Filippone Reflects on What Matters to Him and Why

History Master Lawrence Filippone spoke to Lawrentians in the McGraw Reading Room of the Bunn Library from 7:00 PM to 7:30 PM about his beliefs on spirituality and being a community member.

History Master Lawrence Filippone spoke to Lawrentians in the McGraw Reading Room of the Bunn Library from 7:00 PM to 7:30 PM about his beliefs on spirituality and being a community member. The event served as part of the Religious Life Council’s latest installment of “What Matters to Me and Why,” a series through which faculty share reflections and life lessons.

In his speech, Filippone recounted various anecdotes from throughout his life, beginning with his exploration of religion: He described his spiritual transition of moving away from his Catholic upbringing to join the Episcopal Church, his mother’s faith. Later, his mother brought him to a Quaker gathering. He found that the Quaker insistence to “look for the best in everyone” provided a “wonderful environment” and has remained a Quaker since college.

Filippone spoke extensively on his family, specifically his relationship with his father, emphasizing to students the necessity of telling those in their lives how “special” they are, no matter how “weird” or “embarrassing” this may be. Both Filippone’s father and grandfather fought in World War II, returning home from their service having earned high ranks in the army. After the war, Filippone’s father studied in college through the GI Bill, contributing to the American society through his roles as a lawyer and social justice worker. His fervent belief in democracy and civil and human rights urged him to continue despite threats to him and his family made by local mafia.

During his teenage years, Filippone spoke on how he drifted away from his father. One day, when he came home, Filippone learned that his father suddenly passed away. “I didn’t realize that people could pass away,” Filippone recalled. He expressed his regret of never telling his father how much he truly loved and appreciated him. “I never told him he was a hero,” Filippone said. This incident significantly impacted the way Filippone has lived his life since; from that day on, Filippone resolved to always express how much those in his life mean to him.

On this point in his speech, Carlita Beritela ’22 said, “I always try to tell people what I think of them even if it’s weird…If I admire something about you, I would tell you.” She found Filippone’s speech a “great reinforcement” that makes her “feel better about [her] efforts.”

Filippone ended his speech by discussing how he seeks to follow Quaker beliefs and what his experience with his father taught him through his roles in school communities. As a younger faculty member overseeing a dorm in another school, Filippone described how he formed a relationship with a group of students who were labeled as “bad kids” and “rude.” He further described how, as a history master, he works to be a “servant”—contrary to what the name may suggest—to students, making it a point to provide positive feedback. The event concluded with a question and answer session.

Reflecting on his talk, Filippone said, “I loved the event. I thought the kids were warm, wonderful, thoughtful, and appreciative. I really felt everybody was listening. It reminded me of how terrific kids are at Lawrenceville.”

Reflecting on Filippone’s talk, Manoc Joa-Griffith ’22 said, “I personally thought it was pretty moving because he is a duty master in my House, the Griswold House, and I didn’t know this about him. I learned a lot about his background and what makes him such a nice and funny guy.” Finding the anecdotes “really engaging,” Joa-Griffith added, “Before this, I knew nothing about being a Quaker, and in 30 minutes, I knew all about why someone would love [the faith].”

Also a member of the Griswold House, Peter Sackey ’22 said, “I didn’t know this side of [Filippone]...To come sit down and listen to him speak about his past and how he became the man he is today was interesting and very inspiring because although we live in different generations, I feel… there may be a possibility that I can have similar experiences. I appreciate how he has connected with us young boys and girls all over Campus by telling us his life story and experiences.”

History Master Lawrence Filippone spoke to Lawrentians in the

McGraw Reading Room of the Bunn Library from 7:00 PM to 7:30 PM about his beliefs on spirituality and being a community member. The event served as part of the Religious Life Council’s latest installment of “What Matters to Me and Why,” a series through which faculty share reflections and life lessons. In his speech, Filippone recounted various anecdotes from throughout his life, beginning with his exploration of religion: He described his spiritual transition of moving away from his Catholic upbringing to join the Episcopal Church, his mother’s faith. Later, his mother brought him to a Quaker gathering. He found that the Quaker insistence to “look for the best in everyone” provided a “wonderful environment” and has remained a Quaker since college.

Filippone spoke extensively on his family, specifically his relationship with his father, emphasizing to students the necessity of telling those in their lives how “special” they are, no matter how “weird” or “embarrassing” this may be.

Both Filippone’s father and grandfather fought in World War II, returning home from their service having earned high ranks in the army. After the war, Filippone’s father studied in college through the GI Bill, contributing to the American society through his roles as a lawyer and social justice worker. His fervent belief in democracy and civil and human rights urged him to continue despite threats to him and his family made by local mafia.

During his teenage years, Filippone spoke on how he drifted away from his father. One day, when he came home, Filippone learned that his father suddenly passed away. “I didn’t realize that people could pass away,” Filippone recalled.

He expressed his regret of never telling his father how much he truly loved and appreciated him. “I never told him he was a hero,” Filippone said. This incident significantly impacted the way Filippone has lived his life since; from that day on, Filippone resolved to always express how much those in his life mean to him.

On this point in his speech, Carlita Beritela ’22 said, “I always try to tell people what I think of them even if it’s weird…If I admire something about you, I would tell you.” She found Filippone’s speech a “great reinforcement” that makes her “feel better about [her] efforts.”

Filippone ended his speech by discussing how he seeks to follow Quaker beliefs and what his experience with his father taught him through his roles in school communities. As a younger faculty member overseeing a dorm in another school, Filippone described how he formed a relationship with a group of students who were labeled as “bad kids” and “rude.” He further described how, as a history master, he works to be a “servant”—contrary to what the name may suggest—to students, making it a point to provide positive feedback. The event concluded with a question and answer session.

Reflecting on his talk, Filippone said, “I loved the event. I thought the kids were warm, wonderful, thoughtful, and appreciative. I really felt everybody was listening. It reminded me of how terrific kids are at Lawrenceville.”

Reflecting on Filippone’s talk, Manoc Joa-Griffith ’22 said, “I personally thought it was pretty moving because he is a duty master in my House, the Griswold House, and I didn’t know this about him. I learned a lot about his background and what makes him such a nice and funny guy.” Finding the anecdotes “really engaging,” Joa-Griffith added, “Before this, I knew nothing about being a Quaker, and in 30 minutes, I knew all about why someone would love [the faith].”

Also a member of the Griswold House, Peter Sackey ’22 said, “I didn’t know this side of [Filippone]...To come sit down and listen to him speak about his past and how he became the man he is today was interesting and very inspiring because although we live in different generations, I feel… there may be a possibility that I can have similar experiences. I appreciate how he has connected with us young boys and girls all over Campus by telling us his life story and experiences.”

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