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Ibrahim "Mutala" Mutala '13 Visits Kent

Ibrahim "Mutala" Mutala '13Thank you Kent alumnus Ibrahim "Mutala" Mutala '13, who visited soccer practice on Monday, October 13 to share with students his journey from Ghana to Kent School.

Mutala grew up in Tamale, a town in Ghana. He came to Kent through the School's longstanding relationship with the Right to Dream Academy, which pairs talented individuals with school communities in the U.S. where they can continue their education while playing.

At Kent, Mutala captained the Boys Varsity Soccer team and led Blue Key activities his Sixth Form year. After graduating from Kent, Mutala attended Connecticut College where he studied international relations and played on the men's soccer team. In 2018, he enrolled in the Hospitality Management program at the Culinary Institute of America.


2021-2022 New Faculty Appointments

Kali Brown

Kali Brown joins Kent as a History Fellow. Kali earned a Bachelor of Arts in History with a minor in Education from Bates College, where she served as a varsity oarswoman and coxswain on the nationally ranked NCAA Champion Bates Women's Rowing Team.

In addition to expertise on the water, Kali brings to Kent a love of working with young people, having previously worked as a camp counselor, sports medicine aide, certified nursing assistant, and student-teacher at Oak Hill High School in Wales, Maine. Before attending Bates College, Kali founded the rowing team at Proctor Academy in Andover, New Hampshire, in addition to playing soccer, lacrosse, basketball, nordic skiing, and working on the yearbook committee.

 

 

 

Brian cheney

Brian Cheney joins Kent as Associate Chaplain and a member of the History Department. Brian graduated from Trinity College as a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society en route to receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Classics. Brian also earned Masters of Divinity, Education Leadership and Ministry from Yale Divinity School.

Brian will bring compassion and enthusiasm to Kent along with more than eight years of experience in boarding schools and a proven track record of educational ministry, student-centered teaching, and enhancing spiritual life on campus. Brian previously worked as a Chaplain’s Assistant at the Taft School before becoming both an advisor and Religion and History teacher at the Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, New York. It was at the Masters School that Brian received the Henry Sloane Coffin Chair of Religious Studies in 2019.

 

 

 

Hilary Clifton

Hillary Clifton joins Kent as a member of the Science Department. A Kent graduate, Hillary earned a Bachelor of Science in Environment Science and Policy from Clarkson University before receiving a Master of Science in Education from the University of New Haven. Hillary is currently working towards receiving a Master of Professional Science in Environmental GIS from Unity College.

Hillary’s passion for the environment extends to the classroom, with extensive experience in environmental and science education as an AP Environmental Teacher, Science Educator, Honors Biology Teacher, Exotic and Nongame Wildlife Permits Regulator, and most recently as the Lead Instructor at the Environment Sustainability and Engineering Academy.

 

 

 

Alexander Coyle

Alexander Coyle has joined Kent as a teacher in the History Department and the Academic Resource Center. Alexander attended Northfield Mount Hermon School in Mount Hermon, MA before receiving a Bachelor of Arts in History from the College of Wooster and a Master of Arts in American History from Western Carolina University.

Alexander provides a wealth of experience from a teaching career that spans 26 years, including 22 years of teaching in a boarding school environment. With stops at the Eastern Cherokee Indian Reservation, Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, MA, Landon School in Bethesda, MD, and King’s Academy in Madaba, Jordan, Alexander has thoroughly enjoyed influencing students of all different backgrounds in the capacity as a coach, advisor, and dorm parent. Alexander, who also has experience with curriculum design, developing new courses at several past schools, especially enjoys the rewards and delights that have come from coaching both boys and girls teams in several sports, including an alpine program and crew.

 

 

Rebecca Kurish

Rebecca Kurish ‘02 joins Kent as a member of the Modern Language Department. An accomplished student of both French and Spanish, Rebecca earned a Bachelor of Arts in French and Spanish from Bates College, before receiving a Master of Arts in French from the Middlebury Language School for French and a Master of Arts in Spanish from the Middlebury Language School for Spanish.

Rebecca’s teaching career started with two years as an English Teaching Assistant for the Teaching Assistant Program in France in Lisieux and Reims, respectively. Rebecca has since taught French at Falmouth Academy in Falmouth, MA, French and Spanish at Friends Academy in Locust Valley, NY, and French and Spanish at King’s Academy in Madaba, Jordan.

 

 

 

stuart mkenzie

Stuart McKenzie joins Kent as a member of the Science Department. Stuart graduated Cum Laude from Amherst College with a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry and a Bachelor of Arts in Music. Having served as an Assistant Coach for men’s and women’s varsity soccer at Amherst College, Stuart was a Staff Coach at New England Futbol Club and Head Coach of girl’s soccer at Amherst Regional High School before his most recent position as Music Director at the Buxton School in Williamstown, MA.

As well as teaching theory, composition, and practical musicianship, Stuart led both vocal and instrument ensembles in addition to serving as a dorm parent and an advisor.

 

 

 

Toni presti

Toni Presti joins Kent as a member of the English Department and the Academic Resource Center. Toni earned a Bachelor of Arts in Theater Arts from the State University of New York at New Paltz before receiving a Master of Arts in TESOL from New York University’s School of Education. 

After working as an ESL Instructor for the New York Association for New Americans in New York City as well as for the Chappaqua Central School and Tuckahoe Union Free School districts of New York, Toni has been working as a faculty member and Department Chair at the Marvelwood School in Kent, CT. Toni is passionate about optimizing student success in reading comprehension, vocabulary improvement, grammar skills, and literary analysis.

 

 

 

Carlie robbins

Carlie Robbins joins Kent as a member of the English Department. Carlie earned a Bachelor of Arts in History with a Minor in Theater from Princeton University before receiving a Master of Arts in Humanities with a concentration on English Literature from the University of Chicago. At the University of Chicago, Carlie’s thesis “Golden Girls: Genre and Gender in the Female-Led Detective Novels of Interwar Britain” won the Nicholson-MAPH Thesis Prize.

Carlie’s first teaching experience came as a private tutor of English, U.S. History, and ACT and SAT Prep. After earning the master’s degree, Carlie returned to the University of Chicago as a Writing Specialist, helping teach undergraduate writing to a group of undergraduate students in the Humanities Common Core. Outside of the classroom, Carlie enjoys theater, dance, and figure skating.

 

 

 

Maddie Scade

Madeleine Schade joins Kent as a member of the History Department. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in History with Minors in Education and Art History from Hobart and William Smith College, Madeleine went on to earn a Master of Art in Teaching in Social Studies from Columbia University. Madeleine has since become a History Teacher at the Storm King School, teaching 8th and 10th grade American History and Civics and 9th grade Global Studies, in addition to serving as a Head Dorm Parent.

Outside of the classroom, Madeleine has a passion for athletics, having played field hockey and lacrosse at the Hun School, and participating in NCAA Division III Crew at Hobart and William Smith College. Madeleine has continued participating in athletics, serving as an assistant coach for the Varsity Volleyball and Lacrosse teams at the Storm King School.

 

 

 

Kaitlyn Tsuyuki

Kaitlyn Tsuyuki joins Kent as a member of the Math Department. Kaitlyn earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biochemistry & Biophysics and Bachelor of Arts in Asian Languages & Civilizations from Amherst College and has spent the last three-plus years working at Amherst in a variety of capacities, including as a project manager and research assistant.

 

 

 

 

 

Travis Tucker

Dr. Travis Tucker joins Kent as the Director of Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity. Travis embodies a lifelong learner, having earned a Bachelor of Arts in American Government and Religious Studies from the University of Virginia, a Master of Arts in Philosophy from Bowling Green State University, and, from Yale University, an MPhil in Philosophy, an MPhil in Religious Studies, and most recently a Ph.D. in Philosophy and Religious Studies.

Travis previously served as an Associate Director of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture, founder and Executive Director of the non-profit organization Students of Character, Director of Programming at Litchfield’s Wisdom House, an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Hartford, and most recently as a College Counselor and History Teacher at Hamden Hall Country Day School. A gifted educator in multiple disciplines, Travis boasts more than 28 years of experience in training, coaching, and motivating athletes, with over 17 years of experience in teaching and advising college students on career, academic, and personal issues.

 

 

Marie Varallo

Marie Varallo joins Kent as a learning specialist in the Academic Resource Center. Marie brings a wealth of knowledge from over a 15-year teaching career working with students from diverse backgrounds. Marie has extensive international experience as both a student having lived in Tunisia, Mexico, and Paris, and as an English teacher in Japan and Brazil. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Massachusetts Boston with a double major in Anthropology and French and a minor in Linguistics. After college, she taught ESL, adult literacy, and citizenship classes for immigrants and refugees for three years. Marie is certified in ESL and Special Education and pursued a successful career as a special educator in public schools. Outside of teaching, Marie enjoys reading, biking, and hiking with her family. She lives off campus with her husband Carlos, who teaches in the Math Department at Kent, their son Zack, and their daughter Thaïs.

 

 

 

Michael Wang

Mike Wang joins Kent as a Chinese teacher in the Modern Languages Department. Mike earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics before earning an MBA from Plymouth State University.

Mike served as the Lead Chinese Teacher and Chinese Department Chair while at St. George’s School in Middletown, RI, where he mentored and led faculty in shaping the Chinese curriculum. From there, Mike taught Chinese at the Pingry School in Basking Ridge, NJ. In addition to teaching, Mike has coached soccer and basketball and served as a dorm parent.

 

 

 

 

 

Christine Wilson

Christine Wilson joins Kent as a member of the English Department. Christine, who earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Yale University, is a teacher, writer, communications and operations specialist, and Olympic coach with more than 15 years of experience establishing strategic partnerships and leading innovation.

Christine has extensive boarding school experience, having taught English at Hotchkiss School, Choate Rosemary Hall, and Phillips Exeter Academy. Most recently, Christine taught English and served as a Sixth Form Advisor at Wimbledon High School in London, UK. Christine also brings to Kent a wealth of experience as a rowing coach, previously serving as Head Coach of Women’s Rowing at Yale University, Assistant Women’s Coach of the U.S. Olympic Team, Head Coach of Women’s Rowing at Cornell University, Chief Coach at Oxford University Women’s Boat Club, and Senior Assistant Women’s Coach at Rowing Canada Aviron.

 

Michal Wright

Michal Wright joins Kent as a member of the Admissions Department. A graduate of Kent, Michal is an inaugural member of the Kent Athletic Hall of Fame. Michal earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from St. Lawrence University before beginning his career at Kent as the Assistant Dean of Students and a coach of football, baseball, and basketball.

After Kent, Michal continued his career as the Interim Director of Admissions and Head Varsity Football Coach at Flint Hill School in Oakton, VA, as well as the Associate Director of Admissions, American History Teacher, Varsity Football Head Coach, and Physical Education teacher at Pinewood Preparatory School in Summerville, SC. Michal loves interacting with young people of all ages from all walks of life and is especially adept at drawing out what matters to each individual.

 

 


David Quinn '84 Named 2022 Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team Assistant Coach

Congratulations to Kent alumni David Quinn '84, who has been appointed by USA Hockey to the coaching staff of the 2022 Olympic Men's Hockey Team.

At Kent, David captained the Boys Varsity Hockey and Boys Varsity Football teams, and he also served as Senior Prefect. After graduating from Kent, David attended Boston University.

David's relationship with USA Hockey stretches back almost 20 years, having coached in USA Hockey's National Team Development Program, the National Junior Team, and previous Assistant Coach experience for the Men's Team.

David served as the Head Coach of the New York Rangers for three years and has also coached for Boston University, the Colorado Avalanche, and the Lake Erie Monsters.

Read more at Team USA's official site.

 


Introducing New Girls Volleyball Coach Mikala L'Hote

Kent School Athletics is pleased to introduce Mikala L'Hote as the new coach of Girls Varsity Volleyball.

Coach L'Hote brings a wealth of experience as a player, coach, and leader to the program. She began her playing career in sixth grade and made varsity volleyball her first year at Miss Hall’s School, where she was selected for the NEPSAC All-Star Tournament in her junior and senior years. In addition, she played for Berkshire Crush’s club for four years and was recruited to play at Bard College, where she started her freshman year and was awarded Liberty League Honor Roll her junior year.

Coach L'Hote has spent the past two years coaching indoor and outdoor teams at the New York Elite Club.

"We are extremely excited that our program will be led by someone of Coach L'Hote's passion and expertise," says Athletic Director Cortney Duncan. "Coach L'Hote has a track record of being a consummate team player by taking on a variety of roles and positions. She has experience as a setter, outside hitter, right-side hitter, and middle blocker, and will be an outstanding mentor. I am excited to see our players flourish under Coach L'Hote's guidance."

"I can't wait to get started with the players at Kent," says L'Hote. "The key to my coaching philosophy is developing well-rounded players who have the internal drive to push themselves to improve and excel each time they step on the court. I am excited for the opportunity to help the team and the program grow!"

 


Student Club Envisions Love With No Borders

Led by Nathan L. ’23, Oscar W. ’22, and Eric T. ’24, Kent’s US-Sino Youth Leadership Initiative has acted upon its mission to “encourage volunteerism and leadership in our communities and beyond” by fundraising, building, and donating 100 bicycles to children of National Guard Officers stationed in Louisiana. Composed of students from across the world, the group’s vision is love has no borders.

“We have been inspired by the Flying Tigers, who, during WWII, forged a deep connection between China and the United States,” says Nathan. “Led by Louisiana General Claire Lee Chennault, this group of courageous American pilots volunteered to join the fight against the Japanese army, risking their lives to help China when it most needed foreign aid.”

Additionally, the group has taken cues from Kent School alumnus and former Secretary of State, Cyrus Roberts Vance Sr., who advocated for a peaceful and productive relationship between China and the U.S.

“These stories have pushed us to give back to our community,” Nathan continues. “In admiration for General Chennault's heroism, we have initiated the Love Without Borders Program by helping underserved children in Monroe, Louisiana.” The group raised funds and ultimately decided to donate bikes. “As Anna Chennault’s (wife of General Chennault) favorite transportation tool, bikes are symbolic of friendship between China and the U.S.” says Nathan. “By assembling the bikes with our own hands, we saved a significant amount of money – which nearly doubled our donation numbers.” The group assembled 100 bikes across two days.

This effort has drawn the attention and support of the mayors of Monroe (Friday Ellis), LA, and Bossier City (Thomas Chandler), LA, in addition to the Louisiana National Guard and Nell Calloway, the CEO of Chennault Aviation Museum who in fact is the granddaughter of General Chennault. Head of School Michael Hirschfeld virtually joined the conversation with Mayor Ellis hosted at Monroe City Hall. “Servant leadership is what it’s all about,” agreed Mr. Hirschfeld and Mayor Ellis.

“The group’s growth has been steady,” says Nathan. “The program has grown from an idea to a three-member team and now to a large group of 13 students from three different countries and four different states in the U.S.” For next year’s program, they aim to continue their relationships in Louisiana, with the local Chambers of Commerce involved in a supporting role. “I express my sincere gratitude to all students for their kindness, perseverance, and determination to make the world a better place for all,” says Nathan. “It is through them, the younger generation of both the U.S. and China, that I can foresee a bright future ahead for both countries.”

For additional photos, visit https://kentschoolphotos.smugmug.com/NL-Leadership/n-bKSctC/

 


Holy Solars Team Brings Home First Place Win in 2021 Solar Car Challenge Classic Division

 

View a scrapbook of the build process and additional photos

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.

 


ap award symbolKent 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

hos header

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.

Sincerely,
Michael G. Hirschfeld