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Academy News

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Posted Friday, Aug 28, 2015 
Every year since my daughter Rose was a freshman in the fall of 2007, she has bought me a colorful shirt and matching tie to celebrate the opening of school. Originally a statement about the blandness of my usual attire of white shirts and repeat-pattern ties, this tradition has now gained me an impressive array of blue, teal, green, yellow, and (of course) rose-colored shirts. This year's addition was mint green. For the past few years, I have worn them all in succession, creating what I call Rainbow Week to start the school year.
Posted Friday, Aug 28, 2015 
SJA math teachers Susannah Roy Gould '03 and Meagan Boucher were recently selected to present at the Vermont Council of Teachers of Math (VCTM) conference, taking place on October 16 at Vermont Technical College in Randolph. The theme of the conference is "Growing Math Minds." Both teachers will co-present with math department chair Sharon Fadden.
Posted Friday, Aug 28, 2015 
This summer the St. Johnsbury Academy dance department hosted acclaimed international choreographer, William Forsythe, and two dancers, Jill Johnson and Christopher Roman. During their time at the Academy, they reconstructed a Forsythe ballet, originally choreographed for the Paris Opera Ballet Company, which will be performed by the San Francisco Ballet during the 2015-2016 season.
Posted Tuesday, Jul 28, 2015 
St. Johnsbury Academy Theatre and Friends will present Shakespeare's The Tempest on August 6-8 at 7:30 p.m. and August 9 at 2:00 p.m. The evening shows will take place at the amphitheater on the St. Johnsbury Academy campus or, in case of rain, in the Stuart Black Box Theater in the Morse Center; the matinee will take place in the Stuart Black Box Theater. Tickets are available at Catamount Arts (catamountarts.org) or at the door and are $10 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens.
Posted Tuesday, Jul 28, 2015 
Operation Creation wrapped up a very successful third year last week in St. Johnsbury. Teenagers in black t-shirts served lunch and sold hardwood cutting boards at the Hilltopper Cafe, visited area businesses, and volunteered three afternoons each week at the St. Johnsbury Community Farm.
Posted Thursday, Jul 9, 2015 
The Academy sent six students to compete in the national 2015 SkillsUSA Leadership & Skills Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. Ethan Bernier '16 of Sheffield, who travels to the Academy from Lyndon Institute to participate in SJA's award-winning Culinary Arts program, won a Silver Medal in Commercial Baking; Patrick Schoolcraft '15 of Peacham placed 5th in Fine Woodworking. More than 6,000 technical education students from across the U.S. travelled to Kentucky to compete in 99 different events after winning gold medals in their respective states.
Posted Wednesday, Jul 8, 2015 
The Summer Youth Corp (Operation Creation) kicked off its third year on July 6th. Thirty rising ninth graders from St. Johnsbury were selected to take part in the three-week program based on an application and interview. The program is designed to teach job-related skills and simultaneously develop self-confidence and a sense of pride in their work that will help prepare students for the rigors of high school and eventual career success.
Posted Friday, Jun 12, 2015 
Each June, the faculty and staff gather for two days after graduation to discuss the year past and plan for the year ahead. During these days full of workshops and department meetings, we typically revisit topics raised in the August and January In-Services. This year, we focused on our upcoming school accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and worked on building a closer-knit resident life program through team-building activities. In both sessions, we learned more about our colleagues and our school. In department meetings, faculty reviewed assessment tools and worked on redesigning elements of their curricula. All in all, it was a full two days of work, and it pointed us toward summer work to be completed before August.
Posted Friday, Jun 5, 2015 
I first heard the song "One Voice" when the Hilltones sang it during the Commencement Concert. Though suffering from an illness that dogged her all weekend, Senior Katherine Keenan did an outstanding job singing the lead of the Wailin' Jennys song, and the rest of the female Hilltones supported her with gorgeous harmonies. I downloaded the song as soon as I could.
Posted Friday, May 29, 2015 
Academy math students earned the top three Vermont regional scores in Region 2 on the UVM High School Prize Math Examination; First Prize was awarded to three students from China: Seongmin Choo '17, Zi Jian Song '15, and Leyi Li '15. Thirteen students from the Academy were awarded Certificates of Merit, recognizing their ranking in the top 10% of all students from across the state that took the test. They were: Seongmin Choo '17, Bettina Hammer '16, Yaojia Huang '17, Matthew Hunton '18, Yuqing Jiang '16, Yutong Lei '17, Jingyi Liang '16, Leyi Li '16, Jiaqin Lu '16, Zi Jian Song '15, Ruishi Tao '18, Harper Wallace '17, and Chaokang Wu '15. The top-scoring student in the school was sophomore Yaojia Huang. Regional winners were honored at the annual Math Day awards luncheon hosted by the UVM Department of Mathematics and Statistics on May 19, at which SJA alum and current UVM mathematics graduate student Dylan Kylie was the keynote speaker.
Posted Friday, May 29, 2015 
I have written before about how much I love Last Chapel. We give out awards, mostly to underclassmen, many of which are handmade by woodworking teacher Matt Stark and one of his students (this year, senior Trent Lowell). The seniors sing their class song and watch their Senior Memories video. Then I invite them on stage to lead us in the Alma Mater, like they did as Freshmen, and all the other classes move up to take the seats of the class in front of them. This annual ceremony seems the best use of Fuller Hall's "half-living room, half-church" ambiance. The part of the ceremony that is often the most emotional, however, is the departing faculty tributes, when students and colleagues come on stage to say farewell to faculty and staff who are leaving us. This year's farewells were especially moving.
Posted Friday, May 22, 2015 
Worcester Polytechnic Institute Brandeis Penn State Mount Holyoke Temple Skidmore Pace University Parsons The New School for Design University of Washington The Culinary Institute of America So reads the last ten schools on my list of senior plans. Students with the last names from Woods to Zuk will receive a warm round of applause from faculty, staff, and peers in Chapel as I announced these senior plans and we wish them congratulations and good luck in the next stage of their education.
Posted Friday, May 22, 2015 
Three Academy teachers will participate in the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Scholars program this summer. Social Studies department chair David Eckhardt will travel to the lower Hudson Valley in New York to visit historic sites along the Hudson River; Social Studies assistant department chair Denise Scavitto will travel to Rome to study the effects of Roman government and public architecture on English culture; and English department assistant chair Angela Drew will travel to Siena, Italy to study Dante's Commedia.
Posted Friday, May 22, 2015 
Ten St. Johnsbury Academy juniors have been selected to represent the school at this summer's Boys and Girls State gatherings.
Posted Saturday, May 16, 2015 
Standing in Chapel, watching Academy Theater perform a scene from The Grapes of Wrath, I thought how fitting this play was, not only for our country right now, but also for us this week. I was particularly struck by Jacob Houde's performance of Jim Casy's grace, which he says at the request of the Joad family, praying that all people be of one spirit and giving thanks that there is food to eat and love within the family. Casy's sense of what is good in life has been echoed here in many ways: not only in this final chance for our Academy Theater members to perform as an ensemble, but in an entire week filled with oneness of spirit and gratitude for the good things we share.
Posted Friday, May 15, 2015 
Three plays by SJA creative writing students were honored at the culminating event of the 2015 Vermont Young Playwrights Project, the Vermont Young Playwrights Festival, at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts in Burlington on May 12. During the festival, professional actors performed Senior Morgan Sulham's play, Mt. Olympus Marriage Counseling; Sophomore Natalie Jones' play, My Truth, Your Truth, received a cold reading by professional actors; and Junior Jaime DeKett received an honorable mention for her play, Saving Goldilocks.
Posted Friday, May 15, 2015 
St. Johnsbury Academy faculty member and girls' tennis coach Dr. John Sayarath was recently named to the board of the United States Tennis Association Vermont to represent the Northeast Kingdom. The board meets twice annually and oversees league play for both children and adults in the state of Vermont.
Posted Friday, May 15, 2015 
Varsity Boys' Head Basketball Coach Tom O'Shea has accepted the position of Assistant Men's Basketball Coach at Division I University of Massachusetts Lowell. He will work with his long-time friend and Head Men's Basketball Coach Pat Duquette. The UMass Lowell Riverhawks compete in the America East basketball league, which includes the University of Vermont. O'Shea will also leave his position as the Academy's Assistant Athletic Director at the end of the school year.
Posted Friday, May 8, 2015 
Imagine 112,000 people living in St. Johnsbury instead of our current 7,000, or 16,000 students attending the Academy rather than our current 950. Now imagine that another 37,000 people come in to live here, or another 4,000 or 5,000 students enter the Academy. Imagine the strain on resources and facilities. Now imagine not only are these new community members impoverished and in great need, but also they are people who are not like us and maybe don't like us... or we them. Imagine the tensions and potential conflicts.
Posted Friday, May 8, 2015 
St. Johnsbury Academy is honored to welcome Leila de Bruyne Chambers as the 2015 commencement speaker; she graduated from the Academy in 2003.
Posted Friday, May 8, 2015 
St. Johnsbury Academy has announced the valedictorian and salutatorian for the Class of 2015. Luke Jackmauh of Barnet was named valedictorian; Callum Hening of Waterford was named salutatorian.
Posted Friday, May 8, 2015 
St. Johnsbury Academy Theatre will present a staging of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck on May 14 and 15 at 7:30 p.m. and May 16 at 2:00 p.m. in Fuller Hall. Tickets may be purchased at the door.
Posted Saturday, May 2, 2015 
"This was a magnificent day!" These words, sent by Language Department Chair Ellen Meranze in one of her typically enthusiastic and generous emails, sums up what I feel every year as our Senior Capstone Day, Sophomore Stewardship Day, and Freshman Challenge Day all converge on a Friday in May. Being a language teacher, Ellen probably carefully chose her words, and it struck me just how fitting that word "magnificent" was. The origin of "magnificent" comes from the Latin for "great or elevated" and literally means "doing great deeds".
Posted Friday, May 1, 2015 
Kennametal, Inc., formerly of Lyndonville, donated several pieces of equipment to St. Johnsbury Academy, finalizing a process begun in December. The items, including a grinder, 40-ton press, lathe, abrasive cut-off saw, double drill press, several Fairbanks scales, and office equipment were delivered this week. The equipment will be used to enhance the school's maker space and allow students access to professional-grade machining tools for their work in engineering and CTE courses.
Posted Friday, May 1, 2015 
Twelve students from the Academy's AP United States Government and Politics class traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in the We the People National Finals. They were: Daniel Byford of Barnet, Camden Beck, of St. Johnsbury, YuJin Lee of Seoul, South Korea, Kaylee Sandvil of St. Johnsbury, Ehlin Hansen of Rangsdorf, Germany, Maya Whitney of East Burke, Katherine Keenan of Lancaster, NH, Lindsey Kerr of St. Johnsbury, Luke Jackmauh of Barnet, Tyler Emerson of Lyndonville and Taylor Belknap of Waterford. Approximately 1,200 students from fifty-six schools from across the United States participated in the competition's hearings during which they are asked questions pertaining to the Constitution.
Posted Friday, May 1, 2015 
The Academy held its annual Fashion Show last week, featuring the work of students from Dyan Wallace's Fashion Design II and Advanced Art in Design classes. This year the show included 22 fashion designers and 42 models, of which 18 were children, and one dog. The theme was Impressions, and all of the designs were based on impressionist and post-impressionist paintings.
Posted Thursday, Apr 30, 2015 
Dr. Nabil Costa, Executive Director of the Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development will speak at the Academy on Monday, May 4 at 7:00 p.m. in the Stuart Black Box Theater. He will discuss the challenges of the Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon, its impact on both Lebanon and the refugees, and the response of the Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development and similar organizations.
Posted Saturday, Apr 25, 2015 
A team from St. Johnsbury Academy won the first annual Vermont Tech Bridge Building Competition at Vermont Technical College in Randolph. The SJA team of Dylan Stetson '16, Gabriel Taney' 15, Patrick Schoolcraft '15, and Josiah Lundin '16 built a truss and beam bridge, which held 123 pounds, to win the competition. Another Academy team comprising Jimmy King '15, Zelda Dively '15, Ashley Bussiere' 16, and Abel Bushey '16, won the prize for lowest error of predicted failure point for their stay-cable suspension bridge.
Posted Saturday, Apr 25, 2015 
Sixteen Academy teachers were presented with certificates this week recognizing their successful completion of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) School Based Teacher Certification process. The granting of this certification is based primarily on a portfolio, which must comply with stated standards. Academy teachers may apply to be certified through NEASC during the same year they reach the professional level of their career at the school. These 16 teachers were the first certified by NEASC in a program the Academy helped to develop, and which schools across New England may adopt in the future.
Posted Saturday, Apr 25, 2015 
Two weeks ago I attended a workshop by Edward Clapp from Harvard University's Project Zero that has the potential to completely transform the way I teach, lead, and work. Entitled "Expanding Opportunities for Creative Participation: Reframing Creativity in Education as a Distributed and Participatory Process", the workshop provided a view of creativity that I had not really considered before. If I had not spent hours contemplating what I learned in the workshop, much of which I will hold for another time, I would not have fully appreciated what I saw during our 11th annual Fashion Show.


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