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Get To Know The New Headmaster: Thoughts From Past Advisees

Stories, know-how, and guidance from the experts in educating boys.

Jacqueline Keller

Get To Know The New Headmaster: Thoughts From Past Advisees

The collective voice of alumni was overwhelmingly enthusiastic when Mr. Jim Detora was announced as the next Headmaster of Avon Old Farms School. And seeing as he’s been here for 25 years, we wanted to get to know the man through the eyes of his students throughout the years. Here’s what a few of them had to say:

His Day Starts Around 4 a.m.

Brady Williamson, Class of 2016

“Mr. Detora used to have me come in to his office every morning as a freshman at 6:30 a.m. and practice math problems with him. I was a day student which made the morning trip especially annoying. I would come into his office half asleep to see Mr. Detora about three cups of coffee deep hammering away at math problems on the board. He somehow managed to yell and have the same energy at 6:30 a.m. as he did at 3 p.m.

"I was lucky enough to graduate from the Detora morning math class by second semester sophomore year. I have never met someone with more energy to do MY math homework that early and that consistently.”

He Hates It When You Walk On The Grass

Kurt Weisenburger, Class of 2013

“When I was a senior at Avon, one of our ‘Senior Privileges’ was permission to walk on the grass. The seniors immediately hopped on the opportunity since the faculty seemed to see the Village Green as holy and sacred land and walking on it before receiving privileges would get you in serious trouble. Well seniors started doing everything they could to walk on the grass, even going out of their way and off normal walking routes just to walk on the grass. After about three days, I remember seeing Mr. Detora angrily talking with another faculty member as he watched yet another group students walking across the grass. The next day at morning meeting, that privilege was taken away, which is the only privilege we had taken away from us.”

He's Always There For His Team

Luke Archambault, Class of 2004

“During my sophomore year, Mr. Detora was coaching our JV hockey team that went 18-4, quite a solid campaign. On Wednesday morning late in the season, we went to morning meeting and heard the good news that Mr. and Mrs. Detora had welcomed a new baby girl to the world in the wee hours of the morning. We spent the rest of the day preparing for a tough game against Westminster knowing we would be without our head coach. However, we walked over to the rink to get ready and who is in the locker room, as fired up as always, but Coach Detora.”

Being On Time Means Arriving Five Minutes Early

Matt Lauro, Class of 2009

“Mr. Detora spent numerous hours with me, tutoring and constantly helping me to achieve better organization—I still set a watch to five minutes early so that I am never late. My time with Mr. Detora did not stop at Avon, during my summers in college I would drive to AOF and Mr. Detora would spend hours weekly helping me get ready for my different levels of math in college, he spent hours reviewing my calculus work and differential equations.”

He’s A Gym Rat

Matt Williamson, Class of 2014

“One year during Push-ups for Patriots—one of the first years of the event I think—everything was pretty sore and tired from doing 24 hours of nonstop push-ups. The next day I went in to see Mr. Detora in his office, went to shake his hand and he couldn't lift either of his arms. That entire week, Mr. Detora walked around campus unable to lift his arms even to the slightest movement. He was a walking pole. We all started to say, ‘Who's the real meatball now?’”

He’s A Springsteen Fan

Jake Whitty, Class of 2016

“My favorite memories of Mr. Detora occurred nearly every morning during my junior and senior year. Every morning at 6 a.m. I went to Mr. Detora's office for extra help in different classes, such as calculus and computer programing. I'll always remember the early mornings of studying, listening to Bruce Springsteen, and sharing many laughs with Mr. Detora.”

He Takes Football Seriously

RJ Fiondella, Class of 2012

“I have known Mr. Detora since I was seven years old—his son Matt and I grew up playing Mudhogs, which is the Farmington Valley youth football program. Interestingly enough, the three coaches were Jim Detora, Bob Dully (Director of Communications at AOF), and D.J. Doyle (father of Ty '11 and Gavin '17).

“Our Mudhogs playbook was the same as the Avon Old Farms varsity teams. I still vividly remember the colorful NFL 2K2 inspired play sheets… Detora is the type of football coach every young kid needed: he knew when to be firm with you and when to reward you for quality play.”

A Collective Congratulations

All joking aside, every alumnus we reached out to for comment first congratulated Mr. Detora on his appointment—and we've got to say, we're pretty excited, too.