There is a Chinese proverb that, loosely translated, says: it is better to travel ten thousand miles than to read ten thousand books. In that spirit, two remarkable philanthropists, James C. Curvey and Shirley M. Curvey, along with their family, generously endowed an expansion to Brewster Academy’s Curvey Scholar Program. The Curvey Scholar Program was launched in 2009 and provides need-based scholarships to three incoming freshmen from the Lakes Region of New Hampshire each year.
The new Curvey Fellowships provide travel fellowships for three Curvey Scholars each year to travel to any location of their choosing within North America. Modeled after the Curvey Fellowships at Villanova University, the objective is to help students gain valuable life experience through travel. Students broaden their perspectives, pursue their interests in a hands-on-way, and further develop their personal values. There are no set parameters in terms of focus or theme for the Curvey Fellowships; students are encouraged to plan travel experiences that are of genuine interest to them.
All Curvey Scholars are eligible to apply for a Curvey Fellowship once during their four years at Brewster. Typically, the fellowships will take place during the summer between the students’ junior and senior years.
This summer, two members of the Class of 2018, Wyatt Parsons and Katie Slock, were the first students to take advantage of this opportunity – and they made the most of it. Wyatt planned a seven-day trip to Alaska, while Katie fulfilled her dream of becoming a pilot. Prior to their trips, they shared their motivations for their planned experiences.
Wyatt was philosophical about his reasons for selecting Alaska as his travel destination: “Recently I have become very interested in sustainable living outside of a metropolitan setting. Even though I do not live in a city I think that urbanized life is too complex, and I appreciate the beauty of nature much more. Given this, Alaska is possibly the pinnacle of frontier lifestyle in the U.S. and I am thrilled to spend time in that environment. This will help me step out of my comfort zone because I will be traveling across the country alone and going on adventures in the wilderness of Alaska."
Wyatt’s Alaskan adventure brought him to Winterlake Lodge located 198 trail miles northwest of Anchorage along the historic Iditarod Trail where he ventured through the surrounding streams and lakes to learn the techniques of fishing for rainbow trout and grayling. He also traveled, by helicopter, to the rarely visited Tordrillo Mountains to explore the Trimble and Hayes glaciers. This trek required ice creepers and a large dose of courage as he maneuvered through incredibly large and deep crevasses and icefalls. Wyatt’s desire for a frontier experience pushed him out of his comfort zone and provided him with an adventure that most people will never experience in a lifetime.
Katie participated in an accelerated private pilot program through First Landings in Apopka, Florida. She chose this program as she loved the location when she toured colleges in Florida and wanted to be able to visit the Apopka Wildlife Trail and Wekiwa Springs State Park. An added bonus was being twenty minutes away from Disney World!
Katie shared how the Curvey Fellowship helped to fulfill a lifelong dream: "Since I was a kid, I knew I wanted to fly planes. Getting my private license was never an option for me, so going to Florida and having both the experience of the state and the program will be a new world for me. I will be attending Auburn University this fall where I will be studying Professional Flight. In the Professional Flight program, I’ll leave college with my Commercial Pilot License and a Bachelor of Science, so I know that this trip will serve me well in the future."
Katie and Wyatt will share reflections on their Curvey Fellowships at an All School gathering in January. And three new fellowships are in the planning stages for Summer 2019 thanks to the vision and generosity of the Curvey Family.