Postcards From Vershire
The leaves are at peak here in Vershire, and all 43 students are back from solo. Now begins the steady and beautiful transition into fall and winter, as the leaves begin their descent and students build their epic leaf piles.
On Sunday, October 18th at 7:00pmET we invite you and your families to the live world premiere of the film Postcards From Vershire by Emmy-nominated and Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker Ian Cheney s97. This 65-minute film follows Sue and Jack Kruse at a pivotal moment in the school's history, as they prepare to transition away from a school they helped to found decades ago.
At 7:00pmET (sharp!) there will be an introduction to the event from Alden, followed by the film shortly thereafter. Please make sure to register and mark your calendars for this unforgettable event!
Garden Hill Fund Grants Due October 1
If you have an endeavor that focuses on the common good in your community or the larger world (especially if there is a focus on anti-racism and upending systems of injustice), consider applying for a Garden Hill Fund grant for up to $10,000. The Garden Hill Fund not only supports the work of alumni, but also engages Mountain School Humanities students, who, along with the Alumni Committee, carefully select grant recipients and allocate funds. A note for recent alumni: If you are interested in funding for a gap year project, internship, certification, or course that will benefit the common good, you should apply. Applications are due October 1.
Sowing Seeds for Change
At the start of May, the Alumni Committee convened its first ever virtual meeting over Zoom. Lockdown was still in effect and few of us had really left the house in months. Meeting over video still seemed novel.
On that Saturday, we debated the pros and cons of in-person reunions (as if they were even possible) and in the end agreed that a virtual event—a sort of online Summer Session—might have the unique potential to bring alumni together in a new way. Without the barriers of physical distance, perhaps we could encourage more people to join. We ended the day on a high note, locked-down but hopeful for the summer to come.
The murder of George Floyd only weeks later and the nation awakening to the cause of racial justice suddenly and rightfully changed our plans. A faculty committee joined forces with the Alumni Committee to orchestrate an online day to engage alumni in discussing these pressing issues.
Sowing Seeds for Change, a virtual conference made up of a keynote panel and roundtable conversations with current faculty and former students took place on August 1. Focusing on the roots of injustice efforts for change, the event brought together more than 160 alumni in one virtual space. For those of you who were unable to join the live event, a recording of all the conversations can be found here.
As an organizer and participant, I was struck by the intelligence and passion of our alumni community. Each of the five roundtables were made up of experts in their fields with powerful stories to share. What also impressed me was the willingness of the Mountain School as an institution to recognize its own implicit bias over the years. Not everyone’s experience in Vermont was positive, and it was important to hear all perspectives so that we learn from the past and chart a way forward. Finally, as a straight white male who attended private schools throughout my education, the conference also challenged me on a personal level to confront my own privilege and assumptions. Something I think so many of us must do.
The problems we face right now are deep and won’t simply disappear with an election or a vaccine. There is a long road ahead, but through this kind of dialogue, we take the first steps together.
—Scott Kerns f95, Alumni Committee Chair
June and August Re-Zoom-ions
This summer, reunion year graduates also connected via Zoom sessions organized by the Alumni Office and semester agents. Our Re-Zoom-ions (thanks, Alberta Born-Weiss f14!) gatherings took place on June 13 for the 10-year time capsule event, and on August 2 for the 25th, 20th, 15th, and 5th. Eighty-seven alumni, faculty, and former faculty participated in two June reunions and one hundred and fifty in August, the day after Sowing Seeds. Graduates from as far away as New Zealand and Germany joined on Zoom to greet their classmates and teachers and share their thoughts.
Annual Fund Update
Together we did it!
Thank you for continuing to support the Mountain School’s longevity and evolution through alumni giving totaling $425,000 for the period July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020. This is a new record! Gifts from over 700 Mountain School graduates created opportunities for intentional discussions on identity, equity, inclusion, and strategies to make the world and the school a better place. The generosity of our graduates also makes possible spontaneous joyful moments like this one from Farm Day earlier this month.
With $591,000 in financial aid awarded for F19 and S20, graduate participation in giving back remains essential to upholding our need-blind policy for admissions. Combined with giving from families and friends of the school, donations from a quarter of our alumni population allowed us to complete an academic year that included two months of remote learning and the launching of a digital campus.
This year, financial aid needs amount to $900,000 so we are hoping that we can count on returning and first-time donors to support the voices and thoughtful actions of our community.
A Note on Visiting Campus
Because of the risks associated with COVID-19 and our adherence to strict protocols, we are not accepting visitors on campus at this time. We know this is hard and we are grateful to you for holding off on plans to come in person to Vershire. We know there will be a time (sooner rather than later!) where we can all be together in person again, and we look forward to when that is. We will keep you posted on reunions this spring and summer, and how we plan to handle them.
The Mission of the Mountain School Alumni Committee is to support a dynamic community
of Mountain School graduates by connecting them to each other and helping them to carry forward the intellectual curiosity, celebration of place, and commitment to service
we associate with the Mountain School. Got feedback? Contact us.