It is no easy feat to surprise the student body, and the faculty, of the GA Upper School. So when GA alumni, actor Bradley Cooper ’93 and actor/writer/director Brian Klugman ’93, bounded onto the Arts Center stage on Jan. 19, 2011 at 8:10am, the reaction from the 500+ people in the audience was that much sweeter to Head of Upper School Rich Schellhas.
“The squeals and cheers from the audience instantly proved that the assembly with Bradley and Brian would be more memorable even than the missed period A,” Schellhas stated. “ My favorite part, and the one most quoted to me by students and faculty, wasn’t the photo ops or autographs but the important messages our guests conveyed, stories of feeling out of place in high school, close relationships with teachers, and learning to grow into oneself and accept oneself as a person, quirks and all. They were funny, inspirational, and just the right amount of glamorous. With all that was put into keeping the secret, including the very small amount of time we had to prepare, I’d say their visit was a great success.”
Becca Boehringer ’11 and Phil Steinberg ’11 led the “Regis and Kelly-style” question and answer session, which was met with theatrical storytelling and various shout-outs to favorite teachers. Both alumni stated that the best thing about their days at GA were the teachers, whom they still talk about all of the time, and added that they keep in touch with many fellow Patriots from the Class of 1993. Observing the confidence of his fellow classmates during assemblies in the Arts Center (Cooper), being a part of the Belfry Club productions (Klugman), and participating in CSO (both) were just some of the reflections from the Los Angeles-based friends.
In addition to being successful in many ways, GA alumni are remarkably generous with their time, advice and mentorship of students. "It was such a pleasure to work with Bradley and Brian to make this visit happen," Director of Alumni Relations Heather Durkin remarked. "Their primary focus remained on speaking with GA's current students while also relishing the latest activities of their favorite faculty. They seemed to truly enjoy being back at school."
Following a meet and greet with the Class of 2011, Cooper and Klugman, along with Klugman’s sister Laurie who also attended Germantown Academy, took a quick hardhat tour of the new Alter Middle School and McNeil Upper School buildings with Head of School Jim Connor 1760 and Director of Institutional Advancement Audrey Schnur.
“The group was very impressed by what the new buildings and the entire campus plan will offer students and faculty in both academic and extracurricular opportunities,” Schnur stated. “They were also excited, due to their fondness of so many teachers, by our obvious commitment in the plan to encourage student-faculty interaction.”
Thanks to Bradley and Brian for a wonderful way to start the day! Click here to view the photos from their visit to GA.