Tabor Sees Travis Roy Student Center as ‘Transformative’

            When Tabor alum Maija Scarpaci came home from her first semester at Holy Cross during the fall of 1995, she felt that her childhood home was too quiet.

            Scarpaci instead came home to Tabor Academy, visiting her former teachers, many of whom were all saddened by the tragic injury of Scarpaci’s then boyfriend, the late Travis Roy. Roy became paralyzed that same fall from the neck down following an ice hockey injury at Boston University. That injury happened only 11 seconds into his first varsity shift for the Terriers.

            It’s very fitting that Tabor Academy is naming this new campus center after Roy — especially after Tabor became a “home away from home” for them and so many others, according to Scarpaci.

            This new building, located at the center of Marion campus on Spring Street, will be unveiled to the public on Tuesday morning, March 21, with an open house.

            “I feel like it’s a visible proof of what an extraordinary and special person he was. But, my other answer, and probably the better one for this occasion, is that Travis gave his whole heart to our school – he had so much gratitude for his time there, but also for the 25 years after that and the relationships that lasted a lifetime,” Scarpaci said. “To see his name on the building is a reminder to us all to be kind, to be brave, to be generous. It is a reminder that those are the qualities that Tabor values, that we should all value.”

            Scarpaci said that she and Roy, who died in 2020, broke up as a romantic couple but remained lifelong friends. Meanwhile, Tabor continued to be a lifelong home for Scarpaci, now a Spanish teacher who was inspired by her Tabor teachers.

            “Teachers were my heroes before and after I graduated,” Scarpaci said. “There is nobody I could try to emulate that would be more honorable than my teachers.”

            Scarpaci said the school community also became a second home for Roy.

            “As Travis began to recover, Tabor felt like a place to go. … Tabor continued to take care of us long after we left and that is still true today,” Scarpaci said.

            Roy went on to become a speaker, philanthropist and author. Before closing operations in keeping with Roy’s wishes upon his passing, the Travis Roy Foundation raised over $7,000,000 that directly helped the victims of spinal-cord injuries and also raised $5,600,000 in research grant funding.

            Anthony Jaccaci, Tabor Academy’s Head of School, said this campus center has been five years in development.

            Sitting in the same spot as the school’s recently demolished library, this new campus center will be “the living room” of the house for Tabor’s campus. It will be a place where people can eat and socialize, but also visit the library and celebrate diversity.

            “I think it will be a transformational structure for the school,” Jaccaci said.

            According to a written release, the building will also provide a centralized home for student life offices, a modern library, tutoring spaces and offices and home to the Tabor archives.

            The building’s uses will vary and serve as a symbolic reflection of its namesake Roy, whose talents and attributes also varied, according to Scarpaci.

            “(Roy) was not just a hockey player. He was not just a philanthropist. He was not just a person with paralysis,” she said. “It makes me so proud that he has been recognized in so many different areas. This one means the most to me personally. Tabor has always been a home for me and Travis.”

            Jaccaci said when plans for the new campus center were underway, a time capsule from the 1950s was unearthed, giving students and faculty a glimpse into the school’s past. He said there is a new time capsule, featuring among many artifacts, COVID-19 facemasks and a Travis Roy T-shirt referencing his “10 Rules for Life” graduation speech in 1995. This time capsule will be unearthed in 2076, which is Tabor’s 200th birthday.

            Authorities needed a jackhammer to unearth the old capsule, according to Jaccaci, who said that this one will be easier but will still capture this unique time in history.

By Jeffrey D. Wagner

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