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
Honoring 96 Years
Headmaster Dick Schell joined in with the community of South Kent School in a chapel ceremony honoring their 96th year. “The ties between our schools are numerous and strong” noted Headmaster Schell as he spoke about the relationships forged between the founders of South Kent School and the Headmaster of Kent School. For more information regarding the event (click here).
Kent School Supports FOCOS
Kent School was one of many sponsors for the 2019 Foundation of Orthopedics and Complex Spine (FOCOS) NYC Fundraising Gala. FOCOS is a non-profit organization that ensures that affordable and high-quality orthopedic care is accessible for all. This year’s gala honored H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the President of Ghana, with the Humanitarian Award. The Republic of Ghana has a long history of supporting FOCOS and their work, and several other ministers and government officials were present to accept the award alongside H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. All of the proceeds of the event will be used to continue the work of FOCOS as they serve their patients. Headmaster Dick Schell, members of the faculty, staff and alumni joined Foundation leaders, Mr. and Mrs. Roland Akosah, parents of Nyamekye '21, at the Kent table.
For more information regarding the Foundation of Orthopedics and Complex Spine (FOCOS) (click here).
Kent School Student Receives Change Ringing Award
Stella Klingebiel has received the Jeff Smith Memorial Young Ringer Award from the North American Guild of Change Ringers. The award recognizes bell ringing achievement and a commitment to the local ringing community. Change ringing developed in England and is traditionally heard following royal weddings as well as before and after most English church services. It requires a group of ringers working in tight coordination to ring the bells in constantly changing permutations. Because each tower bell takes over a second to complete its full 360-degree rotation, the bells cannot ring traditional music or melodies. That constraint led to an intricate system of generating unique permutations known as change ringing. In addition to strengthening the abilities of the Kent band of change ringers, Stella has conducted a quarter peal. A quarter peal contains a series of at least 1250 permutations rung in rapid succession according to rules that ensure no permutations are repeated. A quarter peal takes about 45 minutes of concentration and cooperation among the band of ringers, directed by their conductor. The permutations create a hauntingly beautiful ribbon of sound. The award is named after Jeff Smith, a long-time and beloved professor at Kalamazoo College. In addition to teaching mathematics, Jeff taught hundreds of students to ring changes and inspired the college to install change ringing bells in Stetson Chapel on the Kalamazoo College campus.
Racing Summary: Henley 2019
Garrison Smith, Girls Crew Head Coach
The KSBC girls brought three boats (an eight a four and a double) to England to race in three regattas: The Reading Amateur Regatta on Saturday (a 1500 meter head to head style race) the Reading Amateur Regatta on Sunday (an 1100 meter head to head style race) and the Henley Woman’s Regatta (a time trial to select crews, and then head to head style racing over 1500 meters).
On Saturday June 15th in the first Reading Amateur Regatta, the eight raced in the Women’s 8 B division, which included high school and University crews, and they defeated the Wellington Rowing Club from New Zealand by 1 ½ lengths. Then in the finals, they lost to St. Paul’s School USA by 2 ¾ lengths. On the second day of the regatta they lost in the semi-finals to University College Dublin Ladies Boat Club by a canvas in a tightly contested hard fought race. In the Henley Women’s Regatta on June 21st the eight raced in the Aspirational Academic Eights category against mostly University crews. On Friday they faced a time trial where 24 crews were entered, and this number would be reduced to 16 crews to race in the head to head racing. They were selected out of the time trial and raced Liverpool University and won by 2 lengths. In the quarter finals they raced Durham University Boat Club and in a difficult race lost by a canvas.
The four raced in the J16 category throughout the trip. On Saturday June 15th in the first Reading Amateur Regatta they first raced Lady Eleanor Holes, a high school in Hampton England and defeated them by 4 lengths. Then in the semi finals they raced against St. Edward’s School, a high school in Oxford in England. This boat was second at the National Schools Regatta in England in the J16 event and Kent defeated them by 1 ¼ lengths. In the finals they defeated the Henley rowing club by 3 lengths winning the Reading Amateur Regatta. On Sunday their race was finals only, and they once again won, defeating the Henley Rowing Club again, this time by four lengths taking a second gold medal for the weekend. In the Henley Women’s Regatta starting on Friday June 21st the four was slated for a time trial, where 23 boats were entered and only eight would be selected for the head to head racing. They finished second in the time trial only one tenth of a second behind the first-place crew and so they were selected out of the time trial to race in the head to head racing. In the first round of head to head racing (the quarter finals) they raced the Kingston Rowing Club and won by 2 ½ lengths. In the semi finals on Sunday they raced Headington School a rowing powerhouse in the UK and defeated them by 1 ½ lengths. Then in the final on Sunday afternoon they raced against Marlow Rowing Club and were behind off the start and then went ahead through the middle of the race, and yet they could not hold onto the lead and lost by one length.
In the double, Kent raced in the Junior Double category throughout the trip. These two girls did a great job as they had just learned how to scull at the end of our racing season, and they were racing against girls who had been sculling for years. We were able to race three times, once in each of the Reading Amateur Regattas and then in the time trial at Women’s Henley. At Reading on Saturday, they raced Wallingford Rowing Club and then on Sunday they raced Wycliffe Junior Rowing Club and though they improved drastically each race, they fell both times. At the Henley Women’s Regatta, they raced well in the time trial beating two crews one from the Henley Rowing Club and another from the Hinksey Sculling School, but they were not selected to race in the head to head racing.
A HOCKEY SEASON FOR THE RECORD BOOKS
Both boys and girls hockey at Kent School have pursued New England championships in the past, but despite fielding some great teams with outstanding records, neither had been able to achieve that elusive title. That all changed this season, as the Girls won the 2018-19 Division 1 tournament, and the boys won the Large School tournament.
The girls have emerged as a New England power in the last few years, winning the Founders League Championship in ’14, ’15, ’16 and ’18, and earning a spot in post-season play for several years. This winter they finished the regular season with a record of 16-4. Two of those losses came early in January to Nobles and Loomis, but those games would be avenged nicely in the post-season tournament. Kent earned the #5 seed in the Division 1 tournament and opened the quarterfinals with a 5-0 victory over #4 seed St. Paul’s. In the semi-finals, they faced #8 seed Loomis, but this game was quite different from the January meeting, as Kent won decisively by a score of 6-1. That set the stage for the finals against #2 seed Nobles, a team that has numerous New England Championships to its credit. But the Lions were not intimidated by their opponents. Trailing 1-0 at the start of the third period, they tied the game with a power play goal with 10:51 remaining, and then less than 3 minutes later scored the go-ahead goal. A third goal late in the period along with an empty net goal with under a minute left brought the final score to 4-1, and Kent began their well-earned celebration of their first New England Championship.
For the boys, an invitation to post-season play seemed only remotely possible at the end of January, as they found themselves with a .500 record of 7-7-2. From that point on, however, they would not lose another game the rest of the season. In their last 7 games of the regular season they went 6-0-1 and earned the #4 seed in the New England Large School Tournament. Their quarter-final opponent was #5 seed Andover, and the Lions proved they were ready with a 4-2 win. The semi-finals offered an enormous challenge as they traveled to Deerfield to take on the #1 seeded team. Kent showed no fear of Deerfield, climbing to a 4-1 lead by the end of the second period. But the third period would be one of the most exciting played all year. Deerfield was by no means conceding the game as they scored four straight goals to take the lead. Kent recovered from Deerfield’s outburst with two goals late in the period, and added an empty-net goal to seal the 7-5 victory. In the finals, they faced #7 seed Cushing. Neither team scored in the first two periods, but in the third period Kent drew first blood with a power-play goal at 10:23, and then scored an even-strength goal just 9 seconds later to take a 2-0 lead. Cushing pulled within one with a 4 on 4 goal with 7 minutes left, but Kent’s defense stood strong for the rest of the game, bringing the Lions a 2-1 triumph, and their first New England title.
Congratulations are in order for both teams, as they represented Kent throughout the season with class and dignity and did what no other hockey teams in Kent’s past have done before – finish as New England Champions. Their first titles, but, we expect, by no means their last!
AN EVENING WITH TOM JONES
January 11th was a special night for music lovers at Kent as they were treated to a fascinating and entertaining presentation by Tom Jones, who is best known for having written The Fantasticks, the world’s longest-running musical. The evening began with a couple of short performances of Mr. Jones’s most famous work by Zoe B ’20 and Kent Theater Director Geoff Stewart. The energetic and insightful Mr. Jones then captivated his audience with stories from his life and career. An enthusiastic and at times hilarious question and answer session concluded the program. This was a wonderful opportunity to learn from a legend of Broadway, an experience that will not soon be forgotten by all those in attendance.
AWARD WINNING ARTISTS
Artists, photographers, and sculptors from Kent School have enjoyed a great deal of success in competitions this year. Results from the Scholastic Art Awards for the State of Connecticut were recently announced, and numerous Kent artists were recognized. Three students won a total of six gold medals in photography and drawing categories. Five silvers were awarded for sculpture, photography, architecture, painting and drawing, and two Honorable Mentions were achieved in drawing and photography. In an international competition one photographer in particular, Pamela J ’19, has been named as one of the 10 finalists (out of 11,786 submissions) in Hope 2019, the theme of this year’s Habban International Photography Award competition. Pamela has previously won gold and silver medals in international competitions for her photographs of indigenous societies, landscapes and sea life, but reaching the finals in the HIPA competition is her most distinctive achievement thus far.
The 2019 Vance Lecture
The Vance Lecture Series, which honors the legacy of our distinguished alumnus and former U.S Secretary of State Cyrus Vance '35, welcomes speakers to campus to address the prevention and resolution of violent conflict in our world today. The Kent community had the privilege of attending a lecture given by Jeh Johnson, former Secretary of Homeland Security for three years in the Obama administration. Mr. Johnson, who in December of 2018 received the Ronald Reagan Peace Through Strength Award, presented an engaging program to a standing-room crowd in Mattison Auditorium. He offered details about the work of Homeland Security and the functions of the various departments that keep our country safe.
Occasionally, Mr. Johnson would break from the gravity of his subject with quizzes for the audience, awarding various prizes for correct answers. He also offered some background about the current government shutdown as well as the issue of illegal immigration on our southern border, topics that were of great interest to the audience. Sebastian K ’20 commented that he “was glad to see some political balance from someone who was clearly a Democrat, about a difficult issue like immigration. He didn’t politicize the issue.” It was clear by the conclusion of the presentation that students, faculty, and other guests were grateful to have had the opportunity to hear the opinions of an accomplished and respected leader.