School Notes: Two From the Upper Valley Harness Talents to Raise Funds

  • Olivia Snyder, a 2005 graduate of Thetford Academy, plans to run the Boston Marathon to benefit an outdoor education program in suburban Boston.

  • Sam Weinberger will play a concert Friday night at Kimball Union Academy, where he's a senior, to benefit a scholarship fund names for Janie Cozzi, a KUA sophomore killed in a car accident last fall.

Valley News Staff Writer
Monday, April 10, 2017

It’s no secret that education is often a virtuous circle, with one good deed begetting another and another. Two people with Upper Valley ties, one a current student, one a graduate, are putting their talents to work to raise money for educational endeavors.

Sam Weinberger, a pianist and a senior at Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, is preparing to perform a benefit concert on Friday night with 10 student singers. The performance is in memory of Janie Chase Cozzi, a KUA sophomore from Fayston, Vt., who died in a car accident with four of her friends last fall.

And Olivia Snyder, a 2005 Thetford Academy graduate, is planning to run Monday’s Boston Marathon to benefit the Hale Outdoor Learning Adventures (HOLA) program, which operates a summer camp that helps inner-city youth keep pace academically between school years.

Both Snyder and Weinberger hope their efforts, and donations from family and friends can keep the virtuous circle turning.

Proceeds from admission to the concert, in KUA’s Flickinger Auditorium, go to the Play for Janie Memorial Fund, an endowment aimed at supporting students and programs at the Meriden boarding school, including leadership opportunities for girls.

“This might be my last one before I go off to college,” Weinberger said in a telephone interview last week, during a trip visiting the schools that he’s considering. “This year I wanted to switch this up, as this is a culmination of these projects I’ve been doing.

“I wanted to do something at KUA and collaborate with other students.”

Snyder, meanwhile, will be preparing to run 26.2 miles from Hopkinton, Mass., to Boston to help an education program that reminds her of her school years in Thetford.

“It felt true to my roots and close to home,” Snyder, who now lives in the Charlestown neighborhood of Boston and works for a real estate investment firm in the suburb of Newton, said in a telephone interview last week. “They really want to get kids outside, who might ordinarily spend the summer inside, playing video games and things.”

Snyder recalled spending many of her school years learning about science through outdoor classes at both Thetford Elementary and at the academy.

“I always loved that,” she said. “For kids in the city, that would be completely foreign to a lot of them. Giving them a chance like this is definitely really valuable.”

Snyder, who continued to run recreationally after competing for Thetford Academy’s cross-country teams in 2003 and 2004, learned about Team Hale last summer, while volunteering with co-workers to spruce up the HOLA camp in Westwood, Mass.

“During that day, the people who are involved day-to-day made some announcements about fundraising opportunities,” Snyder recalled. “When they said they had a marathon team and had some openings for runners, and I decided to try. Running the Boston Marathon has always been in the back of my head, because I went to Boston College, which the marathon route goes by, and it’s always an infectious day. The vibe is so amazing.”

So even though the longest races she’s run have been half marathons, Snyder jumped at the chance to train with Team Hale, starting last December.

“I never won any of my races at Thetford, but I enjoyed the camaraderie with the other runners,” Snyder recalled. “It’s the same kind of feeling with this team. They’ve got a really close-knit group. They’ve been so welcoming. I feel blessed to have this group.”

Weinberger, meanwhile, has been tapping his network of fellow musicians at KUA to sing a mix of current pop music, jazz and classical during this Friday’s Playing for Janie concert.

“With Janie’s passing, in such a tight community, it definitely affected a lot of people here,” Weinberger said. “We decided that a concert like this can bring our community together. That’s why I wanted to involve other students.”

In addition to rehearsing with the 10 singers who committed to performing Weinberger, who plans to major in visual arts in college, collaborated with Cozzi’s mother in designing the Play for Janie promotional poster and T-shirts for the occasion.

“It’s been a saying for the sports teams here after Janie passed, that I wanted to incorporate,” Weinberger said. “But I also wanted to convey the message that you can play for Janie in more ways than one.”

In a solo performance last spring, Weinberger raised about $1,600 for Tranquility House, a halfway facility for recovering addicts. This year, he aims to raise at least $2,000.

While Snyder has already surpassed her goal of raising $8,500, she will welcome any additional contributions.

“However much more people donate,” she said, “that’s more kids who are given a better chance.”

Pianist Sam Weinberger leads a chorus of 10 fellow Kimball Union Academy students in a concert benefiting the Play for Janie Memorial Fund on Friday night at 7 in KUA’s Flickinger Arts Center. To reserve tickets ($15 for admission only, $20 with T-shirt), email weinbergers17@kua.org.

To pledge money to Team Hale through marathon runner Olivia Snyder, visit give.everydayhero.com/us/olivia-snyder-1.

Screen Time-Out

On Friday afternoon at 5, the Weathersfield School will show Screenagers, the 2016 documentary about parents struggling to help their kids strike a balance between their non-digital lives and the enticements and pitfalls of social media, video games and addiction to the internet.

Jessica Wilmot, dean of students at the school, said that the school’s decision to host the screening resulted from “some parents discussing the issues of screen time at home and in school.

“I felt the screening was timely as well because we are having a K-4 ‘Safety Stand Down Day’ to discuss issues of health and safety,” she continued. “In the older grades, I wanted to send a similar message.”

Admission to the screening is free. To learn more about the movie, visit screenagersmovie.com or type Screenagers into the search engine at imdb.com.

Consolidation Conversation

The Windsor Southeast Supervisory Union (WSESU) is hosting three forums in the area this week, on how Act 46, the law governing consolidation of school districts in Vermont, might affect schools in the supervisory union.

With each starting at 6, forums are scheduled for tonight at Weathersfield School, Wednesday night at Hartland Elementary School and Thursday night at the Windsor Schools. For more information, call 802-674-2144.

Small World

Sharon Elementary School’s One Planet Afterschool Program is inviting Upper Valley residents to loan or donate clothing representing cultures from around the world, for an international fashion and food festival that the program will hold at the school on April 29.

The school also is looking for volunteers to help at the festival, where there will be performances of the music and dance of various cultures, as well as the serving of cuisine from Japan, China, Italy, Romania, Greece, Ireland, Mexico, countries from sub-Saharan Africa and beyond.

In addition to raising awareness about multiculturalism, the festival also is a fundraiser for the Spanish-language program that One Planet will inaugurate this summer.

To learn more, email Roxana Matthews at rmatthews@wrvsu.org or call her at 603-217-7407.

Musical Chairs

The Green Mountain Youth Symphony is inviting school-age instrumentalists of all ages and abilities to audition next month for seats in its three orchestras for the summer and fall of 2017.

Auditions are scheduled for May 6, 13 and 20 in Montpelier, to fill openings on its novice, intermediate and advanced ensembles. Registration also is open for the symphony’s Creative Arts and Music Program for intermediate and advanced students, which will gather for a week this summer at Johnson State College.

To schedule an audition and learn more, visit gmys-vt.org or call 802-888-4470 or email info@gmys-vt.org.

On Board

Patrick Andrew, a resident of Canaan and superintendent of the Mascoma Valley Regional School District, recently joined the board of directors of the Upper Valley Educators Institute.

After five years of teaching in Maine, Andrew moved to the Upper Valley in 1997, where he went from teaching science at Mascoma Valley Regional High School to stints as the high school’s assistant principal, principal, then four years as interim assistant superintendent of the school district. He serves on the regional advisory board of the Hartford Area Career and Technology Center and on the Synergy Community Engagement Board of Dartmouth College’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

Scholarship Shape

Green Mountain College recently awarded its Lady Eve Balfour Agricultural Scholarship to Sunapee High School senior Samuel Humphrey. The scholarship goes to incoming students considering careers in agriculture and in business, research, policy, journalism and advocacy on sustainable food.

Dunkin’ Donuts is offering a total of $30,000 in scholarship money to high school seniors in New Hampshire.

Friday is the deadline to apply for one of the 12 available scholarships of $2,500. The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation will review the applications and accomplishments of the entrants. To apply and to learn more, visit nhcf.oerg/scholarships or call 800-464-6641.

Collegiate Recognition

For maintaining a grade-point average of at least 3.25 out of a possible 4.0, Joshua Fontaine, of Lebanon, earned a spot on the dean’s list for the fall 2016 semester at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. Fontaine is a sophomore majoring in exercise physiology.

Washington University in St. Louis named Isabella Hansen, of Hanover, to its dean’s list, for maintaining a grade-point average of at least 3.6 out of a possible 4.0 during the fall 2016 semester.

David Corriveau can be reached at dcorriveau@vnews.com and at 603-727-3304.

Education-related news and announcements also can be sent to schoolnotes@vnews.com.