VA is a big personality behind a small student body.
CY AT A GLANCE Name: Cyrus “Cy” Cherington Class Year: 2015 Hometown: Cambridge, MA Years at VA: 3 Sports: Cross country (captain), JV hockey, JV baseball (captain) Activities: Global Programs Favorite subject: English or anything with writing Favorite dining hall meal: Spaghetti and meatballs Best VA moment: Funny times in the dorms over three years Favorite tradition: Earth Day
Tell me a bit about your family. I have a fraternal twin who is going to Wesleyan next year. Our younger brother goes to Indian Mountain School, and he’s a prospective Wildcat!
How were you as a student prior to VA? When I was younger, things weren’t going so well at school or home. The summer before 9th grade I went to Wolfeboro’s summer program, which is designed to help students find greater academic success the next year. Unfortunately, the new school I went to in the fall for freshman year was a pilot program and very disorganized.
How did you come to VA? I had a really great educational consultant who suggested boarding school. Something about VA really spoke to me.
What was your visit to campus like? It was a sunny day, and the campus was beautiful. My tour guide was friendly and down-to-earth. No one tried to sugarcoat or polish anything. The campus had an atmosphere that was more open to different kinds of people. I remember how quickly I connected with the director of Learning Skills and how open VA was to other kinds of learners and learning styles. I felt immediate support.
How have you changed most since you’ve been at VA? I entered VA as someone who needed full-time Learning Skills support. The program is designed to provide the support needed for students to ultimately depend less and less on its services. I went from using Learning Skills four times a week in 10th grade to once a week as a senior. I have identified my weaknesses and strengths as a learner and become more independent and confident as a student and person.
What has been your biggest challenge? Learning to self-advocate for my education and being comfortable with my voice. VA provides an environment where you don’t need to worry about a negative response to your ideas. Everyone really listens to what you have to say.
As a cross-country captain, how did you view your role? I wasn’t the fastest guy on the team, but I had a lot of experience and positive energy. I helped the new runners learn how to navigate the course and set their pace. Often, I purposely stayed in the middle of the pack so I could help anyone who was having a tough time. Congratulations on being one of the first students to study at VA’s new campus in Santiago, Chile!
What was your experience like? Chile is so far away that you really do feel like you’re in a different world. And, while I had a few expectations, I kept an open mind to the many dynamics I experienced along the way. It was interesting to me that while the people I met were culturally different and didn’t speak much English, they were the same technologically with phones, computers, and tablets. Tell me about the Vertical Institute. Vertical is the organization that VA partners with in Chile. They promote active-based learning where you gain insight into your strengths and weaknesses through leadership activities. We did many cool things like hiking blindfolded and zip lining.
What would you tell a student going to one of VA’s campuses abroad? Keep your mind open, and you’ll learn more.
Who has made the most impact on you? Mr. Echanis has been my advisor for my three years at VA. He directed me and really helped me develop as a student and person. Sometimes he seemed tough, but he always had a good reason behind everything.
What’s your biggest takeaway from Vermont Academy? Even though VA is a small community, you still get the same opportunities, thrill, and social experiences of a big school. VA is a big personality behind a small student body.
What is your college plan? From my junior to senior year, I got a lot of advice and suggestions from many people. My counselor, Mrs. Brennan, told me to speak my mind and do what I wanted to do—that really stuck with me. I applied to seven schools, with UVM being my top choice. I’m interested in psychology and writing.
VA Shout-out: Shout out to the Class of 2015 for making our senior year the best it can be!