Dowling Passes on Passion for Picking

Dowling Passes on Passion for Picking

Club seeks to connect Greenies with the past

Ben Dowling's classroom is a history lesson come to life.

Framed records and concert posters adorn the walls, some even autographed by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame artists like Bruce Springsteen and Chuck Berry.

The chair of Christ School's History Department has rummaged through a countless number of antique malls, auctions, flea markets, and yard sales to build his collection. Dowling passes on this passion for discovery to students through the Pickers Club. The group is still going strong in its fifth year with nearly 40 members.

"The Pickers Club tends to attract the more techie kids at Christ School, and that's encouraging to me," Dowling said.

"You have kids who are interested in modern technology as well as the old stuff. They see that there is a progression. A kid who likes to write code in his free time can see a computer that I think is a piece of junk and get fired-up about firing it up and writing code like they did in the 1980s. Best of all, I find that kids don't sign up for this because their friends are on the list. It really brings in a diverse mix of students, boys who wouldn't normally sit together at the lunch table. You get to see a lot of friendships form."

Along with his personal interest in music memorabilia and "anything odd and interesting," Dowling enjoys finding hand tools for woodworking. The Pickers Club is a year-round club, that takes most of its weekend excursions during the fall and spring. Dowling said most of the boys gravitate towards old military relics. The Pickers Club concludes every outing with a Southern buffet lunch.

"I enjoy going with my friends and finding hidden treasures, or just random fragments of history," Beau Simmons '18 said. "We have seen items used in battles across the globe, and technology and items lost from history because we had no use for them. It's nice to go find a slice of history and own it, and the scavenger hunt it entails to find it."

"The Pickers Club is such a great way to revisit the past without leaving the present," Connor Thiel '20 added. "In the trips, we get the chance to buy a piece of history and really get to see where stuff came from."

Members of the Pickers Club besides Connor and Beau are Jack Adams '20, Elliott Bell '20, Gabe Blevins '18, Thomas Bolick '20, Hales Caffery '19, Will Clarke '19, Landon Cooke '18, Hase Cooper '19, Coleman Davis '18, Joe deLoach '18, Jacob Dowler '19, Robert Freeman '22, Wesley Garbee '20, Wilton Graves '21, Chase Greene '21, Zack Grella '19, Davis Grubb '18, McCauley Hardison '21, Philip Hodges '18, George Janvier '19, Jack Knott '20, Corey Lavinder '19, Nicholas Loftin '18, Clarke MacDonald '21, Coles Manning '19, Cade Rodriguez '21, Patrick Shea '20, Jack Sherrill '22, Simon Solibieda '20, Porter Thompson '20, James Treadway '19, and Jackson Zemp '18.

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