Summertime and the Living Is…Meaningful

How are you spending your summer?

While some people look to summer for relaxation and vacation, many Athenians fill their summer time with opportunities for cultural exchanges, acquiring new skills, and developing new interests. Twenty Athenian students are spending a large part of their summer either on exchange at Round Square schools or on a Round Square International Service Project while many faculty spend their summer pursuing their passions and curiosities. Take a look at what Athenians are up to while school is out of session.

Making an Impact as Global Citizens

Natalie paints an older classroom in South Africa.

Read about Natalie and Anna’s adventures in South Africa building and painting a classroom for the Lwaleng Primary School outside White River, Mpumalanga.

Sharing space in Romania

Learn about Nick and Vidya’s adventures in Romania, camping, clearing trails and painting safety signs in the Apuseni Mountains. Madelyn is in Peru at a remote location and so their trip is not hosting a blog.

New Perspectives: Adventures in New Places

Kelsey at the Scotch Oakburn School in Australia

Kelsey at the Scotch Oakburn School in Australia

Other Athenian students are on exchange at Round Square schools around the world. Arman, Bronwyn, Trevor, Anni, Kari, Kelsey and Tom and Priya are in Australia; Brody is in Japan; Rebecca, Abraham, Trenton, and Nia are in South Africa; and Eli and Isa are in Argentina.

When I finally arrived at Jacqui’s house I knew that my experience would be exceptional because her family actually lives on a safari and game ranch in the bushes of South Africa called Kuduland Safaris. Her mom handed me a package of biltong, like beef jerky, and showed me my room. I was surrounded by animals: I saw antelope out my window and could hear lions roaring from my room. The Knott family was extremely welcoming and made it so that I felt very comfortable in their home before the end of the first night. I spent a week at her home before I would be going off to school and my experience was extremely special to me. By the end of the week I already hiked up to the mountains to watch the sunset with an incredible view, learned how to drive a stick shift on their helicopter runway, went into a lion cage to feed the lions, got chased by an elephant on a late night safari, saw her father hunt a wildebeest, touched a baboon’s butt, drove a four-wheeler, and visited the official “Dole” orange farm. I also had some amazing food prepared at her home. The meat was actually hunted on the farm! One of my favorite dishes was pup, which is like grits that you hand-dip in gravy. –Nia Warren ’16 on her first week in South Africa

Dick Bradford, Upper School Head, is traveling with his wife, Molly, to Tbilsi, Republic of Georgia, visiting their daughter and Athenian alum Meg McClure ’10. Meg is working for an NGO involved in Georgian human rights.

Life-Long Learners

More than 35 Athenian students are enrolled at Athenian’s Devil Mountain Summer Camp, taking classes and going on adventures. Another dozen or so students and young alumni are gaining valuable life experience by working as camp counselors, TAs and lifeguards.

Bruce Hamren, science teacher, is participating in a Teacher Institute at the Exploratorium, discovering options for data collection and visualization while learning new tools for the Art and Science of Making class.

Teachers Gabe del Real and Kalyan Balaven will be representing Athenian at the International Academic Forum conference. Kal will also be recording a full-length album called “The X-Factor” which tells the story of Hip-Hop as culture and will be an integral part of his new BlendEd course, Beats, Rhymes & Life.

Jessica Donovan, Head of Middle School, and several other Middle School faculty, went to an iPad conference at the Hillbrook School in Los Gatos to prepare for the 2nd year of 1:1 iPads in the Middle School.

Sharing Our Passions

sweeney todd final posterMark Mendelson, theater tech teacher, is the vocal director for Sweeney Todd at Ohlone College which runs through this Saturday. It’s a big show in an outdoor amphitheater with a big cast and big orchestra–get your tickets now!

Adam Thorman, photography teacher, has a photo show at Helix in Los Altos. Check out a feature of his work on the Bay Area Art & Science Interdisciplinary Collaborative Session (BAASICS) site.


Leave a comment below to share what kinds of intellectual explorations and meaningful contributions you and your family have been engaged in this summer.

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