Some of the shirts look just like whatsixth formers were trying to sell me back in2001. There are still occasional variants onGrateful Dead themes, “the good, the bad,and the ugly” tropes (St. Chris and Episcopalremain the preferred targets), and, oncea year like clockwork, a T-shirt for “TheGame” that lists every score in the 120-yearrivalry. In fact, some years I’ve wondered ifwe should just hand out those T-shirts ongame day rather than printing up programs.
But the current wave of T-shirtentrepreneurs is also taking advantage ofdigital design possibilities, creating shirtsthat would’ve been far more difficult even adecade ago.
Sixth formers J Banzet and Taft Ganttwere looking for an edge this fall as theysought to build their Beach Week funds.“So we decided to bring back a discontinuedold school store design, and we went with along-sleeve shirt to stand out,” J says. Theroommates sold ninety shirts.
One recent trend is toward faux jerseyswith the names and numbers of facultymembers who were collegiate athletes.
Science teacher and Bengal basketballhead coach Lewis Affronti, who playedbasketball at Sewanee: The University ofthe South, was celebrated a few years agoby a shirt that replicated his Sewanee jersey.History teacher Gerry Wixted, who wasthe Division III basketball player of theyear while at Dickinson College, received asimilar shout out this year.
And “retirement editions” of Moubraywear are again in fashion — both JohnReimers and the legendary James Moubrayhimself were honored in recent years bystudents.
Mr. Huber’s legendary memory was alsoa recent subject. As one T-shirt noted, theschool’s academic dean is the man you cometo when Google fails.
But entrepreneurship at Woodberry goesbeyond T-shirts. In the past few years, onestudent set up a wash and fold laundryservice, competing with the commercialoperation that serves students by offeringdelivery to a boy’s dorm room. Anotherboy, a frequent Fir Tree visitor, decided tosubsidize his visits by taking orders fromother students and charging a delivery fee.
And another group of students interestedin business and money are active in thestock market, managing more than $70,000of the school’s endowment through theInvestment Club. (The group deliversregular reports to the investment committeeof the board of trustees.)
Austin de la Torre, a sixth former fromMountain Brook, Alabama, who is the club’spresident, said the club has spent much ofits time this school year strengthening itsoperating procedures and developing exitplans for stocks that have seen a significantincrease in value over the past two years.
“We recently sold Micron after a poorearnings report and Tencent (a Chinesesocial media and internet company) due touncertainty over China’s economic outlookdue to trade tensions,” he said.
The club aims to hold about ten stocks ata time; major holdings include Apple andAmazon.
“We bought Tesla at about $400 per shareright before it shot way higher, so that’sbeen good,” Austin said.
The sixth former said he thinks the workof investing is good training for futurebusiness ventures.
“Investing is pattern recognition,” he
says. “It’s also good for helping you learn
to maintain objectivity and not let your
emotions interfere in decision-making.”
Whether they're tracking fast-moving
stock markets or creating new markets
in the t-shirt trade, Woodberry's next
generation of entrepreneurs are honing
their skills on campus.
Beau Hardison ’ 20