Over the past five years, many people in the CHC community have witnessed the impressive evolution of Stock Watson – from uncertain and introspective to confident and well-rounded. His Biology teacher, Mr. Chris Souther, shared his thoughts of how Stock changed during 9th grade and beyond, “Stock started slow and was unsure of his place in the Upper School. Over time, he became more confident and by the end of his freshman year, he was one of my top students. It is so wonderful to see how far he has come, in both his maturity and his confidence since those early days in Biology.”
Coming to us from Baylake Pines, Stock joined the CHC community as a hesitant 8th grader. As his senior year came to a close, I sat down with him and asked for his reflections of his time as a Dolphin. With countless positive memories, his only regret was that he didn’t join Cape Henry sooner.
To make up for any lost time, Stock took advantage of unique opportunities right away. Some of his best memories include the Nexus Outdoor Leadership adventures with Mr. Hugh Koeze, who was, in his words, simply “the best.” As a man of both adventure and wit, Mr. Koeze was a charismatic teacher who pushed the students to grow, explore, and discover. Hiking the Appalachian Trail in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with Mr. Koeze as his guide and supporter was one experience he will never forget.
Trying out for the Wrestling team was the single most important decision he could have possibly made in 9th grade. Thanks to the relationships built with the coaches and his teammates, Stock learned the value of self-discipline, respect, and perseverance. “Wrestling taught me life lessons and a work ethic I can take with me forever,” he reflected. In particular, he wanted to give a “shout out” to Coach Effner, Coach Harvich, and Coach Woodhouse, who were “three of the greatest coaches I have ever met.” Together, they helped him see the power of resilience and the ultimate pay-off that comes from doing those difficult tasks, especially when you don’t want to do them. Stock began his successful wrestling career at the 132 weight pound class, and by his senior year, he won matches at 152 pounds. One clear victory stood out to him from the first Dual meet with Indian River: in his second match, he remembers turning over his opponent for a big-win pin. Mrs. Kathleen Sharp, MS English teacher and avid Wrestling team supporter, praised his loyalty and commitment to the Wrestling team. Regardless of age and ability, Stock always had encouraging words for his fellow teammates.
In addition to maintaining excellent grades throughout his time in Upper School, Stock challenged himself further by venturing into the performing arts during his senior year. Taking Mrs. Fluharty’s class opened doors for him that he hadn’t expected. With his role as Ed Boone in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and as Bill Austin in Mamma Mia, Stock found each one to be fun yet exhausting. Learning lines, music, and choreography was challenging – no one can understand how demanding productions are until they experience it for themselves. Mr. Greg Angilly, Director of Student Life, described Stock as someone with an infectious personality who cares about his peers and community. He never let an opportunity pass him. His performance in the fall production was amazing and showcased his diverse talents.”
His friends offer even more compliments to describe him, using words like “funny, smart, strong, hardworking, supportive, and likeable.” A few commented on his wicked memory of movie knowledge – saying he is a virtual walking IMDb. In fact, he was the go-to source for several of my journalism students when they were writing movie reviews. Anything from horror films to sci-fi to blockbuster adventure films, Stock was a trivia powerhouse with a talent for critique.
After a summer of hanging out with friends, spending time with his brothers who are home from college, and relaxing with family at their beach house in Pawley’s Island in South Carolina, Stock is heading to James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA in the fall. During his college search, he applied early action to 7 schools: Sewanee, High Point, UVA, Furman, Washington and Lee, Christopher Newport, JMU, and Hampden-Sydney College, his father’s alma mater. Stock recalled that it was a difficult decision to make, especially after he was offered a place in the Wilson Fellows Leadership Program at HSC, but in the end, he wanted a larger university experience and chose the overall good vibe and amazing opportunities at JMU. As a JMU alumnus myself, I know he will fit in perfectly and love his experiences there.
In addition to the Wrestling team and Mrs. Fluharty’s class, Stock commented that he will truly miss the cool teachers and the friends he has made through the years. In particular, he highlighted Mr. McGraw’s classes and thought Mr. Palmer’s Economics class would definitely give him an advantage in college since he presented material in such an interesting, down to earth manner. As a potential Finance or Business major with a minor in Economics, he hopes to land a stable (aka big money making) position in the banking industry in the not-too-distant future.
Stock Watson is one of many students who truly benefited from the Cape Henry mission statement to know, value, and challenge each student. In five short years, our community encouraged him to become his absolute best: a hardworking student, a curious thinker, a well-spoken speaker, an adventurous traveler, a compassionate friend, a dedicated athlete, and a talented performer. Stock offered a few parting bits of advice to his younger CHC peers, “Take advantage of the cool opportunities CHC has to offer and try something you wouldn’t normally do. It is a great way to learn something new…about yourself and others.”
Although I was never fortunate enough to have Stock in my classes at CHC, I learned first hand through our casual conversations why so many students and staff speak so highly of him. Thank you, Stock, for setting such a terrific example for your own classmates to follow and for younger Dolphins as well. As you move on to the next exciting stage of your education, I, for one, can’t wait to see where life’s path takes you. Stock, best of luck in all you do!