An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by 2019 Distinguished Service Award recipient Chip Mehring

At Commencement 2019, three members of the Lakeside community were recipients of the Willard J. Wright ’32 Distinguished Service Award: retiring Outdoor Program Coordinator Chip Mehring, retiring history teacher Bob Henry, and former Lakeside alumnus Paul G. Allen, who passed away in October 2018. The Lakeside Board of Trustees gives this award to those who have rendered extraordinary service to the school and whose work was transforming for Lakeside. Read the citation for all three recipients here

Chip Mehring delivered the following remarks in response to receiving the award.

I want to thank the board and the administration for this award. Since I announced my retirement, I have received kind notes and emails from current and past students, and from current and past colleagues. These have touched me on a personal level. This award touches me on a professional and institutional level. Individuals and institutions are important to me. Thank you.

This the 36th time I have been at this ceremony. I spend part of my time here reflecting back, trying to recall who I was and what I was like at my high school graduation in 1971. I remember that I was very excited about my upcoming summer: I was going to work as a human pack animal in the Wind River Mountains in northern Wyoming. Dr. Clint Kelly was a university chemistry professor who would lead a 20-30-person monthlong Colorado Mountain Club outing each summer. Rather than hiring Wyoming horse packers to carry in the food and equipment, he thought that he would provide a service by having a handful of high school students carry the loads instead. He provided the students with an intense and profound experience, and he provided a service to our families and to society by removing us from civilization for a significant part of the summer.

Two glorious summers of being a beast of burden, and a mountaineer, in the Wind Rivers shaped my life. As a person, Clint Kelly had a great impact on me, and as an institution, the Colorado Mountain Club supported those experiences. A large part of what I have been trying to do these last few decades is to help the Outdoor Program and Lakeside School influence young lives in a similar manner to that of my experience with Dr. Kelly and the Colorado Mountain Club.

When I am out on an outdoor trip, I often need to call the group together – sometimes not an easy thing to do! I would call out “Hey Ho Campers!” – and the students who were nearby or were paying attention would respond “Hey Ho Chipper!” I would call out again, louder, and the response would come back. A third time and usually the whole group would respond and gather.

Please humor me with one last sequence of call and response. The first group to respond will be anyone who has ever been in the employ of Lakeside School; the second response will be employees and anyone who has ever been a Lakeside student; the third response will be everyone who is here. Don’t hold back, do this with gusto!

 “Hey Ho Campers!”———“Hey Ho Chipper!”

 “Hey Ho Campers!”———“Hey Ho Chipper!”

 “Hey Ho Campers!”———“Hey Ho Chipper!”         

Thank you.