While many students at the school may simply know Harry Bauld as their English teacher, they may be surprised to know that throughout his life, he has played many other roles, including a college admissions officer, magician, chess-player, poet, and writer.
Throughout high school and college, Bauld played basketball and baseball. For Columbia University’s baseball team, he played First Team All-Ivy shortstop, and led the league in hits, doubles, and stolen bases. When he first came to the school in 1981, he was a three-season coach.
Before he worked at the school, Bauld also had a career in admissions at Brown and Columbia. After working at these schools for several years, Bauld began his career at the school in 1981. He left four years later to work as a freelance writer in Massachusetts, writing about a range of topics, including food, wine, sports, and art.
He was invited back to the school by one of the school’s college counselors the following year to give a talk to the seniors about writing college applications based on his previous experience in admissions.
“I gave them the whole rap about the college essay, one that I had developed while working at Brown and Columbia,” Bauld said.
After his talk, a member of the audience who knew Maureen Dowd, who worked at The New York Times, called Bauld and asked to write a story about his college advice.
Bauld was hesitant at first, especially because he had been working on a book of the same subject at the same time, and did not want to give information away. Eventually, he agreed, and following the article’s publication, Harper-Collins reached out to him, Bauld said. He wrote his first book, On Writing the College Application Essay which was the first in the field of writing college essays, Bauld said. It has been in print for the past 30 years.
“It’s secretly a book about writing, even though it’s attached to the whole college process,” Bauld said.
Apart from imparting his college essay wisdom, Bauld co-authored Horace Mann-Barnard: The First Hundred Years with Jerome Kisslinger, published in 1987. In honor of the centennial, Bauld and Kisslinger wrote the book to cover the history of the school, Bauld said.
Since Bauld returned to the school, he has not only taught English, but has also learned skills from various students. Bauld’s love of magic, for instance, came from Alex Posner ’13, he said.
“I’m in the cafeteria, and here’s a seventh grader, cherubic little guy, at one of the tables doing a cascade with cards,” Bauld said. “He goes, ‘pick a card.’ So, I pick a card. He says, ‘put it in the middle of the deck.’ He snaps his fingers, turns over the top card, and there’s the card I just put in the middle of the deck.”
This lunchtime encounter led to Posner becoming Bauld’s teacher in magic, he said. Bauld now regularly performs magic tricks—which are not limited to card tricks—for his students in class.
Bauld also learned another skill from a student: chess, which Amir Moazami ’18 taught him. Moazami is a nationally ranked chess player who began teaching Bauld two years ago.
“Amir became my teacher. He really taught me. He gave me chess books, he showed me videos, he put me through drills, like on a basketball court,” Bauld said. “We met regularly all year long.”
Even after graduating, Moazami still teaches Bauld through email and online chess.
Currently, even as a full time English teacher, Bauld continues to write. His book of poetry, The Uncorrected Eye, was published in September 2018.