St. Andrews remembers Williams

By Amy Cherry 10:26pm, August 12, 2014 - Updated 10:28pm, August 12, 2014
Dead Poets Society was filmed on the campus of St. Andrews 25 years ago. (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
Twenty-five years ago, Robin Williams stood in Delaware, filming the Dead Poets Society on St. Andrew's sprawling Middletown campus.

Associate headmaster Will Speers, who in 1989 was the director of admissions, remembers the filming like it was yesterday.

"I have a very distinct memory of the start of that soccer scene, when Robin Williams gives each of the students in his class a small piece of paper with a quote on it to read, and they read the quote, and we all saw that this was a classroom that we would love to be a part of," Speers told WDEL.

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Speers also taught a young Ethan Hawke how to play soccer for the film.

"I saw a lot of the filming, I was outside in the athletic fields when they did the soccer scrimmage where they carry Robin Williams off into the sunset to Beethoven's 'Ode to Joy,' and it was a wonderful experience for the school to see how a film is made and to be able to see one of the great stars of the century," he said.

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He says Williams death is a sad loss for their campus and for the nation.

"We all just reflect the mood of the country that this is a very sad day, a very sad loss. Depression is a vicious monster," said Speers.

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In a statement, St. Andrew's current Headmaster Tad Roach, who was in his tenth year of teaching English at the time film was made said, "We found inspiration from his depiction of a revolutionary and passionate classroom teacher, but we who were on campus in those days were so struck in particular by the grace of Peter Weir (Dead Poets Society director) and the spirit and vitality of Robin Williams. Together, Weir and Williams saw their vision unfold in the beauty of St. Andrew's pond, buildings, and fields."

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