Greene Looks Back on Time at MacDuffie, Forward to Future


Ian Hua

Mr. Greene on Magnolia Day

Ian Hua, Copy Editor

Physics teacher David Greene, who came to MacDuffie in the 2017-2018 school year, will not be returning to teach next year.

Though his time at MacDuffie was relatively short, Greene still expressed appreciation for the school and the many people in it who had an impact on him and who occupy a “special place in [his] heart.”

MacDuffie’s significance in Greene’s life came largely from the unique atmosphere and culture that exists here. Though this causes the school to appear different from most other typical boarding schools in the area, Greene said he preferred it that way.

“One of the things that I’ve really loved about it and one of the things that I’m particularly passionate about with this school is kind of this adherence to itself… while we don’t look like every other boarding school, I’m so glad it doesn’t. It’s so refreshing,” he said.

Greene took a comical view on the peculiarity of many aspects of MacDuffie which only added to his fondness for the school.

“You can’t make this stuff up,” he said. “Some of this stuff is SO perfect– the truth is funnier and stranger than fiction.”

Greene himself has undoubtedly become an integral part of the MacDuffie community with moments such as when he “paraded in front of the faculty” with a cowbell during last year’s song contest and many others. MacDuffie’s acceptance and enjoyment of such moments and indeed of all people was also something Greene expressed gratitude for.

“If you want to do something like get up and smash a cowbell in front of song contest, you can do that,” he said, adding, “This place just allows people to be themselves a little bit more which is very nice.”

In addition to his appreciation for how MacDuffie allows and reflects individual self-expression, Greene was grateful for what teaching at MacDuffie brought to his life. When he first came to MacDuffie, having never taught physics before, he was handed not only a curriculum map but other responsibilities as well, so there were many things he was unsure about (though he describes it as a “good sort of panic”). Over time, however, his experiences shaped the way he taught and led.

“I had so many open avenues, but I also had people to talk to, resources to use, and the chance and ability to make mistakes,” he said. Over time he felt that he learned “how [he] want[ed] to lead and how [he] like to lead,” which he was thankful for.

With so much that impacted him, Greene will leave MacDuffie with many memories and will miss much.

“There’s a lot of stuff I’ll look back fondly upon. I think most of all is the people, and I think it’s gonna be really hard to not see the people I see all the time,” he said, saying that it “hurts” and “breaks my heart.”

Greene’s decision to leave was not an easy one, given how he’s “loved so much of [MacDuffie] in so many different ways.” He described it as “incredibly difficult,” saying that “there are times when I think, ‘ah, I could wait a year,’ but at the same time I know I can’t.”

The opportunity Greene has chosen to pursue is a chance to go to a school in Oregon to work on “renewable energy engineering.”

“Essentially what I’ll be focusing on is building and designing systems to use renewable energy… and integrating them into major power grids,” he said.

“There’s many different avenues but the main one I want to focus on is… bringing towns, cities, and residential areas into a full renewable energy shift. The main focus is going to do that in rural areas,” he said.

Greene expressed strong personal beliefs about the environmental state of the world and our role as humans in it, leading him to desire a role where he could actively help and work on the issue.

“I feel like I need to go do something,” he said.

As mentioned, Greene’s choice to follow this path was not easy. In the end, it came down to things greater than himself, as his decision “didn’t actually have anything to do with [him].”

“If things continue to progress the way they’re progressing with how we handle climate change…  [future generations] are going to be fighting for food scraps, living in overcrowded housing… I don’t want my kids nor my grandkids nor any generation past me to have to deal with that sort of issue. So for me, even though I’m one person I know one person can’t change the world, I can at least do everything I can,” he said.

After Greene has left he hopes that the students he’s interacted with remember the high expectations he set for them and wants them to continue to set those expectations for themselves while understanding that nobody is perfect.

“Strive to be the best you can but understand that you’re human and you make mistakes, and that’s OK, just learn from your mistakes. No one’s going to do everything perfectly every time… but keep striving, have some determination, have some grit, and know that in the end it’s gonna be alright.”

Greene concluded by expressing gratitude and optimism despite what he’s leaving behind.

“I’m really going to miss this place. I’m so happy for the time that I’ve had here and the people that I’ve met here. I’m going to miss everyone here but I know that the people here are going to go on to do great things… that’s something that gives me some solace. Whether I’m here or not, you guys are going to go on and do great things and that makes me so proud of you guys.”