In the corner of the Bolles Hall courtyard, overlooking the historic building, a cozy room basked in sunlight lies. The man walking to and from this room every day from 7 AM to 11 AM might not grab one’s attention instantly.
Quinn Barton (‘46) has the stature and formality of an army man, the composure of a First Lieutenant Judge Advocate General, and a dedication for his former high school that emanates from his demeanor and deep immersion in the school 73 years after his graduation.
Barton was the first member of his family to have attended Bolles, coming in tenth grade and finishing his senior year as valedictorian. After getting his degree from Princeton University and going to law school at the University of Florida, Barton worked as a Judge Advocate General, based in Stewart, Georgia. Barton now works as a volunteer as the school’s archivist and historian. He clearly has the credentials.
The sun pouring into the room gave his eyes the bright luster of wet pearls as he spoke admirably of his time at Bolles and his later dedication, including thirty years on the Board of Trustees.
His walls are adorned with photos of his family, who went to Bolles after him. Along with his four children, his youngest son, David (‘90) went to Bolles, and his children too, Ben (‘18) and Marley (‘20). David Barton’s wife, Susanna, also works at Bolles as a communications coordinator in the Office of Communications and Marketing.
You get the picture. This family is immersed.
Does this deep affiliation with the school affect the family’s perspective?
Quinn Barton chuckled, acknowledging the almost melancholy contrast of the outside world, and said,
We then talked about his family. He told me of his children who went to the school, and of their children, too. He told me about David Barton’s wife, Susanna.
She holds the same respect for Bolles that her father-in-law has, saying, “It’s a real honor to see firsthand how expertly our faculty and staff work each day and how friendly, outgoing and respectful Bolles students are toward adults.”
Her husband, David Barton says, “It’s easy to grow beyond the glory days of high school, but today what I find most meaningful are the connections and friendships I’ve made along the way in the Bolles community and the opportunity to see our children flourish in the same environment surrounded by the same traditions and standards of excellence.”
“Bolles is just an ideal community. Everyone knows the rules, everyone plays by the rules, everyone respects everyone else. It’s not like the real world where everyone’s killing each other. It’s just an ideal world.”
And so the family line continues with Marley, who is now a senior. To me, carrying on such a legacy seems a daunting task. And at a time, Marley agreed, saying, “I used to think there was all this pressure on me but I realized later in my high school career that my family only wants me to have a great time at the school they love and still trying my best.”
This mentality was radiated by Quinn Barton’s persona, embodying the respectful, inquisitive nature that he sees in his family.
So we continued our conversation, talking about our similar ties to the University of Florida in the fifties, even finding out that he and my grandfather roamed the same campus for a period of time.
The whole time, his eyes danced with the rays of the sun, challenging its brightness more with each story he told.