences at WFS would be the presentations that I carried out as the school year started. One presentation in particular has a fond place in my heart and coincidentally, the first one I ever presented after my return. In front of an attentive audience consisting of my beloved former peers, I tried to capture the essence of my year at Woodberry. As you could imagine, describing a year like this is easier said than done and my presentation grew lengthier than I originally intended. Yet my classmates and our teacher alike, did not mind me hijacking time from their english-lesson which would’ve been their next subject. They urged me to continue, and naturally I did. We were all enraptured by the notion of a prefect system, the boarding-community and who and why one would be kicked out. As things were winding down, the realization came upon us that we’ve been in the same classroom for almost 2 hours straight, the whole duration of the lesson. As I looked down at my script that I prepared in the days prior, I realized that I hadn’t used one bit of it: Everything I said during those two hours came directly from my heart. I doubt I’ve ever been that passionate about a subject before in my life and I doubt I ever will be again.

Admittedly, Woodberry continues to influence me here in Sweden, and it will always be a central part of my life. I will still wear the school-tie on test-days in school, still hold true to my door-holding habits and work as hard as if I still was in study hall. And even though ”For the boys” does not translate well in to Swedish, it is still a motto to which I aspire.


Left to right: Inigo Arizon (ASSIST student), Byron Hulsey, Carl Willberg (ASSIST student)

– Carl Willberg, ASSIST-Student 15-16


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