Sterling Degree: High School Diploma
Current Hometown: Norwalk, CT
Employment: Retired but also Chairman of The Bassick Gold Mine, LLC
Tell us about Bounder, from back in the Sterling School days: Strength out of Stress – I participated in the 1st and 2nd years of the Bounder program. There was one instance with a “life-or-death” challenge; the insulin of a faculty member froze and he went into diabetic shock. The only choice was to carry all six feet 180 lbs of him out. We jerry-rigged a stretcher and carried him several miles through deep snow. The good news is that we got him back safely, and he recovered. It was a pain at the time, but on reflection, I realized I was able to surpass my own expectations of myself of what I could overcome, be it physical or psychological.
Parks would go on to be a war hero of the highest distinction—earning the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for service in Vietnam.
“I was nearly killed several times, and I was wounded,” he said, crediting the skills he learned on Expedition for his survival. “The Bounder program laid a lot of foundation stones for me to be able to do things later in life. It was part of my early experience and makeup in life, and set the stage for the rest of my life.”
“Since graduating from the Sterling School, I have read very little, perhaps nothing, concerning the Senior Solo. This program for graduation seniors was inaugurated my senior year and may have died shortly thereafter.”
The senior solo required all seniors to live alone on a specified area of woods (approximately one square mile) with only a piece of string, a knife, a small plastic tarp and a sleeping bag with which to live alone for three days and nights. Students were given “emergency” food rations consisting of a Hersey bar and a small box of raisins. Only under the threat of death were they to eat out emergency rations. A dirt road ran through the area where the students camped and once a day, each of them were required to leave a note in a bottle by the side of the road to show that they were still alive.
“One of the most rewarding segments of the experience was the pre-solo training during which we were taught how to eat bugs, cattail shoots, fern fiddle heads, and whatever else we could find. Euell Gibbons was hired by Sterling to teach us survival techniques. If you have never heard of him, he was truly a fascinating man and teacher.
Any advice for prospective students? While the Sterling School I knew has morphed into Sterling College, many of the strong principles that were part of the early days have lived on. Sterling is a special educational institution for special people and the experience is not for everyone. You will learn not just from texts and the faculty but from your fellow students and hopefully carry these learns for the rest of your life no matter where and how you live that life.