Holy Solars Team Brings Home First Place Win in 2021 Solar Car Challenge Classic Division
Congratulations to the “Holy Solars,” the team of students in Kent’s engineering program, who debuted with an incredible victory in their division at the Solar Car Challenge!
Founded in 1993, The Solar Car Challenge is a project-based STEM Initiative designed to motivate students in science and engineering and increase alternative energy awareness. To compete, teams build solar cars before displaying and driving them at a closed-track event at the Texas Motor Speedway.
After 14 months spent planning, experimenting, and building their solar-powered car—the “Solar Schell”—in Kent’s Pre-Engineering & Applied Sciences Center, the team completed 264 laps—nearly 396 miles over the course of the four-day event. “Even though we faced so many difficulties over the past two years,” said co-pilot Cameron Ebner ‘21, “we pulled through and finished the car, competed, and won the competition. What set us apart [in the competition] was the collective dedication of the team. To finish the car and win our division was the fruits of our efforts.”
Team captain and co-pilot Emily Yemington ’21 remarked on the difference between the team's modest objectives and remarkable performance. “Our goal was to make a car that could do the bare minimum of passing inspection and running a lap,” said Emily. “I certainly never expected to win or even place, though with the many weekends, mornings, and evenings sacrificed to this car, I do believe that we, as a team, earned it.”
Teachers Carlos Alberto Bezerra and Ryan Harris guided the team by making themselves available countless hours in and out of school. Over the past fourteen months, the students had truncated build time to work through the whole process. “This was quite an amazing experience and feat for the first-time team, but we are not surprised based on the amount of work and learning each team member put into educating themselves on every detail of their entry. We know that they will take what they have learned, along with the skill of problem-solving, and carry it into the world with them, far beyond this challenge.” noted both Bezerra and Harris.
While many students participated at different levels of this project, Cameron emphasized the sense of camaraderie between all of the teams, noting that almost everyone was willing to help each other out. Overall, the main build team which also included Brendan Wilcox ‘21, Luc Z ‘22, Alex G ‘23, Kevin Y ‘23, and Samuel L ‘23 agreed that the experience was incredible and empowering: “This experience has been extremely rewarding. It is not so often that you receive such a direct reward for your efforts and overall,” Cameron concluded. “It was definitely worth it.” The team was also presented with the Chris Jones Award for displaying the highest level of good sportsmanship.
* A special note of thanks to Thomas Yemington P '21, P '23 and his two youngest children (Grace and Reid) for their remarkable contributions as advisor and honorary team members. Thomas's willingness to let the team use his garage in Austin as well as his input (along with some of his friends) helped us accomplish this feat.
For more information about the solar car challenge, visit https://www.solarcarchallenge.org/challenge/. For additional photos of the race week in Texas, visit https://www.solarcarchallenge.org/challenge/photos.shtml
Paul Mantegani Wins Nadal Sportsmanship Award
Paul Mantegani has been awarded the 2021 M.D. Nadal Sportsmanship Award, awarded annually to Founders League coaches who “play by the rules, accept victory or defeat graciously, and respect all who assemble and participate.”
Throughout 40 years at Kent School, Mantegani embraced his role as a teacher, coach, and advisor to Kent’s students and athletes. During his time at Kent, he served as both head and assistant coach for Boys Varsity Hockey, assistant coach for Boys JV Hockey, and assistant coach for Boys Varsity Lacrosse. Aside from coaching, he has spent countless hours at Nadal Rink sharpening skates, cleaning lockers, and performing countless other tasks he takes on with no expectation of recognition.
In addition to his impressive coaching career, Mantegani has chaired the History Department, served as an advisor, performed dorm, evening, and weekend duties, and added his expertise to numerous academic committees. Due to his combination of work ethic, passion, coaching excellence, and mentorship, Mantegani deservedly joins Cy Theobald and Don Gowan as the only Kent School faculty to win this prestigious award.
The Nadal Award was established in 1969 to honor Manuel D. “Bill” Nadal, an outstanding athlete, coach, and steadfast supporter of athletics at Kent School.
Introducing New Lacrosse Coach Tyler White
Kent School Athletics is thrilled to announce Tyler White as the new coach of Boys Varsity Lacrosse.
Coach White comes to Kent with an accomplished career as a player and coach, highlighted by four years as a starter at Dickinson College where he helped the team win two Centennial Conference Championships and two NCAA Quarterfinal births. The team was nationally ranked throughout his four years as he tallied 59 goals and handed out 11 as a Midfielder. As a high schooler at William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia, Coach White earned First Team All-League honors in 2010 and 2011 and won the Team MVP award while serving as captain his senior year in the highly competitive Inter-Academic League.
Returning to Dickinson in 2018 as an assistant coach, Coach White helped guide the team to their fourth Centennial Conference Championship and the NCAA Quarterfinals, finishing 17-4 on the season. The team produced 10 All-Conference selections, eight All-Americans, and six All-Region honors. The team finished the 2019 season in the conference semifinals producing six All-Conference players and five All-Americans, including the Division III Long Stick Midfielder of the Year. These accomplishments made Coach White the first person at Dickinson to win a Centennial Conference title as both a player and assistant coach.
Most recently, Coach White served as an assistant coach and associate director of admissions at Baylor School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he helped grow the program and build meaningful enthusiasm around lacrosse. The team enjoyed its most successful season ever this year, making it to the State Semifinals and finishing the season at 11-3. Coach White mentored three First Team and one Second Team All-League players in 2021 along with Baylor’s single-season-goal-record-holding attackman.
“Coach White brings an incredible level of enthusiasm, expertise, and love of the game to Kent,” says Athletic Director Cortney Duncan. “We are confident Coach White will play a major role in continuing to build our outstanding program, and we’re excited for our students to further hone their skills as players and advance as a team under his guidance.”
Jack Capuano '85 Named Head Coach of 2021 U.S. Men’s Hockey National Team
Jack Capuano ‘85, who currently serves as an associate coach for the Ottawa Senators, has been named the head coach of the 2021 U.S. Men’s National Hockey Team. Capuano, whose playing career featured stops in the AHL, IHL, and NHL, previously served as head coach of the New York Islanders from 2010-2017 after coaching stints in both the ECHL and AHL.
As a sixth former at Kent, Capuano was a member of the Boys Varsity Hockey team that won both the Housatonic Valley League and the Founders’ League title in 1985, winning the Tirrell Award as the team’s top defender. A member of the Kent School Athletic Hall of Fame, he was a captain of the Varsity Football team that won the Ericson League that year, and also served as a Dining Hall Steward.
This will be the fourth time Capuano represents the U.S. as a coach. He served as an assistant coach for Team USA at the 2017 IIHF Men’s World Championship and at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, as well as the head coach of the 2005 U.S. Under-18 Select Team at the Five Nations Cup. Capuano will lead Team USA at the 2021 IIHF World Championship beginning on May 21 in Riga, Latvia.
Head of School Michael G. Hirschfeld's Remarks at Baccalaureate 2021
I want to share a few thoughts with you tonight about your learning here, the School’s hopes for your future and how you might apply your Kent learning to the “real world”, and, finally, gratitude.
I will be brief in part because you have done a lot of listening in your time at Kent School. In fact, we trained you to be good listeners—in our classrooms and in the many other spaces where learning occurs here. Your presence in St. Joseph’s Chapel this evening is in one way evidence of your success in listening to others. Especially this year, it would not surprise me, if you were weary, if not flat out tired, of listening to others. Tired of being told what to do. I ask that you indulge me tonight for around seven minutes and, more important, Father Schell tomorrow as he launches you with his wisdom on Prize Day. You are actually entering a phase of your life where your skills as listeners will become more helpful— and much more important.
This year I have met many Kent School alumni and alumnae and almost to a person they recall their experience at Kent as students as transformational. That they were transformed—changed from one thing into another—while they were at Kent. The first of our readings tonight from Acts describes Saul’s transformation from being a persecutor of Jesus to literally becoming his biggest fan, his chief salesman. Saul’s transformation offers an easy and obvious metaphor for your transformation here, although I do not think any of you were transformed as dramatically as Saul—by getting struck by lightning. I suspect it will be months or even years before you begin to understand your Kent education and your experience here as transformational.
Believe it or not, I chose this reading from Acts, not for the easy metaphor of transformation it provides, although it is obviously convenient, but rather for this one line: “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what to do.” This is the two-part commandment of Prize Day and your leaving Kent School.
The first part--tomorrow it will be literally time for you to get up and go. You are ready to leave.
The second part of this commandment is to again listen, but not to others as you have done so well at Kent, but to yourselves—to the voice you have developed here. I find the phrase “Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do” to be inspiring, commanding and true. It will require all of your skills as good listeners to hear this voice that will tell you “what you must do” because that voice will be your own. It will be your own voice, your own heart, telling you “what you must do.” My highest hope for you as you leave Kent School is that you have confidence in that voice. Listening to that voice, your voice, will be the key to your living a good life—a fulfilling life. The faculty, staff, your families, your friends, and all who supported you in your time at Kent share this belief: you are ready to listen to your voice.
Tonight’s second reading of the parable of the sower is the subject of much theological debate and interpretation. I wanted to include it tonight because I believe you will leave here as sowers--planters—capable of planting the seeds of community wherever you may go. I actually believe you are uniquely qualified to do this given your experience at Kent during a global pandemic.
You may not yet have recognized this, but you will leave tomorrow with an understanding of how a community works as deep as those students who studied at Kent during the Great Depression and the World Wars. You understand that building and maintaining community requires care, love, and intention—providing care, love, and intention often at your own expense or in the place of your personal gain. Putting the common good above yourself in as simple an act as wearing a mask is the foundation of servant leadership and of community. You are very well-schooled in this kind of leadership. You have learned that successful relationships and the communities they support require intention, diligence, and above all love to maintain.
Like the sower, spread your knowledge of these things generously. The mustard seed reminds us of humility—and the great possibility small beginnings provide. Your small beginning at Kent School is full of possibility, full of promise.
I want to finish my remarks with a practical reminder. We are all here tonight—all of us—because our family, friends, teachers, coaches, advisors, and countless staff members supported us. These people are our angels. In the rush and chaos of activity and emotion in your last hours at Kent please remember to give your angels thanks. They have done much to support you.
On a personal note, I want to thank you all for making my first year at Kent School so rewarding. I am grateful for your leadership and the kindnesses you extended to me and Mrs. Hirschfeld. We are proud of our association with you. And we look forward to welcoming you back to the School as alumni.
Finally, I have been eager to paraphrase for you a portion of the apostle Paul’s second letter to Timothy. Paul is concluding this letter and he writes, “…the hour for my departure is upon me. I have run the race, I have finished the course, I have kept faith.”
Class of 2021, the hour of your departure is upon you. You have finished the race. And you have kept the faith. Well done and congratulations.
Kent School is proud to be named among the winners of the College Board AP® Computer Science Female Diversity Award for expanding young women’s access to AP Computer Science Principles.
"Kent aims to provide a computer science program that supports students of all interests. Our mission is to help students develop the skills to solve problems and make an impact in whatever field they choose to pursue," says Math Department Head and AP Computer Science teacher Kevin Saxton.
"We aim to break down the stereotypes of computer science as a caffeine-driven hacker community best suited for a particular type of individual," continues Mr. Saxton. "We introduce it as a field that needs students from all backgrounds and perspectives to tackle today's most critical problems such as social justice, the environment, and the consequences of the age of information. Earning this award is evidence that progress is being made toward inclusivity. There is still plenty of work to be done, however, to further open the world of computing to young women who would thrive in the field, but do not see themselves reflected in those who represent tech in our culture."
Out of the 20,000 institutions that offer AP courses, Kent is one of 831 recognized in the category of AP Computer Science Principles.
Maintaining Community in Fragile Times
Dear Kent School Community,
I have a confession to make: when I was teaching United States History to Kent School students almost thirty years ago, I failed. I did not fully guide my students in understanding how political passion could give rise to violence or how demagoguery could exist in an enlightened society.
The case of Preston Brooks physically beating fellow Senator Charles Sumner over the issue of slavery on the Senate floor in 1856 was simply an artifact of a different time. Such a thing could not be possible today.
Similarly, in the early 1950s, Senator Joseph McCarthy’s perpetuation of the single, false narrative of widespread communism in the United States government and the fear-based power it gave him were things of the past that would never be tolerated today. We are too smart to be led in such a way.
Looking back on it now, I taught from the naïve assumption that the trajectory of human development naturally arcs toward progress and that history viewed from this perspective is a story of our continual evolution toward betterment.
I reflected on this yesterday as I watched, as many of you likely did, rioters breach security and vandalize the United States Capitol. In the coming days, weeks, months, and indeed years, historians, sociologists, and political scientists will analyze this moment in history. There is no doubt they will offer a variety of compelling explanations for why it occurred. For me, and I believe for the entire Kent School community, we need not wait for their analysis. The chief lesson is obvious: democracy is fragile and should never be taken for granted. It takes work to maintain.
I want to be clear: yes, democracy describes a system of government, but more importantly for us, it describes a way of living together. A way of living together that values inclusivity, diversity in all its forms, the free exchange of ideas, respect for all voices, and an openness to seeing and understanding another’s perspective. I mention these values and their underpinning in empathy because these are the foundations of Kent School. They are not unfamiliar to us; they are part of us.
Like the disheartening examples of persistent racial injustice this summer, yesterday’s assault on democracy should not discourage us. Rather, it should strengthen our commitment to the School’s values.
This Fall I challenged us to be the kind of community that could be an example for other communities to follow. I am excited, as I hope you are, about recommitting ourselves to doing this good work. It is clear the world could benefit from our example.
I cannot wait for your return on February 1.
In the meantime, I hope you are enjoying your time away and that the earliest days of 2021 have been filled with joy, relaxation, and family.
Michael G. Hirschfeld