Saxtons River, Vermont, June 15, 2022 – LaLiga North America and Vermont Academy have signed a partnership agreement to launch Vermont Academy LaLiga, a unique academic and soccer immersion program in the USA for young student-athletes. The partnership will provide high school students ages 14 to 19 the opportunity to train under the LaLiga soccer methodology with LaLiga’s top coaches. Participating student-athletes will compete at a high level year-round, while receiving a rigorous US college preparatory education with exposure to coaches at top US colleges and universities, enhancing their personal development, growth and future career opportunities. The program will launch in September 2022 for the 2022-2023 academic year.
Here at Vermont Academy we celebrate Juneteenth to honor the official end of slavery in the United States. Last year on June 17, 2021, president Biden signed legislation that made Juneteenth a federal holiday.
June is an exciting month where the world celebrates the strides and contributions of the LGBTQIA+ community. LGBTQIA+ is an inclusive term that includes people of all genders and sexualities, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, queer, intersex, asexual, pansexual, and allies. While each letter in LGBTQIA+ stands for a specific group of people, the term encompasses the entire spectrum of gender fluidity and sexual identities. As people discover who they are and how to express their personal experiences, our language evolves as our understanding of who we are changes.
When he arrived at Vermont Academy, Alumni Councilor and Chair of the Events Committee James Harris ’06 was already an entrepreneur in training. Having learned the ropes at his family’s apparel business, Komar Inc., he quickly set about making a name for himself in the dorms. “I ran a convenience store out of my room where I would sell soda and snacks for a dollar each,” says Harris. “I had my P&L, I had my inventory. I was just infatuated with the process of entrepreneurship during my time at VA.”
Beneath blue skies and towering pines the Vermont Academy community gathered to celebrate the commencement of fifty-eight members of the Class of 2022.
Longtime faculty member and director of the Program in Outdoor Education Christine Armiger delivered the invocation followed by welcoming remarks from Vermont Academy Student Association representatives Leighton Geragthy, Danielle McCarthy, and Riley Walsh. Each of the students spoke of the impact their time at VA made on their lives. Danielle shared, “I am saying goodbye to a place that has given me more than I ever thought possible.” Leighton described the experience as transformative and credited the faculty and staff for their tireless work during the pandemic. “I’ve grown so much as a person over the last four years due to the challenges I faced and the opportunities I was given,” added Riley.
The 2022 Boys’ Varsity Baseball Team started on a mission last fall that they wanted to win the Lakes Region Championship. The team worked hard over the winter with pitchers getting their arms ready, and the rest of the team hitting off the tee in the back room. That mission was completed when we traveled to # 1 seed St. Paul's on May 20 and came home with a 6-3 win in 8 innings to capture the Lakes Region Championship. The team finished with a 13 - 2 record.
The Spring Sports and Activities Awards were presented at Community Meeting on Monday, May 16. Coaches took the stage to read out the names of the 32 notable athletes for the season. This tri-annual tradition provides a time for the community to recognize the dedication required from all athletes and those committing to activities such as rock climbing and theater arts. We offer heartfelt appreciation to the many coaches, directors, teachers, and staff whose dedication makes these activities possible. And a big wildcat cheer to the award winners.
This past Thursday, Vermont Academy held its year-end award ceremony. Department chairs, advisors, and class deans presented awards to students from all grades. The members of the Class of 2022 also received their bricks for Long Walk, a long standing and favorite tradition.
Congratulations to the Class of 2022 on their many college acceptances. Vermont Academy knows that our individualized approach to education allows students to grow and become lifelong learners, and we are confident that our students will take the lessons learned here with them wherever they may go.
On Monday evening, the Vermont Academy Cum Laude chapter faculty members, Mrs. Lorna Schilling, Ms. Whitney Barrett, Mrs. Laura Frey, and student member, Andrew Gould ’22, inducted these accomplished students into the Society: Mamta Dey ’23, Ben Hart ’23, Danielle McCarthy ’22, Alden Ormont ’23, Kim Perusa ’23, Susannah Pennell ’23, Tian Ragle ’23, and Julia Small ’23.
In their end-of-year spring music showcase, the Vermont Academy Performing Arts Department celebrated its student musicians on Tuesday night, May 10. Highlights of the evening included large and small group performances of contemporary music by Billy Joel, The Doors, Phoebe Bridgers, Cindy Lauper, as well as traditional music by Dvorak, Tchaikovsky, Antignoti, and others. Among many dynamic soloists in the concert were graduating seniors Mia Hennum, Leola Brown, Eliza Asante, and Kim Osmec Perusa. Stellar performances were enjoyed by a warm, receptive, and sizeable audience of students, families, and faculty who celebrated a year full of great successes in the Arts at Vermont Academy.
Visual Arts Chair Ms. Lisa Eckhardt McNealus ‘79, P ‘14 recently used collage to help students learn how to tell a story through art. “We encourage the development of visual literacy through a combination of art making and learning about art history in all levels of our Visual Arts courses,” McNealus explains. The class focused their study on two important artists and their work: the Black American artist Romare Bearden’s “Odysseus Series” and the medieval artist Robert Campin’s “Merode Altarpiece.”
Casey Cota ‘89 P’14, ’17, ’18 is no stranger to hard work. His company, Vermont’s Cota and Cota Heating Fuels, is well known for their impeccable service, which he says is “like companies in the 1950s, when service mattered and everyone knew you.” As president of the company, Cota is the third in his family to run the business, and still thinks back on leadership lessons he learned from his grandfather, who treated employees like family.
Step onto Vermont Academy’s campus and you’ll see students engaging with the outside world to learn. Think sunlight and laughter and excited shouts. Projectors and laptops are traded for clipboards and binoculars. Books and pens are traded for sap buckets, frisbees, the forest, and the river. You might see cameras and paint brushes, even a fishing pole. Rolling up your sleeves and getting dirty is expected. The students’ energy—a kind of happy intention—is palpable. Visitors can’t help but wonder, “What is going on?”
Thanks to the thoughtfulness and generosity of former trustee Rick Stark ’74, a unique and meaningful piece of Vermont Academy has been given new life. Rick salvaged, designed and produced benches out of the original stair steps in Fuller Hall to help create a program for recognizing philanthropic commitments and singularly distinguished service to VA.
Linda Leary often tells people, “Vermont Academy played a crucial role in my father’s life.” As a young man, Richard “Dick” T. Leary ’50 dreamt of attending two outstanding schools: Vermont Academy and Dartmouth College. He told his children that achieving this goal provided him with an outstanding education, a lot of successful time on hockey rinks, and the opportunity to meet a young nursing student, Lindy “Loys” Lindgren. Loys became the love of his life — a partner with whom he shared 61 years of marriage and raised four children.
For three years, faculty and staff at Vermont Academy have combined forces on a strategic plan that defines the school’s educational values. Vermont Academy teachers believe that learning and knowledge cannot be fully realized when confined to the traditional classroom alone.
“Giving Days” have become more popular in recent years as an opportunity for those in independent school communities to come together and celebrate their love of the school and connection to one another. Vermont Academy’s giving day has been no exception.
Yesterday's Earth Day Celebration was a great success! We kicked things off with a presentation from Julia Cavicchi of the Rich Earth Institute. Students and faculty then split off into teams to work on Greenup activities such as clearing trails, raking up campus gardens, cleaning up trash along the river and roadsides, and volunteering at the Saxtons River Historical Society, the Saxtons River Elementary School, and the Saxtons River Montessori School. In partnership with the Rockingham Conservation Commission, a special project took place to build bluebird boxes and hang them in fields on campus that support bluebird habitats. Another special project involved the creation of a pollination garden dedicated to the memory of our friend and neighbor, KT Thalin, who loved hummingbirds and butterflies and did great work to support Monarch butterflies in particular.
Vermont Academy celebrated our winter athletes at Community Meeting on March 28. Athletic Director and Assistant Head of Student Life Mr. Brian Gilloran and the teams’ coaches congratulated the award recipients.
Vermont Academy’s small hilltop campus looks nothing like the urban and suburban schools Andre Mills ’24 played basketball at in Eastern Massachusetts. His coach for his former AAU team knew Vermont Academy’s Head Prep Basketball Coach John Zall and the two encouraged him to apply. “No one was here when I first visited,” Andre says. “It was pretty empty. I trusted my coaches, and the people here make the school. I actually like being in a small community.”
Andrew Gould ’22 drives himself to campus each day from Springfield, Vermont. As he drives, he considers not only the energy he’s using but the energy the car is creating — in the form of heat — that goes to waste. This is just one reason that he’s decided to take on a Capstone Project in his senior year. He’s exploring different fuel sources and better ways to power vehicles.
Maïka Paquin ’22 has grown up in Canada but not in a hockey family. Her father and brother play baseball. Yet hockey came to her early in life. “When I was younger, my parents put me in front of a dance studio for a photo and I started to cry,” she explains. “I saw a hockey net and pointed to it.” They let her pose in front of it and she was all smiles. Maïka started playing hockey when she was three and when she was eight she moved into the net. “My uncle is a goalie — I wanted to be like him.”
On Monday, February 28, Vermont Academy and fellow northern New England schools hosted an alumni panel to discuss code-switching and career preparedness. This wonderful panel of five alumni, including Miguel Allport ’07, shared the ways in which code-switching showed up in their lives, how it impacted their experiences, and offered tips that independent schools can keep in mind moving forward.
Building on the success of the 2021 Days of Service, we once again invite members of the Vermont Academy community to participate in this year’s Days of Service! This event offers – now all April long – alumni and friends an opportunity to embrace our long-standing student tradition of service during our Earth Day celebrations.
When Vermont Academy Alumni Association Vice President Amber Smith DiPasquale ’02 first learned that she was admitted to Vermont Academy, her reaction wasn’t typical of most admits. “I actually cried,” she says. Growing up in Saxtons River and the recipient of a scholarship, she worried that she wouldn’t fit in with others at the school. Luckily, her mother knew better. “She knew it was the right place for me, and that it would set me up for the future she wanted me to have.”
More than 300 alumni, parents, and friends have answered Vermont Academy’s ongoing call for support with gifts in the first half of our fiscal year. Inspired by the school’s new strategic plan and its ongoing commitment to its mission, we have raised nearly $850,000 towards Vermont Academy’s annual giving goal of $1.3 million. This generosity is fueling student initiatives, faculty professional development, financial aid, and campus improvements.
March roared into Horowitz Performing Arts Hall with a celebration of Vermont Academy’s Performing Arts groups. As Head of School Dr. Jennifer Zaccara said afterwards, “Every year I always say that the winter concert is the best ever, but tonight something special happened with every performance. The talent and passion of all of the performers and their dedicated faculty transported the audience. From James Bond to Fleetwood Mac to student musical solos and ensembles, to an unforgettable performance of the Seven Deadly Sins, we all fell into a reverie of spiritual experience, self-reflection and gratitude.” Photos can be seen in our Flickr album.
We reached out for your memories from Vermont Academy’s longest-running (and possibly favorite) tradition and you delivered! Go to bit.ly/alumnigames2022 to find more ways to share Winter Carnival Memories.
Congratulations to the Vermont Academy students who won Scholastic awards at the Vermont state level! This year there were 1 Gold Key, 4 Silver Keys and 13 Honorable Mentions awarded to our students! From February 19 through March 5, 2022, the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center will exhibit this year’s award-winning work by students from throughout the Green Mountain State.
On Monday, January 31, 2022, Vermont Academy hosted its annual flag ceremony honoring the countries which make up our community. Students, faculty, and staff carried flags representing 24 countries, the State of Vermont, Vermont Academy, and community groups into Community Meeting.
This year’s 24 Hour Play Festival brought excitement, laughter, pratfalls, and a large, devoted level of community participation to the Nita Choukas Theater in the Horowitz Performing Arts Hall. Students and faculty put on five different plays that had been conceived, written, directed, and staged in a single 24-hour period. This year our campus community could watch the plays live and cheer on the students in person! Photos of the event can be seen here.
Snow sports have always played an important role at Vermont Academy. Whether a student comes to campus with expert-level skills or having never seen snow before, the school’s winter sports program provides opportunities for every level of experience.