St. Johnsbury Academy announces the launch of a weekly speaker series designed to provide students of the Academy and members of the local community an opportunity to learn about topics of interest from the Academy faculty and friends.
Known as the Fireside Speaker Series, the program highlights two important themes of the Academy’s mission: to nurture an academic environment that holds inquiry, curiosity, and a love for learning in the highest regard and to ensure the Academy reaches beyond its classrooms to share its academic resources with the community.
The series will debut Monday, September 24 at 7 p.m. in the Academy’s Grace Stuart Orcutt Library, located in the Mayo Center. Mathematics teacher and Ultimate Frisbee head coach Josh Seamon will discuss his experiences this summer in the Middle East working with the Ultimate Peace program, which strives to build bridges of understanding and friendship between youth who live in communities divided by conflict using the character building sport of Ultimate Frisbee as a tool.
“The goal of the series is to continue to invigorate the academic climate on campus by bringing interesting speakers to campus” and “have faculty show a different side of themselves to their peers, the community, and our students,” Jeffrey Burroughs, the Academy’s Assistant Headmaster for Academics, said.
“Whenever a student gets to see a different side of a faculty member, it offers another avenue for connection, another avenue for developing a relationship where the potential of a student is in the front seat,” he added.
During the second semester, the new series will “dovetail” with the annual Colwell Speakers series, presented by the school’s Colwell Center for Global Understanding, which brings internationally recognized experts on a wide range of issues to campus through a partnership with Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.
Academy teachers already scheduled to participate in Fireside Chats series include: English instructor Chris Dusseault (October 1), discussing his work with non-profit organizations, experience at the Kingdom Trails facility in East Burke, and passion for mountain biking; Grace Egbert (October 22), also an English teacher, showing her short documentary film “Food and Spirit,” which features a range of perspectives on food traditions and choices from students at the Harvard Divinity School, and inviting the audience to share their own experiences of “the intersection between food and religious, ethical and spiritual practices;” Tom Moore (November 12), CEO of Cerealus, a Maine biotech firm, sharing his experience starting an airline; and Burroughs (November 26) discussing his experience working in the semiconductor industry.
Details regarding speakers and topics will be published weekly.