Author Archives: Amy Bannon

Donor Profile: Sue Tracy Moritz ‘56

It’s My Turn

First we supporimg_2474ted my husband’s alma mater, then we gave to our children’s….now it’s my turn.  This refrain, “it’s my turn” was a strong voice in my head five years ago and it coincided nicely with a visit from The White Mountain School in which they described a project of interest to me. To this day I look back on my time at the School with nostalgia and appreciation. Education has always been important to my family and we believe strongly in giving back.

Five years ago, White Mountain was raising money to restore the Formal Garden.  Having fond memories of the garden, I was interested in supporting this project, but before doing so I had some questions… about the academic program, the student body, the faculty, the physical plant, and the School’s financial stability.  I wanted to know more about White Mountain’s mission and vision, and its ability to move forward with both. Satisfied with what we learned, my husband (Charlie) and I were pleased to give a leadership-level gift to support the garden restoration project.

My reconnection with my alma mater was sparked by the garden project but has since deepened. Each year I’ve seen the School set high expectations and work hard to achieve them. The White Mountain School is doing interesting and important work in the world of education, students are thriving, admissions are strengthening, and the facilities are being cared for. Ever since my reconnection, we have been pleased to give an equivalent or higher gift to the School dividing our support between the annual fund, capital projects, and the endowment. Our annual giving recognizes the good work being done today for White Mountain students. Our capital and endowment gifts are our way of telling White Mountain that we also believe in and want to support the School’s future.

Believing in the importance of cultivating young donors, we financially challenged the School to find ways to encourage the next generation of philanthropic support. They responded with the Young Leaders giving program and a more robust Senior Gift program. We hope these programs will continue to grow and provide support for White Mountain in the years to come.

Charlie and I are proud to be a part of the current and future success of The White Mountain School. I am glad that when my turn came, we could invest in a small educational institution that is deeply meaningful to me and one with which I could partner in giving back.

 

Spring Field Courses

Field Courses at The White Mountain School demonstrate our commitment to learning outside the classroom. Students at White Mountain immerse themselves in week-long, off-campus Field Courses each semester. These unique experiences allow in-depth, academic exploration of a specific topic in an authentic setting. Each Field Course provides an incomparable opportunity for students to explore and develop interests and passions beyond the walls of the traditional classroom.

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“Field Courses allow students to follow new or developing interests and passions into a
specific field of study for a week-long intensive program. The power of spending time
learning and bonding as a co-learning community for a week deepens connections
with both the academics covered in their course and also with their peers.” – Ted Teegarden, Director of Outdoor Education

This week, Field Courses met to go over their course syllabus and begin preparations for their departures on March 4. Courses will go far and wide this spring from exploring social justice in the Dominican Republic to avalanche science in the snowy mountains of Idaho.


Spring Field Course Offerings:

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Green Living in the Urban World: Sustainability and Service in Montreal

Leadership in the Natural World: Practical Applications of Leadership and Communication

Intersectional Feminism: An Examination of Gender, Power, and Race

Maine Coast Independent Student Project

The Physics of Climbing

Winter Photography in The White Mountains

Buddhism and Mindfulness: The Study and Practice

Economics: A Case Study Through the Ski Industry

Ekphrastic Exercises in Art and Writing

Avalanche Science and Education: Exploring the Mountains of Idaho

Exploring the Culture and Social Justice in the Developing Caribbean Nation of the Dominican Republic


Read full Field Course descriptions here.

Lafayette Regional visits White Mountain

butterfieldIn this blog post, Hannah Butterfield ’20 discusses the process and purpose behind her organizing and hosting of over twenty Lafayette Elementary students at The White Mountain School who celebrated their win for the most successful food donors to the “Souper Bowl Food Drive.”


On Saturday, February 9, a group of 20 Lafayette students came to The White Mountain School to celebrate their win as the two classes who donated the most to Souper Bowl Food Drive. Lafayette Regional is the local elementary school in Franconia, New Hampshire. The after school program where I work and volunteer, Lafter Care, organized the event Souper Bowl to collect goods for local food pantries. To incorporate the White Mountain community, I thought we could incentivize the kids with the chance to win an afternoon at our rock climbing gym. Thankfully, it worked! The Lafayette students jumped into action and we were able to collect 856 items and $140. The fifth grade and the second grade worked incredibly hard to win the opportunity to go to the climbing in the White Mountain gym.

Lafter Care is available everyday for students in grades K-6. This is the first year of the program, so I have been a part of all the developmental stages. I have learned so much about myself and my leadership abilities through my work with the program. I love what I do and I want to share the opportunity with The White Mountain School community. This winter, members of White Mountain’s community service team have the option to volunteer with Lafter. We were lucky enough to have Jim and Paul join us for the season. The kids love them! I was so excited to organize this rock climbing event because it meant I got to bring together the Lafayette community and The White Mountain School community. In the future, I hope to continue strengthening this connection.

After I spoke with Nate Snow (Assistant Head of School) about using White Mountain’s climbing wall, I knew I would also need the help of White Mountain students. When we had the Hunger Dinner for the Community Life program, I remember hearing many people say they wanted to take action to help fight food insecurity. Although it may seem indirect, by motivating the kids with our gym as a prize, we are doing exactly that. I was amazed by the amount of students who offered to help. We had enough White Mountain volunteers that each student who tried rock climbing could have one-on-one help. There were also volunteers who came to play gym games. They had a great time with the kids coming up with Goofy team names, like “The Meme-anators” or “Secret Chungus.” I’m so proud to be a part of community of people who are so enthusiastic and willing to help.

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Lafayette students were able to get so much out of this experience because of the diligent work of the volunteers from White Mountain. For many of them, rock climbing was something they had never tried before. The one-on-one attention they received made each and every one of them feel successful. I was amazed as I watched a second grader reach the top of the wall on his first try. The fifth grade girls blew me away with their natural talent for the sport.

Reflections from MLK Day

mlkblogCommunities Seeking Justice: A Call to Action

Each year, White Mountain observes Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day through a series of workshops, discussions, speakers and films. This year, the focus of the events held on campus was “Communities Seeking Justice: A Call to Action.”

The day began with keynote speaker, Sebastian Fuentes, who works as an activist with the American Civil Liberties Union New Hampshire chapter. Sebastian shared his story about the path to becoming a US citizen with the community, leaving a lasting impact. After the Sebastian addressed the community, students and faculty members led the community in a series of workshops which included Why Lives Matter, Caravans and Cages: Communities Under Siege, March for our Lives: A Year Later, Justice in our own Hands, and Intersectional Feminism.

After the program, we sent sent out an email collecting thoughts and reflections from the day. Dozens of beautiful responses and notes piled in quickly. Below are just a few excerpts of many:


What was the most memorable part of the day?

“Watching Angel perform her spoken word piece. The room was so still as she bravely shared her words with the community.”

“Having our Keynote Speaker come to our workshop and contribute some fascinating insight and personal details that I would have never thought.”

“Creating many meaningful pieces of art, contributing to a bigger cause.”

“The most memorable part of my day was seeing everyone in my group get excited to answer questions or add their ideas and input to the conversation.”

“The most memorable part of my day was leading the workshop and hearing my classmates ideas on the criminal justice system. Hearing them talk about some of the steps they will take to make our world a better place continues to encourage me to fight for the injustice.”


What was your biggest take-away?

“The White Mountain School is an amazing community. Every member of our community contributed to the vibrant quilt of justice and diversity we weaved yesterday.”

“I left feeling really positive about the current climate of our student body. Everyone seemed genuinely engaged in the conversations throughout the day and dedicated to making White Mountain and the greater world a better place.”

“My biggest take away was when Lawrence reminded us that although we talked about many injustices today, what we learned should be carried to how we conduct ourselves tomorrow.”

“My biggest take-away was that “courageous conversations” are important to strengthen our community and in the right environment they can be rich and enlightening.”


What do you value most about White Mountain’s MLK Day program?

“A moment to pause and think about life beyond our beautiful campus.”

“The small sessions. Whether they are movies or workshops – bringing it down to a small group level for most of the day is terrific.”

“I value all of the work that goes into preparing the workshops and lessons. I love the diversity and inclusion aspect of it, and I enjoy the fact that we are focusing on continuing Dr.King’s work in celebration, instead of just taking the day off.”

“I valued the participation of everyone in the morning session. I love that these conversation can be had among students, lead by students!”

“The thing I value most about White Mountain’s MLK Day program is that it gives underrepresented groups a voice. It allows us to share our feelings and thoughts with others in a constructive and academic way. I also value that our school’s program utilizes ally-ship and that we have people who are of the majority, willing to speak up on our behalf. It is very encouraging.”

Emani ’19 Explores Why Community Matters for MLK Day

cm2Every year, White Mountain observes Martin Luther King Jr. Day through a series of workshops, films, speakers and initiatives. This year, throughout the weekend, Emani Gonzalez asked the probing question, “Why does community matter?” To answer her question, she interviewed White Mountain students and faculty to gain their perspective on the importance of community within The White Mountain School and beyond.

“It felt right to make this our MLK Day project because the one common theme among all workshops, was that we have power in numbers. To this community, there is nothing more important than knowing what’s going on in the world and having hard, courageous conversations. Our diverse community at White Mountain represents many different places and experiences. What better way to share it than our #CommunityMatters project.” – Emani ’19

Below are a few interviews from her research.


cm3Name: Angel Chukwuma

When did you come to White Mountain? I came to White Mountain in the fall of 2018. This is my freshman year.

What do you love about White Mountain? I love the tight-knit community here at White Mountain. Everybody knows each other so it feels very welcoming and friendly.

How do you define community? My idea of a community is a group of people that share similar ideas, experiences, and/or interests. They should support and lift up one another. There can be smaller communities within an overall larger community. If someone belongs to a community, they should feel included and welcomed. A community definitely does not involve exclusion and ostracism.

Community Matters because…Everyone deserves to belong to some kind of community they identify with. I believe everyone wants to have a group of people they can connect with and relate to. Otherwise, people would feel lonely and like an outcast.


cm6Name: Ethan Bernstein

When did you come to White Mountain? I came to White Mountain for my freshman year in 2017.

What do you bring from your community at home to the White Mountain community? I bring an open mind. For most of my early life, I grew up in a bubble and I never really much time to learn about other cultures. I bring a brain of someone who wants to learn how the world works.

How do you define community? People say home is where the heart is. I believe community is where the heart is. I say community is a bunch of people who collaborate to reach the same goal.

Community Matters because…Without community you don’t have a purpose. I feel like life’s purpose is to be part of something greater because nothing great has ever happened with one person alone. It takes a lot of people.


cm1Name: Zoë Simon

When did you come to White Mountain?
I came to White Mountain two years ago (my freshman year)

What do you love about White Mountain?
My favorite part of White mountain is the community! I love the people here and the support we all give to each-other.

How do you define community?
Community = A sense of togetherness and fellowship between people; these people lift each other up and work as one team to reach a shared goal

Community Matters because…A person’s community is their home, family, and support network. We are here to support each other, care for each other, and love each other unconditionally. The unity felt between people effects how comfortable someone feels in any given situation. Therefore, as a community, it is crucial that we support, encourage, include, and care for each other in a way that fosters feelings of peace and unity.  


Read more about White Mountain’s MLK Day here.

White Mountain’s LASR Symposium

LASR projects at The White Mountain School provide students with the opportunity to focus in on a topic of their choosing related to either Leadership, Arts, Service or Research. These general categories demonstrate the range of projects that students choose to undertake.

This program is White Mountain’s way of saying that passion matters, and that we know each and every student has a spark that we want to help kindle, a fire we want to help focus. Each project starts with a question, and students pursue that question throughout the course of the semester.

Research behind college success clearly shows a correlation between student success,  curiosity and engagement in their learning. These are skills our LASR project helps to develop. In addition to writing a paper, each year students present their findings to the White Mountain community, much like a college thesis. This past week, students presented at our Semi-Annual LASR Symposium. The topics ranged from exploring the morality of self-driving cars, to mental heath considerations for law enforcement officers. Below is a list of eight out of the twenty-five presentations given on Tuesday:


  • “Women of Color in Politics” – Mariama Lemon
  • “Living in the Red Tide: The Animal’s Perspective” – Rosie Bailey
  • “Art and Expression: Using Sports as a Muse” – Chance Lee
  • “Epigenetics: Its Effects on Behavior and Disease” – Johanna Clement
  • “The Benefits of Stem Cells” – Leo Porter
  • “Mental Health in Law Enforcement” – Emani Gonzalez
  • “A Secret Method to Gain Strength With Minimum Effort and Time” – Kevin Zhang
  • “Understanding Helmet Safety Within Bikeshare Programs” – Evelyn Thompson

Watch the presentations online here by entering the password “@WMS2019

White Mountain’s First Annual Women’s Winter Weekend

img_0401On Sunday, January 13, White Mountain’s Backcountry Sisters Affinity Group hosted their First Annual Women’s Winter Weekend. This year, White Mountain invited Holderness School to join in on a full day of winter activities, conversation and shared appreciation for the outdoors.

The event included clinics led by White Mountain faculty members in nordic skiing, ice climbing, fat biking and freestyle skiing at Bretton Woods Ski Resort. Hot cocoa, ice skating, and sledding on campus followed the afternoon clinics.

“The Women’s Winter Weekend provided me with the opportunity to try something new in an environment free of anxiety or judgement. Being among such a supportive community of women made me comfortable enough to try, whether I succeeded or failed.” – Hannah Butterfield ‘20

The fat biking clinic spent the afternoon at PRKR Mountain Trails just down the road in Littleton, NH. Dave from Littleton Bike and Fitness generously outfitted the crew with fat bikes of all sizes and shapes to try out and share. Without their guidance and generosity, we could not have hosted such a successful and fun afternoon of biking in the snow.

img_2451Director of Outdoor Education, Ted Teegarden, and White Mountain alumna, Aliah Connolly ’18, hosted the afternoon ice climbing clinic in nearby Franconia Notch. This clinic focused on the fundamentals of ice climbing which included gear fitting and use, movement and technique.

The nordic skiing crew utilized the groomed trails at Ski Hearth Farm just down the road from White Mountain and spent their afternoon learning how to use and slide on nordic skis with the beautiful backdrop of Cannon Mountain and Franconia Notch State Park.

Thank you to Littleton Bike and Fitness and Ski Hearth Farm for your contribution to a fantastic day of shared love for the outdoors.

White Mountain attends NAIS People of Color Conference

“The NAIS People of Color Conference is the flagship of the National Association of Independent Schools commitment to equity and justice in teaching and learning. The mission of the conference is to provide a safe space for leadership and professional development and networking for people of color and allies of all backgrounds in independent schools. PoCC equips educators at every level, from teachers to trustees, with knowledge, skills, and experiences to improve and enhance the interracial, interethnic, and intercultural climate in their schools, as well as the attending academic, social-emotional, and workplace performance outcomes for students and adults alike.” – National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)


 

On November 28, White Mountain faculty members travelled to Nashville, Tennessee to participate in this year’s People of Color Conference. Lawrence Alexander (Director of Diversity and Inclusion) was joined by Barbara Buckley (Director of Residential Life), Eliot Taft (English Faculty), and Matthew Toms (Director of the Student Assistance Program).

Lawrence shared that this year’s conference saw more than 6,700 professional and student attendees, making it the largest PoCC to date. “We were treated to inspiring and challenging keynotes from Lisa Ling, Marian Wright Edelman, and Marc Lamont Hill. Hill provided the most relevant presentation for our work in independent schools. We discussed “Model Minority Syndrome” and “The TRUE Cost of Attending Independent Schools” for students of color.”

For English Faculty, Eliot Taft, this was his first experience attending the People of Color Conference. Last year, Eliot created a senior elective that focused on reading and studying the voices of underrepresented people in American literature.

“So began the journey last summer and this fall in creating a new senior elective: African American and Latin American Literature. The class has covered numerous black and Latinx writers who don’t normally show up in English classes, and it has given voice to these veins of American Literature that oftentimes goes unnoticed.

I had hoped to attend The People of Color Conference in Tennessee this year in order to better my understanding and teaching of writers of color. As a younger educator brought up in an independent school setting myself, this year’s PoCC in Nashville inspired and enlightened me in innumerable ways. What does it mean, and how does it affect a young person, when they find him or herself, during their most formative years, in a place where they immediately feel out of place? I spent the several days that I was in Tennessee attending as many workshops and lectures as possible, primarily focusing on increasing and promoting diverse curriculums in schools. If literature can serve any purpose, it ought to make someone feel less lonely. Above all, I learned last week how essential of a mission it is to give our students of color a voice in the classroom. I learned how to be a better teacher. A better educator. I learned and pushed myself on the importance of providing literature and stories for all my students, not just those who have already had their stories told.”

For Barbara and Matthew, they were able to bring back important considerations for both of their departments. Barbara explains, “There is an implicit sense of belonging that often provides white students with the confidence to try new things, even if they don’t have experience with that activity or role. If we don’t provide guidance and training for all students, particularly for those students of color who desire to have leadership positions, we will be doing all members of the community a disservice because we will not benefit from the knowledge, traditions and interests of all students.” Similarly, Matthew brings back his excitement, energy and awareness to how he can greater serve students in the Student Assistance Program (SAP) and beyond.

When reflecting back on the week, Lawrence shared, “This year I was most impacted by the courage of my colleagues. Each of them came back to campus inspired to affect change for all of our students by creating more equitable and inclusive communities at our school. In the coming months and years, we will be proud of the work that began at PoCC and more-so at the work we continue back on campus.”

We are excited to carry this energy through the remainder of the School year and beyond. To learn more about diversity, equity and inclusion and White Mountain click here.

Alana Bonilla ’19 Performs at The Loading Dock

On Friday, December 7, Alana Bonilla ‘19 performed at the local music venue, The Loading Dock, in front of a full house. With the support of her family and White Mountain community, Alana took the stage and blew the audience away.

Alana found her love for performance during her Sophomore year at White Mountain. Read more about her experience preparing for her first real “gig” and how White Mountain has impacted her musical aspirations beyond high school.

 


Tell me about the process of being invited to The Loading Dock to perform. How did it all start?

A little over a month ago, while I was sitting in the McGoldrick Library after lunch when Kerry (Spouse of Math Faculty Carl Stagg) approached me and explained that the owner of The Loading Dock, Jason Torres, saw my recent YouTube videos. She said that he would love if I would open for a woman they have performing in December at the venue. She mentioned the date and that I would have a 30 minute set. I called my mom right away because I was so excited to have my first gig!

How did you prepare for your performance?

While I was preparing for my gig, I was also preparing for my Berklee College of Music audition. I decided I didn’t want to spend time learning anything new, and instead, practice the songs I already knew how to play. To make a setlist, I decided to sing ten songs, four of which were covers and the rest original. Then, being the nerd I am, I made two columns. The first one was original songs I would be interested in performing and then a column of covers I’ve learned over the years. The next step was getting a good ratio of slow songs and upbeat songs. So, I divided and I mixed them so the show would be varied and exciting.

How has your time at White Mountain impacted your ability to perform in front of an audience?

I had never actually performed until I came to White Mountain. My first performance was at our School’s open mic night my Sophomore year. I remember I was so nervous that I couldn’t keep my leg from shaking. Once I sang my first song, the crowd of students went wild and were wooing and clapping, some even yelled “encore!” That was the moment that I knew that I wanted to pursue music and performing. There is just so much support at this School, and in this community, I know that I can do anything and someone will have my back. I almost cried when I found out a whole bus full of students and other faculty came to support me at The Loading Dock. And then when I came back the next Monday after my performance and audition, people kept coming up to me to ask how the audition went and complimented my performance, and it just made me feel so loved and supported.

What were your biggest takeaways from the experience?

As much as I love performing, it has also always been one of my biggest fears. While preparing for the Berklee audition, I tried to stay away from difficult songs because I knew my nerves would knock my singing ability down a few pegs. But, for some reason at this performance I wasn’t nervous. I just looked out into the audience and I was surrounded by friends and family and I felt completely comfortable just being myself on stage. All the feedback I got from everyone after made me realize that all I have to do is be myself when I perform and I’ll be fine. That was definitely a huge confidence booster.

Many of your songs were originals, what do you enjoy most about songwriting?

The thing I enjoy most about songwriting, is being able to connect with other people. Through middle school and some of high school I had trouble finding people I clicked with. Ever since middle school, I’ve struggled with social anxiety and it has caused me to come off shy and it can be hard to talk or connect with people. But, when I started writing songs it became my way to reach out to other people. I would write a song and then sing it for someone, and for a second when I sang the song, I would make whoever was listening feel the same emotions that I was feeling and I would be able to experience that social click that most people get from having good conversations.


To view more photos from Alana’s performance at The Loading Dock, click here.

 

Alumnae/i Stories: Jeff Brown ’04

How does someone trained in the world of international affairs become an expert in the future of work and artificial intelligence (AI)? Jeff Brown ‘04 first became fascinated with AI during a discussion on the “future of work” in Boston. As a result, Jeff’s current position highlights how the changing nature of work is developing into one of the most intractable public policy challenges that local communities and policymakers will face over the coming years.

The discussion that kindled Jeff’s interested in AI occurred during a Transatlantic Policy Lab project, which focused on crafting policy solutions to address income inequality in Boston and Athens, Greece. During the project, Jeff considered the question, “How do cities currently generate jobs and opportunities for workers?” As conversations continued between city leaders in Boston and Athens, the question needed to be reframed to, “How will tomorrow’s jobs change based on emerging technology, particularly AI, and how can cities best prepare for these changes?” Jeff and his team recognized a growing need to educate policy makers about how to implement emerging AI technology in a way that not only sustains employment today, but creates a roadmap for how to grow jobs as new technology is implemented.

Jeff now manages a slate of projects on the future of work and AI at the Washington, D.C.-based Bertelsmann Foundation, a think tank focusing on digital topics through the lens of transatlantic relations. Jeff explains, “My interest lies in how humans will ultimately govern the development and scaling of technologies such as AI. People are very concerned about how technology is impacting their jobs, tasks, incomes, and their personal lives. In particular, AI technology is at the beating heart of many people’s fears – and hopes. While we have a lot to gain from new technologies, the past few years have shown us some of the negative consequences bred by such “progress.” Far from solving all of our problems, new technologies will breed new challenges that will require very human solutions.”

For example, Jeff is currently leading a team project that is focusing on helping American and European policymakers at the local level craft policy around the future of work. Jeff says “we have been working with policymakers in Las Vegas, Orlando, and Riverside on how they can prepare their citizens and their workforces for the rapid implementation of technology and automation.” His team is creating a future of work microsite that includes videos, illustrations, and a written “scroll” detailing strategies for how each city can approach the future of work. For example, Jeff will release a video in mid-December highlighting the potential threat of robot bartenders on low-wage, low-skill work in Las Vegas. Jeff adds that the most important strategy for now is awareness. If policymakers understand that the future of work is a policy challenge, they can learn to steer productive conversations with constituents and communities.

What’s next for Jeff?  “I value the ability to travel around the world while stitching together projects that have measurable impact. Such projects often involve negotiating with people in other cities, states, and countries. For example, I recently spoke on the future of work at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and I earlier in the fall, I presented a talk titled, ‘People-led Innovation: Toward a Methodology of Solving Urban Problems in the 21st Century’ at the Paris Peace Forum, hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron,” said Jeff. And, while he’s not sure exactly what lies in his longer-term future, he’s confident it will involve travel, exploring the workforce aspects of new technologies, and doing something that offers a tangible and positive impact on the world.