KUA News

List of 10 news stories.

  • KUA Pork Project Awarded Best Waste Reduction Program

    Since 2010, students have had the opportunity to participate in Farm Team, an initiative that, “Takes what was once a waste problem and turns it into an economic and social opportunity,” remarks Blaine Kopp, Chair of Environmental Studies and Director of the KUA Farm program. Kopp describes the aim of the program as twofold; to find ways of repurposing the schools waste into a useful resource that saves the school money while reducing our impact on the environment; and to connect our community with where its food comes from.

    For several years now, in addition to the recycling bin located adjacent to the dish room in Doe Dining Hall, there have been two more receptacles labeled ‘Waste’ and ‘Pig Food.’ That’s right, the Kimball Union Farm Team, in addition to vegetables and chickens, raises pigs on a small farm behind Miller Bicentennial Hall. Farm Team members collect the uneaten food scraps from Doe, weigh them, and use them to feed the pigs. The pigs are raised for slaughter and contribute to the food the community consumes in the dining hall throughout the year.

    “With all of the program there is a tie-in.” continues Kopp “The meat birds we raised were an exercise for the Environmental Science classes, the data Farm Team kids collect from things like weighing slop are used by the Sustainability and Social Entrepreneurship class to calculate our carbon footprint and the profits of the program. Last year we avoided over 15 tons of atmospheric Co2 emission. The program ran ‘in the black’ by $3500 in avoiding waste-disposal fees, cost of waste-disposal materials like trash bags, and avoided food costs.”

    This year, the Kimball Union Farm Team Pork Project was nominated for the Green Up New England Challenge, sponsored by Project Green Schools, a non-profit with the mission, “to develop the next generation of environmental leaders through hands-on, project-based, solutions-based learning, community service, and action.” The Green Up Challenge invited students across New England to compete in judged categories including; Energy Reduction, Waste Reduction and Water Reduction. The results were announced in April at a Boston Bruins game and the KUA Pork Project won Best Waste Reduction Program!

    When asked what’s next for the Farm Team, Kopp quickly remarks, “Before summer, we plan to put in a patch of winter squash and/or pumpkins,” before more broadly commenting, “What we would like to do now that we have years of experience and budget figures is write up a white paper that would make it easy for another school to duplicate our program.”

    Thank you, Dr. Kopp, for your continued sustainability efforts and congratulations to the entire KUA Farm Team. 
  • Inspiration in New York City

    In mid-April, five members of the class of 2017, along with faculty members Lyn Lord and Dan Weintraub (Donald P. Herzig History Department Chair), and Trustee Chris Yoshida ’96, attended the annual Kairos Society Global Summit in New York City.

    The Kairos Society is an organization founded in 2009 by Ankur Jain, a former Wharton Economics student who saw great success in the app development industry. Kairos aims to guide and advise young entrepreneurs who seek to solve global issues like clean water, global warming, and rising energy prices. Some examples of Karios-assisted companies include; Owlet, developers of the Smart Sock baby monitor and Digital Genius, integrators of artificial intelligence into the customer service industry.

    Yoshida, a senior advisor to the Kairos Society, comments, “Young graduates today should explore broader horizons than banking and finance. There’s so much more you can do than sit at a regulated desk in a regulated entity. You can make a difference!”

    The Kairos Global Summit is a two-day event. “The first day we were at the top of the World Trade Center,” described All School Co-President, Matt ’17. “That was a time for young entrepreneurs to connect with investors. There were 10 or 15 different panels of industry leaders: The President of Verizon, the CTO of Amazon.com, the CEO of FourSqaure. They each answered the question, ‘what is the one area where young entrepreneurs should focus their efforts?’ Many spoke about Climate Change or water pollution, which stood out to me.”

    Each year, Kairos selects 50 college students that show entrepreneurial promise to join their fellowship. The resources provided by the fellowship include mentorship, lessons on how to pitch their ideas, and introductions to potential angel investors. On the second day of the summit, the Kairos Fellows participate in “a business fair on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange,” explains Matt. “We got to go around and speak with the different companies. We tried to hit all 50.”

    Matt’s major lesson from the Kairos Global Summit; “I learned the importance of being able to relate to people in a short period of time. It’s really important to be able to communicate your ideas and who you are quickly and fully.”

    Thank you, Chris, for providing this incredible opportunity, and Matt, for sharing your experience.
  • Hayes Auditorium Receives a Facelift

    In 1964 a new auditorium was opened as a part of the Fitch Science and Math Center. For several decades, the space was the premier venue on campus for All School Meeting, performances, concerts, and more. As the years went on, the student population increased beyond the capacity of Hayes and with the addition of the Flickinger Arts Center Auditorium in 1989, the Fitch Auditorium became a secondary venue. In 1991, the space underwent a renovation and was named Hayes Auditorium in honor of then Trustee, Jack Hayes ’67. Without regular technology upgrades, Hayes Auditorium has since fallen out of mainstream use.

    Prompted by a donation of new auditorium seating by Dartmouth College, Hayes Auditorium is currently undergoing a thorough renovation, which will reestablish the venue as a premier location for film screenings, small performances, guest lectures, panel discussions, and faculty meetings. “Hayes will be a completely user-friendly space where anyone can walk in, turn on the lights, and use the technology. It will have all of the A/V needed to support a 21st century classroom, and will also be a space where large groups of people can gather to watch current events on TV” remarks Chief Operating Officer Hunter Ulf P’05, ’09.

    The new space will be equipped with a high definition projector, 7.1 surround sound speakers, theatrical lighting and sound, as well as Smart classroom technology. Additionally, the space is being reworked to extend the stage and to incorporate a new 165-seat audience layout.

    The renovation will be completed by June 17, and all are invited to attend the re-dedication of Hayes Auditorium to Jack, in what would have been his 50th reunion year.

    Please join us at Reunion to share your memories of All School Meeting or the Fall Play in Hayes Auditorium, and to create new memories on the Hilltop. 
  • Alumni Share Their Voices

    Throughout the school year, we’ve hosted speakers, participated in forums, and had meaningful classroom experiences centered around our 2016-17 All School Read, Between the World and Me, by Ta Nehisi Coates. Recently, Dean of Multicultural Education at Governors Academy, and KUA alumnus, Jadi Taveras ’03, led a workshop as part of the Voices of KUA series.

    The day was divided into two sessions. During the first half of the day, students were broken into smaller groups with two faculty facilitators. Within these groups, students were encouraged to speak honestly and openly, be respectful of others, listen to multiple perspectives without judgment, and also find comfort in the silent moments (including a ban on all cell phones). The groups discussed their stances on different ‘hot-button’ issues and spoke about how they individually identify in the world.

    “With teachers facilitating a group discussion, we did an exercise called ‘the spectrum,’ where they would say two words, usually the polar opposites, and you would stand closer to the one you identified most with,” explained Jadon ’18. He continued, “It was good to see the varying opinions at KUA. It gave me a platform to speak on what I believe in and the confidence to stand up for those beliefs in a public setting.”

    During the second part of the workshop, the entire community convened in Flickinger Auditorium where a panel of Alumni spoke about their experiences at KUA, and how those experiences changed their world-view beyond The Hilltop. In addition to Jadi, the panel included Don Lowery ’73, Alda Farlow ’94, Nikki Williams ’02, and Bryant Harris ’04. What ensued was an open conversation, moderated by Taveras, about how it felt to attend KUA as a student of color; how the experience prepared each panelist for the future, and myriad examples of engaging, humorous, and personal tales about the KUA that each individual experienced as a student.

    “They were talking a lot about how their background heritage has shaped their identity. They shared how KUA had the power to shape their assimilation to the different situations they found themselves in,” explained Gavin ’18. “Some of their experiences were contradictory, but they all had their own understanding of their role as Black or Latino people at KUA, which historically has been very white.” Gavin concludes, “It was a good time for reflection and helps us to think about how the school has changed, and how people with different backgrounds come to find the school.”

    Thank you, Jadi, for facilitating such an important community conversation, and to all of our alumni panelists for returning to The Hilltop.
  • Neuroscience Club Maps the Human Brain

    “The best thing about Neuroscience Club is that we do mostly hands-on stuff. We go to Dartmouth, and invite speakers from Dartmouth to visit the campus. The club opens its doors to anyone who wants to participate and learn something new” says Yan ’18, President of Kimball Union’s Neuroscience Club. The club has been around for roughly 5 years, under the guidance of faculty member, Elysia Burroughs.

    This year, The Neuroscience Club had the opportunity to participate in a ‘citizen science’ project called EyeWire. Burroughs, Science Teacher and Neuroscience Club Advisor, elaborates, “Citizen science projects take thousands of people and train them how to collect data specific to each project. Once trained, each person is able to collect data and add to the collection of data.” EyeWire, developed by Sebastian Seung from Princeton University, is an online game that “allows you to graph and map the neurons of the brain. Because we have so many of them, it’s really complex to find an individual one.” Seung created the game by allowing a user to find the neurons, which allows one to see the really small or extensive complexities.

    Burroughs continues, “The human brain has over 80 billion neurons . . . Our students have been tracing individual neurons in EyeWire. The project takes patience, attention to detail and critical thinking to determine if an area of each micrograph really is a part of the neuron. With practice, our students have been successful in being able to accurately ID most of the neurons they have worked with.”

    Reflecting on The Neuroscience Club’s contribution to EyeWire, Yan concludes, “It was very useful to people who were at the club for the first time, especially those who haven’t taken a lot of anatomy-based science classes. It really helped them to understand how complex our brain is. It’s not a piece of meat – there’s so much more to it.  You could spend the whole activity on one tiny little neuron that you can’t even see with the naked eye.”
    Thank you Yan and Ms. Burroughs, for sharing this wonderful experience, and stay tuned for more news from the Hilltop.
  • Sophomores: CPR & First Aid Training

    Student Life Saturdays, A Welcome Alternative

    Throughout the academic year, the Student Life Office reserves a Saturday morning for each grade to participate in a class-wide alternative to the typical morning schedule. “Student Life Saturdays originated out of a student proposal four or five years ago for the schedule to be shaken up . . . students were looking for ideas for events and activities that their classes could participate in together,” remarks Brooklyn Raney, Dean of Students.

    “The Freshmen complete their Choices course in the Fall Trimester, and are rewarded with a ski trip to our local mountain, Whaleback,” continues Raney. “Beginners have the experience of trying out skiing or snowboarding for the first time, and the veterans get a chance to show off their skills. It provides a great day for all to enjoy a New Hampshire winter activity that’s right up the road, and of course hot chocolate in the lodge!”

    The Sophomore class receives practical training and certification in First-Aid, CPR, and AED, taught by Health Center staff, experienced upperclassmen, local EMT’s, and members of the Kimball Union Fire Brigade. Alex ’18, graduate of this sophomore course and active member of the Fire Brigade, had the opportunity to instruct one of the First-Aid sections this year. He remarks, “I hope everyone holds onto this material because you never know when something is going to happen and you might be someone’s best chance. I have no doubt that at least one member of the sophomore class will find themselves in an emergency situation someday. Now they are prepared to a certain extent.”

    The Junior class and their parents participated in a College Planning Weekend. “Friday we do a mock admissions exercise,” explains Derek Gueldenzoph, Director of College Advising. He continues, “We give them three or four files and assign them this task: admit one, waitlist one, deny one. It’s meant to simulate what will happen with their own applications.” Saturday morning’s programming was required for all Juniors, and strongly encouraged for sophomores and parents of any underclassman. In the first half of Saturday, Gueldenzoph explains how the college advising process works at KUA. The second half is The College Panel, a town hall-style discussion between the entire audience and three college admission counselors from a variety of colleges.

    The Senior class participates in a tradition called Ethics Day. “The Office of Advancement invites 10 KUA graduates and friends of the school from a variety of career fields back to campus,” explains Raney.  Matt ’17 continues, “Each professional presents an ethical dilemma, doesn’t tell the group how they handled it, but allows the students to work through the problem in the most ethical way.” Raney remarks, “The tables get heated as the seniors battle their way through the complications in work and life. We hear again and again how much the seniors enjoy this day, and a taste of the real world.” Matt concludes, “Because all of them were connected to KUA, it helps me think about how many paths there are to take when I graduate.”

    Raney concludes, “Overall, these days meet our mission by promoting class bonding while tackling a skill or concept that they won’t find in a traditional classroom. Students are engaged, enjoy a break from classes, and are re-energized for the next week on the hilltop.” 
  • Andre '17 - Cullman Scholar in Togo

    Through the generosity of the Cullman Family and the Cullman Scholarship program, students have the opportunity to travel around the world pursuing independent learning projects.
    “Last year on June 6th I traveled to Togo, Africa for my Cullman Scholarship,” says Andre ’17.  “I was heading for a six-week trip to Lomé, the capital of Togo, located in the southern region. I arrived after 17 hours of travel, and was thrown into the culture of Togo right from the airport . . . I ventured into the city, visiting the main market, the beach, the shipping port, and lastly the Projects Abroad office, where I interned at La Ligue Togolaise De Droits de L’homme, a local human rights office.”
    After overcoming an anticipated obstacle, Andre’s work with La Ligue Togolaise De Droits de L’homme was rewarding.  He recalls, “It was very difficult to communicate in French at first, but when there was no alternative, I overcame the language barrier and engaged with the work.” Andre continues, “My favorite part of the internship was the fieldwork, where I went on trips all over the city. I visited Amnesty International’s session for drafting the yearly human rights reports on the issue of torture, participated in the rewriting of the French law of 1901, and even had conversations with a rural radio station to raise awareness of human rights in that community. This work was fascinating, and I found it incredibly rewarding and interesting.”
    The second half of Andre’s time in Togo focused on criminal justice and the proceedings of the court system. During this time, Andre had the opportunity to visit two prisons in Togo. He remembers, “My first visit was the Prison of Lomé. I interviewed the head of security and came to terms with some shocking statistics . . . In a prison, built for 650, there were approximately 2100 inmates. Overcrowding is a massive problem. Disease spreads uncontrollably in the confined rooms of the prison . . . The inmates slept on their side head to toe as they were packed into the rooms like sardines in a can.” Andre’s second visit was to a children’s prison.  He explains, “I gave a presentation to the children in juvenile detention. The conditions were adequate and the kids were very happy to have a guest speaker. . . I wondered if they knew the conditions they would face if they repeated these offenses as adults.”
    During his time abroad, Andre also made time for sightseeing in the Northern mountainous region of Kpalimé, the jungles and mountains of the region, at the Tribunal Court of Lomé, and the Court of Appeal. He joined a friend group with whom he spent free time playing basketball and soccer, visiting the beach, and joining locals to help fish. Of his whole experience, Andre recalls, “Although my work was hard, I could not have been happier than in my six weeks abroad. The day I flew home I watched the sunrise over the beach and reflected on all that I had experienced over the past six weeks . . . I benefited greatly from the challenge of living, practically unassisted, in a third-world country. I encourage all sophomores and especially juniors to apply for a Cullman Scholarship. Find a trip that will push you – that is going to be hard.”
    Thank you, Andre, for sharing your experience and stay tuned for more Cullman Scholarship news.
  • Emu '17 - Cullman Scholar at Stanford University

    “This past summer, thanks to the Cullman Family, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Stanford University and study one of my greatest passions: film,” says Emu ’17 of her Cullman Scholarship experience. The Cullman Scholarship Program awards select juniors and seniors grants to travel off-campus or abroad to take part in independent learning programs. Any rising junior or senior is eligible to apply for one of the scholarships. Emu continues, “The program was through Digital Media Academy at Stanford, and focused on producing, filming, and editing a commercial for a real-world company. Each day was unique as I was constantly meeting new people, traveling to different places, and receiving advice and tips on the film industry.”

    During the two weeks spent studying on Stanford’s campus, Emu’s experience was varied and robust. One day, “I got to try out different positions like slate, directing, and shooting with the actual camera,” she recalls. Other days were spent rotating “from working on set, behind the scenes filming, and social media,” and using “all sorts of cameras, lenses and angles. . . every day was unique and I learned so much; storyboarding, using advanced technology, working with talent, and editing down days of footage into a minute.”

    Emu was grateful for the opportunity to work with professionals in the entertainment industry, including a producer for musical artists like Kanye West and Drake, as well as accomplished musicians. She recalls, “I was fortunate to work on set because our talent for that day was Madame Gandhi, a professional drummer who used to drum for the band MIA. They sang songs like Live Fast Die Young and Paper Planes. . . She was so personable and inspiring for me.”

    Emu sums up her experience with the following, “My experience at Stanford was one I will truly never forget. I met people from all over the world with all sorts of backgrounds that I would otherwise have never met. I got to understand what it felt like to live on a college campus and participated in traditions like jumping in water fountains. I got to see a whole new and exciting side to the film industry and finally, I felt assured that, yes I want to pursue film, but I also want to lead others, input my creative ideas, and continue to learn and try new things.”

    Thank you, Emu, for sharing your experience and stay tuned for more Cullman Scholarship news.
  • A New Addition to the Arts Department

    The Kimball Union Arts Department is pleased to announce that Kevin White has been hired as the new full time Music Teacher to start in the 2017-18 academic year. White, a graduate of Millikin University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Musical Theatre, is an accomplished musician, performer, teacher, and music director in both academic and professional settings. He has taught at the New York Film Academy, Acting Out! in Brooklyn, Northern Stage in White River Junction, and most recently right here at KUA as the musical director for our Winter Musical, RENT.

    “Working with Kevin was super cool because he came in and, even though he didn’t know us and didn’t know how we do things at KUA, he immediately took charge and everybody always wanted to listen to him,” says Abby ’17, stage manager of RENT. David Weidman, Dean of Faculty and Director of the Theatre Program boasts, “He is an excellent collaborator, holds high expectations, and enjoys working with young people. We are thrilled that he is joining the Arts Department.”

    Hart ’18, one of the leads in RENT said “initially, I had trouble hitting some of the high notes. So, Kevin would ask me to do push ups and jumping jacks during rehearsal– to get me out of breath. Closer to production, when he asked me to sing the notes I could, because I had enough breath support at that point. It’s what really got me through singing on stage with all the movement and choreography.” Anna ’19 recalls, “I remember when we were rehearsing for the support group scenes. He [Kevin] kept us going and in the end, it sounded really good. He’s really dedicated to helping us get there.”

    Upon arrival on the hilltop, White “immediately felt like I belonged. It was so apparent that everyone’s full support was in what we were doing, even as a guest coming in for a short time.”

    A dedicated educator and professional performer, White is “excited to bring a whole new level of professionalism to student work, and help them know that they can bring their absolute best to the table, whether in their rehearsal, performance, or homework,” he remarks. “The biggest payoff for me is watching how hard the students work, seeing that all the way through to fruition, and then witnessing that ah-ha moment when the student gets it.”

    Congratulations, Mr. White! We look forward to your creative contributions to the Kimball Union Community in June!
  • Essential Skill: Leadership and Community Building

    Kimball Union students are immersed in an academic and residential setting that values a set of nine essential skills. Together, these represent the hard and soft skills requisite for a 21st Century leader. We recently presented background on Global Awareness, Personal Growth and Development, Critical Thinking, Communication, and Health and Wellness. A couple of weeks ago, we explored the next essential skill, Leadership and Community Building.

    “A number of years ago we added ‘leadership’ to our mission statement,” remarked Academic Dean Michael Porrazzo while introducing Leadership and Community Building. “We are now committed to creativity, mastery, responsibility, and leadership. This addition has been transformative to our community. . . When you lead, you are helping build community, and when you play a role in building community, you are leading positive change.” Leadership and Community Building, like our other essential skills, is divided into several sub-competencies:

    Through course work, social programs, and extra-curricular activities, KUA graduates have learned to:

              · Engage with and contribute to their community
              · Identify a need and articulate a vision
              · Motivate and organize a group to effect change
              · Recognize, reflect, and act upon their roles in the community

    “More than anything else, it means being active,” remarks Alex ’18. “No matter how small your community is, you can make a difference. When we raised money for the Broadway Cares charity, we raised over $4000. That’s nearly the same amount that the charity gives to the HIV/HIC Center right here in Lebanon. Even the smallest step can make a big difference.” Alex continues, “Every all school meeting we have two wonderful all-school presidents who use the platform to motivate people. Whether it’s reminding us not to take cups from the dining hall or encouraging us to be the best students we can be, it’s a great example of how being a leader can motivate people. No effort is too small, and being aware of that is very important.”

    Thank you, Mr. Porrazzo and Alex, for your thoughtful remarks on Leadership and Community Building, and stay tuned for more news on Essential Skills.


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Founded in 1813, Kimball Union Academy is one of the oldest private boarding high schools in New Hampshire and the country. KUA offers the best of the traditional New England Boarding School experience to a diverse group of day and boarding students from across the country and around the world. Located in Meriden, New Hampshire in the heart of the Upper Valley, Kimball Union is minutes from Dartmouth College and has direct access to Boston and New York. Terms of Use and Privacy Policy