You may know this man as a 6’3” blond soccer phenom, a lady-killer with a fake foreign accent, or perhaps, you have heard the silky smooth jazz renditions he performs with his bass clarinet. But, what you don’t know just may surprise you. From his uncontrollable hand tremors that manifest when he attempts any writing or drawing activity, to his irrational fear of cotton balls, to his inexplicable habit of sporting dress socks in the weight room, he is a character that few truly know. His name is Giles Thaxter (‘17).
Born in York, England, Giles lived for three and a half years in a town called Blacksmith Cottage before moving to the U.S. and Richmond. Typically, Giles and his family, which has relatives in Northern Ireland, take one annual trip back home to see the whole family. According to Giles, whenever visiting family, he quickly becomes the butt of all jokes due to him missing the family-wide “thick Irish accent.” Meanwhile, his younger cousins inquire about him “watching WWE and eating McDonald’s.” Even his Irish Wheaten Terrier “Clemmie,” short for “Clementine,” better represents the Irish culture. To his credit, Giles acknowledges that he tends to “put on a fake accent” when around parents or family, but otherwise he likes to believe he has a “pretty chill, laid back, no-stress way of living,” and he does it “with an always-present smile.”
Giles loves all things sports. He enjoys both watching and playing, and he was a terrific goalie this season for the Collegiate varsity men’s soccer team.*
Additionally, he takes pride in his Spikeball skills, and classmate Kyle Riopelle (‘17) claims, in fact, “Giles is a quality Spikeball player.” Being the well-rounded young man that he is, Thaxter also boasts the self-appointed title of bass clarinet section leader in the Upper School Jazz Band.
To capture what the facts and ancestry do not, I recently recruited the help of some of Giles’ closest friends and teammates (Riopelle, Shaan Sharma (‘17), Zach Moelchert (‘17), and Reese Bowling (‘17)) to delve deeper into the life of this well-known Collegiate senior. Within eighteen minutes of starting a five-person group chat (myself included), Giles’ friends had supplied me with near seventy messages containing interesting, questionable, and downright outrageous facts and stories about their fellow classmate.
1. Giles worships his treasured calves.
Not only was this the first fact his friends shared with me, but this behavior was later verified by Excellence Perry (‘17), who claims that one day he was in class and Giles called his name. He looked up, expecting to be asked something French-related, but instead Excellence’s eyes met Giles’ as he flexed his calf with a huge smile on his face. Another telling tale of Thaxter and his terrific calves came from Riopelle (and Instagram), who have photographic proof of a stunning portrait—sketched by Riopelle’s artistic cousin—of Giles’ calves.
See for yourself.
While the username has been cropped to protect the artist’s privacy, the caption of the Instagram post reads, “Had to make the vein prominent.”
2. Giles suffers from uncontrollable hand tremors.
This habit reveals itself whenever Giles attempts to write or draw in a public setting. Whether writing on the board in front of the class or doodling in a notebook, Giles’ handwriting may not even qualify as chicken scratch. As Riopelle’s snapchat shows, he is not exactly a fan of the “hieroglyphic” markings that Giles calls handwriting.
3. Giles has a borderline disrespectful, yet financially prudent, habit of paying with coins wherever he goes.
Unfortunately, no, I don’t just mean coming up with “perfect change” to avoid using bills. Giles has been known to pay for entire meals and groceries with a heaping pile of nickels and pennies.
4. Giles shudders at the mention of cotton balls.
Yes, the seventeen-year-old high school senior fears cotton balls. This fact is forever immortalized in the Collegiate Torch.
Here are a few more quick facts that make Giles… Giles:
- He insists on his ability to wink, but according to Moelchert, “There is slo-mo video evidence that unquestionably disproves this claim.”
- “He benches more than he squats, not in the good way.” – Sharma
- According to Moelchert, “He eats his lunch in the morning then complains about not having lunch at lunch time.”
As you might be thinking, yes, close friends tend to enjoy teasing their friends, so I looked to the ladies for another perspective on Giles. The responses were extremely complimentary.
“Giles is a heartthrob in the eyes of many Collegiate girls. He is funny and kind-hearted and has an underlying shyness which reveals a very genuine character. I can’t forget to mention his smile and dashing looks, receiving comparisons to Greek gods on multiple occasions. And who can resist a British boy saying ‘battery?’” – Jordan Marcus (‘17)
“If you called Giles my boyfriend, you wouldn’t be wrong.” – Scotty McCracken (‘17)
I could not agree more with what I have learned about Giles. His quirks and personality have held true so far, and he happily embraces them. What a guy.
*All soccer photos taken by Betsy Riopelle.