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March 29, 2019 — Junior Daniil Ozernyi came to NMH this year from Ukraine, bringing with him impeccable English-language skills and unusual accomplishments. He wrote, in English, two study guides on American and British literature that his former high school now uses in its curriculum. 

When asked why a high school student would write textbooks, Daniil responds, “Why not? I don’t see any restraints.” He shrugs off the idea of intellectual restrictions, but cultural ones are another matter.

Daniil says he found acceptance at NMH “that is absent in Ukraine.” Here, he can be himself — someone who casually converses about Hegelian philosophy, theatrical costuming, and linguistics, among many other topics. Where he can not only be incredibly smart but also openly gay, and get involved in activities including stage-managing theater productions, playing piano, Debate Society, and, of course, hanging out with dorm-mates. Somewhere he can stand out and fit in.

Not surprisingly for someone whose brain “never turns off,” according to a friend, academics were a key factor in Daniil’s choice to enroll at NMH. “I wanted a school that had balanced academics and that would provide a wide range of opportunities,” he says. In a single semester, Daniil took Ethics, Playwriting, Honors Precalculus, and Honors French II. Now Daniil is excited about his independent study in playwriting, working closely with a teacher to adapt Slavic literature into English-language drama. 

“Academics at NMH are enriching and challenging, and I love being challenged,” he says. “When I take a class, the cornerstone is the personal connection I make with the person teaching me.” He adds, “I’ve enjoyed all the courses I’ve taken here almost equally,” but admits AP Chemistry took him out of his comfort zone.

Language is his forté, and Daniil speculates that he’ll eventually choose a career as a teacher or linguist — “Something that involves talking,” he says with a smile.

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