Alumni Testimonials

Jon Scieszka ’72

Author of children’s books
Brooklyn, NY
"But the most important thing I learned was how to learn. All of the possibilities and the intellectual tools to make any of those possibilities reality were given to me at Culver."

“I learned history, math, science, an literature at Culver. I learned how to fold socks three inches across and handkerchiefs four. I learned how to browse in a library, march in a column, and sex fruit flies in a laboratory. I learned more things at Culver than I could put in a hundred books. But the most important thing I learned was how to learn. All of the possibilities and the intellectual tools to make any of those possibilities reality were given to me at Culver."


"I must confess I haven’t done much with my sock folding and fly sexing talents, but I’m a writer today because I saw the possibility years ago in a school on the shores of Lake Maxinkuckee."

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Hal Holbrook '42

Los Angeles, CA
"I left Culver thinking that I didn’t like it very much. But, as the years have gone by, my feelings about the place have softened. Now there is much about Culver that I cherish. It is, after all, a beautiful place."

"I had a small private reunion with Culver a couple of years ago. I was playing Mark Twain in South Bend and had a day off, so I drove down to Culver, unannounced. I came in on that road over by the golf course and memories of running in the two-mile cross-country race at the half time of the football game every fall for four years came flooding back upon me. So I turned onto that small road between the end of the playing fields and the big hill to the golf course and got out of the car. There is a little bridge there. The road is now tarred over, but I remember it being dirt. That big hill (there used to be a ski jump on it) was a major challenge during the cross-country race. Soon after the start you had to get up it. That was tough enough, but the hardest part was coming down that hill just before you hit the little road and the final several hundred yards of supreme effort to the finish line. Coming down that hill in a state of trembling exhaustion, trying to control your legs so that a twisted ankle would not throw you in a heap to the ground, was a daunting exercise. But then you hit the road and there was nothing left but the end of the race. No cover, no protection, and all those people waiting in the stands to watch how you finished."


"Memories of how it felt crossing that road and facing this last desperate effort came surging up in me and I found myself suddenly very moved, standing there alone so many years later. I realized that where I was standing was a hallowed place for me. That it represented that crucible of fear, of self-consciousness and doubt, of hope and of lonely effort that is at the heart of every boy trying to grow up. It hit me hard, just thinking of how difficult it was to grow up and how we tried to do it well. And how we so often failed."

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Julie Hanna ’78

Freelance Sports Writer, Chicago Tribune
Chicago, IL
"Memories mean something—getting fitted for uniforms in the tailor shop comes to mind; the daydreaming possibilities on an early-morning lakefront walk; the sound of the Band going full-blast at Sunday parade. "

"But you come away with more after four years. Culver to me was always more about a community of people. The teachers and staff evoked changes: something about the values of responsibility for your actions and independence. Parents teach that too, but what 15-year-old is listening? But we heed the word of Col. Estey in history class. You do not cheat and you never hand in anything late. The really good ones, you respected. Each student will remember at least one who helped shape his or her character, or inspired him or her to dream. And while the staff were often role models, our fellow students were our comrades, the sharers of common experiences in a tribe that does not exist in a typical high school setting. Culver creates a bond among individuals that stays with you for a lifetime."

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Craig J. Duchossois ’62

Duchossois Industries, Inc.
Elmhurst, IL
Member, Culver Educational Foundation Board of Trustees
"My four years at the Academy helped build a solid foundation for my life values and real world expectations."

"Integrity, discipline, hard work, success, and failure—bound by love and respect for the individual and the power of team work and camaraderie—are the values and traits essential to a fulfilling life. Culver taught me this."

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