Dover-Foxcroft – Three prestigious awards were announced at Foxcroft Academy’s 2018 Alumni Banquet, the Dr. Mary Chandler Lowell Award, the Tillson D. Thomas Award, and the James S. Holmes Award. This year’s worthy recipients are Mrs. Linda Clark Howard ’63 (Lowell Award), Ms. Gene Philpot (Thomas Award), and Dr. Albert S. Buck (Holmes Award).
The Dr. Mary Chandler Lowell Award is named in honor of Dr. Lowell, who was an 1881 alumna of the Academy. Upon graduating from FA, Dr. Lowell earned the distinction of being among the first women to earn the degrees of Doctor of Medicine, Bachelor of Law, and Doctor of Jurisprudence. Each year this award is given by the Academy’s alumni, who nominate and vote for an alum, who has distinguished him or herself professionally. This year, we are pleased to announce the recipient of the Dr. Mary Chandler Lowell Award is Linda Clark Howard, Class of 1963.
Linda thrived during her time at Foxcroft Academy. She graduated with honors and was a member of the National Honor Society. During her senior year, she was the National President for the Future Homemakers of America. Linda attended UMaine Farmington and graduated in 1967, with her undergraduate degree in Home Economics. She would follow that up with a Masters of Education in Counselor Education from UMaine.
During her distinguished education career, Linda saw hundreds of students come and go from her classroom. Early in her career, she taught in Delaware, Germany, and back in Maine, with stops in Newburgh and Hermon. She settled in Dover-Foxcroft in 1975, after marrying Steve Howard ’59. She taught in the elementary school in SAD #68, as well as a stint as a Home Economics, Health, and Biology teacher at Foxcroft Academy. All in all, she spent 24 years in either the SAD or FA systems, retiring in 1999.
Her work with school children was amazing, but her work outside of education has been even more impressive. Linda has been on the board at the D-F Congregational Church, serving as their first female moderator in 1994. She was active in the Girl Scouts as a leader, camp director, and on various committees. She’s been a volunteer for numerous community minded organizations including, Womancare, Penquis CAP, Mayo Regional Hospital, Pine Tree Hospice, Center Theatre, Thompson Free Library, and the Penquis Cooperative Extension, to name a few.
She and her husband Steve were a American Field Service host family in 1981 and they served on the AFS local chapter from 1980-1999.
In 2007, Linda was named a winner of the prestigious “To Those Who Care” award, sponsored by WLBZ-TV in Bangor. As part of her winning the award, it was mentioned that she was a key member of the steering committee for Womancare, a distinguished local educator, and a tireless worker for the local community.
While her active teaching days are over, you can never take the teacher out of the person. Linda continues to help people learn to this day. She is a vibrant member of the Dover-Foxcroft community, and we are proud to call her one of our own.
The Tillson D. Thomas Award recognizes a past faculty or staff member, who has served the students of Foxcroft Academy with the highest degree of professionalism as nominated and voted upon by the Academy’s Alumni. This award is named after former Foxcroft Academy Head of School, Tillson D. Thomas, who oversaw the Academy’s move to the current facility on West Main Street in 1952. Mr. Thomas served in that capacity from 1947-72. We are pleased to announce this year’s Tillson D. Thomas award winner is Gene Philpot, longtime Foxcroft Academy teacher and coach.
Ms. Philpot grew up in Southern Maine and attended college in New Hampshire at Plymouth State University. Growing up in the 60’s, athletic opportunities were not prevalent for females, but she didn’t let that stand in the way of her love for sports, athletics, and competition. After graduation, which included student teaching in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Ms. Philpot decided the heat was not where she wanted to be, and moved home to start her 40-plus year teaching career with a stop in Windham. She stayed there six years, and loved the area, as it is where she grew up, but the pull to Northern Maine was calling her.
In 1977, Gene moved north, she went to graduate school at UMaine, and took a job at Foxcroft Academy, as a teacher and a coach. She was a great fit with the FA staff, and though she was young to the profession, she commanded respect from her peers. She was a quiet leader, and one that soon became a fixture at Foxcroft Academy.
In 1978, after finishing her Masters Degree at UMaine, Ms. Philpot embarked on a 35 year career at FA, that included several different responsibilities. She was a health and physical education teacher, as well as serving as department head for several years. She was one of the marching coaches for graduating seniors, and truly took steps with the soon to be graduates. She was a coach on the field and on the court, working with track and basketball. But the sport that Ms. Philpot is synonymous with is field hockey. Coach Philpot led the Pony Field Hockey team for 35 years, amassing over 350 wins, including state championship victories in 1991 and 2007.
Her coaching success helped pave her way into the Foxcroft Academy Athletic Hall of Fame, as a member of the first class in 2011. In 2012, Gene received the “Unsung Heroine in Maine Sports Award”, by the Maine Principals Association, an annual award given to individuals who are positive role models in high school sports in Maine. On top of that, in 2016, Gene was elected to the Maine State Field Hockey Association Hall of Fame. She had several student athletes, too many to count, that went on to more success at the college level and beyond. Some of those players, including current Foxcroft Academy field hockey and softball coach Stephanie Higgins Smith ’88, have gone on to coach a new generation of players, all with the wisdom and professionalism that Ms. Philpot instilled in them.
Upon her retirement in 2013, the Foxcroft Academy Review was dedicated to Ms. Philpot, for her years of service to FA. In it, students used words like, “professional, organized, inspiring, caring, wonderful, strong, role model, hard work, sportsmanship, and hero.” While not everyone had the opportunity to be coached or taught my Ms. Philpot, you felt her presence in school, no matter where you were.
These days, you can always see Ms. Philpot at local field hockey and softball games around the area. You would never know it by listening, but inside, she always continues to root for the Ponies, because as they say, once a Pony, always a Pony.
The James S. Holmes Award is given by the Trustees of Foxcroft Academy to an outstanding member of the “Herd”, who through his or her service has furthered the mission and goals of Foxcroft Academy. James S. Holmes was a young country lawyer in Foxcroft and is credited with the founding of FA. It was due to his volunteer efforts that Foxcroft Academy exists today. This year’s recipient embodies the spirit and qualities of James S. Holmes; Dr. Alfred Buck, great nephew of Anna Shaw Buck, an 1883 graduate of Foxcroft Academy, is the 2018 recipient of the Holmes Award.
After graduating, Anna Shaw Buck traveled to Europe, and returned in 1903 to begin teaching French and German at Foxcroft Academy. She took one year off, but continued her teaching career until 1924, at which time she became a lover and author of poetry. In 1935, she received first prize in the Maine poetry contest and continued to compose books of poetry for the rest of her life. She never married nor had children. Upon her death is 1946, her family’s home, now known as the Buck House, located at 835 W. Main Street, was willed to the Academy to be used for faculty or staff housing. It is the current residence of the Associate Head of School.
Under the will of Anna Shaw Buck, there were four awards created to be awarded to FA graduating seniors:
- The William B. Buck Library/Textbook Fund
- The Evelyn Dunn Buck Prize for Excellence in English or Debating
- The Anna Shaw Buck Price for Excellence in spoken French and French composition
- The Guy M. Buck Prize for Excellence in Latin and Mathematics
Today, the Anna Shaw Buck Fund continues to grow, due in large part to the generosity of Dr. Alfred Buck and his wife Elizabeth. Thanks to his continued support, Dr. Buck has grown the Anna Shaw Buck Fund to ensure that these awards are given into perpetuity and the “Buck” name will forever be remembered in the history of Foxcroft Academy.