Dear Castilleja Board of Trustees,
I am writing to voice my concern about the abrupt and disturbing disappearance of Bear Capron from the Castilleja community. I write as a Castilleja 2002 graduate and as a participant in countless of Mr. Capron's classes, plays, and musicals.
The first play I participated in at Castilleja was "The Big Beach," written and directed by Mr. Capron specifically for our sixth grade class. At the time, I did not fully understand the existentialist message of the play; we chiefly enjoyed it for the humorous dialogue and fun costumes. However, as I grew up, the thoughtful dialogue of the play resonated with me at deeper levels. Similarly, Mr. Capron's teaching has been meaningful to me at different stages of my life. As a shy middle schooler, drama class with Mr. Capron gave me the confidence onstage that I did not have otherwise. Now, in my work in foreign policy where I deal with people from many different cultures, I use the public speaking and communication skills that Mr. Capron taught me every day.
No other school I have ever visited, public or private, has such a comprehensive and professional drama program, and that is entirely due to Mr. Capron's vision. Perhaps, since we have had Mr. Capron here with us so long, we Castillejans do not realize how truly fortunate we are that he has chosen to devote his life's work these past twenty years to the education of countless girls at our school. It pains me to think that future generations of Castilleja students might be deprived of Mr. Capron's expert teaching and guidance.
I understand that as a private school, Castilleja is not bound by any set rules and that its administration can chart its course as they see fit. However, as a private school, Castilleja's existence is also built entirely on its mission, values, and vision for the future. Today, with the opacity surrounding Bear Capron's absence, these hallmarks ring hollow to me.
A significant opportunity lies in your hands. If you communicate with the Castilleja community in a thoughtful, open way about the reason for Mr. Capron's abrupt disappearance and treat him with the respect that his longstanding devotion to Castilleja undoubtedly deserves, you have the opportunity to heal the rift developing between the administration and the wider school community concerning Mr. Capron's absence. Castilleja is, in the end, a small community, and just as one event can divide this community in half, so can positive action on your part bring the school together. Dialogue and transparency can make us closer as a community of students, alumni, parents, and faculty. All of us who have known Bear Capron deserve this.
This is truly a critical juncture in Castilleja's history, and I hope you will take the higher road.
Lilian Haney, Class of 2002
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