Profiles of Courage

People are the lifeblood of The Governor’s Academy experience, and we are known for our family-like atmosphere that cultivates lifelong relationships. Dedicated faculty members mentor students in all areas of school life: academic, arts, athletics, service, and residential community. Students thrive under their guidance as they take risks, try new things with no certainty they will succeed, and solve problems for which there are no easy solutions. All of these actions take courage.

Archie Seale ’93

For Archie Seale ‘93, The Governor’s Academy was the first place he gained courage in his abilities outside the sports arena. It is a confidence he still taps today in his role managing strategic partnerships at technology company, Ricoh USA.

“I never saw myself as an academic. I guess I still don’t,” he says, laughing. “But Govs was the first place that I tried to do something that wasn’t just sports focused. I went out for student council and got a position. It was the first time I said, oh yeah, I can do these types of things!”

Thanks to football coach Paul Sullivan, Seale also realized how far his athletic abilities could take him.

“He got on the phone and called coaches and let people know I was out there,” Seale says. “And ultimately I got a full scholarship to college in large part because of the leg work that he did.”

As someone who attended The Governor’s Academy with the help of financial aid, Seale holds the ongoing health of the endowment as key to the school’s overall success, and an integral part of the With True Courage campaign.

“It is critical in my eyes to make sure the school is a place that is able to allow kids who want to be there, to be there,” he says.

Now helping to plan his 25-year class reunion, Seale also gives back as a part of the Alumni Council and a Board of Trustees member.

“It’s given me a good view of all the things that go into making the school this magical place that it was for me. There is so much intent behind all that happens on a day to day basis,” he says. “In a lot of ways it has made it feel even more special because now I know how hard people worked to make it the way that it was, and is, today.”

Elizabeth Ruhl

Elizabeth Ruhl came to The Governor’s Academy eager for the opportunity to work with high school students. Thirty-three years later, it is the students that keep her here, in her dual role as AP Psychology teacher and School Counselor.

“I am privileged to be able to see young people grow and prosper and become their true selves,” she says. “As a psychotherapist, I feel honored that people allow me to be a part of their personal narrative in life. The trust that people have given me is probably one of the things that I am overwhelmed by daily.”

Outside of her primary role, Ruhl shows courage in pursuit of her personal passion, increasing campus diversity. As a member of the school’s Diversity Steering Committee, Ruhl was a part of conversations on hiring practices, and supporting students of color. She says that diversity has changed tremendously in her tenure at Govs, and credits the hiring of a Dean of Multicultural Education with some of that progress.

“That has been really a wonderful growth for the school,” she says.

Ruhl appreciates that she has always felt comfortable expressing her passions and opinions with full support from the Gov’s community.

“The community is caring and nurturant. It is a community that meets people where they are. That is an incredible gift,” she says.

Ruhl is also devoted to increasing attention on student health and wellness. She hopes that with the program support generated through the With True Courage campaign, the school can excel using a holistic approach, with added focus on everything from mindfulness to support services.

“We provide a fantastic education for students but where we are in this world right now demands more than that. We have to really take a ‘whole person’ look at what we’re doing,” she says. “If we do that better, we serve everyone better.”

Kyle Rochford ’18

“If I could pick one defining characteristic of Govs, I would say it’s community,” says Student Body President Kyle Rochford. “It’s everything. When you walk by people, you greet them. It’s a small act but I think it makes our place special.”

Rochford admits that when he first arrived at The Governor’s Academy, saying hi wasn’t something that came naturally to him.

“I was a lot more shy than I am now,” he says. “I wouldn’t talk to people, I had to talk to the floor. But over the years as I became more comfortable here, I’ve definitely started to branch out. That’s been huge for me.”

Now preparing to attend Colby College in the fall, Rochford feels ready to keep what he has heard Dean of Students Jed Wartman refer to as ‘the Govs effect’, alive and well.

“I’m moving up to a place that’s maybe four times bigger than Byfield,” he says. “I’m definitely going to take what I’ve learned at Govs, socially, and apply that there.”

Rochford also plans to stay involved with his alma mater, inspired by his mother, Kim, who graduated in ‘86. Seeing her keep in touch with her classmates and still attend reunions over thirty years later, has reinforced for Kyle that Govs is more than a school.

“Anyway that I can help give back to this great community is really an honor for me,” he says. Right now that includes reviewing plans for the renovated and reimagined Peter Marshall French Student Center, a priority of the With True Courage campaign, as a part of his role on student council.

“It will have everything we’re looking for,” he says. “I’d be super excited to come back for my five year reunion and see an awesome student center and be able to hang out there with my classmates.”