Built on a Tradition of Excellence

Life Lessons with SMS Alumni

May 09, 2018

We’re on a mission to find out how Stratton Mountain School has impacted the lives of our alumni. We sent the same three questions to a group of alumni and here are some of their responses.

SMS alum and newest SMS Trustee, Jon Needell ’88, is the President and Chief Investment Officer of Kairos Investment Management Company, a real estate private equity fund manager, a recovering investment banker, and a four-time Ironman (slow amateur).

1. What is a favorite SMS memory?
Double overtime win against GMVS in soccer junior year. I know that sounds weird for a ski academy memory, but we had a great team and went undefeated that year. I pulled my quad and played lefty for the last overtime period. Also, beating Fritz in tennis senior year. I trained all summer so it was a lot of fun to run him around the court. I was so happy to beat him, that I lost to Rob Clayton right after. Also, the ski-a-thon. I always competed for the top money-raising prize with Sue Jedlika. I had to personally call all my sponsors which was a great experience. Of course finally, the opportunity to be at SMS with my brother Greg for my senior year when he started coaching. He was not my coach, but he knew how to push my buttons and helped get the best out of me anyway. Sorry to have so many, frankly there are many more!

2. What is a lesson you learned at SMS that you’ve carried with you?
All in all with skiing leading the way I learned how to compete and how important it is to put in your best effort to compete well.

3. Who is your favorite teacher or coach at SMS or your favorite class and why?
TD McCormick and Larry Herrick. TD for being the first teacher to help me explore my interests in business. For Larry, it is, of course, the laughs. I spent a lot of time on the floor in Larry’s class after I fell off my chair laughing. Sometimes it was only me, but hey, you were learning and he was funny.

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