Kim Roy Hardison '91 will lead a free racquetball clinic on Wednesday, February 4 at RecFit STJ. Hardison has an impressive racquetball resume and her clinics, offered all around the country, are wildly popular. She has been both a coach and Junior Team USA player, is an AmPro Certified Instructor, a USAR-IP Certified instructor, is a HEAD/PENN sponsored player, the HEAD/Penn Regional Marketing Director, and the Tournament Director of the Florida Spring Break Pro Am. She is currently the Racquetball Director at the Harbour Island Athletic Club and Spa.
SJA's new Robotics Team coach, Jim Baker, described Robotics as, "the only high-school team where everyone can go pro." He has coached five teams to successful completion of the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition and aims to do the same at St. Johnsbury Academy. His team is hard at work preparing for two district competitions in Springfield, MA, and Smithfield, RI, in March, perhaps then progressing to the district championship in Boston, MA, and the World Championship in St. Louis, MO. Jim also hopes to help extend the Robotics program to St. Johnsbury School next year with the SJA team members acting as mentors, forming a team that would compete in the First Tech Challenge or the First Lego League, both of which are aimed at younger students.
The other day I waited until after dinner to go to the fieldhouse to work out. I figured students would be studying, community members would be home with families, and the facility would be fairly empty. Boy, was I wrong! The aerobic room was full, the weight room was crowded, and the fieldhouse was busy—all with students working on their personalized fitness plans. I was relegated to the gym, where our girls' basketball team was practicing.
I usually try to focus my weekly message on the happenings of the week past, reflecting on some aspect of the Academy community that was highlighted in a particular way over the past seven days. This week, however, I look forward to School Choice Week, which begins today.
School choice in Vermont in its current form has been and is an essential component of the Academy's long-standing tradition of excellence. First of all, by allowing families to choose the best schools to fit their children's particular needs and interests, school choice encourages thoughtful conversations about academic, artistic, and extracurricular opportunities, about culture and climate, about class size and school size, and about educational philosophies. These conversations between parents and their children and between families and schools result in each incoming student knowing why they are at the Academy: what they are interested in, what they hope to achieve, and how they plan to go about achieving it. When these conversations happen, they allow us to build upon the students' aspirations and encourage every one of them to dream big. Without school choice, there would be no reason for these conversations for most families, as most students would automatically go to the school in their local district. The exceptions would be those who had significant special needs.