On November 13th I interviewed Waring Alumna, Norrie Gall, who now lives in Beverly and is the chair of Beverly Recycles. On a Friday morning, In the Grande Salle, we chatted about her experience at Waring and her life since graduating in 1995.
Le Temps Retrouvé:
How did Waring shape who you are?
I think its phenomenal. For example, I am a terrible musician, but you had to take an instrument for at least a couple years when I was here. I changed instruments every year, and then finally they were like “ cool you’ve actually tried, you get a pass.” But now I have this great depth of music knowledge, compared to most people I know, and I can kind of read music. It’sjust a level of depth, I was not especially talented or anything. So now I have all the tools and can make art as a release. The scope of what I learned in Humanities and
the teachers I was exposed to (Charlotte [Gordon], Jim)just really shaped how I approach things and the fact that I have such a strong foundational knowledge. I also think Waring sheltered me significantly, from the real world, so had I been in a more mainstream environment I might have been more confident in my abilities because I could have specialized.
What was life right after Waring?
When I got to college I was a bit underwhelmed by
what it was like. I never actually finished college. I went to Georgetown, so I would see Francis on occasion [Francis graduated from Waring in 1992 and Georgetown in 1996—ed]. It was just very weird to go from reading King Lear in Group One to go to reading
King Lear in a freshman TA class that wasn’t really as good. In many ways the things I was strong at I could crush in college, but I didn’t have the tools to be okay with what I wasn’t phenomenal at.
What were you doing instead of being in school?
I ran away from college and lived in the Caribbean—ran away and did a bunch of others things. I am nontraditional to my core. I lived in Honduras in the Bay Islands for two and a half years. I went back and forth a few times from college. I tried to make it work, but it
just wasn’t for me. The program was very rigid, and I am not. But being at Waring was an advantage, the only disadvantages were the social and emotional preparedness. But, you know, I was on younger side. I was seventeen when I started college and looking back
now I would destroy it but it was just the time I was at.
How did your Waring experience translate into your professional career? Can you describe your job?
NG: One huge thing in my life is community. It is so important to me. I think that’s something that is part of my Waring background. I feel a strong obligation to be a participant in my community, I have expectations of my community, and I work for my community. That stems from being in a community and treated with respect and equality from teachers and senior s from when I was ten. That’ s really been one of the markers for me. I tie everything back to Waring in respect to what I do professionally. I have some core values I need present in what I do—integrity, belief in the inherent worth of all people. All those pieces you gain from being treated well as a small person at Waring. I am the chair of Beverly recycles. We were just renamed, which is great. I just named our FB page “ Beverly Recycles” because the name was “ BeverlySWMZ”and I was like “nobody is going ‘ like’ this—I don’ t even know what that means!” But yeah, now I am the chair of “ Beverly Recycles,”which is an appointed committee for the city government. I was elected last year when the sitting chair didn’t want to do it any more. It is a lot of work. Its interesting though, the things I learned at Waring—I don’ t know if you have anyone in your class that talks over everyone, but that was me. The nice thing is now I have gotten so much feedback that it’ s no longer a problem, but now I also know how to leverage it. I can get my point across really well. I am not a huge fan of the status quo, and we have a lot of people that have been on the committee for a long while. So I have rejected some ideas and we have had some phenomenal strides that I’m going to attribute to that. We have recycling and curbside compost—it’ s doing really well