Peter Drench, Instructor in History and Social Science, is leaving behind his classroom in Samuel Phillips Hall for a more relaxed life. Despite departing from his teaching job after 28 years at Andover, however, Drench is not ready to vacate the Isham softball field just yet.
Drench will remain as the head coach of Andover Softball next year, marking his 28th year leading the team.
“I really like this game because there are so many different skills required to play it well. It is a difficult game to play well; it has a high failure rate. If you get a hit three out of 10 times up, you’re considered a terrific hitter. It’s also mentally demanding and difficult to teach,” said Drench.
“When everybody pulls together and exceeds their expectations – and its not only about winning games, but becoming a real team – it becomes a peak experience. Once you’ve had a taste of that, you want to enjoy it again. It never gets old,” he added.
At Andover, Drench has taught History 100 and 200 classes as well as four term-contained electives that cover the Middle East Heartland, the Greater Middle East, modern East Asia and modern India and China.
Outside the classroom walls, Drench served as a Complementary House Counselor in Andover Cottage, an academic advisor for new Uppers and a member of the Admission Advisory Committee, in addition to coaching Softball.
Drench contributed to the development of the school in various ways, both in terms for academic and administrative issues. Throughout his career, he has been an Associate Director of College Counseling, Dean of Admission, a member of the Academic Committee on Technology and Chair in History from 2005 to 2011.
“It was great to walk around campus and see kids here and see how they did here, see how they’ve done after they graduate, see kids who I knew and who I battled for while in the Admission Committee. Similarly, in College Counseling, you feel great satisfaction when you help kids see something about their future that they really want to focus on,” said Drench.
Many of Drench’s most memorable moments at Andover took place on the softball field.
“I remember how much [the] sport and the facilities have developed over three decades. I remember the year that we beat three different state champions… I also remember the year that we had our worst record ever and, when we finally won a game, the team lined up on the first base line and did the Macarena together,” said Drench.
“I remember some real tough tournament losses and some great tournament wins. Honestly, there are too many memories to count,” he continued.
Drench taught at various public schools in Massachusetts for over 10 years before taking a job at Andover 1986. “When I got the opportunity to come [to Andover], I was struck by the chance to be at a place that really had global ambitions, and [I knew] this place would give me a chance probably to grow in ways that I couldn’t grow where I was before,” said Drench.
“The people who’ve come through here – the guest speakers, people I had the opportunity to interview, writers, filmmakers, public figures, historians – [having] the opportunity to interact with them have been priceless. These are people who probably would not have come to where I was teaching before,” he continued.
Drench said that the experience of teaching at Andover has had an overall positive impact him.
“PA demands a lot of [the faculty] but also offers teachers opportunities for growth, including precious sabbaticals and, if you’re willing to push yourself, chances to take your students to college lectures, panel discussions and symposiums,” Drench wrote in an email to _The Phillipian_.
“Since my career here has coincided with the explosive growth of educational technology, I’ve been able to explore ways to put it to use in PA courses. Teaching in four secondary schools at every level over a 40-year period has made me a lifelong learner,” he continued.
Comparing Andover to a multi-ring circus, Drench said that he will most remember the constantly busy and dynamic nature of the school. “There’s stuff going on all the time; more than any one person could possibly do. World-class music, great theater, artwork, sports, academics, interesting people and guests that will just blow you away. They are all here,” he said.
“The quality of the art, music and theater at PA can’t be beat – and it’s right here in our laps, too easy to take for granted,” Drench added.
Looking to embark on another chapter of his life beyond Andover, Drench is eager to adopt a more relaxed lifestyle.
He said, “First and foremost, I’m looking forward to a good night’s sleep. Perhaps more exercise. And also reading for pleasure. I’m looking at some other educational opportunities… but nothing is nailed down just yet. But I don’t have a shortage of things I like to do for sure.”