May the Circle Be Unbroken – Mentors Nurture Our Pel Community

Many Pelicans will tell you that they found their career, or deeper meaning in life, or ended up with a more intense commitment to Star Island, because of someone they met on Star who influenced them as a youth or young adult.


Different generations have named carpenter Cliff Bourne; housekeeper/registrar Roz Holt; chef Lenny Reed; island hostess Ginny McGill; Assistant Manager Peter Mercer; Edith and Dave Pierson, respectively groundskeeper and engineer and together, winterkeepers; contractor Dick Soule; and Assistant Manager/Historian Fred McGill as major influences on their lives. Sometimes, however, the mentors were unofficial and were peers; sometimes those being mentored didn’t realize, till much later, what an influence someone had had on their life.


Tryst Chagnon writes, “I grew up All Star II and (of course) looked way up to the Pels, and specifically the waitrae.  I would pick one to worship each year.  Twice the women that I chose, Jennifer Smith and Cecelia (Cee) Jones, a baker, wrote to me during the winter.  I think they both even met with me after they were moved into the kitchen while I was out on Island.  I saw Cee once when I was a Pel, years later.


“They really went an extra mile and probably had everything to do with me pursuing becoming a Pel, years after my family stopped being able to afford Star.  In my years as a pel, I never saw anyone who really went as far as writing letters, so I think it says a lot about both of those women (and their Star spirit) that they did that.”


Sean Elliot says, “I can’t imagine I won’t be among the throngs to cite Dave Pierson as a Star mentor. I will always be amazed at Dave’s patience at working with kids and helping them learn some pretty esoteric skills related to island maintenance. I might have been a couple years older than the average first-year Pel, but I still had no experience in the various plumbing/electrical/ mechanical skills required for the job and Dave was more than happy to spend the time to train me to the point where I was able to head the crew and actually contribute to the operation of the island. I learned skills that I have to this day, the same ones that serve me in the maintenance of my own home, and I owe that all to DDP and his patient and thoughtful approach to teaching those skills.


“I cannot count the times in my life, up to this very day, when I quote Dave to myself … “Well, that’s not the way I would have done it, but seeing as it’s done …”