SJA News ——来自校长的信:学院学生的自发行为


Spontaneous Combustion


Over the past week, I was struck by three acts of spontaneity that once again reinforced my view that our young people are full of goodness and are brave and confident enough to be vulnerable in sharing it. First, Athletic Director David McGinn shared an email from a Danville High School cross country coach that told the story of freshman runner Cadence Codling. Cadence, who joined brother Aden and sister Eve at the Academy this fall, was running in a meet at Danville when she noticed a girl passed out on the course. She immediately stopped running the race and ran to get help instead, foregoing any chance of placing or even getting her personal best time. After getting help to the girl, Cadence tried to complete the course, but having gotten confused by her Good Samaritan detour, she missed the last lap and was disqualified. She may not have finished the race, but she emerged a winner that day, and her story inspired me to act more compassionately during the race of my busy days.


The second event happened on Tuesday, the day the Class of 2023 came to Fuller Hall to sing the Alma Mater. Freshman Nathan Lenzini, who had been learning the song to play accompaniment on the piano, arrived in South Church Hall early and was quietly playing the song as his classmates gathered before Chapel. None of them knew at that time that they would be making the daunting trip to Fuller to show the rest of the school how well they could sing the song, but as the students entered, those who were seated early began to softly sing the Alma Mater, drawing even more of their classmates inside to sing with them. The result was a spontaneous show of school spirit and class unity, and when the class sang together on Fuller Hall stage, they did a great job—musical, loud, enthusiastic, and unified. (I did ask them to come back one more time to sing in Fuller Hall, even though they passed muster, because this will be the last time I get to celebrate Alma Mater Day, and I don’t want to let it go!)


The third event is something that has continued ever since Tuesday. Every morning when I’ve arrived in Fuller, our audio-visual crew has been playing music over the sound system. We had done this before, and it was very popular, but this was the first time this year. I didn’t ask them to do it; they just did. As students entered Chapel, they heard the music and started spontaneously dancing; faculty members joined them. When the play list turned to “Piano Man”, senior Patrick Fox led a group of students in belting out the chorus, and seniors Trey Alercio and Pashion Knowles took advantage of their front-row seats to get up and dance. I had seen a similar spontaneous response when I observed English teacher Angela Drew’s AP Seminar course; as students entered, they spontaneously danced to the songs Angela played.


These acts of spontaneous goodness and joy inspired me, so I started to research spontaneity, and in the process I came across the phenomenon of spontaneous combustion. Spontaneous combustion happens when a substance with a low ignition point begins to produce heat (through oxidation or fermentation) and the heat cannot escape, causing the temperature to rise and a fire to start. If oxygen and fuel are present, the fire will spread quickly. I immediately saw an analogy to the spontaneity of our students.


There are many things we do to intentionally inspire and nurture goodness in our community. Under the leadership of Assistant Head for Campus Life Beth Choiniere and Class Deans Terrence Reed, Annie Angell, Chris Dussault, and Matt Racenet, our Advisor Program helps foster these instincts. Likewise, Director of Campus Health Services, Sarah Garey, and her staff of counselors and nurses intentionally foster good decision-making and mental health. Beth, Sarah, and Dean of Students Jack Driscoll join a dozen others from across the school—representing Academics, Admissions, Advancement, Guidance, Resident Life, and Special Services—each week in the Student Support Team meeting to plan intentional interventions in the lives of young people to help them be their best selves. We have been doing this for years, and it has helped make the Academy a great school.


However, the good things I saw this week were not of this intentional variety. The fact that these acts came from freshmen who have been here only a month suggests that a large part of their goodness comes from a source other than our nurturing. Each of these young people had something good already inside them—altruism, compassion, openness, joy, affection for classmates—and in the moments described above, these good things spontaneously caught fire, causing a spontaneous combustion that spread throughout our community.


I have written about the Week Five Blues in the biorhythms of schools—the first time the load of tests and papers coincides with the first sickness and cold weather of the year—and these fires of spontaneity can lift us up if we just notice them. As we enter Week Five, we also enter a time of transition, as the search for my successor enters its final stages. It will be a time of excitement, uncertainty, and additional stress, but this week has given us some examples of how we can help each other through stressful times—performing and enjoying spontaneous acts of compassion, selflessness, togetherness, and joy. So, thank you, Cadence: I am sure Aden and Eve felt some pride in their little sister as they heard me tell your story to over 800 people. (I hope they told you!) And thank you, Nathan, and Class of 2023. You lifted us up on Tuesday, and I promise we will celebrate your return (and maybe even sing along with you this time!) Finally, thank you to all of the music makers, singers, and dancers who have shared and will continue to share the goodness and gifts within you—for being sources of inspiration and joy when we need it most.

我写了一篇关于学校生物节律的Week Five Blues的文章,这是第一次考试巧遇第一次生病和寒冷的天气,如果我们注意到了它们,这些自发的火焰会让我们振奋。当我们进入第五周时,我们也进入了一个过渡时期,因为寻找我的继任者进入了最后阶段。这将是一个充满兴奋、不确定和额外压力的时期,但本周给了我们一些例子,说明我们如何能够在压力时期相互帮助,表现同情心、无私、团结和快乐的自发行为。所以,谢谢你,卡登斯:我相信亚丁和夏娃听到我向800多人讲述你的故事时,一定为他们的小妹妹感到骄傲。(希望他们告诉你!)谢谢你,内森,还有2023届的同学。星期二你们激励了我们,我保证我们会欢迎你们的归来(也许这次还会和你们一起唱!)最后,感谢所有的音乐制作者、歌手和舞者,他们将继续分享内心的善良和本能,在我们最需要的时候成为灵感和快乐的源泉。

Art Faculty Featured in College Hall Gallery


An etching titled "Baby" by Kim Darling, a Fine Arts Department faculty member, is currently on display at the College Hall Gallery at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier through October 1.


Wednesday, October 23


Fall Concert, South Church Hall


Sergio Sastre Salgado (r) wowed us with his card tricks in Chapel during a live-act for the Magic Club, one of 35 clubs or activities offered to students after school.


Andy Colpitts, a former Academy student, worked with Mrs. Warner-Ashley's Acting 1 classes last week. Andy graduated from high school in Europe and then went to Paris to study theater. He shared mime techniques learned at the Jacques Lecoq school with the students.


Culinary students joined forces last week with students in the SJA Field Semester program for a day at a local apple orchard and an afternoon of berry picking and cider making on the SJA Field Campus.

上周,烹饪专业的学生与SJA Field课程的学生一起,在当地的苹果园度过了一天,下午在一个采摘浆果和酿造苹果酒的地方度过。

The Hilltopper Restaurant staff are getting ready to open on October 15.


The Girls' Golf team hosted four other teams at SJCC. Photos from the match can be viewed here.


The Cross Country teams held their first home meet of the season last week. Photos from the boys' and girls' races can be viewed here.


The JV Volleyball team hosted MMU last week. Photos can be viewed here.





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