The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

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From the Pitch to Poly: Gerald Stone


Before Gerald Stone’s 37 years teaching English at Poly, one year teaching in England, and three years teaching in Boston, he was a sports-obsessed high schooler. Growing up in Westfield, Massachusetts, Stone played just about every sport one can imagine until ultimately sticking to soccer, basketball, and baseball.

“I was playing sports constantly,” said Stone. “My idols growing up were kids in my neighborhood who were two, three, four years older than I was and were playing on the high school teams.”

Both of Stone’s parents were teachers, a profession Stone would later also dedicate his life to. His father was a World War II veteran and former police officer. Westfield, a modest city of about 30,000 when Stone was growing up, was also home to Westfield College. “It was a great place to grow up because there was a lot of freedom,” he said. “[The college] was just a place to play, to watch games, and use the gym and use the fields.”

Stone, inspired by Westfield College’s notably successful soccer team, prioritized soccer and decided to continue playing at Kenyon College in Ohio. There, his team consistently had a few more wins than losses, but struggled to ever make it to the playoffs. “I’ll be honest, it was a mixed bag,” Stone said in the calm, teacher-like tone he’s developed over the years. 

Immediately after his four years at Kenyon, Stone started working at The Fessenden School outside of Boston, where he found himself doing a teacher exchange with a school in Bristol, England in his fourth year there. Soccer, or football, rather, followed him to the U.K., where his colleagues at the school asked him to referee because “that’s what they needed.”

After playing his whole life, it was the first time Stone had refereed. “I took it very seriously,” he said. “It was a way for me to contribute. And I remember trying really hard.”

Stone finished graduate school and got his degree at Boston College after his year in England, and then began applying to jobs at private schools in New York City, where in the fall of 1986, he started as a middle school English teacher at Poly. “The thing that separated me from the other candidates, no doubt, was the fact that I was willing and ready to coach the varsity boys soccer team,” he said. 

Early on, Stone and the team struggled to find success. “We just didn’t have much talent … I didn’t have a whole lot to work with.” But around 1990, they started to get good, going on a ten year run of consistent success. During that time, Stone worked his way through coaching school and got an A license from the U.S. Soccer Coaching Federation, essentially giving him credentials as a professional coach. Getting that license was “above and beyond” what the job description asked of him. “But I did it because I just enjoyed it and the school supported me,” he said.

“[In coaching school] you basically learn how much you should intervene and when… There’s a lot of just [giving] the kids activities where they’re figuring things out on their own,” said Stone, pointing out that some of those coaching principles translated to teaching. He always thought of himself as an English teacher first and foremost, and his side job coaching second.

Stone’s last season as the boys’ varsity soccer coach was in 2018. “I’d kinda had enough. I’d done everything I could do and it was time for a younger person,” he said. “It was a good decision.” 

During his time at Poly, Stone has taught in the Middle School and Upper School, been a student dean, and been a coach. Now, he’s just a teacher, and more than happy to be just a teacher. 

“I’m proud of the fact that I was able to manage it all for a long time,” Stone said. “I’ve gotten some notoriety from the soccer, but I know what I’m doing: I’m going home and doing my schoolwork.”

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