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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”

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”

Validating Our Work

By Lynne Palmer
Director of Admission and External Affairs

I recently spent three days at The Enrollment Management Association’s annual conference with over 900 admissions colleagues from independent schools in the U.S. and Canada. The challenges schools are facing are quite compelling, and it is clear that school representatives are eager to find creative ways to respond and be proactively prepared for what trend in education is on the horizon.

Continue reading “Validating Our Work”

Here’s to Winter

By Craig Gemmell
Head of School

Pre-Christmas warm weather and green grass were supplanted in just a few days around the New Year with a crust of snow and clear, chilly air. Students migrated back on Monday to open water on the lake; ice came just yesterday in the inlet, and, early this morning, I could see an icy finger extending across the bay.

As with all molecules in the system that is our universe, water tends toward entropy – disorder. That’s why we can swim in it and drink it. Yet on the lake, today, anti-entropic forces are coming to rule as single water molecules bond with countless others in the big freeze underway. They are, literally, slowing down, crashing together, expanding, floating en masse. Soon, huts will get dragged onto the ice and bundled fishermen will auger holes, jigging for lethargic fish, and the rest of us will turn our faces from the west wind blowing across the bay.
Continue reading “Here’s to Winter”

Keying in to Computer Programming

By Allison Caravella ’17

At the end of my freshman year at Brewster, I was faced with the decision of which elective to take. I always try to push myself out of my comfort zone and try something new. As a ninth grader, I chose computer graphics, which introduced me to Photoshop and Final Cut Pro: two powerful (and very useful) programs that were alien to me. At the end of the class I had learned some great new skills that I’ve actually used for many school projects. So there I was, sitting at my computer and debating. One option that I kept coming back to was an introduction to computer programming. Continue reading “Keying in to Computer Programming”

Let’s Talk

By Craig Gemmell
Head of School

I was startled a few afternoons ago.

I was walking my dog quietly along the drive down to the lake, exchanging pleasantries with students and chatting with those who stopped to pet the dog. Then a boy whipped by on a hoverboard while talking on his iPhone, one ear bud dangling out of his hoodie. A non sequitur. Or was it? Continue reading “Let’s Talk”


By Allie Cooper
Director of Student Development

This past Saturday, I had the honor and pleasure of taking two of our elected junior students, Jackson Barber and Lucy Liautaud, and our former Head of School Dr. Michael Cooper, south to Yale University for the #EmotionRevolution summit. Continue reading “#EmotionRevolution”

Get to Know Kara McDuffee

Kate LaViolette

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.
Continue reading “Get to Know Kara McDuffee”

Bobcat Nation Celebration

Thursday, October 15, 2015 marked the first ever Bobcat Nation Celebration at Brewster Academy. This was a school-wide event specifically designed for the celebration of school spirit (also the one day that we were allowed to wear sweatpants to class). Continue reading “Bobcat Nation Celebration”

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