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Cate School Honors Longtime Teacher David Harbison

'Harby Day' salutes his more than 30 years of service

After more than 30 years of teaching at Cate School — not counting his years as a student — history teacher and archvist David Harbison, class of 1972, will retire at the end of this year. To honor his service and significant contributions to the school, the community held a special assembly and a dinner on May 8.

David Harbison
David Harbison

“Harby Day,” as it was called, saw the Cate community wearing buttons with Harbison’s picture on them. The special assembly dedicated to Harbison combined the perfect mix of humor and heartfelt gratitude for a man who has made Cate history. The day helped paint a picture of a remarkable man whose accomplishments have gone far beyond his exceptional service as a teacher, adviser, dormitory parent, department chair and school historian.

These include:

» Starting the Cate School Historical Society in the fall of 1983.

» The modification of the history curriculum to include Asian studies and the Middle East.

» With English teacher Gaby Edwards and others, the introduction of the Humanities Program.

» Building the ropes course and using it for experiential education.

» The longest service to the school as a full-time employee of any alumnus.

» Many, many Kern trips, part of the Outdoor Program.

Harbison himself closed the assembly by playing jazz piano to a cheering crowd.

Later that evening, 80 of his friends, classmates, colleagues and family members gathered in the Raymond Commons for a special dinner featuring Harbison’s favorite menu. Speakers included Headmaster Benjamin Williams, Gaby Edwards, Betty Woodworth (who honored Harbison’s wife, Nancy), his niece Jenny Wasicek, class of 99, and Peter Arango.

— Don Orth is the communications director for Cate School.

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