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Academy News

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Posted Friday, Feb 5, 2016 
The award-winning St. Johnsbury Academy Theatre will perform three student-directed one-act plays on February 11, 12, and 13, 2016 in the Stuart Black Box Theater. The plays feature characters that include Batman and the Joker, the Grim Reaper, and Zombies.
Posted Friday, Feb 5, 2016 
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands..." By my rough calculations, I have said these words well over 5,000 times in Fuller Hall since joining the Academy in 1984. While I always say them with intention, there are times when a confluence of events causes me to think more deliberately about them and to ask that our students, faculty, and staff who are United States citizens do the same. Such was the case when, within the span of three days, I saw signs on the local, state, and national level that this idea of pledging allegiance was ripe for discussion.
Posted Friday, Jan 29, 2016 
St. Johnsbury Academy Fine Arts students won a total of 43 regional awards in this year's Scholastic Art & Writing competition. 19 students won regional awards for their work in printmaking, photography, drawing, painting, and digital art receiving 11 Gold Keys, 12 Silver Keys, and 17 Honorable Mentions. Those students winning Gold Keys will be considered for a national Gold Key over the coming weeks. All work will be on Exhibit at the Brattleboro Museum and Arts Center February 19 – March 12th. Students will participate in an Awards Ceremony on Saturday March 12th at Noon. The reception and Ceremony is open to the public.
Posted Friday, Jan 29, 2016 
I recently came across an article by John Pavlovitz in which he described his experiences while leading a group of 40 students and adults in what he called "a four-day destination-less, meandering journey to love and care for people as we met them, wherever we met them." During this "spontaneous mission", they encountered hundreds of strangers over hundreds of miles, and they had only one desire: "to help and give hope" to each one they met. One of those people was Kat, a woman in her mid-forties. Kat was a germophobe and suffered from agoraphobia, and her fears had made her a recluse, living a life fraught with personal demons and intense emotional trauma. During the days the group spent with Kat, she gradually opened up about her struggles and finally broke down, sobbing, "I am trying! I promise I am trying so hard!"
Posted Saturday, Jan 23, 2016 
Often, when building relationships with young people, the wisest thing an adult can do is listen. In listening to young people, not only do we learn more about them, but we can also learn the most important lessons about how to build a better future. Such was the case this week in Chapel as students volunteered to speak on the message and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. While Dr. King was quoted heavily in the speeches, and his words continue to be inspiring, I was more inspired by the honest and open reflections that came from our students.
Posted Friday, Jan 22, 2016 
Twenty-five SJA creative writing students participated in the first of two day-long workshops this week, facilitated by professional actor and playwright Ethan Bowen of the Flynn Center's Vermont Young Playwrights Project.
Posted Friday, Jan 22, 2016 
St. Johnsbury Academy's Colwell Speaker Series will feature Greek diplomat and Fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University Iphigenia Kanara on Monday, January 25 at 6:30 p.m. at the Library in the Mayo Center. Mrs. Kanara's talk will consider the current migration crisis in Greece and Europe.
Posted Saturday, Jan 16, 2016 
Last Saturday the Academy community lost one of its three remaining headmasters as Vince Durnan passed away in Meredith, NH. Vince's 11-year tenure as headmaster is the seventh longest in Academy history, and it came when the school was in the midst of a major transition. In reviewing his accomplishments and decisions, I was struck by how many of the challenges he faced are similar to those the Academy faces today.
Posted Friday, Jan 15, 2016 
St. Johnsbury Academy's Future Business Leaders of America will hold the first annual Northeast Kingdom Prom Expo on Saturday, January 16, from 1-4 p.m. in the Moore Community Room at Lyndon State College. The Prom Expo is open to the public; admission is by donation with all proceeds benefitting the SJA FBLA club.
Posted Friday, Dec 18, 2015 
On Monday, our students began their day with math exams. When they arrived in Chapel, I asked them if anyone knew what was special about the number 173. The answer, which nobody got (or was brave enough to volunteer in front of 800 people), was actually two-fold. First, 173 is a prime number, not able to be evenly divided by any number but itself and 1. Also, Sunday, December 13, marked Year 173 for the Academy; on that day in 1842, James Kelsey Colby began teaching his first class in the original Academy building. I quipped that, like Year 1, Year 173 was Prime Time at the Academy—a year we have dubbed "The Best Year Ever."
Posted Saturday, Dec 12, 2015 
On occasion, as we near the end of the first semester, with its Capstones, exams, final projects, goodbyes, and all the accompanying stress, I read an excerpt from Maya Angelou's poem "Amazing Peace." Written in 2005, this poem speaks about the natural disasters and war that dominated the news at that time, but its focus is on the hope that comes this time of year through holidays and the gradual lengthening of days.
Posted Friday, Dec 11, 2015 
St. Johnsbury Academy's Faculty Speaker Series continues on Monday, December 14 at 7:00 p.m. at the library in the Mayo Center. The series, created by Assistant Headmaster for Academics Jeffrey Burroughs, is designed to showcase the extraordinary talents, interests, and expertise of the St. Johnsbury Academy faculty and staff. This week the series will feature SJA faculty Dale Urie '86, Chair of the SJA Wellness Department and Coordinator of the Operation Creation summer youth program. Dale will discuss the power of positive psychology and self talk.
Posted Friday, Dec 11, 2015 
All eighth grade students at St. Johnsbury School are attending hands-on classes in the Academy's Career and Technical Education program in a unique co-curricular partnership called Project Rediscovery, now in its third year.
Posted Saturday, Dec 5, 2015 
On Thursday night, as I welcomed the 62 volunteer Capstone evaluators to the dinner and training session we have each year, I got the chance to listen to veteran evaluators describe the experience of Capstone Day to those who were about to see it for the first time. They discussed the variety of projects, the professionalism of the presentations, and the impressive expertise the students displayed. They recounted specific projects—some of them produced by their own children—with great detail and enthusiasm. I was caught up in their descriptions remembering numerous students I had taught, presentations I had seen, and projects that continue to enhance our community to this day. I left dinner eager to see if this year's presenters could match this tradition of excellence. They did not disappoint.
Posted Friday, Dec 4, 2015 
Academy Junior Colby Bourgeois was recently named Vermont SkillsUSA Parliamentarian. In this position, Colby will attend several meetings throughout the school year and help to plan the state SkillsUSA conference and the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference, which will take place in Louisville, Kentucky in June 2016.
Posted Friday, Dec 4, 2015 
St. Johnsbury Academy's Faculty Speaker Series continues on Monday, December 7 at 7:00 p.m. at the library in the Mayo Center. The series, created by Assistant Headmaster for Academics Jeffrey Burroughs, is designed to showcase the extraordinary talents, interests, and expertise of the St. Johnsbury Academy faculty and staff. This week the series will feature Anna Rubin, Director of External Affairs at the Fairbanks Museum. Anna will discuss her career at the United Nations.
Posted Friday, Nov 20, 2015 
Renowned educator, speaker, and New York Times best-selling author Jessica Lahey will speak at the Academy on Thursday, December 10 at 7:00 p.m. in the Stuart Black Box Theater at the Charles Hosmer Morse Center for the Arts. Lahey writes the bi-weekly column "The Parent-Teacher Conference" for the New York Times, is a contributing writer for The Atlantic, and a commentator on Vermont Public Radio. Her new book is The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed, released in August 2015.
Posted Friday, Nov 20, 2015 
This past week, I had the opportunity to celebrate my mom's 80th birthday. Fortunately, the conference I was attending was close enough for me to take her out to dinner with my dad and niece, Casey. Throughout the dinner and my visit, I was reminded of many things we take for granted. For example, my mom and dad reminded me that when they were growing up, the only way they got ice cream was to make it; there were no refrigerators. They also reminded me of the good times we shared in Bellows Falls and Wolfeboro, times with family and friends, some of whom are no longer with us. As a gift for her birthday, all of my family—kids, grandkids, and great grandkids—made a scrapbook, each one filling a page with memories and expressions of love and gratitude. It is in that spirit that I offer ten things for which I am thankful.
Posted Friday, Nov 20, 2015 
Three St. Johnsbury Academy faculty were selected to take part in Arts Connect at Catamount Arts, a juried members show featuring work by 75 artists from across New England. A photograph by Art Department Chair Rosie Prevost and prints by teachers Kim and Bill Darling will be displayed at Catamount from November 21 to January 17.
Posted Friday, Nov 20, 2015 
St. Johnsbury Academy's Faculty Speaker Series continues on Monday, November 23 at 7:00 p.m. at the library in the Mayo Center. The series, created by Assistant Headmaster for Academics Jeffrey Burroughs, is designed to showcase the extraordinary talents, interests, and expertise of the St. Johnsbury Academy faculty and staff. This week the series will feature Academy Headmaster Tom Lovett. He will discuss Pope Francis' background and how it has influenced his leadership of the Catholic Church.
Posted Friday, Nov 13, 2015 
On Thursday night, we held a Community Forum to discuss the impacts of Act 46 on the Academy. Act 46, passed by the legislature at the end of the last session, seeks to control education spending in Vermont by encouraging consolidation of smaller districts to form larger districts of 900 students or more and by setting allowable spending increases for districts. It has caused some consternation and confusion around the state as districts seek to find suitable mergers and keep their spending increases within the prescribed limits. The purpose of the forum was three-fold: to clear up any confusion about how Act 46 would affect the Academy, to give some insight as to how we set our budget and our tuition, and to assure our local districts and communities that we remain committed to being good, thoughtful, and responsible partners.
Posted Friday, Nov 13, 2015 
St. Johnsbury Academy Theatre will present Rogers and Hammerstein's musical Cinderella in Fuller Hall on Thursday and Friday, November 19 and 20 at 7:00 pm and Saturday, November 21 at 2:00 pm. Tickets are available through the Catamount Arts at 802-748-2600 or online at catamountarts.org.
Posted Friday, Nov 6, 2015 
Over the past week, David Eckhart, Denise Scavitto, and I traveled to Rhode Island as part of the Visiting Committee for a school undergoing its ten-year accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, a process we have undertaken in anticipation of our own accreditation visit next fall. As I have found in the in the many times I have served on such committees, it is always good to see another school from the inside, not necessarily to see if it is better than ours, but to see what aspects are the same or different.
Posted Friday, Nov 6, 2015 
St. Johnsbury Academy's Faculty Speaker Series continues on Monday, November 9 at 7:00 p.m. at the library in the Mayo Center. The series, created by Assistant Headmaster for Academics Jeffrey Burroughs, is designed to showcase the extraordinary talents, interests, and expertise of the St. Johnsbury Academy faculty and staff. This week the series will feature Academy faculty member Jason Scherer. He will present a talk entitled, "Every Frame a Digital Painting: 21st Century Cinematography."
Posted Friday, Nov 6, 2015 
St. Johnsbury Academy will hold a Community Forum on November 12 at 7:00 p.m. at the Stuart Black Box Theater in the Charles Hosmer Morse Center for the Arts.
Posted Saturday, Oct 31, 2015 
This week, as we enter the doldrums of the post-Spirit Week/pre-Thanksgiving Break time of year, I thought it was important that we all—students, faculty, and staff—remembered that while it is true that work gives people dignity, it is equally true that people give work dignity. To drive this point home, I reminded everyone of two passages from August Chapel Talks. The first was from Tony Jarvis, Headmaster of Roxbury Latin in Massachusetts, who urged his students to see beyond labels and classifications, especially those tied to one's function (e.g. "just a teacher", "just a student", "just a bus driver"). He claimed that until we started to see and treat each other as full, rich human beings, we would simply be "packages relating to packages" and would treat each other as things or commodities to be used for our selfish ends. The second was an excerpt from Jacob Neusner's Convocation Speech to Elizabethtown College in which he urged students to "do your best when the weather looks bleak", that though it is easy to start with enthusiasm and to end a semester with a burst of energy, it is most important to push through the doldrums with your best effort—despite the attendant nausea.
Posted Friday, Oct 30, 2015 
St. Johnsbury Academy's Colwell Speaker Series will feature Rushad Thomas, Program and Editorial Associate at the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation on Wednesday, November 4 at 7:00 p.m. at the Fireside at Mayo Center. He will discuss current US politics through the perspective of Calvin Coolidge.
Posted Friday, Oct 30, 2015 
St. Johnsbury Academy's Faculty Speaker Series continues on Monday, November 2, at 7:00 p.m. at the library in the Mayo Center. The series, created by Assistant Headmaster for Academics Jeffrey Burroughs, is designed to showcase the extraordinary talents, interests, and expertise of the St. Johnsbury Academy faculty and staff.
Posted Friday, Oct 30, 2015 
SJA senior Ethan Forster of Danville won the 2015 Calvin Prize for Vermont Youth, sponsored by the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation. He was honored at the Foundation's 3rd Annual Dinner in New York on October 22 and won $1,500. Last year, Sydney Benjamin and Jay Tilden, both members of the class of 2015, won first and second-place prizes. SJA alum Robin Vincent '14 placed second the year before.
Posted Friday, Oct 23, 2015 
St. Johnsbury Academy's Faculty Speaker Series has a revised schedule. The series, created by Assistant Headmaster for Academics Jeffrey Burroughs, is designed to showcase the extraordinary talents, interests, and expertise of the St. Johnsbury Academy faculty, staff, parents and community members.


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