Parent Update: Dec. 13, 2018

Charlie’s Challenge
At this moment, 655 NMH students are busily preparing for final exams next week. The Schauffler Library is packed, chocolate consumption on campus is increasing by the day, and students are challenging themselves to finish strong. 

In the spirit of strong finishes, Head of School Charles A. Tierney III P’16, ’19, ’20 has issued his own challenge — “Charlie’s Challenge,” as it’s been dubbed — to NMH parents, employees, and the Class of 2019. “I’m aiming for 100 percent participation in giving to the NMH Fund by the end of the school year,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you give $1 or $1,000. My goal is to harness our collective energy and dedication, and leverage the idea that we are all in this wonderful venture together.”

Tierney is serving as NMH’s head of school for the 2018–19 academic year. In July, he hands over the reins to Brian Hargrove, who was appointed head-elect in October. After nearly 20 years as an NMH employee and parent, Tierney believes he’s in the perfect position to engage and challenge the community. He said, “Each of us steps up every day in our own ways and in many directions — our family lives, our work and school work, our social interactions. Now let’s step up together to support our remarkable shared endeavor: the educational mission of NMH!”

Stay tuned for news on the progress of Charlie’s Challenge, but take a moment to give now

Schauffler Media Makerspace OpenedCreative minds have a new outlet at NMH — the “multimedia makerspace” in the lower level of Schauffler Library.

While preparing to live stream video of the Schauffler Scholar Lecture Series earlier this fall, the idea took shape of creating a place for students to create their own non-class, creative multimedia projects. 

Soon after, the Schauffler Library media makerspace was established. The cooperative, peer-to-peer learning experience of a makerspace (versus a classroom) provides a unique atmosphere where there is no pressure to “get it right” and where the emphasis is on exploring new ideas and creating self-realized content.

In the lower level of Schauffler Library, a former office has been converted into a small video- and audio-production studio. There’s room to meet and to store equipment, some of which is repurposed library and student/faculty personal equipment.

Multimedia productions began almost immediately, and include development of a student-news-broadcast-style program, a library-instruction video for new students, and athletics-highlight videos. Furthermore, the library classroom is converted once a week into a video production studio to film “Weekly Update.”
In addition to the student projects, the media makerspace also offers technical support for classes and faculty looking to develop projects such as video storytelling or creating video content for class curriculum. And it provides students and faculty a place to conduct video interviews and off-site tutorials. 

As the space develops, students may produce promotional and journalistic projects about other aspects of NMH campus life, such as athletics events and fine-arts productions. 

Downhill Racer Speaks about Uphill Battle after Paralysis
Chris Waddell was a ski racer for Middlebury College when his whole world changed in an instant. One ski popped off as he made a turn at Berkshire East, and in the fall, he broke two vertebrae and damaged his spinal cord. The accident left him permanently paralyzed from the waist down. 

But Waddell lives by the motto, “It’s not what happens to you. It’s what you do with what happens to you.” And he’s achieved more than even he imagined possible since that 1988 accident, helping to turn people’s perceptions of disability upside down.

On Dec. 10, Waddell offered NMH students lessons in resilience and reaching success despite adversity. Stories from his personal journey from able-bodied athlete to the most successful paralympic ski racer in U.S. history provided inspiration and practical advice on how to handle the inevitable challenges life gives us all. 

“I’d always been taught I could do whatever I wanted, and I didn’t want to be told that now I couldn’t,” he recalled thinking shortly after the accident. “I wanted to prove to myself that I was a survivor, not a victim.”

With help from the medical world, family, and friends, Waddell fought his way back to health. At first, just dressing himself seemed impossible. Yet less than a year after the accident, Waddell had learned to monoski, and eventually he became world’s fastest. 

Today, he is the most decorated male mono-skier in history, with 13 Paralympic medals. He’s also a track athlete, winning nine World Championship medals and earning medals in both summer and winter Paralympic games. He was honored by the Dalai Lama as an “unsung hero of compassion.” And Skiing Magazine named him one of the “25 greatest skiers in North America.” 

Guiding him during this transformation were what he called the “4 Ss of resilience” — being a survivor, not a victim; seeing situations as challenging rather than overwhelming; finding support from others; and exploring many strategies to reach a goal.

A young girl once asked Waddell what had happened to his legs. He explained, and she replied, “That’s too bad.” But for Waddell, being paraplegic isn’t a tragedy. “If I’d never had my accident, I’d never have become the best in the world at anything,” he said.

After retiring as a professional athlete, Waddell used a hand-cycle to become the first nearly unassisted paraplegic to summit 19,340-foot Mount Kilimanjaro. The “nearly” was because he had to be carried 100 feet, over boulders that were larger than his cycling rig. When Waddell told one of his climbing companions that being carried made him feel like a failure, the friend reminded him, “Nobody climbs a mountain alone; everybody does it as part of a team.” 

In closing, Waddell asked the NMH community, “How often do we think something is impossible? And it is impossible, until somebody does it.”

Plan Ahead for Maple Sugaring During Spring Break
What promotes physical fitness in the beautiful outdoors and produces “New England gold”? NMH maple sugaring! Students interested in working in the maple-sugaring program over spring break must submit their applications by Friday, Jan. 11. Sugaring is a great way to earn two terms of workjob credit during non-school time. It’s hard but satisfying work that requires walking as far as 50 yards carrying a full sap bucket in each hand. The work is mostly outdoors, and takes place regardless of the weather.

The work-program director, Kensey Batcheldor, will select students and assign schedules based on students’ preferences, applicant-pool composition, and housing availability. Please note that there is limited housing available. Meals will be provided for all student workers.

An information session will be held during winter Family Days (Feb. 2, 8:30–9 am in the Mira B. Wilson Room of Alumni Hall). If you have questions, please contact Kensey Batchelder, director of work and service learning. 


Winter Break is here: Winter break begins Wednesday, Dec. 19, at 5 pm. Dormitories close Thursday, Dec. 20, at noon and reopen Monday, Jan. 7, at 2 pm. Click here for more details, including the exam schedule.

Health center reminders: See announcements from the O’Connor Health and Wellness Center.

The great NMH holiday event: On Dec. 16, NMH will host the “great NMH holiday event,” an opportunity for students to display their holiday traditions and a way to give back to others. At a variety of booths, students can write thank-you notes to campus staff, enjoy healthy holiday treats, and help at a toy-donation and gift-wrapping station, among other events. 

NMH collaborates with leading researcher: In January, NMH will continue collaborating with Dr. Suniya Luthar, a leading researcher on adolescent health and wellness from the University of Arizona. Students will take an anonymous survey; please look for an email in the next few weeks with more information about the survey and Dr. Luthar's work. 

Athletes of the week: Congratulations to our most recent honorees, seniors Noah Burstein (wrestling), Annabelle Larnard (basketball), Chris Ledlum (basketball), and Ally Watrous (hockey). Find out why each was selected.

Last chance to buy yearbook ads: This is your final opportunity to purchase ads for the NMH yearbook. Ads will not be accepted after Dec. 18.

ACT and SAT test-prep classes: Summit Educational Group will offer test-prep classes for the Apr. 13 ACT and May 4 SAT. Juniors are encouraged to consider the ACT and SAT classes. Financial aid is available. Please contact Diane King with questions.

Mid-year college-counseling update: With early action results being announced, see an important message from Peter Jenkins about next steps and responsibilities during this crucial time.

Athletics live-streaming schedule: Interested in watching NMH athletics from the comfort of your own home? See the schedule of athletics events that will be live streamed. 

Winter Family Days is around the corner: Winter Family Days will take place on Friday, Feb. 1, and Saturday, Feb. 2. This is an opportunity to meet your student’s teachers and to experience NMH classes firsthand. Here is a draft of the schedule. Registration will open around Jan. 11; we’ll send you an email. 

“Mindfulness for Health and Wellness” co-curricular: Students should consider signing up for a new winter-term co-curricular that focuses on stress-reduction and relaxation techniques. This for-credit class starts in January. Please contact Johanna Callard with questions.

New on NMH's Flickr site: The latest photos and videos include on-campus Vespers, basketball and hockey teams in action, Coding Club, and these classes: Environmental Science, Crime Literature, Honors French 2. And get the latest news from the NMH Social page. 

Upcoming Events

12/14 Pre-Vespers parent reception in Boston
12/14 NMH Vespers in Boston, 7 pm
12/16 The great NMH holiday event
12/17 Reading day (morning); exams begin (afternoon)
12/19 Fall semester ends    
12/20 Dorms close at noon
1/1 Happy new year from NMH!
1/7 Winter break ends, students return 2–7:30 pm
1/8 Classes resume
1/11 Family Days registration opens
1/14 Admission class visit day
2/1–2 Winter Family Days
2/2–5 Long weekend


A bird's eye view