Georgetown Prep wishes Denny McCarthy well before Junior Ryder Cup

Georgetown Prep senior Denny McCarthy, center in green shirt, is surrounded by members of the school's student body and staff.
Georgetown Prep senior Denny McCarthy, center in green shirt, is surrounded by members of the school's student body and staff. (Toni L. Sandys/the Washington Post)
By Toni L. Sandys
Washington Post Staff Photographer
Monday, September 27, 2010; 12:43 AM

It all started around a lunch table in the teacher's lounge. Everyone knew that Georgetown Prep senior Denny McCarthy would be leaving for Scotland in a few days to compete in the Junior Ryder Cup, but nothing official was planned to acknowledge it. "We felt that we shouldn't let it go unnoticed," said chemistry teacher Katie Walsh. By the day's end, plans were in the works for a surprise pep rally the next day. Denny's best friend, Cory Dobyns, 17, and the school's boosters quickly set to work getting the word out.

"Keeping a secret from teenage boys is hard when 20 of them know," said Walsh, who had her suspicions that Denny knew what was planned.

"Right away, when I heard about the plan, I just wanted to tell him," Dobyns said. "But I knew that if I kept it a secret it would be a great surprise."

Monday afternoon, Dobyns told McCarthy that the two were going to have their photo taken by the Gazette after school on Tuesday. McCarthy needed to bring his golf clubs and Dobyns would bring his lacrosse stick. Busy with golf and school work, McCarthy remembered that a reporter from the paper had called him weeks ago. He texted right away to apologize for not getting back to him sooner. The reporter "responded and said, 'That's okay; I'll see you tomorrow,' " McCarthy said. When McCarthy told Dobyns, he was sure the secret was out. "I thought, oh no, maybe they told him that they were having a little celebration for him. But [McCarthy] just said, 'Yeah, they said they were going to take photos.' "

"Exactly," Dobyns told his friend.

As soon as the dismissal bell rang on Tuesday, students and staff headed out toward the school's golf course. Dobyns and a few friends stalled McCarthy. Minutes later, the group appeared from between the school's buildings. "I walked through, and I was like, 'Wow, that's a lot of people for a photo shoot.' Then I got a little closer and I started to realize that everyone was clapping for me," McCarthy said. "I'm just walking over here thinking I'm going to do a small photo shoot and I see 200 people on top of the hill."

McCarthy will be one of six boys and six girls competing against a European team in the tournament that begins Monday. Other than the team's parents, McCarthy doesn't expect a large gallery following him around. "This is it right here," McCarthy said, smiling. "This is pretty special. I wish this crowd could come with me to Scotland, but at least I have that image in my head and I know everyone is cheering for me and rooting or me."

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