We can’t imagine anything more idyllic than Vermont in the fall. Each October, Vermont Academy students eagerly listen for the bell to ring, notifying students that they are about to be whisked away from their studies for Mountain Day. This year, we invite you to Make Your Own Mountain Day!
The Vermont Academy Alumni Association is now seeking nominations for Alumni Council membership. Council members make up the governing body of the Association. Those interested should submit the online nomination form by September 15, 2021.
Each year, Vermont Academy faculty participate in the Summer Reading Program with an all-faculty book. We hope you will join us in reading this year’s all-faculty selection, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author.
As summer’s unofficial end draws near, we hope you are enjoying opportunities to safely connect with family and friends through Academy Eats: A Taste of VA. We were excited to learn that the owners of two venues on our list have been featured in recent articles. We also noticed that the chef at another venue posted a fabulous recipe online and couldn’t wait to share it with you!
On Thursday, July 15, 2021, eighteen alumni representing classes 1963 through 2010, staff, family, and friends came together for a virtual wine tasting led by Kenefick Ranch Chief Executive Officer Chris Kenefick '06. Located in Napa Valley, Kenefick Ranch, a 250-acre vineyard purchased by his father in 1980, primarily produces Bordeaux varietals.
By Cynthia Murphy, Vermont Academy at Liceo Europeo Program Director
Vermont Academy at Liceo Europeo (VALE) successfully completed its first year of operation with 14 seniors and 9 juniors. Our seniors are all college-bound, attending universities in both the USA and Spain. This year, we are expanding our grade 11 and 12 programs and plan to add grades 9 and 10 to the program next year.
Dr. Robert Watts ’73, Florence R. Sabin Class of 1889 Distinguished Alumni Award honoree, has known Charles Butler, Vermont Academy’s newest faculty member in our history department, since he was born. “His father and I have been friends since I was nine years old,” Robert explains. “I’ve known Charles since before he knew himself.”
Whether Chris Kenefick ’06 was in Saxtons River attending Vermont Academy, or in Denver at college, or in San Francisco working for Four Seasons Resorts, he savored his visits to his family’s Calistoga, California vineyards. He loved the quiet and the slow rural pace. When Chris grew tired of living in a city as well as the long hours and changing shifts that came with a career in the hospitality industry, he knew he wanted to settle down and work at Kenefick Ranch.
Richard M. “Dick” Whitcomb '55 of New Canaan, Connecticut, and Pocasset, Massachusetts, passed away on July 6, 2021, after a long, hard-fought battle with cancer. Dick was a recent recipient of Vermont Academy’s Florence R. Sabin Class of 1889 Distinguished Alumni Award. He was given this honor for his work as an educational leader and philanthropist.
Academy Eats: A Taste of VA begins August 1 and we hope you’ll patronize one of these eateries to support fellow Vermont Academy alumni as you gather with friends and family. Be sure to post photos of your visit using #AcademyEats and share your photos with us at email@example.com!
With Reunion just over two months away on September 24 and 25, we are working to ensure all alumni celebrating a milestone (the classes ending in 0, 1, 5, and 6) receive an invitation to attend. To do this, we need your help!
Favorite Courses: Conflict Resolution with Mr. John Bohannon P ‘89, P ‘93; Spanish with Ms. Maria Carreno P ‘05; Pottery with Ms. Mary Hepburn P ‘81, P ‘83; Math with Mr. Echanis ‘79, P ‘08, P ‘11, P ‘18
Favorite Place: Michael Choukas Skating Rink, Top of the Ski Jump, Dining Hall
As many states and countries begin to reopen, we know Vermont Academy alumni are excited to gather with friends and family to reconnect in person. In support of these meaningful connections, we will host Academy Eats: A Taste of VA during the month of August.
On March 25, 2021, Brooke Mooney ’14 sat on a Concept2 rowing machine for a 2000-meter test mandated by USRowing’s Olympic coaches. Setting a world record was not on her mind. “I knew how I wanted to start the piece,” she explains. “What happened after that took me by surprise.”
May 4 was a wonderful day for Vermont Academy to hold its annual giving day, One Day for VA. Our goal was 291 donors -- one for every student and faculty and staff member of Vermont Academy. We asked our whole community to come together to support our school and they sure did! We ended the day with 317 donors and more than $80,000 raised. Thank you to everyone for their spirit and support!
Gather with fellow Vermont Academy alumni on Thursday, July 15 at 7 p.m. (ET) for a virtual Wine Tasting led by Chris Kenefick ’06 and featuring wines from his family’s property, Kenefick Ranch located in California’s renowned Napa Valley.
We know that many of you formed deep friendships while you were students thanks to Vermont Academy’s close-knit community. Whether you met on your athletic teams, in the classroom, in the Shepardson Center, through a club, or in your dorm, you formed bonds that have stood the test of time! In honor of International Day of Friendship on July 30, we want to celebrate you and your closest VA friends.
We’re excited to share the results of part 1 of the Alumni Engagement Survey that was distributed in February. We are incredibly grateful to the nearly 700 alumni who responded to the survey to share reflections on their engagement, opinions, and hopes for Vermont Academy. A better understanding of alumni interests and preferences will help us plan future engagement and outreach opportunities that resonate. As we continue to dig deeper, part two of the alumni engagement survey will focus on sentiment and communications. You can expect to see an invitation to participate in the second survey in your inbox in the coming days!
On May 5, during Teacher Appreciation Week, Vermont Academy was thrilled to shine a spotlight on alumni who are currently teachers. Education During a Global Pandemic, co-moderated by Alumni Council Co-President Dia (Parker-McWhorter) Riegler ’02 and Alumni Councilor Amber (Smith) DiPasquale ’02, provided panelists with an opportunity to share their paths to careers in education, reminisce about the VA faculty who made a difference in their lives, and highlight the ways in which their jobs have shifted due to the pandemic.
By: Nicole B. Losavio, Director of Alumni Engagement
From April 22 to 25, 2021, Vermont Academy alumni took the time to make a difference in their communities. From donating blood, to river and neighborhood clean-ups, to conducting research for a non-profit organization, and more, we were excited to hear about your service projects and see the photos shared by some of you.
Anne Herbert P '99 served as a Vermont Academy Trustee from 1998 to 2011, starting as a parent representative. She founded the Vermont Academy Parent Association and was a considerable fundraiser for the school. Her son Jeremy joined the Vermont Academy Board of Trustees in January 2021. When members of the board recently asked her to serve on the leadership committee for the Campaign for Vermont Academy's Future, she didn't hesitate to say yes.
Like most alumni, Joe Dodi '84 thinks the world of Vermont Academy. "Academically and athletically, I had some very positive experiences," he explains. So when he struck up a professional friendship with the Tranquada family and then discovered that their daughter Ella was looking at college preparatory schools, Joe chimed in.
Vermont Academy will celebrate its sixth annual One Day for VA giving day on May 4, 2021. This event brings community members together to show their support for the people, programs, and places that make VA so special. Please consider joining in the fun by making a gift that helps our school reach its goals at this critical time – weathering the unexpected needs of the pandemic while delivering on our mission. Go Wildcats – now and into the future!
Vermont Academy’s inaugural Alumni Days of Service provides an opportunity for VA graduates to reconnect with their alma mater in a meaningful way. This special event exemplifies Vermont Academy’s vision: Producing graduates who “engage in the world as critical thinkers and make a positive difference in the global community.”
On March 30, 2021, Mary Hepburn and Mark Herko, both former teachers at Vermont Academy, led an alumni conversation sparked by self-reflection that gave participants the opportunity to share how their own creativity has ebbed and flowed over the past year.
Vermont Academy’s faculty is exceptional in so many ways. A key part of the transformative power of the Vermont Academy experience is rooted in our faculty’s commitment to students and their expertise in their fields. Alumni have shared that they remain inspired by our faculty long after graduation.
With spring just around the corner, signs of the season surround us here at Vermont Academy: melting snow, longer days, warmer temperatures, and chirping birds. As we welcome spring, we look ahead to another of VA’s student traditions: volunteer service on Earth Day. This year we’re encouraging alumni to join our on-campus efforts and bring Vermont Academy’s tradition of hard work across the country and around the world.
Clara Adra Converse graduated from Vermont Academy in 1879 -- one of the first women to graduate from the school. She was an American teacher and missionary who became a pioneer educator in Japan. In 1929, Emperor Showa Hirohito conferred on Converse the Blue Ribbon Medal of Honor, in recognition of her contributions to women's education and the Japanese nation.
The 112th Vermont Academy Winter Carnival is one that will go down in the books! Vermont regulations limiting the number of people who could gather in our buildings drove our Student Life staff to be inventive, so this year’s four-day extravaganza saw new activities added alongside familiar standbys.
On Tuesday, February 2, over 70 alumni and friends gathered on Zoom for a Vermont Academy Alumni Association Meeting and State of the School Address. With alumni from the classes of 1948 through 2019 in attendance, Alumni Council Co-President Tom Oxholm ’82 facilitated an informative meeting.
I had just been released from quarantine after moving to Vermont and was ready to begin working on and exploring Vermont Academy’s campus. Not knowing where to start, I turned to social media to ask alumni for recommendations and you responded! I learned that that the best view of campus is from the top of the ski hill, that the berm is beautiful in the spring, that South Lawn is a must-see in the fall, and that there is a rock that I need to find.
Snuggle up with a good love story! Vermont Academy couples, whether they met as students or found one another after graduation, shared their stories with us. Read a little about how each couple met, what their favorite VA memories are, and what they are up to now.