The Life and Adventures of David Bennet Wilkinson

It was snowing outside of Queen Charlotte’s Hospital, London, on December 23, 1986, the day that David Bennett Wilkinson was born. It was a good birth, without complication, and Dave came into the world peacefully. “None of the doctors or nurses could believe how calm and happy I was,” David says, smiling. He was a normal baby by all practical standards – of average weight and general size – and was unwaveringly well-behaved for his parents, Bruce and Amy. His early years were spent in London among the double-deckers and bustling streets. He attended Sister Catherine’s preschool, which he “hated.” “It wasn’t hard fitting in at school in London,” David says. “I was basically a British child. I was born in London, lived there, I even had a British accent. The only difference was that I had American parents.” Seventeen months after his own birth, David’s sister, Ariana, was born. “We always got along very well,” Dave says with a chuckle. “We rarely fought, but when we did it was vicious.” As a toddler, he always looked forward with great anticipation to the family’s annual trips to the Mystic, Connecticut home of Dave’s grandfather, Bennett Lord. “I used to get so excited by the airplanes every time we went to Mystic. It made me want to be a pilot when I grew up.” When Dave was three, the Wilkinsons moved from London to the suburban hamlet of Rowayton, Connecticut, not far from the town of Mystic that Dave had come to love so well. “Rowayton is a great town,” Dave said. I’ve lived there for 14 years now, and I’ve never tired of it. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else in the world.” Soon after the move, Dave enrolled at Rowayton Elementary School. There, he excelled both inside and outside of the classroom. Athletically, baseball, soccer, skiing, and sailing were his endeavors of choice. Dave pitched and played first base for the Rowayton Hose. “I was the big dog pitcher,” Dave remembers fondly. “It was sweet. Those were the good old days.” Then, in 1996, Dave left Rowayton Elementary School for the storied hallways of Greens Farms Academy. GFA, as it’s known locally, has graduated such esteemed alumni as Bryce Kauffman ’03. While at GFA, Dave excelled in all of his classes, but math soon emerged as his favorite. “GFA was good while it lasted, but I look back on it as some of the worst years of my life,” Dave says. In the fall of his eighth grade, David made the decision to leave Greens Farms Academy, which runs through 12th grade, for Phillips Academy, Andover, the alma mater of his mother. He was accepted, and, in September of 2001, Dave Wilkinson came to Andover. As I meet with Dave, in his cluttered dorm room, he is in good spirits. He sits forward in a low, leather chair, his chin and broad, defined jaw resting on his right hand. He has bright, golden hair that peeks out wildly like waves from under his white baseball cap above his small, narrow nose and thin lips. Despite what has been thus far a hectic Senior Fall, Dave is brimming with energy and optimism as he talks about his time at Andover and his plans for the future. “Andover has been an excellent experience. I’ve loved every minute of it, through and through. I can’t imagine having been at any other school, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision.” As Dave’s Andover career draws to a close, he must, of course, consider what lies ahead of him. He has visited a number of colleges, and counts among his favorites Wesleyan, Bates, and Williams. “I’ve had a great time here at Andover, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. But, at the same time, I look forward to college and life beyond it.” Whatever path Dave chooses, he will, it seems, give it the old college try.