Hi everyone, my name is Kate LaViolette and I am a senior at Brewster. I am currently enrolled in the athletic fitness program here, and it was not long until I noticed a new face in the gym. The first thing that caught my attention about Kara McDuffee, or Ms. McDuffee, was her laugh. I saw her joking around with some of the new freshmen in the class, and I was immediately drawn to her ability to seamlessly connect with kids on a personal level. When asked to begin my blog series on new faculty I was excited to get started and chose her to be the topic of my first entry. So, without further adieu, I am happy to introduce Kara McDuffee.
While only 23, she has quite the story. Born and raised in Owego, New York, she attended a small public high school during which she fell in love- with basketball. She went on to play at St. Lawrence University and, as a basketball player myself, I was intrigued. Why basketball for Ms. McDuffee? She told me, “It was the sport that really helped develop my confidence and made me the person I am today. It’s always played a very meaningful role in my life.” Now she is giving back to Brewster as the school’s new varsity girls’ coach. But that’s not the only thing she’s doing.
She also teaches American Literature to juniors and AP Language and Composition, which many of my classmates and friends have the pleasure of taking. When I inquired about how they enjoy her classes, the feedback was unanimous; they love her. This did not come as a surprise since her main goal coming into Brewster was to “create an environment in my classroom in which everyone feels comfortable in speaking up and being heard.” Since Ms. McDuffee enjoys seeing all the different personalities within the classroom meld and interact, she creates an environment conducive to learning and one that kids really respond to. As a natural born leader, Ms. McDuffee sets a good, positive example for students and was immediately enveloped into the Brewster Academy family.
Aside from being in love with the lake, she has flawlessly become part of the community. From making connections with many faculty members whom have reached out and supported her, she does the same to everyone else. Currently on Team Skelly, she happily describes those around her as, “awesome.” Her only complaint? She was not “in the know” about Brewster’s dress code. I guess she has to buy a couple more blazers!
We are so happy to have Kara McDuffee as a member of family, and it was a pleasure getting to know her.
Kate LaViolette ’16