2017

  • September

    Pottery is the New Yoga!

    Ursula Fries-Herfort, Arts & Learning Center Faculty
    Pottery is the New Yoga. Here's to the Mind-Clearing Benefits of Clay!
     
    Do you practice mindfulness? Do you enjoy working with your hands? New studies are starting to prove the benefits of both. In a recent article in Vogue Magazine, Lauren Mechling connects the practice of working with clay to the mind-clearing benefits of Yoga. She has a point. At KUA, students enrolled in a ceramics class can appreciate a break during their rigorous academic day. Working their hands through a material that is sensitive to touch, malleable, and relaxing can have the same emotional benefits as other practices of mindfulness. Additionally, these students have a positive impact on the enviroment by walking away with their own cup, bowl, or plate, and lightening the load on our landfills.
     
    At Kimball Union, students have access to the arts through coursework, afternoon activities, and individual study. Our schedule allows students to explore the arts without sacrificing participation in athletics. For students who demonstrate a passion for the arts, the Art Scholar program allows qualified artists to balance a rigorous academic curriculum rooted in intensive artistic study.

    For more reasearch on Mindfulness and Ceramics, check out this article from the Gardiner Museum.
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  • Convocation 2017

    Dustin Meltzer '05
    Monday, September 4, 2017 marked the official beginning of the 205th academic year at Kimball Union Academy. The occasion was marked by the annual Convocation Ceremony, beginning with students and faculty circled around the quad. After opening remarks from Assistant Head of School David Weidman and an invocation from Rev. John Gregory-Davis P ’08, ’13, ’17, Co-All School Presidents Owen ’18 and Lindsay ’18 unrolled black and orange ribbons, uniting faculty and students.

    The school community processed into Flickinger Auditorium where Head of School Mike Schafer H ’13, P ’12, ’15, ’19 addressed the community at the start of his fifteenth year as Head of School. “I have been reflecting a great deal about the theme of the year: Passion,” remarked Schafer. “Passion is a driving force that can lead to positive change… It is in each of us [the faculty] - that is why we are here, and our job is to help you discover it in yourselves… This year, there will be challenges and change, laughter and joy, camaraderie, and friendships that will last a lifetime. if we approach them with heart as much as head and hand, we will arrive at Commencement with the greatest sense of enduring satisfaction and accomplishment.”

    After a brilliant piano performance of Rachmaninoff by Yiwen ’19, Schafer recognized the two 2017 Mikula Teaching Award recipients, Murray Dewdney P ’06, ’14 and Scribner Fauver P ’09,’12. Fauver’s thoughtful and humorous speech was peppered with movie quotes and pop culture references, describing how he arrived at his own passion: teaching at KUA. “Sometimes the wand chooses the wizard…” Fauver quoted Mr. Ollivander from the Harry Potter series. He continued, “In my heart of hearts, I was a teacher... It turns out, teaching makes my heart sing. If you find something that makes your heart sing, do that. If you can find a way to get paid for doing what you love, you win.”

    After a standing ovation in recognition of Mr. Fauver, Dalton Winslow P ’12, ’14 led a rousing rendition of Kimball Union’s Alma Mater. We broke bread together in an All-School formal dinner, while new students signed the matriculation book with Mr. Schafer, Owen, and Lindsey. As we embark on this educational journey, Mr. Schafer reminded us ”it is not how far we go, but how we go far together. That is my passionate charge.”
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  • August

    GAIL Conference 2017

    Erin Mellow, Faculty
    This summer Kimball Union Academy sent ten delegates to the annual GAIL Conference held in Pretoria, South Africa. GAIL, the Global Alliance for Innovative Learning, is a network of seven schools from countries around the world who have joined together to foster student exchanges, collaboration among classes, and faculty fellowships. KUA, a member since 2014, has sent delegates to conferences held in the foothills of the Himalayas in India, the coast of Scotland, and now in the highlands of South Africa.  
     
    The theme of this year’s conference was “Ubuntu,” which translates from Zulu to “I am because you are.” The workshops throughout the week asked students and faculty alike to examine the importance of intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships. Conference attendees prepared for a debate at the end of the week that required students to argue on various sides of evolutionary issues. The full slate of activities on the Prestige College campus included a scavenger hunt, leadership games, and cultural activities. One highlight was an off-campus day trip spent at the Cradle of Humankind, the location where the oldest fossils of hominids were found. The Kimball Union students blended into the diverse group of students and jumped right into the activities throughout the week. It was exciting to learn how to make fire, one of the earliest tools discovered by humans, and to participate in a drum circle.  
     
    From the conference, the KUA delegation drove to Kruger National Park, the largest game park in Africa. There they saw elephants, giraffes, impala, zebras, crocodiles, and even two rhinos. They also had the opportunity to feed and pet elephants at an elephant sanctuary. The group then traveled to Cape Town to hike Table Mountain, see African penguins in Simonstown, and visit Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners was imprisoned during Apartheid.  
     
    The students and faculty had an incredible time meeting students from all over the world and touring the unique country. Kimball Union will host the GAIL conference next year and is excited to invite the schools from India, Scotland, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and China to visit our campus in Meriden.  
     
    For more information, please visit: gailschools.org
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  • Girls' Leadership Camp at KUA

    Dustin Meltzer '05
    This summer, KUA hosted the Girls’ Leadership Camp. GLC, passion project of Dean of Community Life Brooklyn Raney, is a week-long summer camp for girls entering grades 6 through 9 from around the world with “the goal of empowering young women to be leaders.” KUA’s campus serves as the perfect backdrop for this camp with a plethora of nature, hiking, and camping opportunities in our own backyard.
     
    GLC has grown dramatically from its inaugural year in 2011, and now has former campers serving as counselors. Raney describes her inspiration to start a summer camp for young girls as a natural progression. “I was finishing up my graduate degree [at New York University] in Educational Theatre and my advisor, Christina Marin, asked me, ‘What do you want to do with this education?’ I told her I want to empower young women to be leaders.” When GLC became a reality a short time later, Raney reported back to her advisor and, to Raney’s surprise, Marin’s response was an eager, “When should I be there?”
     
    In addition to Raney and Marin, GLC’s staff includes co-founder, and acclaimed speaker and author, Shanterra McBride, additional Kimball Union-affiliated personnel, and a small army of former-campers turned counselors, almost entirely comprised of Kimball Union Alumni and students. Raney elaborates, “I knew creating an opportunity for young women would aid in strengthening our culture on campus. GLC dually serves its campers and our high school population by giving current students opportunities to engage in workshops, and to model positive leadership.”
     
    Aligning with GLC’s motto, I am who I am, campers explore big topics that range from communication to collaboration, girl dynamics to middle school, gossip to cliques. Raney explains, “A lot of girls are battling supposed-to-syndrome; they are struggling because society wants them to be something other than who they are… we teach them, if you can look in the mirror at the end the day and say I am who I am with confidence and conviction, then you’re doing okay.”
     
    The week is packed with activities designed to build confidence, trust, and, of course, leadership through overcoming obstacles. This year, in addition to lots of hiking, camping, and cooking for themselves on the trails, campers also traveled to Girls at Work in Manchester, New Hampshire, a program dedicated to helping girls discover their self-worth through building. While in Manchester, GLC campers built picnic tables from scratch, traveled to University of New Hampshire to participate in their ropes course, visited the first lady of New Hampshire, Valerie Sununu, to learn about community service, and created real-life social entrepreneurship projects that could generate a scholarship fund for GLC.  At the end of the week, each camper drafts a leadership creed in order to set goals for themselves for the upcoming school year. 
     
    In December, campers return to KUA to check in with each other, the staff, and meet new campers at GLC’s one-day Winter Boost, packed with fun activities that are designed to do what the name implies – give everyone a boost!  For more information, click here or follow GLC on Instagram @glc_iamwhoiam.
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  • Spotlight on KUA’s Newest Dormitory

    Dustin Meltzer '05
    Over Reunion Weekend, Kimball Union’s newest dormitory was dedicated in honor of the Kurth family. The Kurth House honors the memory of Wilfred Kurth’50, H’07, P’78 and his family. Wil served as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Class Agent, and Alumni Council President. He was represented at the ceremony by his wife Margaret H’10 and family, most notably, daughter and past Trustee Jennifer Kurth Borislow ’78, son-in-law and current Trustee Mike Borislow, and granddaughters Jessica ’07 and Lauren ’10.
     
    Kurth House houses seventeen girls and is also home to two faculty residences. The dormitory portion was an addition to the 1813 house, which was acquired by the Academy in 2010. The addition retains a classic New England feel, and fits seamlessly into our historic village campus. You can see the construction of the dormitory portion by clicking here.
     
    During the dedication, Head of School Mike Schafer and Dean of Community Life Brook Raney reiterated the huge impact the Kurth and Borislow families have had on The Academy; a legacy which spans seven decades. Schafer credits Wil Kurth with accomplishing one of the The Academy’s “most challenging, yet most rewarding tasks” in “returning Kimball Union to its earliest founding days as a school for both boys and girls,” in 1974. Raney recalled a time when Jennifer was instrumental in strengthening the bond between KUA students and the Meriden community by sponsoring an initiative for students to introduce themselves to the employees of the Meriden Deli.  
     
    The Borislow and Kurth families have become as much a part of the DNA of Kimball Union as our signature black and orange colors.  And so, With a nod to the history of this historic village that has served as home to our transformational school, and with deep appreciation to the Kurth and Borislow families for their vision, dedication, and affection for Kimball Union,” remarked Schafer, “it is with great honor that we dedicate our newest student and faculty home as Kurth House.”
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  • UPDATED: Memorial Service Information ** In Memory of Robert "Stretch" Gillam '56

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  • May

    KUA Pork Project Awarded Best Waste Reduction Program

    Dustin Meltzer '05
    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. 
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  • Inspiration in New York City

    Dustin Meltzer '05
    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.
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  • Hayes Auditorium Receives a Facelift

    Dustin Meltzer '05
    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. 
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  • Alumni Share Their Voices

    Dustin Meltzer '05
    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.
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  • April

    Neuroscience Club Maps the Human Brain

    Dustin Meltzer '05
    “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.
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  • Sophomores: CPR & First Aid Training

    Student Life Saturdays, A Welcome Alternative

    Dustin Meltzer '05
    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.” 
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  • Andre '17 - Cullman Scholar in Togo

    Dustin Meltzer '05
    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.
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  • March

    Emu '17 - Cullman Scholar at Stanford University

    Dustin Meltzer '05
    “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.
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  • 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!
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  • Essential Skill: Leadership and Community Building

    Dustin Meltzer '05
    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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  • Essential Skill: Health and Wellness

    Dustin Meltzer '05
    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, and Communication. Last month, we explored the next essential skill, Health and Wellness.

    “I’m happy to share with you all the next set of essential skills that we, as a community, would like to spend some focus on,” said Latin teacher, Ms. Alstrom, before presenting each of the sub-competencies of Health and Wellness.

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

             · Choose healthy practices
             · Maintain physical, emotional, social, and spiritual balance
             · Navigate social influences
             · Build only positive relationships
             · Advocate for self and others

    “Influence comes in many forms . . . The goal is to navigate the positive pressures and the negative pressures and amongst it, find yourself,” explained Alstrom. She continued, “Our ability to grow these essential skills in health and wellness rely heavily on our environment, as well as the general health, happiness, safety and success of our community.”

    “It’s all very important,” says Frannie ’18. “KUA lays a really good foundation to know who you are, what you want, and to take that and realize that if a situation doesn’t fit, you know when to put your foot down.” When asked where she sees positive relationships in our community, Frannie answers, “Between teachers and students – I’m really close with some of them and I’m comfortable asking for help and advice while keeping boundaries. In addition to having 2 parents at home, I have twenty plus here.”

    Additionally, Frannie firmly believes in the accepting nature of the KUA community, “If anyone were to say something mean or inappropriate, it would immediately be jumped on by any group, whether theatre people, sports, or any other. Everyone finds great ways to express themselves here and can find their people.” She continues, “I went on the K-term to the Dominican Republic my freshman year and we were surprised that everyone got along. There were people from all walks of life at KUA; every grade, smaller best friend groups, but by the end of the trip, none of that mattered - we were all really close. When we got back it meant extra people to say hi to in the hall and have lunch with. It’s the best time I’ve ever had on a trip.”

    Frannie leaves us with a couple final thoughts on Health and Wellness; “You can’t take care of others or do well in school if you’re not taking care of your own body first. It’s important to find yourself to know anything – from where you want to go to college or who you want to date. Choose wisely.”

    Thank you, Ms. Alstrom and Frannie, for your thoughtful remarks on Health and Wellness, and stay tuned for more Essential Skils.
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  • Noah'17 - Cullman Scholar in Vietnam

    Dustin Meltzer '05
    Through the generosity of the Cullman Family and the Cullman Scholarship program, students have the opportunity to travel around the world on independent learning endeavors.
     
    Noah ’17’s trip began in the Mo Duc Village, Vietnam, where, “Working with local craftsmen, we constructed simple, sturdy structures called Compassion Homes,” he explains. “The family I was working with consisted of a grandmother whose children left for the city in hopes of securing better pay. Left with a toddler, a pregnant daughter, a young girl, and a mentally disabled teenager, this grandmother remarkably kept things afloat.” 
     
    “Each workday began with a bike ride to the worksite. Past stunning vistas I soaked in the lush green rice paddies dotted with hunched workers, and the encompassing mountains, etched with so much history“, Noah recalls. By the end of their time in the village, Noah’s group had built the bulk of a new home, culminating in an emotional key ceremony where they presented the keys to the home’s new owners.
     
    From Mo Duc, Noah spent time sightseeing in Vietnam. He explains, “We also visited other cities, such as authentic Quang Ngai and ancient Hoi An, as well as the Mai Lai Massacre commemoration site. Our last stops on the trip were Halong Bay, a Unesco World Heritage Site, as well as Hanoi, famous for its French heritage and lively old quarter.” 
     
    Noah remarks, “By the end of my thirty days of travel, I realize I have grown as an individual, and have truly rediscovered myself. I can attribute this all to Vietnam, a country teeming with beauty and rich history, as well as to the Cullman Family, which made this dream a reality.” Thank you Noah for sharing your experience.
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  • February

    Communication as an Essential Skill

    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 AwarenessPersonal Growth and Development, and Critical Thinking. In January, the school explored our next essential skill, Communication.

     
“Today I am honored to present on the essential skill of Communication,” said English Department Chair Jenny Blue. Communication, 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:
                Select an appropriate medium for self-expression.
                Compose persuasive, analytical, descriptive, personal, and creative pieces.
                Express themselves compassionately and truthfully.
                Create and curate a digital presence.
     
    “By gaining experience here at KUA with different media, you will be able to not only choose what you are going to say but how you are going to say it,” remarked Blue. “You will speak out against racism, homophobia, antisemitism, xenophobia, and sexism. Through your courageous communication you will defend the path to truth . . . You will be as proud of your virtual identity as you are of your physical presence. The internet is your frontier and you will be a pioneer who is well prepared to meet the challenges of mass communication’s open road.”
     
    The broad value of KUA’s Essential Skills is immediately apparent to Stephanie ’17 - “KUA students are well rounded and able to use the skills they’ve acquired to become successful adults both in and out of their career.” Particularly interested in the digital presence sub-competency, she continued “Right now it means being responsible on social media and using it to communicate without having to get involved with the negative aspects.” Overall, Stephanie highly values Communication as a skill, going on to remark, “I think it is the single most important thing in developing as a person, being able to bounce ideas off of other people in order to accept yourself.”
     

    Thank you, Ms. Blue and Stephanie for your thoughtful remarks on Communication and stay tuned for news on our next Essential Skill: Wellness.
     
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  • January

    KUA KIVA Club Invests

    “The KUA KIVA club has been here for years, and I’ve been involved since my freshman year,” says co-club leader Jessie ’17, from Hong Kong. She explains, “KIVA is a micro-lending system. There’s people that need money who will create a project on the KIVA website. We will lend them money and once they finish the project, they pay us back interest-free."
     
    The KUA Chapter of KIVA raises money throughout the year through various fundraising campaigns. “We sold candy-grams around the holidays to raise money for our lending account.  Then as a group we will pick people to lend money to through KIVA” explains Jessie.  
     
    When asked why this type of work is more appealing than simply raising money and donating to people in need, Jessie said, “I really like the idea that we have money and can lend it to help people who are looking to grow a business, go to school, or feed their family in a sustainable way. It’s a cycle . . . after they pay us back we can then use that money to help another person.”
     
    The club has a protocol they follow to decide which projects to fund. She continued, “We mostly pick projects where the borrowers already have half of the budget for the entire project. We want to pick the ones that we know will work so that we will be paid back.” The group recently loaned money to seed a small store. Their loan allowed the business owners to purchase CD’s to sell. Jessie and co-club leader, Zulal ’17, presented at All School Meeting, and showed examples of 20 other projects that KUA’s KIVA club funded. Their loans varied between $25 and $100.
     
    Since 2009, the KIVA club has raised $3,211, and invested $6,050 in loans to fund 60 individual projects in 28 countries. 97% of their loans have been paid back in full. They are currently looking to invest an additional $2,343.  
     
    Keep an eye out for upcoming KIVA fundraisers and stay tuned for more news from the Hilltop.
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  • Rev. Nyle Fort Speaks on Martin Luther King Jr.

    In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and as part of a year-long speaker series designed to introduce a variety of voices to our community, the school hosted renowned social justice activist Rev. Nyle Fort last Tuesday. A passionate speaker who beautifully wove Dr. King’s words together with a message of love and solidarity, Mr. Fort addressed the community at All School Meeting in Flickinger Arts Center.
     
    “Nyle related Martin Luther King Jr. Day to his own experiences. He talked a lot about how, in his opinion, we reduce the holiday to ‘I have a dream’ when in reality, Dr. King was very controversial and was more than just that speech” recalls Molly ’17. “I think that People appreciated the fact that he encouraged disagreement. He said you are entitled to your own opinions but you can’t choose your own facts.”
     
    The common thread that connects Nyle Fort to this year’s speaker series was apparent throughout the community. Trevor ’18 commented, “Much like Kip Bordelon, he [Fort] tried to voice his concerns about discrimination, not to those who don’t already know about it, but to those who think that racism is dead in America.” Molly remarked, “He reinforced a lot of what we’ve been talking about this year and for me, I’m going to the women’s march this weekend in Montpelier, I will definitely be thinking about Dr. King.”
     
    When asked the impact of this year’s speaker series, Trevor comments, “My outlook has changed. I was raised in a predominantly African American neighborhood and while discrimination was always at my front door, my family believed that racism wasn’t really a problem. It’s only been at KUA that I have been exposed to really good speakers who can show me specifically how racism and discrimination are problems in the United States.” 
     
    Perhaps the most inspiring message Mr. Fort promoted was to embrace our individual identities, but to also look through those identities to find a common ground; a “solidarity that will allow us to remake the world.”  Thanks to Nyle Fort, for his thoughtful address and stay tuned for more news from our 2016-17 speaker series.
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  • Liz '17 - Cullman Scholar in the Dominican Republic

    “I travelled to the Dominican Republic for two weeks with Rustic Pathways on a service-learning marine biology trip.” says Liz ’17, of her Cullman Scholarship trip. Through the generosity of the Cullman Family and the Cullman Scholarship program, students have the opportunity to travel around the world on independent learning endeavors. “My group arrived at Santo Domingo airport late at night and travelled east to the coastal town of Bayahibe. We worked with the local organization FUNDEMAR. We split up into three groups and helped them with various tasks both in and out of the water. . . I helped FUNDEMAR make buoys to prevent boats from harming coral, traps to protect coral from harmful fire worms, and collected trash data from different locations to help FUNDEMAR create a report to send to the Dominican Government for better trash services.”
     
    From the home base in Bayahibe, Liz toured the coast in search of dolphins and manatees, attended an early morning turtle walk on Isle Iona, played dominos and practiced Spanish with locals, and zip lined through the forest. When the service work continued, Liz’s group of fourteen helped “lead a day camp through an organization called Corezon o Corezon for some local kids. The goal was to teach these children about the importance of the marine life around them while also having fun,” Liz recalls. 
     
    Looking back on the trip as a whole, Liz recalls, “The level of dedication and passion of the members of FUNDEMAR is truly a rare thing and I am lucky to have worked with such wonderful people. My experience in the Dominican Republic is one that I’ll never forget. I strongly encourage all sophomores and juniors to apply for the Cullman Scholarship.” 
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  • Society of Skeptics Discuss: The American Flag

    During the second trimester, Kimball Union’s Society of Skeptics, a group discussion organized by faculty members Dan Weintraub and Michael Porrazzo met in the Coffin Meeting Room. That night’s topic: What about Donald Trump’s Tweet? Should citizens lose their citizenship or be arrested for burning the American flag? "One side argued that burning the flag should be protected by the first amendment because it’s symbolic speech. The other side was that burning the flag was disrespectful and could insight public disturbance,” recalls Ben Y ’17.
     
    Opinions throughout the evening varied as different perspectives were shared. “Honestly, it was really hard for me to give any input because I just know the basics.  Coming from China, an environment where the media is run by the government, I haven’t really learned anything negative about my government,” remembers Ben Y. Max ’18, from Germany, brought another international perspective; “My opinion throughout was that it should be allowed and it is a high level of demonstrating. It is one level higher than going out on the street with signs asking for change.”
     
    As the discussion continued, the conversation became more philosophical. Ben K. ’17 explained, “Because of our (US) history of gaining independence, our national flag means more to us than it does for other countries. So people get offended when we burn it. On the other hand, many minority groups feel oppressed by the US government... We talked about the freedom of expression and how people interpret it differently. Many people are offended when people burn the flag as a symbolic gesture for problems that they see the US government creating.”
     
    Ben Y. explains, “If you begin to take a little bit of the first amendment away, more could easily follow,” going on to say, “This is a unique situation because in the US the flag is a lot more symbolic than in other countries. . . I think it should be legal but if you cause public disturbance and unrest, you should be arrested for public disturbance. But physically burning the flag should be protected.”
     
    Owen ‘18 is in agreement; “By the end of it, while I still thought flag burning should be legal, I was less sure of it. I saw examples of when the first amendment did not apply. Perjury is an example of free speech that is illegal, and for good reason.”
     
    Donald Trump and Flag Burning aside, one thing is for certain; The Society of Skeptics is one evening not to miss. But don’t take my word for it:
     
    “It was my first Society of Skeptics meeting and I will definitely go to future ones. I very much enjoyed it.” –Owen
     
    “I would recommend it to anyone. It is very interesting and there are nice people there. You learn a lot. Everyone has respect for others, everyone is listening and thinking, everyone has their own opinion.” –Max
     
    Stay tuned for our next Society of Skeptics update.
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  • Problem Solving by Engineering

    As the first trimester on the Hilltop came to an end, Mr. Roemer’s Engineering: Digital Electronics, Robotics, and Microcontrollers Class was tasked with a fascinating final project. “Students were to solve a problem of personal interest by designing and creating a solution that utilized an Arduino controlled system,” says Roemer, going on to explain for the layman that “an Arduino is a ‘minicomputer’ that students program to complete certain actions. They had to design a ‘system’ or project that used one of these mini computers to control how their project functioned.” Meeting regularly in KUA’s Maker Space and STEM lab, projects drew from experiences and material learned over the entire first trimester of this year-long course and were to improve quality of life by accomplishing a specific task-oriented goal with, of course, a solid footing in scientific inquiry. 
     
    Projects goals ranged from creating “an Arduino stirrer that allows me to stir my hot chocolate from up to 25 feet away” says Asher ’17, to Cory ‘18’s goal of creating an Arduino fire alarm. “The goal was to detect infrared light and make LEDs and an alarm turn on when the sensor reads a specific value.” Others set out to create a calculator, cell phone, barometer, LED equalizer, and even an instrument to play string quartets. While varying levels of success were achieved, many students gained knowledge of computer coding, engineering, and design that they will take with them to college and beyond. “I learned that there are many ways to do one thing,” says Trent ’17.
     
    With the second trimester under way, Mr. Roemer’s class has moved on to Part 2 of the course: 3D Modeling and Computer Aided Design where students will learn drafting, design, 3D modeling through CAD software, and manufacturing. Roemer states, “My goal for this course is to have students walk out with skills and knowledge that they can apply in their daily lives and give them a leg up in college." Thank you, Mr. Roemer, for sharing your project and stay tuned for more news from the Maker space!
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  • Cat '17, Cullman Scholar in Cambodia

    Through the Cullman Scholarship Program and the generosity of the Cullman family, select juniors and seniors are awarded grants to travel throughout the world on independent learning programs. Any rising junior or senior is eligible to apply for one of the scholarships. Recently, the community heard from Cat ’17 about her experience.
     
    “This summer I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Cambodia to learn about the country’s rich history and teach at three different schools that are part of an organization called Buddhism for Social Development Action.” Of her time in the capital city, Cat recalls, “Phenom Pehm is an impoverished yet lively city, the streets are filled with motor bikes, cars, and tuk tuks travelling on any side of the road at whichever speed they please. I visited the royal palace where I learned about the current political dilemma at hand; the new king is a practicing monk and as a part of his practice, he must be celibate. However, because he is the king, he must produce and heir to the throne. So the question at hand is whether he should remain true to his faith or true to the structure of Cambodian politics.” 
     
    From Phenom Pehm, Cat travelled to the village of Kampong Cham, where she spent most of her time, “I worked at three different schools that are part of a Buddhist organization that strives to empower children through means of education.” The Rice Field School, a cooking school that prepared its students to work in the local restaurant appropriately named, Smile; The Happy Happy Center, a daycare for small children that Cat describes as, “a chaotic free-for-all filled with giggles, hugs, and games,” where “the main goal was to teach the children how to wash their hands”; and finally, the MKK school “a mixture between a dancing school and a daycare” where Cat’s group “mixed cement in order to rebuild the school’s bathroom.”
     
    Of her trip, Cat recalls, “I can’t even begin to explain it but it was just something so powerful, that was so beyond me, and I just felt this overwhelming sense of what I guess you could call enlightenment.” “A typical Cambodian phrase that was used in even the most senseless of times comes to mind when I think about my experience; Same, same, but different. Even though I’m still the same girl, who goes to the same school, and does the same things that I did before my trip, I see things with a new pair of eyes. Everything is same, same, but different. I would like to thank the Cullman family for giving me this opportunity and I would encourage every sophomore and junior to apply for a Cullman Scholarship because it is the gateway to a life-changing opportunity.”
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  • Critical Thinking as an Essential Skill

    All 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 and Personal Growth and Development. In December, the school explored another essential skill, Critical Thinking.
     
    Assistant Head of School David Weidman introduced Critical Thinking by diving right into the sub-competencies that make up this essential skill. They are as follows: 
     
    Through course work, social programs, and extra-curricular activities, KUA graduates have learned to:
              Ask Relevant Questions.
              Research Effectively.
              Analyze Evidence and Data for Patterns and Anomalies.
              Evaluate Evidence and Data for Bias, Relevance, and Reliability.
              Synthesize Evidence and Data.
              Verify and Defend Conclusions.
     
    Assistant Librarian Christine Clisura endorses Critical Thinking by remarking, “With the proliferation of fake news stories spreading around on Facebook and Twitter, and especially considering the enormous role it will continue to play in politics, this is perhaps the most important Essential Skill.” Freshman and Sophomore English teacher, Lauren Kelly comments in the same vein, “If trends continue in regards to communication and socialization, the aim of this skill is to forearm students with the skills necessary to filter what they say and hear, and navigate the global information market.”
     
    Thank you, Christine, David, and Lauren, for sharing the importance of Critical Thinking. Stay tuned in coming months for more Essential Skill updates.
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< 2017
 

   

Kimball Union Academy  |  Meriden, New Hampshire 03770   p: 603-469-2000  |   f: 603-469-2040  |   info@kua.org
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