Brewster Academy Blogs



Politics Over Pumpkin Pie

By Craig Gemmell
Head of School

Thanksgiving is coming! Tuesday evening we had our Thanksgiving dinner: a priceless boarding school tradition.  We ate heartily and wrote thank you cards between courses.  What a sight to see my nine dinner companions hunched over and writing in earnest!  Then as we began our dessert, Haitham, a student from Oman, some 7000 miles away from Wolfeboro, spoke to the packed Estabrook in the latest installment of “senior speaks.” With pride and gratitude, he talked about Oman’s king Qaboos bin Said al Said, who has transformed Oman over the past five decades into a place of peace and prosperity by endlessly acting with love. In the wildly diverse crowd with students from 27 countries, even the most fidgety students were rapt. Politics over pumpkin pie. Continue reading “Politics Over Pumpkin Pie”

Privilege and Responsibilty

By Nancy Hughes
English Teacher

One of the many things I appreciate about living on Brewster’s campus is its proximity to town.  After two decades plus living in quasi-rural suburbia (yes, that’s a thing), I love being able to walk downtown with shopping bags in hand for a quick bit of marketing. Another thing I love about Wolfeboro is our handsome town hall, which was originally built with funds donated by the Academy’s very own John Brewster. This dignified brick edifice is a reminder to us all of John Brewster’s deep commitment to the town of Wolfeboro and his respect for civic life.  Continue reading “Privilege and Responsibilty”

Master Teacher Kris Kukul Engages Performing Arts Students

By Guinevere Hilton
Acting Teacher

On October 13 and 14 Brewster’s drama students and members of the community were treated to a master class and guest teaching by Kris Kukul. Kris is a New York City-based music director/composer/arranger/orchestrator and conductor. Kris graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts (a classmate) where he currently teaches. He also has served as the music director of the Williamstown Theater for 10 seasons and has worked internationally in a variety of theaters, with HBO Films, and his work has debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival. Continue reading “Master Teacher Kris Kukul Engages Performing Arts Students”

Cultivating Cultural Competency

I asked a few students to share their takeaways from Friday’s Cooper Series guest lecture. And, as if to support the speaker’s “thesis,” if you will, the students’ reflections are indicators of how their individual experiences and involvement within the Brewster community help form their own identities. Here the students share their impressions and takeaways of Dr. Derrick Gay’s message.
– Marcia Eldredge, Communications Director

Senior Evan Edmonds shared the following: one standout about Dr. Derrick Gay’s presentation this morning was the emphasis on our society and how it will look when we move on from Brewster. On a campus like ours, it’s easy to forget that there is a world outside of high school, but it’s there, waiting for us. Dr. Gay touched on many varying aspects of society that we may encounter in the coming future and the biggest connection to one of those changing factors we can make as Brewster students is the transition from the ‘cubical’ style of work toward collaborative and cooperative workplaces. Dr. Gay mentioned huge companies like Google and Yahoo have already switched to this method, and I believe the reason for that put simply is that it is more effective. Communicating with people and sharing ideas is a much more productive way of problem solving because there are multiple brains all working in their own unique ways for a solution. Because there is such high value in mastering collaboration, cooperation, communication, etc. it is important that we are learning these skills, which is why group-based skills are so emphasized in our everyday learning environment at Brewster. There is more reasoning to why we do STAD (Student Team Achievement Divisions) reviews than just giving teachers a break; it is absolutely crucial in today’s world to learn these skills, and I believe Dr. Gay wanted to punctuate that.
Continue reading “Cultivating Cultural Competency”

Navigating Family Weekend

By Nancy Hughes
English Teacher

I can only conjure two memories from my Parents’ Weekends when I was in high school. The first is more vague than the second. My parents had arranged a dinner in Hartford, close to where we lived, for my friend and her parents who were from South Carolina. Two other girls whose parents were unable to attend the weekend joined us as well. I remember feeling happy that my parents were close and thus could be with me and proud that my parents were able to host a family from South Carolina, a place that seemed to me – someone who had never been to the South – almost a foreign land. (I also remember my mother’s commenting to me quietly after the meal about how awkwardly my friend held her fork.) Continue reading “Navigating Family Weekend”

From Student Centeredness to Student Initiated

By Nancy Hughes
English Teacher

A fierce commitment to student centeredness has long been a hallmark of Brewster Academy. Yet what has struck me in the past few weeks is how student initiated the Brewster experience is. Here are a few quick examples.

Just hours ago, a group of students and faculty members arrived at Lord House for the second meeting of the newly formed Harry Potter Club. Craig and I had no cookies or cider to offer, but the attendees couldn’t have cared less. They had come to trade Potter trivia, discuss their individual house sortings, and plan for the upcoming group reading of the new play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. They had come because John Scala ’17 and Dexter Hanson ’17 had taken the initiative to create and promote a club, which they hoped would provide a forum for BA Potter aficionados to gather and share their passion. John and Dexter’s initiative has already brought students, new and old alike, together and orchestrated what has been the highlight of at least one faculty member’s week. Continue reading “From Student Centeredness to Student Initiated”

On Connection

By Craig Gemmell
Head of School

First community dinner Thursday night was a sight to behold.

Once everyone found their seats, Bret Barnett encouraged kids to put away cell phones and be present. Reverend Gina Finnochario from the Congregational Church bordering campus followed up with an extemporaneous, ecumenical blessing so beautiful that it took our collective breath away.

The dining hall seemed to read the tea leaves perfectly on this cool fall evening and answered with comfort food: chicken pot pie, green beans, lemonade. Perfect. Continue reading “On Connection”

Two Reasons

By Nancy Hughes
English Teacher

When our son came to Craig and me last fall and explained that he wanted to come to Brewster Academy for his freshman year, I was initially hesitant. Surprising perhaps, but true, and here’s why: I am a life-long champion of the high school boarding experience, and I always imagined that our children would have such an experience, but given where we live in the middle of campus in Lord House, our son would be – and is now – a day student. (True confession: When our boys were toddlers, I used to dream about visiting them at boarding school.) So why do I value the boarding experience so deeply? Let me share with you my top two reasons.

Continue reading “Two Reasons”


By Craig Gemmell
Head of School

After a day of rain and snow on campus, the GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) met at Lord House on Monday evening. Sitting in the comfortable bay window looking out on Main Street, students and faculty talked about fostering an inclusive school climate. Tuesday’s senior Lobster Bake, a tradition sponsored by Alexis Pappas ’88, brought successful tech entrepreneur Nate Drouin ‘10 back to campus. Nate talked to students with tremendous legitimacy about the virtue of finding a passion and figuring out how to learn what is needed in its pursuit. Wednesday night was a double bill: a faculty discussion about inclusion after dinner followed by a meeting just south of campus, at All-Saints’ Church, to hear about plans for a homeless shelter in Wolfeboro. All interesting and provocative topics. Many viewpoints, ideologies, agendas, stories, realities. I listened intently.

Continue reading “Listening”

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