Brewster recently inducted 15 students into the John Brewster Chapter of the National Honor Society (NHS).
At the late afternoon ceremony in Pinckney Boathouse on January 19, 2020, NHS Faculty Advisor Maria Found welcomed family, friends, faculty, and inductees before introducing guest speaker Doug Kiley. Kiley, who was selected to speak by the students, has worked at Brewster for more than 20 years as a faculty member, department head, community life parent, and now as Assistant Director of Major Gifts. In his speech, Kiley encouraged those present at the ceremony to pause and imagine their best life in the future, and then cited research in Gregg Easterbrook’s book The Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse (2003). It shows that even as American culture has grown in terms of access to material goods, travel, civil rights, health care, and social safety nets, the percentage of people who report that they are happy has not budged in 70 years. “My challenge to you is this,” Kiley said. “Reflect on this contradiction when you are adults.… And please remember your best life picture.” Kiley went on to say that the NHS group, which included Kiley’s son Spencer, should use the leadership skills they have developed at Brewster to help others achieve their best life visions. “Use your opportunities to help others,” he concluded.
Following Kiley’s remarks, the current officers lit four candles, each one representing one of the four pillars of the honor society: scholarship, character, service, and leadership. In turn, they explained the meaning of each pillar. NHS President Spencer Kiley then announced the inductees one by one and lit a pillar candle for each of them. The inductees were then awarded their gold cords, pins, and member certificates. The seniors will wear their gold cords at Commencement in May.
The senior inductees are Omayma Al Balushi (Muscat, Oman), Mary James (Wolfeboro, N.H.) Aidan Rolfe (Portsmouth, N.H.), and Jiahui “Judy” Tang (Tiantai, China).
Junior inductees are Neilie Alperin (Wayland, Mass.), Alison Ansorg (Center Harbor, N.H.), Blaise Bartell (Madbury, N.H.), Mitchell Coope (Wolfeboro, N.H.), Hunter DiVirgillio (Lynn, Mass.), Lilly Grace (Needham, Mass.), Huanzhi Mao (Nanjing, China), Katherine Martin (Wolfeboro, N.H.), Jillian Pollini (Melvin Village, N.H.), Alfred “Gus”Schoenbucher (New Durham, N.H.), Christopher Webb (Durham, N.H.).
These students join the chapter’s senior officers: President Spencer Kiley (Wolfeboro, N.H), Vice President Indigo Brown (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Secretary Jack St. Sauveur (Wolfeboro, N.H.), and Treasurer Sophia Mazri (Windham, N.H.)—along with returning members Aviela Berk-Silverman (Brookline, Mass.), Kaede Kawata (Takaraduka, Japan), Hang Liu (Shanghai, China), Robert Rohrbaugh (Wolfeboro Falls, N.H.), Karlee Stoddard (Darlings Island, New Brunswick, Canada), and Carolyn Trepanier (Wolfeboro Falls, N.H.)
Election to the John Brewster Chapter of the National Honor Society reflects a distinguished academic record and exceptional contributions of service and leadership. (Found noted that the NHS students have been engaged in community service by running Family Game Nights on Fridays at Wolfeboro’s Hope House, which provides shelter and services for families transitioning out of homelessness.) Students who meet eligibility criteria are considered for election to Brewster’s NHS chapter by a faculty council in the fall of each academic year, and are inducted into the NHS in the winter trimester. Only juniors and seniors are eligible for consideration.
Along with Advisor Maria Found, the Faculty Council includes Bret Barnett, Matt Butcher, Laura Duffy, Jennifer Dumont, and Rob O’Blenis.
After reciting the National Honor Society pledge and receiving a round of applause from the family and friends in attendance, the newly inducted members each moved to the podium to offer words of gratitude and a yellow rose to the person who has most impacted and influenced them as they worked toward this academic achievement. Moms and dads received the bulk of the kind words, and one student admitted with a grin, “I’m thanking both my parents because if I picked one over the other I’d never hear the end of it.”
Divirgillio thanked “my little sister for teaching me to be patient and to be a great older brother.” Al Balushi of Oman spoke into the camera that was livestreaming the event, sharing her gratitude toward friends and family who are many miles away.
Grace thanked her parents, but also acknowledged her grandmother: “She is a huge inspiration to me, always has been—and I love her and I’m so glad she could be here today!”
James thanked her mother for “always having my back,” and others highlighted that their parents had encouraged them to work hard, instilled a strong work ethic and determination, and pushed them to be their best.
Coope began his thank yous by mentioning philanthropists James and Shirley Curvey, whose Curvey Scholar Program provided the support that helped Coope attend Brewster.
“Very thoughtful sentiments. Shows you why these young people are where they are,” Found said before closing out the evening. “Thanks to you all for sharing in the tradition and honor of this ceremony, which positively acknowledges all the hard work and effort of these students who stand out as exemplary among their peers with regard to scholarship, character, service, and leadership.”
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