Coed, independent, PK3-12th grade school in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Addresses Upper School
by Raffi Darrow, Ebytes Editor
As the second installment of Shorecrest Upper School’s Willis Leadership Lecture Series for the 2018-2019 school year, Don Paige, Head of Upper School, and the Willis family, sponsors of the Series, welcomed Pulitzer Prize-winning author and University of Florida Professor of History Dr. Jack Davis to campus. The theme of the series this year is water.
“Though it might seem odd to use one of the most common objects in existence as our theme, I would argue that its commonality sometimes makes it hard for us to see it as an important topic for discussion.” Mr. Paige expressed to the Upper School students. “As residents of Pinellas County, we certainly see water when it regularly slows our commute, or when the water level rises closer to our front doors during storms, but there are many aspects about water that we are missing.”
Dr. Jack Davis is the author of the Pulitzer Prize winning book "The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea." He spoke about the Gulf of Mexico. Chargers may take for granted that we live near what we like to call the world's most beautiful beaches, and the centrality of that body of water to our economy here in the Tampa Bay area.
“Dr. Davis's work is a key example of how academic research has become strikingly more interdisciplinary and less siloed in our modern era.” Mr. Paige reported. “Dr. Davis skillfully weaves the nutritional content of the Calusa diet at Old Marco Island with the geopolitical approach to settlement utilized by the Spanish. On one page you can learn about the different ecosystems created by different mangrove trees, and then on the next page you see how this impacted aboriginal development of settlement and organization of society. When Dr. Davis talks about a feast of fish and oysters between Spanish emissaries and the local cacique, I can easily imagine that a similar meal is happening right now in approximately the same spot.”
To help alleviate some of the damage in our bay area, Dr. Davis suggested focusing on protecting and restoring the coastlines. Many of the students in attendance had done exactly that in Shorecrest Middle School’s Bay Grasses In Classes Program. For nearly ten years, eighth grade Chargers have grown bay grasses on Shorecrest grounds and eventually transplanted them along the Bay as part of a community restoration program sponsored by Tampa Bay Watch. About once every 2 weeks, eighth graders check their sea grasses for diseases, the water quality, weed, and perform basic maintenance on the plot north of Haskell Field.
The Upper School was pleased and honored to welcome Dr. Davis. After his lecture, Walker Willis ‘19 toured Dr. Davis around the Native Classroom and explained the marine biology and ecological components of the eighth grade curriculum.
For the final installment of the 2018-19 Willis Leadership Lecture Series, Hank Hine, Executive Director of the Dalí Museum, will address Upper School next week.
Earlier this year, Professor James Salzman came to campus for the first lecture of the Series to speak about the history of access to clean drinking water and the hurdles humans face to find access to clean water today.