SACO – When Eric Marston graduated from Thornton Academy in 1991, he hoped to return one day as a teacher.

“I could tell, even as a student, that Thornton Academy was a phenomenal place to work,” said Marston, who is now a history teacher at the private academy that serves as Saco’s high school. “It’s the reason why there’s been so few headmasters, and why teachers stay so long, and why TA grads want to come back and be affiliated with the school.”

Of Thornton Academy’s 193 faculty and staff members, 46 are alumni. Among them is Marston and Associate Headmaster Rene Menard, who will take over when Headmaster Carl Stasio retires in July. Menard graduated in 1988.

Alumni who work at the school, along with those from near and far, will descend on the campus this weekend to wrap up the school’s bicentennial celebrations.

Spokeswoman Jennifer Hass expects to see hundreds at this weekend’s events, which include a homecoming rally and a bonfire starting at 6:30 tonight.

Saturday’s celebrations will kick off with a parade starting at 9:30 a.m. in Pepperell Square, going down Main Street to Hill Stadium.

There will be a barbecue starting at 11 a.m., followed by a football game against Scarborough High, a reception to honor former and current teachers and staff members, and a jazz concert in Garland Auditorium.

The academy began celebrating its 200th birthday with festivals in February and June.
Over the course of its history, the campus has grown to look more like a small college. Recent additions include dormitories and students from around the globe.

Even in the past 20 years, Marston said, things have changed. What was the library is now the dance hall, and the old cafeteria now is a computer lab.

But some things are still familiar.

A colleague brought in the 1991 yearbook to show off a picture of Marston with a group of his friends in the classroom where he now teaches.

“That picture was taken 20 years ago in the exact same room. Who would have thought?” Marston said.

With most Thornton Academy alumni, roots run deep. Marston’s sister, parents and grandparents all graduated from Thornton Academy. In fact, his mother, Susan, said the reason she joined the school’s debate team when she was a student was to meet her future husband, Alan.

Marston looks forward to sending his children, Ella, 6, and William, 4, to Thornton Academy.

“It’s exciting to think about them becoming the fifth generation to walk the halls of Thornton,” he said.

Staff Writer Emma Bouthillette can be contacted at 791-6325 or at: [email protected]