We are pleased to introduce you to Andy King, a member of the Greensboro Montessori School graduating class of 2014 and the founder of our new Alumni Ambassador program. Andy and his family have been deeply connected to our school community since he was very young. He and his two brothers began at GMS when they were toddlers and continued through the primary, elementary and middle school years. Andy is currently a senior at Greensboro Day School and for the last three years, he has consistently received academic honors on the Head's List which recognizes students who maintain an A average (90 and above) on their semester report cards.
Andy is also an accomplished musician and percussionist. He is active in his high school pep band which plays on the sidelines at basketball games to energize the fans and the team. He also enjoys playing in a band with his fellow GMS classmate, Jake Breeden, and GMS faculty members, Jonathan McLean and Doug Williams. The quartet (which goes by the name “Reverend Cleveland and the Graduates”) can be found rehearsing in the evenings in the GMS upper school, and occasionally playing local venues such as Scuppernong Books, churning out a wide variety of instrumental music from jazz to swing.
Outside of school, Andy is an avid mountain biker and sports enthusiast. “I like to mountain bike, not only because it’s exhilarating but because it is a great way to get out in nature. I love to be in nature; it is very calming and helps me feel grounded especially when I am stressed. I am also interested in sports and I play all the time with my family and friends. It is a fun way for me to get exercise. And I enjoy the social aspect of watching sports together with friends.” Andy recently joined the Guilford Gears Composite Mountain Bike Team. The team races against other teams from around North Carolina and recently won 2nd place in a state-wide competition during their inaugural season.
Andy also loves traveling on new adventures. This summer he spent two weeks in Guatemala where he volunteered his time working in rural healthcare clinics. In this service learning expedition, his group assisted medical fellows by testing blood glucose levels and recording vital signs of patients seeking healthcare. Andy also enjoyed spending time with his family this summer in their annual mountain biking trek in Crested Butte, Colorado. “The town has a special place in our hearts as we go every year. The people are always nice, and the natural scenery around the town is stunning. Then we traveled further west to tour Yosemite National Park in California. Without a doubt, it is the most beautiful place I have ever seen in my life!”
As someone who is genuinely kind and insightful, Andy is not shy when sharing about how much he cares for his family. His parents John and Beth King have supported all three of their sons through full educational journeys at Greensboro Montessori School. Andy is the middle of three brothers; his older brother, Aubrey, attends Washington University in St. Louis, MO and his younger brother, A.J., is a 7th grader at Greensboro Montessori School. Andy has a deep respect for the entrepreneurial legacy that began with his great-grandfather at J.A. King company and he has aspirations of joining the family business one day. When asked to share one of his proudest accomplishments, he said, “I recently logged over 300 hours of working as a scale technician at J.A. King company. I started in the summer of 2016, and have loved spending my summers getting experience in the real world and building my knowledge further. This milestone is a way of showing recognition of the work that I have put in, and I am very proud of myself for reaching it.”
Thanks to Andy King for standing tall as a leader and a role model in our alumni community. His hard work and initiative are helping us pave the way for new leadership opportunities for his fellow graduates for years to come.
Greensboro Montessori School sends tremendous congratulations and a fond farewell to our class of 2017. In our lead photo for this post, the class of 2017 stands proudly in the top row. Pictured from left to right are Isabel Egbert, Jean-Lou Paré, Jack Brown, Sophie Strugnell, Baxter Smelzer, Simon Smith, Eli Wainscott, Ya Chukasul, and Hayden Juneau. The inaugural ninth-grade class, who will return next year, kneels along the bottom row. Pictured from left to right are Alex Kotis, Owen Jacobs and Theo Fenske.
[dt_sc_h2] Sound Bites from the Class of 2017[/dt_sc_h2]
Greensboro Montessori School's graduation exercises include personal speeches from the graduates. In these moments, the audience is treated to glimpses of each graduate's past, present and future. In honor of these young adults' self-awareness, maturity, accomplishments and gratitude, we share some of the most touching thoughts shared by the class of 2017. Photos courtesy of Aris Wells Photography
"I have only been at Montessori for three years, but I have gotten the experience of a lifetime. I can say, without a doubt, that this Montessori experience will put me ahead all throughout my life. First of all, I'd like to thank my parents for sending me to this school...Like all things in life, things come and go away, sometimes even too quickly. And when I found my grade the oldest one in Montessori, I knew it had been too quick. Although I have been dreading leaving this school, I am also looking forward to the upcoming year."
Jack's next stop: Grimsley High School
"Now Middle School. Nothing has changed a lot about me; I'm still quiet as I could ever be. Old friends were still there for me, so I felt safe. Things changed here though. Assignments got more difficult and [there were] projects I thought I would never be able to do. From creating a wolf suit on stilts, to creating costumes, to creating a movie. Teachers in Middle School: Jonathan, Doug, Deirdre, Dean, Jenny, Sandra, Matt and Keisha. Without your help, I wouldn't be on this stage today. Middle School felt just like family."
Ya's next stop: Weaver Academy for the Performing and Visual Arts and Advanced Technology
"Before I do anything, I need to thank my family. Grant, you made me who I am in ways you can't even understand. You are always there for me, and I love you. Mom and Dad, thank you for putting me in this school and for supporting me in everything I do...Eighth grade is a confusing, scary fever dream. Everything stops being just a thing and becomes your last thing. Your last Marketplace; your last Land trip; your last Advisory; [your] last time in CASA; until finally, you're standing here for the last time. Thank you all for everything."
Isabel's next stop: Weaver Academy for the Performing and Visual Arts and Advanced Technology
"In his final year at this school, this kid, alongside his partner in crime, Owen Jacobs...started to run everything tech related, doing things like being the first students to run [theatrical productions] by themselves. This kid, in his final year, found out what he wanted to be. He found out what he was skilled at, and here he is, standing on a stage, the last day he will be a student here, telling you about the last three years of his life in the third person. How - meta - is - that?"
Hayden's next stop: Weaver Academy for the Performing and Visual Arts and Advanced Technology
"It took a little bit of time to adjust to the new homework load, but once I got past that, I had lots of fun in Jonathan's long-term [creative labs] projects, Dean's science labs, and Doug's math classes. I also had a blast at the land helping the Racoon tribe set up the Tipi, make a fire, and the fun job of washing dishes. I also enjoyed the woodworking rotation...Thank you to everyone that has helped make my experience at GMS the best it could be and making it possible for me to attend the STEM Early College next year."
Jean-Lou's next stop: STEM Early College at NC A&T State University
"After 12 years of the Greensboro Montessori School, I am definitely going to miss it. Leaving can be a scary and an exciting time. And I have had not only amazing relationships with friends throughout the years, but also with the teachers. You couldn't ask for more involved and caring teachers. Teachers, staff, and friends all in [an] awesome Montessori environment that all helped me grow to be ready for the next step in my life. After being here, I look around and realize I am ready. I have been well prepared and have learned the skills I need to move forward."
Baxter's next stop: Page High School (pre-IB) or Weaver Academy for the Performing and Visual Arts and Advanced Technology
"I have spent..12 years of my life in this school and sometimes I gotta ask, 'Is this the real life or is [it] just fantasy?' This school has been amazing to me from the teachers to the staff, and this place has most definitely given me its all...A little known fact about me..I don't like change. But life forces you to change whether you like it or not...You just have to adapt."
Simon's next stop: Weaver Academy for the Performing and Visual Arts and Advanced Technology
"My experience at GMS has definitely been special...Learning in [a] Montessori environment is a lot more free. There aren't as many guidelines, and it's more based around genuine curiosity. I think in Montessori there are a lot more lessons that are being learned, and there are a lot of life skills that are involved. I've really enjoyed my time here and have made many memories with many people. Even though I've only been here one year, I'm gonna miss everyone so much, but I'm excited to see what's in store for me next."
Sophie's next stop: Northern Guilford High School
"My final word describes my Middle School experience is 'nuevo,' which means 'new' in Spanish. Everything is new here. You are thrust into projects and situations that you've never experienced before, and it's blissfully confusing to figure it out, solve the puzzle, get rid of the grit on the lens to see the full picture. I've done it all now, however. I've planted microgreens; I've led a group to be saved by aliens; I've branched out to new people, new groups of people; and I've learned by this. By every moment, every decision, I've grown as a person."
Eli's next stop: Weaver Academy for the Performing and Visual Arts and Advanced Technology
[dt_sc_h2]Looking Ahead to the Class of 2018[/dt_sc_h2]
In 1997, Greensboro Montessori School graduated its first class of three eighth-grade students. It seems fitting on the 20th anniversary of that historic occasion, we are proudly introducing the School's first class of ninth-grade students, and it is also comprised of three students. Greensboro Montessori School is proud to announce the intelligent, talented, creative and courageous young men who are boldly pioneering the School's ninth-grade program.
A professional artist and entrepreneur in her own right, Madeline Gallucci is a nothing less than a rising star in the Kansas City art scene.
After graduating from Greensboro Montessori School in 2004 and Weaver Academy in 2008, Madeline received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Kansas City Art Institute in 2012. Shortly thereafter, she landed the Charlotte Street Foundation Urban Culture Project Studio Residency. Two years later she was named Artist-in-Residence at Hotel Phillips, a historic hotel in the center of the city. The 12-month program showcased Madeline and her work in a large storefront window space on the first floor of the hotel that doubled as her studio. Her artwork was also translated into textile patterns used in interior design elements—such as bedding, upholstery, pillows, curtains and wall art—in some of the guest rooms. She also conducted numerous workshops, studio tours and artist lectures. Madeline was only the fourth artist to be selected for this elite residency program and notes: “It was a tremendous opportunity to develop my public speaking skills. In essence, I was acting as an ambassador for abstract art.”
As if two residencies weren’t enough to celebrate, Madeline was named one of three Charlotte Street Foundation Visual Artist Award Fellows in 2016. The award recipients were selected through a competitive process involving in-person interviews, presentations and studio visits by a panel of renowned and qualified arts professionals, and culminated in a four month exhibition that concluded in January 2017 at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Crossroads location. She also received a $10,000 unrestricted grant to support her work as an emerging contemporary artist. Madeline described this exhibition as a turning point in her life and her career. As a result of that award, she sought representation by a professional firm, Weinberger Fine Art in Kansas City, Missouri.
When asked to describe her work, Madeline says, “My work is driven by color. Right now, I am playing with the combination of fluorescent colors together with colors found in nature. My work is also very whimsical. I am fascinated by camouflage culture. If the purpose of camouflage is to help something blend in to its environment, what happens when you take that pattern out if its natural environment. How does it blend in or stand out? I think of the trend of pink camouflage."
Beyond the borders of Kansas City, Madeline has also shown nationally at IDIO Gallery in Brooklyn, New York; Rebekah Templeton in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Skylab Gallery in Columbus, Ohio; and Terrault Contemporary in Baltimore, Maryland. Her newest work is currently on display in an exhibit entitled “Habitual Observations” at Weinberger Fine Art.
In addition to pursuing her professional goals through a fine art studio track, Madeline shared that she is also realizing her drive to become an arts administrator. Since 2014, she has worked as a co-director of Front/Space, a storefront apartment in downtown Kansas City that has been repurposed for non-commercial exhibits, performances, forums, research and publishing projects.
As co-director of the gallery, Madeline loves fostering a spirit of collaboration. She works closely with past exhibitors to review proposals for new artists who want to use the live/work studio and gallery space (which is supported by funding from the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, the Charlotte Street Foundation and the University of Kansas' Spencer Museum of Art). "I love that the momentum comes from the artists themselves. I don’t want the gallery to just be the artwork that I or my partner would curate. It is important to me that we curate through an open call to the community.” The other element of the Front/Space mission that resonates for Madeline is the connection to social justice. “Front/Space is a safe space for artists and people who have been marginalized. We want the artist to feel safe to use the space for risk taking and to experiment with art that may not be accepted in the main stream. And more than anything, we want the artists to do what they want to do.” Madeline’s skills as an administrator and collaborator are paying off as the gallery has received the biggest group of proposals to date...over 50. “We know our reach is growing,” she stated proudly.
Madeline's passion and penchant for the arts run deep. Her brother, Mario Gallucci, holds a Master of Fine Arts in visual studies and lives in Portland, Oregon. Her father, Jim Gallucci, is an internationally acclaimed sculptor based in Greensboro. His large gateway pieces have transformed the Greensboro landscape, and Greensboro Montessori School is honored to have two of his “whisper benches” in the gardens flanking our front office. Madeline's mom is Dr. Kathy Gallucci, associate professor of biology at Elon University. Madeline shared she and her mom have a running joke that in their family, art is the dominant gene and science is the recessive gene. Art and science genes aside, if you saw the two side by side, you might actually wonder if they were twins.
Like so many of our graduates, Madeline attended Greensboro Montessori School from the time she was a primary level student. “I was such an independent learner,” she said. “My parents knew that GMS was a good fit for me because I always had to do things in my own way and in my own time.” She further reflected on the values and life lessons from GMS that stick with her today. “Looking back, I realize how [the Montessori method] mirrored art school and also how it mirrors studio practice. There was always room for creativity and experimentation, and at the same time, I had to learn how to stay motivated and create my own structure and deadlines."
In August at our GMS alumni reunion, we caught up with Harrison McClain-Rubin (GMS Class of 2010), a junior in the Honors College at University of North Carolina-Greensboro. We were eager to learn more about his recent study abroad experience in Germany, plus how his nine years as a student at GMS shape his perspective on the world.
GMS: What inspired you to study abroad in Germany last semester? Tell us about one of the highlights of your experience.
Harrison: Being a political science student at UNCG, I had programs available in Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Germany. My fascination with German history elevated her above the other countries, plus her central position in Europe was perfect for all the travel I hoped to accomplish. I met so many great people while studying at the University of Mannheim that I now consider lifelong friends. It is hard to think of a single highlight of the trip, but one of the best things that happened resulted from my decision to go to Deutsche Bank to create a bank account one morning. This one morning I was tired (still jet-lagged), late to a bank appointment, and lost in this foreign city. By the time I arrived I found myself behind four French Canadian strangers. For some reason we started to talk, then we grabbed lunch together and proceeded to explore the city. By the end of the day my new French Canadian friends asked if I wanted to go to Munich for the weekend. In my head, I thought, “I barely know these people…maybe some other time… and shouldn’t I start to study?” But in the end, I took the risk and went to Munich. I decided to leave my comfort zone and go on this trip. It was the best decision I could have made because I made four great friends. We bonded during our time in Munich and it helped set the foundation for the best six months of my life.
GMS: Do you think you see the world differently as a result of being a graduate of a Montessori school? If so, how?
Harrison: Having been in Montessori from kindergarten to 8th grade I believe I have a more creative perspective when it comes to solving problems. When problems arise, I do not feel limited by the circumstances and I am able to think critically and creatively to figure out solutions.
GMS: What do you value most about your years at Greensboro Montessori School?
Harrison: I value the teaching environment. I have always been more of a hands on learner and Greensboro Montessori gave me the platform I needed to thrive and allowed me to focus on my passion for social sciences. The ability to have one on one lessons and focus on my specific needs was pivotal in my early education.
GMS: How did GMS prepare you for your high school and collegiate success?
Harrison: Greensboro Montessori gave me the tools to tackle long-term assignments and taught me to think critically which I fear a fair amount of my fellow students in high school and, even now, in university are still developing these tools. By the time I had left GMS I had written multiple longer papers, critically discussed and analyzed novels and conducted science projects. Leaving Montessori I felt confident in my abilities as a student and I did not feel overwhelmed once I left my graduating class of eight at GMS to my freshman class of 400+ students at Grimsley.
GMS: What are some of your proudest accomplishments?
Harrison: My proudest accomplishment has been taking the initiative and deciding to go to Europe for six months, to a country where I did not know the language or any people. It was an important decision to take that step and just be open to what happens. I discovered how easy it is to travel, meet new people, and participate in local events. I grew more confident and open to new things. To other students considering traveling abroad, my advice would be this - don't worry if you can't do everything, it's only natural and don't feel that you have to be busy every minute of every day. It is just as important to take time for yourself and to relax. Your time abroad doesn't need to always be a theme park ride. The best thing I did for myself was slow down and enjoy the smaller things like spending time in a park with a friend, go for a run, or even slow down and binge a Netflix series. Mannheim became my second home. I was able to spend some time traveling, but I also spent a lot of time just enjoying Mannheim. My time abroad opened my eyes to new experiences and the opportunities that rest outside of the United States. Attending the University of Mannheim was the best decision I could have made.
GMS: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Harrison: In five years I hope to be back in Europe. My time in Europe opened my eyes to life beyond the United States. Who says I have to go to graduate school in the U.S.? Why not Europe? And as for now that is my goal. Once I am finished at UNCG, I hope to attend graduate school in Europe and continue to travel and see the world.
Greensboro Montessori School alumni have a built in network of support with each other, and we got a bird’s eye view of how special that network is when we welcomed our college-agedalumni back to campus for a reunion and cookout on the evening of Sunday, August 7. The spirit of belonging was palpable. As each alum walked through the door, the alums who had already arrived would call the person's name and cheer. For those of us faculty in attendance, it was heartwarming to see and feel!
Several of the alumni asked for a tour of our recently renovated classrooms and reminisced as they walked through their Toddler, Primary and Lower Elementary classrooms recalling the names of their teachers and pointing out Montessori materials that they remembered. Our director of marketing and development, Jillian Crone, commented, “They wanted to see everything and kept remarking how nice the School looked. One alum asked, 'Can we see Cathy Moses’ Lower Elementary classroom?' I had to tell them things had changed and Cathy had moved to Upper Elementary, but more importantly, I was amazed how personally invested they were in their former teachers and classroom details. They clearly relate to Greensboro Montessori School as if it were their childhood home.”
At dinner, the alumni were joined by long time Middle School faculty members Deirdre Kearney, Doug Williams and Jonathan McLean, plus former teacher Angela Cook, who taught middle school science for eight years and led the School in the founding of the our nationally acclaimed Land Program in Oak Ridge. The alumni were eager to reconnect with their mentors, and share stories of their recent adventures. International travel was a hot topic since no less than eight of our youthful dinner guests had either just returned from, or are soon departing for, an extended trip abroad; some traveling with the university and some exploring on their own. We heard stories of visits to London, Mannheim, Madrid, Rome and Amsterdam and shared our well wishes for Bridget Lavender (Class of 2010) who departs very soon for a semester in Perugia, Italy. For many of our alumni, their capstone field trips in 8th grade to the United Nations in the Fall and Costa Rica in the Spring ignites a passion for experiencing life and culture around the globe.
Alumni gatherings like these are a great way for us to follow the evolution of our graduates and learn how their foundational experiences at Greensboro Montessori School continues to shape them into adulthood. As we approach our 20th graduation ceremony in June 2017, we look forward to sharing more alumni stories as a way of telling the world just how transformative a Greensboro Montessori School education can be.
At a glance - Where are they now?
Greensboro Montessori School alumni attend a variety of colleges and universities across the nation. Our Alumni Reunion on August 7, 2016 welcomed students who attend the following:
· Davidson College (Davidson, N.C.)
· East Carolina University (Greenville, N.C.)
· Lees-McRae College (Banner Elk, N.C.)
· North Carolina State University
· Rice University (Houston, Texas)
· University of Chicago
· University of North Carolina at Asheville
· University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
· University of North Carolina at Greensboro
· University of South Carolina (Columbia, S.C.)
· Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, N.C.)
· Washington University (St. Louis, Mo.)
My first day at Greensboro Montessori School was Tuesday, May 31, which was also the day of our Council of Elders interviews with our graduating middle school students. The week that followed was a crash course in the rich experiences exclusive to our students contrasted with the universality of adolescence…and most notably, the extraordinary academic and social accomplishments of students who have learned under the Montessori method of child-led education.
As I walked to Susana D’Ruiz’s Spanish classroom for my Council of Elders interviews, I quickly noticed how comfortable I felt in our middle school hallways. Down the main corridor, one side was lined with lockers, a familiar scene from any middle school in the country. And as I met with the interviewing graduates, I was immediately transported to middle school years when each moment swung along a pendulum between my own teenage angst and hubris.
But this group displayed a wealth of life experiences I never knew at 14:
- They had run their own businesses during Greensboro Montessori School’s holiday marketplace, not once, but three separate times in each of their years in middle school. This repetitive format allowed them to learn and improve their business acumen from one year to the next.
- They had traveled extensively studying U.S. government in Washington D.C.; visiting Biosphere 2 in Oracle Arizona; participating in the United Nation’s Global Citizen Action Project in New York City; and living with host families from The Summit School in Costa Rica.
- They had cared for a baby (albeit, a mechanical one) for a weekend, with dashed hopes of sleep as they tried to determine whether their baby needed to be changed, burped, fed or rocked. Any many had to pay their parents to babysit in order to maintain extracurricular commitments in sports and music.
- They had completed an introspective “Who Am I” project which had unlocked a fresh sense of confidence and creativity as they prepared for the leap to high school.
- They lived Survivor-style at Greensboro Montessori School’s 40+ acre Land Lab where they cooked their own food, slept in shelters built by students and hauled their own fresh water. Divided into tribes, they experienced life without electricity and gained a deep appreciation for social and environmental responsibility.
But the graduates’ accomplishments extended well beyond these experiences, a point that came full circle for me when I attended their graduation ceremony.
The three-and-a-half-hour celebration featured heartfelt, personal introductions of each student from a faculty member of the graduate’s choosing. After each introduction, the respective graduate gave a speech. This combination – faculty introduction and graduate speech – repeated itself sixteen times yet was never boring or monotonous. It was deeply revealing about the extraordinary bond that results when faculty invest just as much heart and soul into their students as their students put into their work. The result of faculty who understand their students’ so well that they enable each one to reach his or her full potential.
And the academic results are astounding:
- Two of our graduates will attend the Early College at Guilford, which U.S. News and World Report just ranked the top high school in North Carolina, and they only accept 50 new students a year. When you look at the numbers, Guilford County Schools has 23 middle schools and a host of other private schools. With 16 eighth graders, Greensboro Montessori Schools represents a fraction of a percent of eighth grade enrollment in this county, but we represent 4% of the Freshman class at the best high school in the state.
- Five of the graduates will attend the Weaver Academy for Performing and Visual Arts where they will follow a “rigorous curriculum comprised of Honors and Advanced Placement courses” while also following a “specified course of study in their performing and visual arts area of concentration.” One of our graduates will concentrate in dance. Another in music – the drums specifically, and yet another in visual arts. The other two were accepted into the music production concentration, open to only nine new students a year.
- One of the graduates will attend Rabun Gap-Nachoochee School, a college preparatory day and boarding school with a “100% college acceptance rate and placement includes the nation's most selective institutions including Harvard, Princeton, Duke, Brown, and Emory as well as highly regarded colleges and universities both domestic and abroad.”
- Four of four graduates who will attend Grimsley High School were accepted into the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme, a course study known for academic excellence, rigor and achievement. Students who graduate with an IB diploma often enter college with advanced standing from course credits earned in high school.
This list highlights just over half Greensboro Montessori School's Class of 2016. In all, our graduates will attend eight distinguished secondary institutions including those listed above and the American Hebrew Academy, Bishop McGuinness, Northern Guilford High School and Salem Academy.
As I begin to settle into my new role, I’m humbled by the success of these young adults 20 years my junior and feel a deep responsibility to shine a light on this magical place. A place where academic brilliance lives concurrently with Montessori methodology, two concepts that many mistakenly, and for us Montessori educators, might I add painfully, assume are mutually exclusive.
“I want to live in a way that lines up with my values."
Today we were happy to welcome Adele Hyman and her father Michael Hyman for a quick visit to see her former classrooms. Adele attended our school as a Toddler (under the tutelage of retired GMS teacher, Linda Baggish) and was also a Primary student with Isabelle Bangham. In 2000, Adele left GMS when she and her family moved to England. She is now living in Massachusetts, and recently completed a travel study in Italy for 9 days. She was in town to visit her grandmother who is living at Wellspring Retirement community and to participate in a day of service at the Greensboro Children's Museum, who will be honoring her grandfather, Jerry Hyman, one of the co-founders of the museum. Like so many Montessori alumni, Adele is interested in learning about the world through travel, and has a commitment to service. She is happy to be participating once again in this annual event at the Greensboro Children's Museum.
We are always happy to see and hear from GMS alumni. Montessori alumni often write or visit to share their experiences.
Duncan Page graduated from Greensboro Montessori School in 2011 after 11 years as a GMS student. He attended high school at the Early College at Guilford and this fall enrolled in the NC State University program for electrical and computer engineering. Visit the Early College at Guilford homepage.
Duncan and two classmates from NC State were top performers in a recent global online programming contest known as IEEEXtreme, ranking 2nd in the U.S. and 24th in the world. IEEEXtreme is a global challenge in which teams of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Student members compete in a 24-hour time span against each other to solve a set of programming problems. IEEE, the world's leading technical professional association for the advancement of technology, conducts the programming competition.
Click here to read more about the competition.
Duncan is the youngest three siblings all of whom are Montessori alumni. Duncan's older brother, Griffin, is a senior at NC State studying Computer Science, and his older sister, Courtney, completed her master's degree in Historical Archaeology from Eastern Carolina University and now works as the lab manager for Blackbeard's - Queen Anne's Revenge Shipwreck, which draws together some of the leading scientists around the nation to collaborate and use the latest techniques in the science or preservation. Duncan's parents, Judy and Brian Page, live in Greensboro.
"My voice always mattered, no matter what age I was."
Last summer in August, I sat down to share a cup of coffee with Olivia Meyer-Jennette, GMS Class of 2009, as she was preparing to enter her sophomore year at Tufts University in Medford, MA, just outside of Boston.
Olivia is the older of two sisters who were both "lifers" at GMS. Olivia first enrolled in the Primary program at age 4 and her younger sister, Augusta, now a junior at the Middle College at Greensboro College, enrolled as a Toddler.
When asked what she values most about being a Montessori alumni, Olivia quickly responded, "I love that at GMS, people really love to learn. I really love learning! And the teachers also support learning non-academic things in a school setting, like learning how to be a good person and how to treat your friends. I specifically remember learning how to say 'It hurts my feeling when you say...'" This is a simple, yet powerful phrase that we coach even our youngest students to use in the conflict resolutions that are facilitated at the classroom peace table.
Olivia went on to say "I felt the teachers always treated me like an equal. They never treated me like I was small. My voice always mattered, no matter what age I was. And most importantly they encouraged me to listen to myself."
After Olivia graduated from GMS in 2009, she transitioned to Grimsley High School and directly into the International Baccalaureate program for which she says she was "vastly over-prepared." On the one hand, she said "it was a lot of work" but at the same time she commented that she managed the workload "because (she) chose to find enjoyment and relevance in it."
In the process of deciding where to go to college, Olivia was confident in one thing... she was looking for a place that would promote individual thought. She explored schools far and wide, and ultimately settled on Tufts. Through her first year of study at Tufts, she decided to pursue a major that would allow her to combine her passion for visual arts, art history and languages (currently she is studying both Spanish and German). She found the perfect match in a program entitled International Literary and Visual Studies, which offered a core structure plus the flexibility to choose a concentration in an era, culture and/or language that matched her interest. She has also dabbled in some graphic design classes which she says she has liked more than she thought she would. Over the summer, she put that new knowledge to use as she assisted her mother, Jennifer, in developing and managing an on-line garment shop on Etsy called Surya Leela Designs.
In her free time, Olivia loves to read, run, make art and practice yoga. When she is home from college, Olivia spends a lot of time reconnecting with two old friends from GMS, Julie Canziani and Niki Shumaker, whom she says are still her two best friends after all these years. And when she's in Boston, she loves to ride the train and take the Green Line to visit her favorite art museum, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. She has dreams of one day working in an art museum. In addition, Olivia also volunteers one night each week teaching English as a second language through a program called C.O.R.E.S., which assists Salvadoran and Central American refugees with immigration-related needs.
What an amazing example of a young renaissance woman who has found her voice and is now helping others find theirs!!