Author Archives: Amy Snow

Senior Dessert: A Lasting Tradition

White Mountain seniors have a lot of important and meaningful events to look forward to each spring. One of these is Senior Dessert, an event that the Class of 2018 enjoyed on April 16. It is a White Mountain tradition that has been around for nearly three decades and one that seniors eagerly anticipate and alumnae/i fondly remember.

img_6468Senior Dessert  was started by College Counselor and French and History Teacher Jane Zanger in the mid-1990s as a way to celebrate the conclusion of the college application process. When she departed in 2010, White Mountain moved the event to the Head of School’s house where it was remained. Faculty and staff make a number of delicious desserts and gather with the graduating class at Dickey House. Julie Yates, Director of Development and Alumnae/i, describes the event as “a laughter and sugar-filled time for faculty/staff and seniors to reminisce about our time together at White Mountain, consider the graduating classes who have come before, and to celebrate our seniors’ transition to college and beyond.”

In addition to enjoying some sweet treats on plates that date back to when the School was called St. Mary’s-in-the-Mountains, the senior class also puts together a time capsule to be opened at their 10th Reunion. Some of the items that the Class of 2018 placed in their time capsule include pointe shoes, carabiners, and letters to themselves and each other. These will no doubt be fun to read in 10 years!

Click here to see some photos from the event.

White Mountain Students Attend Model UN

dsc_0159A dedicated group of eight White Mountain students spent a recent weekend participating in a Model UN event at nearby Plymouth State University. Two of the students, Arli Moyao-Ramirez ’21 and Fatimata Cham ’19, had approached History Department Chair Hiapo Emmons-Shaw about their interest in Model UN. They had been talking about ways to create an opportunity for White Mountain students to participate in Model UN and then by chance, Hiapo received an invitation to the PSU event.

They immediately set to work making plans and recruiting fellow students. They found that many of their classmates were interested and they soon had a formidable group including Liana Alford ’18, Ana Chambers ’19, Carter Chambers ’21, Rachel Dye ’20, Vendy Pospisilova ’20 and Djenebou Semega ’19.  Each student was assigned a country to represent and a real-world issue they would need to work on solutions for with their assigned country’s best interest in mind. This involved a lot of research prior to the event and the completion of a position paper. At the event, both Liana and Arli were recognized for writing the “Best Position Paper” for their respective committees.

dsc_0109A number of the students had previously been a part of debate teams but found this to be a different experience. Liana described Model UN as “more nuanced and focused on diplomacy.” Whereas in debate you continuously try to articulate and prove your point (and are then assigned a score by a judge based on how well you do this), Model UN is focused on coming to a resolution. Each student makes their argument based on what is best for the country they represent, but then must be willing to compromise and make concessions as they work toward a solution that everyone can agree on. A simple majority is all that is needed to pass a resolution, but Carter was happy that his group was able to pass a resolution unanimously, recognizing that in the real world this is much more likely to lead to a positive outcome long-term.

Hiapo noted a number of benefits that the students gained from this experience including “practical experience with the democratic process, the ability to think about global events from different perspectives and the knowledge that with effort they can create change.” The students dsc_0112agreed with this assessment and mentioned a number of skills that they felt they developed throughout the weekend event: articulating ideas clearly, serving as a leader, finding common ground with other people and having the courage to be the first to speak on an issue. Liana noted that she had to “learn to step outside herself and see an issue from many other perspectives besides just her own.” They all agreed that is was an incredibly valuable experience and look forward to participating in similar events in the future.




Chutter’s Featured on NHPR

chuttersChutter’s, a local candy store and favorite weekend destination of White Mountain students, was recently featured on New Hampshire Public Radio’s (NHPR) popular show Morning Edition as part of their Radio Field Trips series. Chutter’s is owned by White Mountain parents Jim Alden P’18, who is a current member of the White Mountain Board of Trustees, and Lynn Beal P’18. The store is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as having the longest candy counter in the world and is considered a must-visit destination for visitors to the area.

Click here to read and/or listen to the full NHPR story.

Student Ambassador Profile: Jaylynn Alexander ’20

alexanderjAs a Student Ambassador, you are often the first White Mountain student that visitors meet. What do you enjoy about this important role?

What I enjoy most is that I get to interact with families, prospective students and visitors through direct dialogue, shared experiences and their interests. It also allows me to meet one-on-one with the visitors and tell them why I really take pride in going to White Mountain.

Tell me about a class you are really enjoying this year and what you like about it.

I am really enjoying World History. I like the broad scope of things we study. We have examined everything from the ancient Mongols to the Enlightenment Period. Right now each student is completing a comprehensive review on a history book; I am reading The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman. This book is about a husband and wife who are Polish-Christian zookeepers living in Nazi Warsaw and their story.

Congratulations on being elected Student Body Vice-President this year! What does this role entail and what do you like about it?

Thank you. This role entails being a role-model in the community and maintaining a certain standard for myself. Each morning I send out community notes that inform the school about upcoming events. I also collaborate with the other student leaders and the social committee to plan events and discuss the forward movement of the school through student council.

What is your favorite place on campus and why?

My favorite place on campus is the library; you can see the beautiful view of the outdoors as well as all of the different people coming and going through the space. I also feel as though I get all of my work done while I am there. The library is very peaceful and allows for great focus.

You recently participated in the Field Course Hands and Hearts: The Civil Rights Legacy of Jewish and African Americans. How did your experiences throughout the week impact you?

Throughout the trip I had a lot of eye-opening experiences. We visited the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia, the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C, and the National Museum of American History, also in D.C. The group also toured Capitol Hill, the White House, the Park School of Baltimore, which does amazing work in their community regarding activism and social change, and the Georgetown Day School which was the first school to integrate in D.C. The experience that impacted me most was when we did community service at the St. Francis Neighborhood Center in Baltimore, MD through the KIND Foundation. Here I saw young children receiving homework help, learning computer skills, participating in outdoor activities, and eating dinner all in the same tiny three floor house. St. Francis is a necessity; for the majority of its kids, the community center serves as their only safe haven outside of a harsh inner city. 

Alumnae/i Profile: Toby Gadd ’88

Imagine stepping into an urban chic, brick interior, cafe style room. Groups of friends are clustered around tables sipping hot chocolate and engaged in relaxed conversation with the “shhhhzzzt” of the milk steamer in the background. Others are standing at the display case, selecting truffles, chocolate bars and drinks to eat in or take home. A friendly and knowledgeable wait staff serves patrons a ‘chocolate flight’, complete with plain crackers and water to cleanse the palate between tastes. At Nuance Chocolates, Toby ‘88 and Alix Gadd have created an unparalleled chocolate experience in old town Fort Collins, CO. Chocolate at this level feeds body and soul; it engages your mind as well as all five senses – it is an experience not to be missed.

Entrepreneurial by nature and profession, Toby has started, managed and sold two successful businesses in the last 20 years. After selling Montage Graphics/ParticleLogic Marketing in 2011, Toby, faced with free time and a comfortable financial situation, spent his time competing in ultra-endurance mountain bike races, hanging out with his family, traveling, and making chocolate in his kitchen with his scientist wife. When they traveled to Costa Rica and began learning about cacao-producing regions of the world, several observations rose to the fore. First, some areas were producing environmentally and ethically sustainable cacao beans, without pesticides, herbicides or child labor. Second, chocolate from different countries tasted fantastically different. And third, they both really loved experimenting with and eating chocolate. Their kitchen hobby expanded to include the basement. Before too long, Toby’s business mindset took over — Nuance was born.

Toby says of Nuance, “The opportunity to share what we’d learned about chocolate seemed like something too good to pass up. Having a plan in life is good and all, but I’ve learned to always leave room for serendipity.” And with that, Toby embarked on his next adventure. With a small factory a few doors down where beans are roasted, ground, mixed with sugar and sometimes milk, and then fashioned into chocolate bars or truffles for sale in their shop or online, Nuance is one of only a small number of ‘bean to bar’ chocolate makers in the country. Nuance now boasts the largest selection of single origin chocolate bars in the world and has continued to use only sustainably and ethically sourced ingredients. With a flavor profile of more than 600 naturally occurring compounds, making it more complex than red wine, single-origin chocolate offers a seemingly unlimited playground for the chocolate lover and entrepreneur alike. Today, Nuance is thriving. The shop is pleasantly full throughout the day with both tourists and ‘regulars’. One patron commented that the unique chocolate experience, coupled with the warm, friendly neighborhood atmosphere brings him in regularly to relax and enjoy a sweet treat after work. As online sales continue to grow too, Nuance has had to increase their number of employees several times over the last few years. Toby and Alix are considering expanding into the wholesale market at some point, but are clear that they won’t take that step until they’re ready and are confident they won’t sacrifice quality and mission for the sake of growth.

When asked what advice he might give today’s White Mountain students interested in opening a business of their own, Toby said, “Be true to the values and passion that embodies life at White Mountain, absorb the wisdom that life sometimes brutally hurls at you, and then do something that brings you and your community genuine joy and satisfaction.”

Interested in learning more about Nuance and maybe ordering some single origin chocolate to taste? Check them out at

Alumnae/i Profile: Amy Bannon ’14

“I vividly remember the morning reading that opened the door for me to chase opportunities within the world of adaptive sports.”

img_2709Amy Bannon ‘14 was impacted by White Mountain in a number of meaningful ways, but the moment she describes here is the one that really set her on the course she continues to pursue today. When Amy heard a morning meeting presentation by Sandy Olney P’04, Executive Director of Adaptive Sports Partners of the North Country, she felt a spark and knew immediately that volunteering with ASPNC was how the wanted to spend her winter. “She spoke with infectious enthusiasm, and I left that morning reading feeling responsible to contribute to such an amazing organization. Instead of recreational skiing after school in the winter, I spent three days volunteering with ASPNC and couldn’t have been more thrilled. I saw how therapeutic and beneficial skiing was to our participants both behaviorally and physically.”

Amy had enjoyed a number of previous experiences as a volunteer with various programs aimed at helping those with disabilities access recreational activities. When she was in high school in Rhode Island before starting at White Mountain, she helped to train Special Olympic athletes at Yawgoo Valley Ski Area and she assisted with various recreational programs in her local community. Amy began to recognize the growing passion that she had developed for connecting those with disabilities to outdoor spaces through sports and recreation. With this foundation in place, her exposure to the work she was able to do at ASPNC was life-changing and helped her see that this was work she could and would pursue in her future.

amy-bannon3After her graduation from White Mountain, Amy spent one year at the University of New Hampshire and then transferred to Prescott College in Arizona to pursue a degree in outdoor program administration with a minor in education. It was a chance encounter on a ski lift at the Arizona Snowbowl in 2015 that opened the door for Amy to continue the work she was so passionate about in a new part of the country. She was in her first season of working at the mountain when she found herself sitting next to Alex Davenport, the founder and Executive Director of the Northern Arizona Adaptive Sports Association, on the chairlift. He had recently started the non-profit program and Amy immediately expressed interest in volunteering as an instructor and in helping to grow the program. In the three years since, they have certainly accomplished that. Last winter they had 470 participants and they continue to add instructors and equipment in order to serve people with a wide range of disabilities. Alex Davenport has seen Amy’s impact on the program firsthand. He said the following:

Her dedication to adaptive sports and the people who participate in them was apparent the day I met her. Amy is both bright and very dedicated. During her time with our Adaptive Ski School she has helped facilitate hundreds of lessons and taught over 300 students herself. She has been and continues to be a pivotal part of our growing non-profit organization. It’s rare to find someone so passionate about what they do and we are so lucky to have her.”

At White Mountain, we feel lucky to have had Amy as a student and more recently, as a member of the faculty when she was back on campus this past fall to work in the outdoor education department and coach climbing. Come winter though, she was back in Arizona to complete her senior year at Prescott and to continue her amazing work with the NAASA that is so impactful for so many people. Amy will return to White Mountain in June as the Communications Manager and we look forward to the impact that she will make in this new role.

Fatimata Cham ’19 Visits the United Nations

chamFatimata Cham ’19 was recently invited to attend the 2018 Winter Youth Assembly at the United Nations which was organized by the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation. Fatimata is from The Bronx, NY and was invited to this event because of the work she has done for the past two years with The New York Academy of Sciences. NYAS is a local community organization, whose mission is to “drive innovative solutions to society’s challenges by advancing scientific research, education and policy” and whose work seeks to address the Sustainable Development Goals laid out by the United Nations in 2015.



Fatimata has focused her work with NYAS on the lack of access to education due to poverty because this is an issue she sees in her own community. She believes that her generation will need to wrestle with these issues in the future, so the time to get to work on them is now. At NYAS, they work to come up with possible solutions and then take a grassroots approach by writing to local mayors and state senators. Fatimata continues to engage in this important work, even while attending White Mountain, through video chats and written communication and collaboration.

fd1b5f5c-0de9-4472-bffa-28c88efa9ddcWhen she attended the Winter Youth Assembly at the UN, one of the highlights for Fatimata was a presentation by Munira Khalif, the 2017-2018 U.S. Youth Observer to the United Nations. Munira founded an organization called Lighting the Way which seeks to increase access to education for young people, especially girls, in East Africa. Munira is currently a student at Harvard University and Fatimata finds her to be a perfect example of the idea that anyone can make change, regardless of age.

Fatimata found the experience of attending this conference both educational and inspirational and she hopes to be able to represent NYAS at future Youth Assemblies.

Rachel Van Wylen’s work featured at WREN

vanwylenAs the Art Department Chair and teacher of ceramics and studio art, Rachel Van Wylen spends her days helping White Mountain students learn how to create art;  she is also an accomplished artist in her own right. Rachel graduated from Gordon College with a B.A. in Art and English Language and Literature. She then went on to study at The New York Academy of Art, graduating with an M.F.A. in Painting in 2009. While in New York City, she also studied at the Art Students League of New York. In 2015, Rachel was the winner of the Loeschner Competition at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. This is one of the most significant sculpture collections in the Midwest and Rachel’s winning piece is now part of the museum’s permanent collection. Rachel has also shown her work throughout the Midwest, the Northeast and in Italy.

Rachel is one of two artists (with Andy Frost) whose work will be featured at WREN (the Women’s Rural Entrepreneurial Network) for the month of March in an exhibit called People and Place. Rachel’s work is mostly landscapes, all of which have been painted on location. The following is Rachel’s artist statement which explains why this is so important to her process.

“Experiencing a sense of place is essential to my creative practice. I like to paint on location because it allows me to have an authentic experience of each place, to smell the air, see the light from the windows flickering on the walls of the rooms, and talk to the people who call that place home.

1-1I first took an interest in the idea of places and spaces when I was a graduate student in New York City living in a claustrophobically small apartment. I thought about how different I felt when I was in this tiny space as opposed to when I was walking in Central Park or standing in a quiet gallery of a museum. With that in mind, I made a series of paintings showing women in various interior spaces. All of them were meant to show the relationship between the qualities of the places we inhabit and the thoughts and feelings we have when we are in those spaces.

I continued in this vein for several years after graduate school until one summer when I was at the Vytlacil Campus of the New York Art Students League. For the first time, I tried painting outdoors en plein air. The challenge of capturing the ephemeral qualities of rippling water, moving clouds, and changing light was tantalizing to me, and I realized that I loved painting places that were in a state of flux. My current work continues to address the idea of space, both interiors and landscapes.”


A number of current and former White Mountain faculty attended the opening of People and Place at WREN on March 2. Rachel’s paintings will be on display at WREN throughout the month of March, but if you can’t make it to see them in person, you can click here to see some more of her beautiful work.



Student Ambassador Profile: Corrine McGrath ’18

mcgrathAs a Student Ambassador, you are often the first White Mountain student that visitors meet. What do you enjoy about this important role?

I enjoy the positivity of this role and the opportunity to welcome new people and show them around the school. That’s definitely my favorite part, the spirit of it all. I want people to want to come here just as I wanted to come here when I visited and toured. I want to share the positivity.

Tell me about a class you are really enjoying this year and what you like about it.

I’m really enjoying Spiritual Memoir this semester. I’m enjoying it because it pushes me to think deeply about my memories and about past experiences that I probably wouldn’t have spent time thinking about if it weren’t for this class. I also like how it’s pushing me to improve my writing and to make it more interesting.

Congratulations on winning a recent freestyle ski competition! How long have you been skiing and what do you enjoy about it?

I’ve been skiing at Cannon Mountain since I was about three years old. This year was my first year competing on the freestyle ski team. I’ve skied in the park more this year than I ever have before and I love it! What I enjoy most about skiing is the idea that the more you do it, the better you get. I just want to ski to get better and to have fun and to just be out there on the mountain.

What is your favorite place on campus and why?

I have a few favorite places on campus but my favorite room is the art studio in the Catherine Houghton Arts Center. The windows take up a whole entire wall and it’s always so bright and cheerful inside. I also love how it is a bit messy but somehow still organized and put together. It reminds me of my life.

What are your hopes for your last semester at White Mountain? Are there things you’d like to accomplish or new things you’d like to try?

I just want to make the best out of this last semester at White Mountain. It’s beginning to hit me that this really is my last year of high school and that I won’t be coming back next year. Before the end of the year, I’d like to participate in more activities and spend more time with my friends at school in order to make memories that will stick with me throughout the rest of my life.

Alumnae/i Ski Weekend 2018

20180210_124318The participants at this year’s Alumnae/i Ski Weekend were greeted with near perfect ski conditions at Cannon Mountain and the following decades were represented: 1950s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. The winner of this year’s race, Julianne Ireland Boissonneault ’03 narrowly beat her husband, Ryan Boissonneault ’92, with a winning time of 25.40. Coming in a close third was Ryan Neally ’98. Again this year, our youngest racer was Asa Toms, age 9, son of faculty members Matthew Toms and Kathy Kohatsu.

Racers were joined by friends at the Apres Ski event held at Dickey House on Saturday evening. Several alumnae/i returned to campus on Sunday for brunch,  a campus fb_img_1518791925372tour and to climb the Beverly S. Buder ’42 Climbing Wall here on campus. Thank you to everyone who came back to race and hope to see you next year!

You can click here to see more pictures from the weekend.