Andrew Foglia graduated from Whitfield in 2005 with his triplet brothers Matt and Stephen. He majored in political science while at Davidson College (’09) and then attended Duke Law School (’13) on a full academic scholarship. After law school he clerked for a federal judge in the Southern District of New York and then for a judge on the Third Circuit. He currently works in New York City specializing in copyright litigation, defending tech and media companies.
“Whitfield’s seminar-style classes were good practice for participation in college- and graduate-level courses. Roughly half my classes in college and law school were seminars (or small lecturers barely distinguishable from seminars). My comfort level in asking questions and answering them opened a lot of doors for me.”
How did Whitfield prepare you for college and beyond?
Whitfield encouraged me to develop three skills that were useful in college and beyond. First, the homework and extracurricular responsibilities forced me to develop good organization and work habits. College and grad school aren’t quite as structured as high school, but you end up with every bit as many commitments, so it’s helpful to know how to manage them. The fact that Whitfield teachers were kind enough to put the entire week’s homework assignments on the board spurred me to adopt my most valuable study habit: working way ahead in the syllabus; it seemed pretty straightforward to me. I never wanted to have to bail on friends because I had homework. And the stress of needing to finish something on a deadline usually made it harder rather than easier for me to work. So, I just took spare moments to work ahead.
Secondly, Whitfield assigned a few large-scale research papers that were valuable learning experiences for me. Planning for a 20-page paper is just a different animal from putting together a five-paragraph essay. I struggled at the time to think through a thesis I could develop, the evidence I would need to assemble, and a structure that wouldn’t break down as I started writing. Whitfield’s drafting process broke those projects down into manageable parts.
Finally, Whitfield’s seminar-style classes were good practice for participation in college- and graduate-level courses. Roughly half my classes in college and law school were seminars (or small lecturers barely distinguishable from seminars). My comfort level in asking questions and answering them opened a lot of doors for me.
I am grateful to my Whitfield teachers for exposing me to a wide range of works and ideas. As I look at my bookshelves, I have plays I read in theater class, a whole row of James Baldwin books thanks to 11th grade English, and a half-dozen books on classical Greek history that I might never have wanted but for a memorable lecture in 12th-grade English.
What were your primary interests and activities while you were at Whitfield?
My primary interests were pretty much the same as they are now: running, reading, and writing. I ran cross country and track for four years, read as much as I could, wrote terrible fiction, and watched endless numbers of movies with my brothers and friends.
What are you most thankful for from your Whitfield experience, both in and outside of the classroom?
I am most thankful for my friends, who let me be very weird, and for my teachers, who were kind enough not to remind me of how weird I was.