Dear Vermont Academy Families,
I am writing on a sunny but cold day after the wonderful Winter Performing Arts Concert. It was a coming together of our community this week when we all celebrated our talented performing artists, beginning with a one-hour performance by our acting classes and continuing to the spectacular event with Chamber, Jazz, and Vocal Ensembles and a performance by our Dance Team. As faculty member Maryann McArdle commented after the performance, “It was astonishing!”
Amy Lanterman, Center for Learning faculty and Head Coach of our Dance Team, has taught dance at Vermont Academy for thirty-two years, and her legacy was felt in the Nita Choukas Theater last night – both with the current students and all of those who came before them who were with us in spirit as the dancers performed. Amy herself danced with the students and gave us the gift of reflection about the importance of self-understanding, recognition of human weakness and vulnerability, and finally the healing powers of forgiveness and love. The a cappella delivery of a Fleetwood Mac song, and the overall talent of the small chorus is something we all want to see more of, perhaps in the spring. The Jazz Ensemble produced great music that made all rock to the sounds of The Doors, James Bond, and other great jazz tunes. The Chamber Ensemble performed a wonderful Schumann piece. We are all so proud of our performing arts students, and they may represent the largest and most talented group in recent years. The way that the students’ eyes lit up under the lights as they shared their talents is one of the enduring images I continue to see, as Wordsworth would say, in “my mind’s eye.” I offer my deepest gratitude to Steve Cady, performing arts department chair, and the members of the Performing Arts department. We look forward to Spring Arts Weekend, May 7-8!
Other highlights of the winter included our 113th Winter Carnival, which is always a favorite, and the wonderful celebration of Black History Month. The month-long celebration of Black History Month included a film showing of “The Black Panther,” a body butter making event, a showing of photography and family history in Fuller Hall with student work, and other seminal historical photographs. The month of events culminated at our final Community Meeting of the trimester with Abby Hawkins ’23 singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the national anthem of the NAACP, a sharing of faculty favorites from Black artists in literature, non-fiction, music, and art and the viewing of advisory created posters. We also announced the AIM survey that is the Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism that we will undergo as a means of looking under the hood at how we are doing as an inclusive community highlighting belonging. This work will let us know where we are and where we need to go.
The athletic season saw us with the Girls’ Varsity Hockey team coming in second in the Lakes Region and playing this Saturday in the NEPSAC small school semi-finals against New Hampton! The boys’ prep basketball team also made it into the quarterfinals of the NEPSAC tournament. There were so many great moments on all of the teams, and the Girls' Varsity Basketball taught us what teamwork and playing with heart means too! From Nordic to alpine to snowboarding to freeski, to the entire hockey and basketball programs, we can really be proud of our seasons! Go Wildcats!
I would be remiss if I did not share that many of the Class of 2022 have heard from colleges and universities, and many were accepted by their first-choice schools. Decisions have not been made by all yet, but some of the schools at which students were accepted include Penn State, Salve Regina, St. Michaels, U of Rhode Island, Roger Williams, and Temple.
May our entire Vermont Academy community have a wonderful, restful, and much-needed break. My deepest thanks to the faculty and staff, and to our families who share your children with us. We are a learning community, and as I often say, when a class of students arrives at Vermont Academy, they have been invited to study with the faculty. We see those shared experiences of learning and questioning every day in Saxtons River.