EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

July 14, 2013

Coming home: Andover native's worldly pursuits take back seat to summers at Pomps Pond

ANDOVER — At 16, Paul D’Ambrosio signed up to be a lifeguard at Pomps Pond, hoping he’d earn enough at the summer job to buy a car.

More than a decade later, the Andover native has gone on to complete his doctorate in philosophy at Peking University in Beijing. He now travels the world teaching philosophy and attending conferences on the subject as well.

Yet every summer, he puts his worldly travels on hold and returns to Pomps Pond as director. He calls it the calm, little center of his world.

“It’s a really nice place to be,” said the now 27-year-old. “Suburban areas are really nice overall, and Andover is an especially nice one.”

D’Ambrosio began his travels around the world soon after he first started working at Pomps.

As a freshman at Andover High School, he started taking night classes at Merrimack College. By the time he graduated high school, he had two years’ worth of college work under his belt, he said.

But most colleges in the U.S. wouldn’t accept the credits, so he enrolled at Brock University in Ontario, Canada. Later, his quest for a master’s degree took him to University College Cork in Ireland and he eventually landed in Beijing to pursue his Ph.D.

But no matter where he was during the school year, he would always return to Andover and Pomps Pond for the summer.

In his early years as a lifeguard, D’Ambrosio developed a close relationship with then-director Brian Parker, who recently left his post at Pomps after suffering a stroke.

Over time, his duties at the pond expanded. He ran maintenance, became the head lifeguard and then eventually joined his mentor, Parker, as a co-director.

“There wasn’t a (co-director) spot before,” D’Ambrosio said. “We were splitting up things and (Parker) decided I should be bumped up.”

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