Written by Kristine Adams |
This past week at the Senior Awards ceremony, I had the honor of receiving the Brett Renfrew Scholarship. When Mr. Serenbetz called my name to come to the stage, I truly don’t think I could have had a bigger smile on my face. Six years ago, The Morgan School lost an amazing teacher. Brett Renfrew died from a horrible car accident on April 2, 2006. But Mr. Renfrew was not your ordinary teacher; in fact, he was far from it. Mr. Renfrew was a Morgan Alumni class of 1995 graduating in the honors program. From Morgan he went to attend college at Tufts University in Massachusetts graduating cum laude in 1999. From there he went to Harvard Graduate School and received his masters in secondary English in 2000. In between all his schooling, Brett taught English at the August house on Martha’s Vineyard for American Boarding School Placement. After all that hard work, Brett wanted to go on an adventure. So he moved to Bangkok, Thailand where he taught at the Seeh Phinong International School. Also while he was there, he entered the Buddhist monastery in Rayong Province, Thailand. Brett met his beautiful wife, Montria Rattanavijit, in Thailand and brought her back to his hometown so he could return to his high school to dedicate his time to teaching English until his fateful death.
I was in 6th grade when Mr. Renfrew passed, but I remember very clearly how distraught the community was. My junior year English teacher, Mr. Bergman, is the one that told me all I know about him. He said he had a love for adventure and that he would try to encourage his students to do the same and to follow their dreams. When I was applying for City Year, I couldn’t help but think about Mr. Renfrew and the stories I heard about his experience in Thailand. He was in the back of my mind when I picked my serving city to be Los Angeles; I wanted to have an adventure too. When I applied for the scholarship, I couldn’t help but think about what Mr. Renfrew would say to me today if he were alive to see the opportunity I’ve been blessed with. I am now doing what he advised all his students to do: following my dreams. I cannot describe how helpful that scholarship really is. Because of Brett’s family and the Clinton Education Foundation, I can now go to California with some ease knowing that the money will help me get on my feet when I’m in a foreign city.
As I make my way out to Los Angeles, I will keep Brett Renfrew in my mind throughout my experience. He was just like every other student in this school. He grew up in a small town but always had big ideas. Brett never let anything get in his way and always followed his heart and his dreams. He is an inspiration to me as well as every other student that attends this school. Even though it has been many years since his passing, his memory is still fresh in all of our minds here at Morgan. I would just like to thank the Renfrew family for giving me such an honorable scholarship. I will be forever grateful for this opportunity. Rest in peace Brett Renfrew. May your courage and love for adventure be remembered forever.