Prodigious People

Seahawks reveal their unprecedented prowess


Campbell Helling, Copy

With abounding superhero movies receiving worldwide attention, we may wonder about those with secret superpowers in our own reality. Luckily, the Seabury community contains a number of those with superhero-like abilities, from conquering a football field to butchering deer. These people with unique talents come in a variety of ages just as diverse as the knacks they possess. From sixth graders to faculty members, Seabury is blessed with a lack of the ordinary.

Aaron Combs, Seabury’s athletic trainer, possesses uncanny abilities in sports. “‘It’s crazy.’ That’s what I hear almost all the time. ‘It’s insane, it’s nuts.’” The faculty member is known for his talents in “Basketball, football, kickball and obstacle courses.” Like anything, they require practice. “I’m a little more natural, but you definitely have to put in the work.”

Similar to Combs, tenth grader Mason Rack has an admired ability at the piano yet agrees that one has to put in some effort, even though his skills come more naturally. “For me personally, I’d say probably natural for a lot of cases. But you can, of course, acquire it.” Rack has been playing for “probably about seven years,” and notes the many benefits of tickling the ivories. “Popularity; a lot of people are interested in it. And it has helped with coordination… it’s just a fun skill to have,” he says. In addition to the piano, Rack also wants to expand his music abilities to other instruments: “Violin, definitely.”

Regarding more unnatural talents, faculty member Cris Denning has been butchering deer for “35 years.” The skill comes from “My husband. He’s a big deer hunter; I am not.” Despite not particularly enjoying cleaning deer, Denning sees the benefits. “It’s saved us money, because the deer meat has provided a lot of food for our family. And our kids don’t know the difference between beef and venison, and they have grown up having an appreciation for hunting,” she says. 

In addition to her butchering talents, Denning finds more pleasant ways to pass the time. “I like gardening; I really like being in the outdoors,” she says. “We have a 12-acre farm that we acquired.” Denning grows vegetables, as well as flowers. “I’ve always done a ton of flowers outside. When we lived in town, I put a lot of summer flowers outside my house.” She finds this skill much more enjoyable than cleaning 2-3 deer “every fall and winter.” 

Unlike Denning, sixth grader An Duan’s talent is not seasonal but year-round. His ability to solve an average 3-by-3 Rubix cube is very impressive. “To solve a 3×3; 30 to 35 seconds.” Duan attained this ability with a mix of the internet and his mind. “I find tutorials, but then some of the cubes are self-taught, he says. ” In total, he’s solved “A little over eleven.” But, he has yet to tackle the 11-by-11 Rubix cube. “My mom wants to give it to me for Chinese New Year, and I’m like, ‘I want to have it! I know it’s in the house somewhere!’” When Duan finally obtains the enormous puzzle, he predicts how people would react if he carried it around. “I don’t really get much attention from it. Unless I bring my 11×11, they might get surprised,” he says.

Surprised is certainly a reaction eighth grader Max Fagan must get when people find out he keeps geese. “I have 126 [geese], . . . and I go and feed them. We’ve got ducks too; there’s around 50 of them … it’s just something that I was born into.” Although less of a talent than a hobby, Fagan finds raising the birds enjoyable. “Yeah, I’ve named them all,” he says. The most creative name being “Han Solo.” Despite these connections, the ultimate purpose of raising the poultry is “to sell them.” Nonetheless, one can admire the keeping of and caring for 150+ animals.

Whether these talents and hobbies involve animals, musical talents or sports, there is no doubt that every Seahawk walking these hallways (or on Zoom) hosts a special ability that should be appreciated.