The Student Newspaper of Groton School

The Circle Voice

The Student Newspaper of Groton School

The Circle Voice

The Student Newspaper of Groton School

The Circle Voice

Mr. Belsky and Ms. Dennison’s Next Chapter

Kate Dennison

After four decades of dedicated service in teaching, coaching, and advising, Stephen Belsky and Kate Dennison bid a heartfelt farewell to Groton School as they embark on their retirements in Pittsburgh. Fondly known as the “Dynamic Duo,” they share a mix of nostalgia and contentment as they reflect on their years wrapped within the institution’s embrace. 

Initially joining Groton in 1983 for Mr. Belsky and 1985 for Ms. Dennison as temporary replacements for teachers on sabbatical, both brought with them a wealth of experience and passion in their respective fields of biology and classics. Before Groton, Mr. Belsky taught at Noble and Greenough in Massachusetts and Ms. Dennison at Kimball Union in New Hampshire.

When asked about their initial impressions of Groton, both lit up with delight. For Mr. Belsky, the natural beauty enveloping the campus, with its wooded surroundings and winding river, stood as a testament to its splendor. “I didn’t choose the place based on how it looked,” Mr. Belsky said, “but Groton was pretty spectacular.” For Ms. Dennison, Groton’s most remarkable facet was the sense of community, particularly during the rituals at the Chapel, that holds dearly in her memory.

Their passions for teaching were rooted in early experiences, though fully realized only in their collegiate years. Mr. Belsky’s interest in biology stemmed from his father’s medical background, though the idea of becoming a teacher initially seemed “foreign” to him. Ms. Dennison’s fascination with classics flourished during her time at Wheaton College, where she found herself enamored by a small and intimate department.

For three years, Ms. Dennison attended a boarding school in Ohio before pursuing her B.A. at Wheaton College. Following the completion of her master’s degree in Latin at the University of Michigan, she arrived on the Circle. It was during her time as a teacher assistant at Wheaton College that she realized her passion for becoming a classics teacher. Teaching and assisting others felt like a genuine calling for her. With a lineage of teachers, ministers, and nurses in her background, the desire to aid others “felt natural” to her.

Mr. Belsky arrived on campus in 1983 after taking a “pause” from his graduate studies at Cornell University. In college, his interest in biology was “sparked” when he studied plant physiology, which happened well before Cornell. Before coming to Groton, Mr. Belsky taught at Noble and Greenough School, where he was first introduced to the boarding school life. At Groton, Mr. Belsky taught many different science courses, but he “considers himself to be a biology teacher.” During his sabbatical year in 1994-1995, he completed a master’s degree in biology at the University of Michigan. 

Their initial plan of a brief stay at Groton was upended by the strong sense of community they fell in love with on campus. For both, their decision to stay for over forty years at Groton was inspired by a sense of certainty and belonging. They felt that Groton was the perfect place for a family, developing their relationship, and contributing to a viable academic community.

For both of them, “It was the little things that one experienced day to day that made Groton a memorable place.” Witnessing a student’s epiphany moment on a challenging question or seeing students engaging in intellectual conversations at the lunch table are just a few examples of these “little things.”

Their union was solemnized in 1989 in the tranquil confines of St. John’s Chapel, a poignant symbol of their connection to Groton. They were grateful for the opportunity to raise their family within the school’s embrace, and they cherished the memories of watching their children grow up on the Circle. 

As Mr. Belsky and Ms. Dennison embark on their next adventure in Pittsburgh to be closer to family, they carry cherished memories and lessons gleaned from Groton, forever thankful for the privilege of shaping young lives and contributing to excellence.

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