MacDuffie’s Last Jedi


A portrait of Former Dean of Students Alun Polga as a Jedi master. Art by Celine Wang ’18.

Dollar Zhu, Editor-in-Chief

Last year’s commencement was indeed a Jedi knighting ceremony. During his graduation speech to the class of 2017, Former Dean of Students Alun Polga pulled out his lightsaber and made the graduating class “Jedi Knights.” Since then, I have always been waiting for graduation, so that I can become a Jedi as well. But after his departure this past December, it seems like this moment will never come.

Being a Jedi master, Polga doesn’t use his force to move rocks, he uses it to motivate others. He was both my English teacher and the Magnet’s faculty adviser for the past two years. In fact, he introduced me to The Magnet and was my greatest inspiration to become a better writer. He used to tell me to write more whenever I walked into his office with my half-page-long essay, and by the end of the year, I started using staplers. He used to tell our English class “do or do not, there is no try” in Yoda’s voice before our AP exam, and we aced that artifice. I am far from being the only one who was inspired by him. He was loved by many during his fourteen years of teaching in MacDuffie. Whenever I walked by his office, I could always see some notes left on the whiteboard outside: “Have a great weekend!,” “I love you Mr. Polga!,” “I hope you feel better!,” “When will you come back?,” “Mr. Polga, I miss you…”

On December 19, 2017, Polga resigned for personal reasons after weeks of absence. It was a loss for our community, and to The Magnet, the loss was even greater. He was the faculty adviser of the Magnet for eight years, and without him, we might not even have Magneto Fantastico. Unfortunately, the reasons for his resignation remain undisclosed, but what matters is that he showed us the light side of things with his own force—humor and compassion. I believe as a Jedi master, he will continue searching for the power of the force and use it to influence those around him.

We might never get another faculty member who imitates Yoda as well as Polga does, or one who could turn graduation into a knighting ceremony. His departure marked the end of the Jedi in MacDuffie, and as such, he became MacDuffie’s last Jedi.