Harpeth Hall welcomed renowned author Daniel James Brown to campus on Monday, September 11, 2017. Brown is author of the New York Times best-selling book and Harpeth Hall's all school read, Boys in the Boat, a story about 9 working class boys who became the 1936 U.S. Men's Olympic gold medal winning rowing team. With a team composed of the sons of blue collar workers and led by Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, the University of Washington's eight-oar crew team was never expected to defeat the elite teams of the East Coast and Great Britain, yet they did, going on to shock the world by defeating the German team rowing for Adolf Hitler.
Before the All School Assembly Mr. Brown sat down with the Harpeth Hall rowing team to talk about the passion involved in the sport of rowing.
"I've become a huge fan of rowing. I had zero interest originally," said Brown.
They also discussed how the life lessons from the book directly relate to women as well as men. "Learning to overcome adversity and unite with each other for a greater good is the underlying message," said Brown.
At assembly Brown recanted the details behind the astonishing 1936 Olympic win. From competing in front of Adolf Hitler and a predominantly German crowd, given the worst lane of the course, not hearing the start horn, and making one of the biggest comebacks in Olympic history to win gold, our girls were riveted by the story and everyone in the room felt inspired.
Many thanks to Mr. Brown for spending this time on our campus and with our girls.
Photo: Head of School Dr. Stephanie Balmer, Daniel James Brown and Marguerite Trost, captain of Harpeth Hall's rowing team.