The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

G. Scott Kilpatrick

Hughes was the person that made LM what it is today—a man of love, of faith, of family, and a man embedded in countless memories.

I first took up the post of Assistant Principal fourteen years ago, as Mr. Hughes was transitioning from that role to Principal. Since that moment, I’ve gotten to know him as a close colleague and friend, from seeing his recurring appearances in the Manayunk bike races and Broad Street Runs, to testing the bureaucratic boundaries of our jobs together, to watching Jack, Kate, and Nolan grow up under his unremitting parental love. Hughes was the person that made LM what it is today—a man of love, of faith, of family, and a man embedded in countless memories.

As a principal, Hughes was the epitome of both perfect order and constant chaos. He was always consistent, from being the family man and never missing one of his kids’ soccer games even across state lines, to showing up at every major sports game when the Aces’ name was at stake, to being a regular presence in the weight room or along Montgomery Avenue every morning at 5:30 a.m. Karen and I used to quietly move items on his desk only to laugh when he would move them right back into place. He was the archetype of organization, hoarding entire cabinets of files dating back to his days as Social Studies teacher and masterminding the planning behind the current Lunch and Learn schedules. At the same time, Sean was always the first to break the rules for the better when it came to the human side of his job—often side by side with “Captain Chaos,” as he liked to call me. After purchasing the hammocks now in the LM courtyard without permission, I remember being called down to his office, where Sean sat with Superintendent Copeland on the phone. “Scott, why do I have an order to deliver six hammocks to LM?” rang out the superintendent’s voice, to the glowing amusement emanating silently from Sean’s face. And those hammocks were just the tip of the iceberg, which extended to the foosball tables in the atrium, the trusty bolt cutters he reimbursed me in full without question, and the koi pond that somehow never made its way to Central Administration. Hughes was the man to get it done, whether or not the rules governing his job agreed with him.

And then there was the side of Hughes that drove me nuts. If we want to return to the topic of organization—in the principal’s conference room, we compile an exhaustive list of planning objectives for the following school year a full year in advance. No matter how “exhaustive” that list was, though, I’d always be receiving calls in August—August!—from Sean with the classic last-minute detail he thought of. “Oh hey, Scott, what about this idea?” And don’t forget the week of the Amazing Ace, when he’d be so excited about the event that everything else on his schedule was as good as gone. For all those crazy moments, though, they’d be more than matched by the heartwarming and fun ones—Sean buying cheesesteaks for all the administrators after the Eagles won the SuperBowl, Sean with a student at an ATM taking money out to recover their car that was towed from the LM lot only hours before, Sean giving out a dozen more parking slots to seniors than LM had capacity for. And Mr. Hughes always had your back. When I may have “misplaced” a sticker on a board member’s car during my third year here, to the irate “I want to know who put this on my car?!” district-wide complaint, it was Sean who offered the innocuous “I made the decision,” much to my relief.

One thing a lot of students perhaps do not appreciate about Hughes is the amount of work he put in to make sure that students had the best experience possible. He faced more than his fair share of hardships in the past, from receiving hate mail as a principal fresh on the job following the laptop scandal while overseeing construction of the new building, to balancing the conflicting interests of teachers, parents, and so many interest groups at LM, but he always found a way to make it work. His guiding objective behind it all was to do it for the students, no matter what. So much of what you now enjoy at LM, from the scheduling to the school furniture to graduation and proms, is because of him and his desire to be a principal first and foremost to you all. Unapologetic and unrelenting, light-hearted and loving, he made it his mission to help every student live life to the fullest at LM—and he will always be remembered for that.


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  • Andrew ScolnicDec 18, 2021 at 12:17 PM

    Thank you, KP! This was really sweet and nice to read.