Author Archives: Eliot Taft

The underrated gift of curiosity

‘Schools are missing what matters about learning.’

The Atlantic writes an interesting article on how curiosity is continually being underemphasized in the classroom. At White Mountain, we understand the power of student-driven inquiry. Students harness the power of their curiosity while developing skills that correlate with college success. (see our Essential Skills and Habits)

Read more about the underrated gift of curiosity here! And check out our website and other posts to see how our curriculum is focused on a student-driven approach to inquiry.

Summer plans: Lawrence Alexander

In our latest summer series post, Director of College Counseling Lawrence Alexander discusses his summer plans as the Program Director for the College Admissions Program at Columbia University in New York City. Be sure to follow our blog this summer to learn what other students and faculty are doing during their time away from campus.

What are your summer plans?

I will be working at Columbia University during the month of July as the Program Director for the College Admissions Preparation Program (CAP), sponsored by Summerfuel. I will be running two, ten-day programs where students prep for the SAT with the Princeton Review, work on their college essay with writing faculty, and participate in college admissions workshops facilitated by admissions counselors. We also visit do campus tours of Columbia University, Manhattan College, Sarah Lawrence College and Yale University. Our students are rising juniors and seniors from all around the world.

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Ted Radio Hour: From Curiosity to Discovery

At The White Mountain School we believe that true education should do more than inform; it should inspire. We understand the power of student-driven inquiry and harnessing curiosity. Our culture of inquiry and small class sizes help students develop the skills and habits for success and extend beyond the classroom. Read about our Field Course offerings here!

As a School dedicated to cultivating inquiry, check out this awesome TED Radio Hour from NPR on how curiosity leads to discovery: From Curiosity to Discovery.

Read more about our focus on student-driven inquiry via Echoes, our website and admission podcasts.

Summer Plans: EJ Rimerman ’19

In this post, EJ talks about how he’s been spending his summer climbing and raising money for an adaptive sports program. Be sure to follow our summer series to read how students and faculty are spending their time away from WMS.

I climb every day. Every day, every season. I can’t imagine not being able to do that. I work in a climbing gym and many of my long-term goals are centered around the pursuit of the sport.

What are your summer plans?

So far this summer I’ve been working. I’ve split my time between my local climbing gym, school work, and home. Last month I participated in a fundraiser for an adaptive sports program. I climbed a vertical mile and raised over $2000 for Paradox Sports to support disabled athletes climbing. Be sure to check out my fundraising page: Paradox Mile- EJ Rimerman.

One really cool thing you have planned during your time away from WMS

In my time away this summer, I’m spending three weeks in August paddling whitewater on the Ottawa River in Canada. I’m super pumped to have the chance to improve my skills.

Dance, dance, dance

We recently had the chance to connect with young alumna Katherine Desimine ’15. An avid dancer, she continues to pursue her passion for dance in her post-secondary studies at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Read more below! Be sure to also check out Katherine’s profile in our 2016 issue of Echoes here!

What has your life been like since you’ve left White Mountain?

I’m about to enter my second year at The University of the Arts (UArts) in Philadelphia, and I’m studying dance there. After I graduated from WMS I was at Smith College for a year, and then I transferred to UArts last year. Smith is an incredible place, it has an outstanding dance program that opened my eyes to the ways that dance can look and be and feel, but I knew that I wanted to focus solely on dance and be around other people with similar mindsets/ambitions, and UArts has done that for me. I feel really really lucky that I get to study what I love, essentially all day everyday. I’ve also realized that I want to make dance and teach dance as well as perform, which is really exciting because I’ve always loved working with kids so it kind of combines all my passions.

Could you speak a bit about your passion for dance and how it developed?

Where to even start with my passion for dance, there’s so much to say. I started dancing when I was a sophomore at WMS as part of the dance winter sport. Then I started dancing year round at Creative Edge Dance Studio (CEDS). Creative Edge is a remarkable place, the teachers there are the reason why I am so passionate about dance, why I love to push myself artistically and athletically, and why I was able to get into an amazing dance program like UArts! Now, being at UArts, I feel like I’ve found my purpose in life. (I know that’s super cheesy but there’s no other way to say it.) Dance has an ability unlike any other art form to bring people together, to create communities, to expose problems that we face and to bring to light their solutions. That’s really powerful to me, and I love exploring the ways dance and life feed into each other.

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Summer at WMS

Although students have left, campus has been abuzz with activity. Read more about just some of the activities taking place on McFadden Drive this summer.

The Frost Place

Poets from near and far came to The White Mountain School’s campus to be inspired by the beauty of their surroundings, to enjoy the wonderful weather and to write poetry. The Frost Place is an educational center and non-profit located in Franconia, New Hampshire at the former home of esteemed poet, Robert Frost. Every year, the Frost Place holds a Conference on Poetry, where writers from around the world come to White Mountain’s campus to work with renowned faculty and poets like Blas Falconer, Elizabeth Powell and Yona Harvey. Poets spent most days in intensive workshops, classes and lectures. Read more about the conference here!

Eat, Sleep, Dance, Repeat 

Summer at the Creative Edge Dance Studio (CEDS) is packed with three camps, one residential summer intensive and two day camps. Housed on the lower floor of the Catherine Houghton Arts Center, participants make use of the two full-sized dance studios by taking classes in Modern, Hip Hop, Contemporary, Tap and others. The residential summer intensive Eat, Sleep, Dance, Repeat featured guest artists like Pamela Donohoo, Anthony Lo Cascio and Brea Purdue. An Empowerment through Dance workshop kicked off the camp and was led by Plymouth State faculty Dave Lynch.

A few White Mountain students had the chance to attend or help out with the camps. Sophomore Sofia Mangold danced in the residential camp, while Tori Breen ’17 coached and taught classes in the Summer Sampler Day Camp. Tori will be attending University of Minnesota in the fall to study dance. View pictures from a few of the classes below, and be sure to check the CEDS website for more information.

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Summer Plans: Julia Lent ’18

In our latest summer series post, Julia Lent ’18 tells us about her internship with TAG Creative agency in NYC. Be sure to follow our blog this summer to read more about what students and faculty are doing over the break.

What are your summer plans?

This summer I was lucky enough to land an internship with TAG Creative, a creative agency that specializes in making content that promotes an image and the messaging of a brand. TAG recently did a commercial for the chocolate company, Lindt, and has also worked with companies including Maybelline, L’Oreal, Urban Decay, Movado and others.

What do you hope to learn or bring back with you to school next year?

What I hope to bring back to school with me next year is job experience and ideas for my LASR project. I am really interested in marketing and communications, and I’m pretty sure it’s what I want to study in college and pursue as a career. I’m looking forward to seeing how things work in an agency like TAG, seeing the different directions my interests take me, and to try things that I normally wouldn’t be able to try.

One really cool thing you have planned during your time away from WMS

I think that this internship is probably the coolest thing I have planned for this summer, alongside traveling to Spain and Rome which were both pretty amazing trips.

The Impact of Giving

As The White Mountain School transitions over from the 2016-2017 fiscal year and looks towards next year, we wanted to take a look at one of the main driving forces of our School’s success – the generosity of generations of alumnae/i, families and friends of White Mountain.

Philanthropy has a long history at The White Mountain School. In fact, it predates our founding as St. Mary’s School for Girls in 1886. Our first gift? $10,000 given by Mrs. A.B.B. Tilton of Tilton, NH, equivalent to about $250,000 today, to purchase a three-story Victorian mansion on the corner of Fayette Street and South Main Street in Concord for use as our primary facility.

Soon after our founding, an Alumnae Association was established to connect the graduates to each other and provide financial support to the School. By 1910, this group of women successfully raised $2,500 for the endowment with an additional $5,000 pledged. It was also in 1910 that St. Mary’s appointed its first alumna, Harriet Hall ‘88, to the Board of Trustees.

As the years went on and St. Mary’s School, led by fourth Principal, Dorothy McLane, looked to the future, a plan was made to move the School to the White Mountains. Encouraged by a bequest of $30,000 from Elizabeth Marshall Page ‘99, the Trustees made the decision in 1936 to enter into negotiations to purchase the Seven Springs Estate in Bethlehem, NH, where our School stands today.

As our School grew and needs changed, new buildings were built around campus. Our name changed twice – from St. Mary’s School to St. Mary’s-in-the-Mountains to The White Mountain School. Dormitories, classrooms and other facilities were all built thanks to the generosity of countless alumnae/i, families and friends of White Mountain. At the same time, our endowment and operating support (Annual Fund) grew.

There are those contributions that are displayed prominently around campus:

Lovejoy Chapel

McGoldrick Library & Research Center

Burroughs Dormitory

McFadden Drive

Cook Circle

Class of 2017 Gallery

As well as those that are harder to see:

Bishop Douglas E. Theuner Scholarship

Houghton-Duane Scholarship

Paula K. Valar Scholarship

Caroline O. McMillan ’47 Music Award

Frederic L. Steele Prize for excellence in science

Robin MacQuire Pearson Class of 1916 Prize

The contributions of dozens of Head’s Circle members

Thank you to everybody who has had a part in White Mountain’s success. As one current student wrote in a thank you letter to her scholarship funders, “The White Mountain School has allowed me to experience things I would not have had the chance to had I continued going to my local public school in New York City….The world needs more amazing people like you who care deeply about people and education. Thank you for the support that has helped provide me with the opportunity to be at The White Mountain School.”

Click the following links to learn more about the Annual Fund and Planned Giving

Summer Plans: Wenyi Guo ’18

As the summer season begins, students and faculty embark on a whole new set of adventures outside of White Mountain. Senior Wenyi Guo talks about her summer plans to attend an intensive mathematics program below. Earlier this year Wenyi was one of only 500 students in the US to qualify for the 2017 USA Mathematical Olympiad. Read more about her success here!

Be sure to follow our blog this summer to read more about what students and faculty are doing over the break.

What are your summer plans?

This summer I plan to attend an intensive summer program that explores mathematics called the Ross Mathematic Program in Asia. The program is an intensive summer experience designed to encourage high school students to explore mathematics. I’m attending the five-week residential session focused on number theory.

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Alumnae/i Update: Parker “Avery” Croft ’05

Parker “Avery” Croft ’05: Actor and screenwriter Parker Croft’s portfolio continues to grow. Most famous for his role as Felix in Once Upon a Time and appearances in Nip Tuck, Roadies and NBC’s 1600 Penn, Parker recently portrayed the character of Brent in the HBO miniseries Big Little Lies, a series that boasted a series finale viewership in line with The Sopranos.

In 2010, he co-wrote and starred in Falling Overnight, for which he was nominated for two Best Actor awards—one for the Nashville Film Festival, the other for the Jacksonville Film Festival.

“Without a doubt WMS was an incredibly formative experience. As I reflect on my time there, I think of the patience extended to me in my most tumultuous times. WMS also gave me the opportunity to produce my first play and the time and freedom I needed to make it exactly what I wanted it to be. That experience has reverberated throughout my life.” —Parker “Avery” Croft ’05

Read more about how Parker has made a life on stage acting here!