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Forty-seven years. Seventeen thousand, one hundred sixty six point four days, twenty four million, seven hundred nineteen thousand, six hundred twelve point four minutes. These numbers tell the story of Laddie Levy, a rare and gifted teacher. That story, however, is not as much about quantity as it is about quality. Laddie arrived here in 1970, when McDonogh was not yet 100 years old! He was the last employee to be hired by Headmaster Bob Lamborn and the last faculty member to teach a student in uniform. One colleague commented, “Everyone ages, except Laddie,” and that seems to be his best kept secret. Laddie enjoyed dropping in on a colleague’s teaching of The Great Gatsby, and upon his exit, students whispered, “Mr. Levy IS the Great Gatsby!” because of his effervescence and zest for life.
Laddie served as the advisor to the Legacy and also Ragnarok, now Artifice. He directed a number of Upper School plays, all the while bringing the Harkness table and student-centered learning to the English Department. As our varsity boys tennis coach, he racked up 378 victories and 14 championships while sporting what were once fashionable white shorty shorts and garnering multiple accolades from the Baltimore Sun as high school coach of the year.
While this septuagenarian’s energy is legendary, prompting one teacher to say, “I want to be like Laddie when I grow up,” it would be a mistake to let his passion blind us to his sense of purpose, of mission. Former Headmaster Bo Dixon referred to Laddie as one of McDonogh’s “mission keepers.” His passion is his profession, his work is play, and his logic is love. In Mr. Levy’s classroom, literature and conversation hold service, and the lessons learned are love and wisdom. His years at McDonogh bear witness to the words of poet Robert Hunter: “without love in the dream, it will never come true.”
Thank you, Laddie, for sharing your dream with us and for loving McDonogh School and generations of McDonogh students.