26 Feb 2008


The Right Stuff at HBS


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A few weeks ago, HBS threw a party for some neighbors — the 12-0 Brighton High School Division 4 Super Bowl football champions. Most everything about HBS is high profile, but the School also does generous, thoughtful things that a lot of people never hear about. This was one of them. For those of us who work at HBS, such gestures make us feel good about the place.

The Brighton Bengals are an inner-city team. Its players take public transportation to practice on a distant piece of city real estate that has no grass, goalposts, locker rooms, or bathrooms. When HBS Operations Chief Andy O’Brien learned from his intern, a Brighton player, that the team’s championship had gone virtually uncelebrated, Andy and others at HBS swung into action. The result was a gala dinner at Spangler attended by some 200 players, cheerleaders, family members, coaches, business and civic leaders, school officials, and the mayor of Boston. Harvard University also chipped in, helping with the purchase of commemorative rings (complementing special jackets donated by New Balance) for all the players and cheerleaders.

Featured speaker and Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy, who wrote a memorable column about Brighton’s 16-8 championship victory over West Bridgewater, told the gathering that in the playoff round, Brighton topped suburban schools that had “a lot more stuff than you: booster clubs, facilities, all that jazz…it just means more when you guys go through what you had to go through.” Overcoming adversity with character and hard work — that’s the “stuff” the Brighton kids had. And with that kind of stuff, in an ideal world, we’d see some of them again — as HBS students.

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