November Scholars of the Month

Congratulations to Jenna Powers ’22, Candy Li ’21, Charles-Oliver Gagnon ’20, and Bijon Sidhu ’19!
Jenna Powers ’22

With four A's and five commendables this fall trimester, this young scholar was a clear candidate for November's Scholar of the Month award. In the classroom, her eagerness to learn is evident in the questions she asks. Amanda Gilbert-Hodgson writes, "Her enthusiasm, genuine love of learning, and willingness to share her ideas make her an ideal student. She is such a joy to teach."

Our community was transfixed by her performance in Almost, Maine, and our classrooms are lucky to have her as part of the mix.

--Nate Williams, Freshman Class Dean

Candy Li ’21

The class of 2021’s scholar of the month is a student that, as I’ve said before, takes advantage of absolutely everything Vermont Academy has to offer. She is driven, engaging, curious, adventurous, and has consistently established her reputation on campus as a leader and pillar of the sophomore class. She thrives when taking risks and has impressed us all with her loaded schedule of nine honors, AP, language, and artistic commitments for which she received all commendables with the close of her last trimester.

Abbey Edwards, her history teacher, writes, “This student arrives to class every day prepared to learn. Not only does she complete each assignment with care, but she asks thoughtful questions and is a leader during class discussions. Also, she is always ready to revise her written work, not just to earn a higher grade, but to improve as a writer. She is a pleasure to teach!”

Adrian Diaz, her Spanish teacher, adds, “This student is a student that every teacher would love to have in his class. She is passionate, curious, and energetic. When it comes to learning, there is no challenge she can’t overcome. Besides being a successful student, she has also learned how to become a leader and help other students who might not be at the same level she is. With a big smile on her face, she makes every class interesting and fun.”

Steve Cady includes, “This student joined the Vermont Academy Ensemble as our pianist and has done exceptional work this year. She is not only reliable, spirited, and friendly, but she is a solid musical force at the piano and guitar, and has brought a great deal to the music programs at VA. PLUS, her haircut is almost as cool as mine so that’s a plus!”

It is my great pleasure to honor Ruihan “Candy” Li for scholar of the month!

--Caitlin Holton, Sophomore Class Dean

Charles-Oliver Gagnon ’20

The Junior Class Scholar of the Month for the month of November is Charles-Oliver Gagnon. The most common words used to describe Charles are kind, respectful, and hard working. It is these traits that have endeared him to the VA community. In class, Charles’ kindness and optimism is infectious. It seems as if Charles truly finds joy in every class and helps his classmates do the same. This joy of learning is what all true scholars strive for and is one reason why Charles is being named as this month’s scholar.

Another key strength that Charles brings to the classroom is his respectful attitude. Respect flows from Charles towards his teachers, his classmates, and himself. When he communicates with his teachers, Charles always does so in a courteous and thankful manner that makes him easy to interact with. When other students are speaking and sharing their thoughts in class, Charles listens with an attention that is welcoming and attentive. In addition, Charles respects himself as a learner. He knows that failing at a task is okay and he allows himself to make mistakes with the confidence that with a little more effort, success is just around the corner.

It is Charles’ hard-work and perseverance through failure that truly makes him this month’s scholar for the Junior Class, though. A true scholar is not always right. They don’t always get the top marks in their class and they sometimes are very confused by the material. Charles, like other scholars, can take this criticism in stride and uses his mistakes as learning moments that make him a stronger and motivated student. On behalf of Vermont Academy, thank you Charles for your effort. It is absolutely noticed and highly deserving of this recognition.

--Sara Baldvins, Junior Class Dean

Bijon Sidhu ’19

Jerry Filler writes, “Bijon is an all-around good kid in the community. He is great in the dorm, always on task. Polite and willing to help. He is kind to every student. He is a solid kid who does great academically and will be a great representative of VA on the court.”

Jo Fuller writes, “Bijon has been a fastidious writing student all year. He focuses on the quality of his work and attends closely to directions and feedback on how to approach or improve a piece of writing.”

Carolina Parente adds, “Since the very first day of classes, Bijon has been a cooperative, pleasant, and energetic student. His enthusiasm for learning is reflected in his work habits, and his outstanding performance It is my pleasure to be your Spanish teacher. Congratulations!”

Russell Mayhew notes, “Bijon has done pretty well on AP Stats tests, but there was a particular multiple choice problem that was really giving him a headache. After carefully reading, rereading, and considering, he reluctantly suggested that none of the given multiple choice options were possible. It turns out he was right. Bijon was awarded an extra credit point and everyone in class got credit for the problem. It takes a high degree of understanding and confidence to identify a broken multiple choice problem, but luckily for everyone Bijon has both in spades.”

--Chris Marks, Senior Class Dean

Education for Life - One Student at a Time

Vermont Academy is a coed college preparatory boarding and day school in southern Vermont, serving grades 9-12 plus a postgraduate year.