On February 22, Headmaster Clement experienced one of the greatest surprises of his 28 years as leader of The Browning School. Walking through the massive doors of the Park Avenue Armory and into its 55,000-square-foot drill hall, he was met by the boys of Browning, their teachers and all the other staff members of the school community who greeted him with a loud “Surprise!” followed by singing of the school song. Even before Mr. Clement arrived, the Lower, Middle and Upper School boys got into the spirit of this special day by partaking in a carnival, complete with climbing wall and basketball hoops, all in the massive hall filled with games, prizes and fun food galore.
Special lapel pins were created to honor Mr. Clement, and after words of praise and thanks from the student council presidents, he was given a lamp festooned with neckties crafted in clay by student ceramicists under the guidance of their art teachers. He then mingled with his guests, played a game of basketball and reveled in this carnival celebration geared for the boys in honor of their Headmaster.
To “disguise” the real reason the community was dressed in casual carnival attire, Middle School Student Council boys sponsored a Dress Down Day, which coincidentally benefited the Women’s Mental Health Shelter at the Armory by raising $1,455.
The Armory and its drill hall, by the way, were built by the Seventh Regiment of the National Guard – the first volunteer militia to respond to President Lincoln’s call for troops in 1861. This remarkable edifice has hosted major events throughout its history, including the Commonwealth Society Ball attended by a young Queen Elizabeth. We would venture to say that for all in attendance at the Armory on February 22, the Browning carnival goes down in history, too! Congratulations, and thank you for 28 years of leadership, Mr. Clement!