The Hawthorne School
This page is a memorial to Hawthorne alumni, faculty, and staff who are no longer with us. Please contact us if you would like to share any memories or know of someone who should be listed here.
Note: We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information on this
page, but will be pleased to remove anyone we have listed in error.
||Martin Henry Kennedy
||Robert (Robin) Kraus
|Robert (Bob) McHugh
||Lewis (Mac) Preston
||Betsy Reifman||Dennis Reilly
|Alex (Rode) Redmountain||Jonathan Rutledge|
||Christopher (Chris) Spingarn
Leon taught at Hawthorne from the early years to
1964. In my time he taught geometry, but according to his
obituary in the Washington Post (April 14, 1994, page B7), he had also taught German and French. The Post also mentions that he later founded the Eberhard School and the Acton School, then taught French at the Maret School.
I remember him as a very intense man who was also
friendly and had a sense of humor. We knew he had been headmaster
of a school in India, which sounded wonderful and mysterious. During Poetry Week, he sometimes recited
poems for us in ancient Greek. When we couldn't solve a geometry
problem, he would often encourage us saying "Think! Get hot in the
For some reason, Leon didn't want to be photographed
for the yearbook, so I hid a camera in an old portable radio cabinet
and snapped a picture during class through the clear plastic dial of
the radio. That picture appeared in the 1964 yearbook. When
Leon saw it, he laughed and asked how I did it.
-- Dana Sawyer
One day in French class at the height of the Cuban missile crisis (everyone had transistor radios), a siren went off and we all turned absolutely white.
No doubt about it, the bomb was on it's way.
Then Grigaut said with a heavy accent, "Well come come now fellows, this is just a fire alarm -- no need to worry vachement."
We all had a big laugh.
-- Joe Simonds
I have so many memories of M. Grigaut and I am sorry to hear he had passed away.
-- Caroline Feiss
I too have fond memories of his class, and though I took French with him only for one year I think it may have been the most useful (or certainly the most colorful) learning experience I had with the language. Somehow the elegant 19th century parlor seemed like the natural habitat for a gentleman of the old school like M. Grigaut; I could almost imagine that we were in some château, surrounded by acres of formal gardens, rather than a house on a busy street in Washington. I'm transported back there when I read the 18th century French of Antoine Lavoisier or François Couperin.-- Dana Sawyer
Martin Henry Kennedy
Martin Henry Kennedy graduated from Hawthorne in 1968. The only child of a rolling stone and author, Mavis Kennedy, Marty found a happy place to land at Hawthorne when he moved back to Washington after a brief stint in Hawaii where his mother was working for then Congresswoman Patsy Mink. He had attended D.C. public school where I met him prior to his departure for Hawaii. When he came back to the D.C. area he had his heart set on going to Hawthorne, of which he spoke with enthusiasm and anticipation.
His time at the school was happy and he made some great friends and took to the place like a duck to water. The style of the school and the people he met there allowed him the freedom to be himself while providing him with a family atmosphere he valued immensely.
Upon graduation, Marty attended Kenyon College of Ohio and spent two happy years there being delighted at the prospect of following in the footsteps of Paul Newman.
Sadly, Marty was killed in an accident during the summer after his sophomore year. He was struck by a car while riding a bicycle. Although it was a tragic loss to his friends and family, we consoled ourselves with the fact that he was living life to the fullest and then gone in an instant.
Marty was a funny, bright, sweet fellow who enriched the lives of all who knew him. Although he never had the chance live his dreams, he never saw them fade and remains, in the hearts of those who loved him, forever young.
By his friend, Leslie
were tables, a blackboard, all sorts of art materials, a sign that said
"Dante's Inferno", south-facing windows for plentiful sunlight, and finally a large
desk, but what made the room special was Dante. He might be
sitting behind the desk, waving a cigarette while having an animated chat with a student.
Or he might be quietly moving through the room, glancing at what we were
doing, making helpful suggestions if needed. The Art Room was a
classroom, but also a refuge and a place to be nurtured and even healed.
At times, the entire school was transformed as Dante supervised the
painting of murals. For Christmas the assembly room became a formal
garden or a great hall complete with a balcony for musicians, and an angel graced the front hallway.
other times, the numerous museums of Washington became our classrooms,
as Dante showed us works of art which he knew like old
all of us became artists, but Dante helped us all to gain a new
appreciation of art. His deep caring for each one of us was the
greatest of his many gifts.
Dante taught at Hawthorne from the beginning until 1978; he died in 1983.
(See also Washington Post obituary, December 8, 1983, page C7.)
-- Dana Sawyer
Last updated April 28, 2011