For alumni, all roads lead back to RE

We certainly owe a huge debt of gratitude to our founders, Paul Ransom and Ed and Marie Swenson. We know we have a dedicated and knowledgeable faculty, and our students are incredible. Amid a magnificent Alumni Weekend just over a week ago, we were reminded that the foundation of our institution, the underlying strength of this school, is our extraordinary alumni community.
When we sat down to select this year’s Head of School’s Award for Distinguished Service to the School community winners, we decided to honor two alumni – David Arnold ’86 and Jourdan Moore Houston ’62. Their stories and career paths have unfolded differently but their hearts are in the same place: both love RE to the core, and both have served the school in ways that have made a lasting and inspiring impact. I had the pleasure of presenting the first 2023 Head of School’s Award to Dr. Arnold during our first upper school awards ceremony on April 24. I will have a similar opportunity to honor Mrs. Moore Houston, remotely, during the second upper school awards ceremony later this month.

Dr. Arnold is both a prominent medical doctor and university professor. The Chief Medical Officer and Chief of Surgery at the Lennar Foundation Medical Center, he was recently named Professor of Clinical at the University of Miami’s Department of Otolaryngology. With expertise in head and neck oncology and reconstructive surgery, Dr. Arnold has taught medical students, residents and fellows at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine for more than 30 years.

Despite the significant demands on his time, Dr. Arnold also has served Ransom Everglades and its community almost since the day he became an alumnus.  The list of his contributions is long: He served on RE’s alumni board for the maximum number of terms. He has served as a reunion volunteer, and on the RE Task Force for Covid-19. He serves as a medical advisor to the school on many matters, and he has assisted with helping faculty obtain vaccines and medical appointments. He always has time to help a fellow Raider. Dr. Arnold, who celebrated his 35th RE reunion two weeks ago, has also been actively engaged with our school as he and his wife – Mary – are proud parents of Elanah ’21, Eliza ’24 and Ella ’27.

We are truly blessed to have him in our community.

Mrs. Moore Houston, one of the founding students at the Everglades School for Girls, has served as a class agent for more than 60 years. She recently helped organize the fall reunion of the Everglades Founding Classes in Asheville, N.C., as co-chair of that event. For decades, she has helped bring together her Everglades classmates for informal gatherings and milestone reunions – this despite having moved out of Miami after her graduation. After attending Mt. Holyoke College and building a successful career in journalism, she and her husband raised two children in Maine. She spends time hiking in Colorado, camping New Hampshire and, most importantly, ensuring that women from the original Everglades classes remain connected. A former captain of the Egret team at the Everglades School for Girls, Mrs. Moore Houston has never stopped encouraging and leading her classmates, offering a model for future alumni.

Dr. Arnold and Mrs. Moore Houston have taken very different roads, yet both continue to arrive back in the same place: Ransom Everglades. And – given the terrific attendance at Alumni Weekend – they are clearly not alone. I’m not sure what is more inspiring: the fact that two members of the Class of 1954 returned for their 69th reunion, or that a couple of seniors in the Class of 2023 made a point during the recent Senior Panel to talk about their excitement at joining RE’s active alumni network.

Or maybe it was the group of Black alumni who gathered in the La Brisa living room on the Saturday of Alumni Weekend, some acknowledging that they didn’t always have the best experience at RE. Regardless of past difficulties, every member of that impressive group was united in a desire to make sure the school is better and stronger for future generations.

What Dr. Arnold, Mrs. Moore Houston and so many Raiders illustrate is that, when students graduate from Ransom Everglades, they don’t really leave – they only change their location.

Their hearts remain right here.
Rachel Rodriguez
Interim Head of School
Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.