School Notes: Lebanon Grad Leads Cadets at Maine Maritime

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 3/20/2017 10:00:24 PM
Modified: 3/20/2017 10:00:26 PM

Lebanon High School graduate Zachary Kinsman recently earned a promotion to midshipman commander of the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) unit at Maine Maritime Academy.

The promotion makes Kinsman, a junior at the school in Castine, Maine, the highest-ranking midshipman cadet on campus. He oversees the training, discipline, guidance and general well-being of the school’s 60-plus NROTC cadets.

Kinsman graduated in 2014 from Lebanon High, where he excelled on the cross country-running and track-and-field teams. He is slated to graduate from Maine Martime in 2018, and aims to begin his Navy career as a second lieutenant with the Special Warfare Command.

Educator Excellence

Woodstock Union High School counselor Nerissa Edwards and teacher Luis Bango recently received a $50,000 fellowship from the Rowland Foundation to widen opportunities for students to learn beyond the classroom.

During the 2017-2018 academic year, the grant from the Vermont-based Rowland Foundation will enable the school to pay substitutes while Edwards and Bango explore and design internships, job shadows, mentorships and other alliances with community agencies and businesses. The grant also covers travel, research and other expenses related to activities supporting the Flexible Pathways  work. Under Vermont’s Act 77, enacted in 2013, the state Agency of Education’s Flexible Pathways Initiative encourages school districts to help high school students to prepare for post-secondary education and for career opportunities, particularly through work-based learning.

Since 2009, the Rowland Foundation has been awarding up to 10 fellowships a year to teachers and counselors in public secondary schools with ideas for classroom innovations, and with the support of their principals. On its website, the foundation lists among its goals helping such educators to “alter a school’s curriculum and enhance its climate for learning.”

Dec. 31 is the deadline for educators to apply to the Rowland Foundation for grants and fellowships for the 2018-2019 academic year. For more information about the application process, about past fellows and about the foundation, visit

Collegiate Recognition

By maintaining a grade-point average of at least 3.75 out of a possible 4.0 during the fall 2016 semester, Joseph S. Grout, of Plainfield, earned a spot on the president’s list at Post University in Waterbury, Conn. A 2014 graduate of Lebanon High School and a 2015 graduate of Bridgton (Maine) Academy, he is a sophomore majoring in emergency policy and management.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Cells

James Murdza, of Hanover, operated the control software for the Delft University team that won the overall award during SpaceX’s recent Hyperloop competition in Los Angeles. The competition, according to the SpaceX website, was “to help accelerate the development of functional prototypes and encourage student innovation by challenging university students to design and build the best high-speed pod.”

Murdza, a 2012 graduate of Hanover High School, is studying aerospace engineering at Delft, in the Netherlands.

The Dartmouth School of Graduate and Advanced Studies is inviting Upper Valley schoolchildren in grades 5 to 10 to its fifth annual Science Day at Dartmouth College on April 1. Dartmouth graduate students in a variety of fields will lead activities and demonstrations at laboratories around campus between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

To register and learn more, visit day.

Three Upper Valley students will represent New Hampshire at the national MathCounts competition in Florida in April, thanks to their performances during the recent Granite State championship at Plymouth State University.

In the written test part of the contest, Maxine Park, a seventh-grader from Hanover, finished third overall after a tiebreaker with fellow Crossroads Academy student Miriam Viazmenski, an eighth-grader from Hanover who finished fourth, and with Richmond Middle Schooler Rose Luttmer, who placed fifth.

Joining the trio in the top 10 were Crossroads student Andrew Huang, who placed eighth, while Jonathan Li of Crossroads finished 11th. Huang, Li and Luttmer finished first, third and fourth, respectively, in the speaking competition.

Crossroads Academy won the team title and Richmond Middle School placed fifth. Crossroads teacher Alison Gorman and Dartmouth graduate student Daryl DeFord coached the Crossroads squad, while John Kitzmiller tutored the Richmond team.

By Degrees

Emily Kadish, of Thetford, graduated magna cum laude from Syracuse University in December. The 2012 graduate of Thetford Academy earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts.

All the Valley’s a Stage

The middle school students at The Sharon Academy stage the school’s 11th annual circus on Friday and Saturday at the academy’s high school.

Under the direction of Troy Wunderle, artistic director of Circus Smirkus’ annual Big Top Tour, the middle-schoolers will perform at 7 on Friday night and at 4 on Saturday afternoon. An hour before each performance, academy students will run carnivals featuring games and activities for younger children.

Admission is $3. To learn more, visit

The Claremont-based Amplified Arts program will hold auditions on Saturday afternoon for performers ages 13 to 18 interested in acting in its adaptation of Hamlet in June.

Amplified Arts will hold the auditions from 4 to 6 in its space on the second floor of 31 Pleasant St. in Claremont. To schedule an audition, email To learn more about the production, scheduled for June 8 to 10, and about the overall program, visit


March 31 is the deadline for parents of 5-year-old and soon-to-turn-five children in Weathersfield to register their youngsters for the start of kindergarten classes for the 2017-2018 academic year.

In addition to registration, students who will turn 5 before Sept. 1 will undergo screening for health and learning issues. To make an appointment or learn more, call 802-674-5400.

Scholarship Shape

The Norwich Women’s Club is accepting applications from high school-age students from Norwich planning to attend college or post-secondary vocational training. The club raises money for the scholarships through its twice-a-year Nearly New Sale, and the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, which determines eligibility. To learn more, visit

High School Honors

Lebanon High School recently named senior Julianne Borger as its student of the month for March. The announcement from the Lebanon School District office cited, in addition to her academic accomplishments, her efforts to revive the school’s Wet Paint Players theater company and her advocacy for environmental responsibility. With a $10,000 scholarship from the Timken Corporation, Borger will major in science at Smith College in Northampton, Mass.

Controlled Substances

The North Pomfret Congregational Church and Health Connections of the Upper Valley are inviting area parents and children to a screening of the documentary: The Other Side of Cannabis: The Negative Effects on Our Youth, at the church on March 29 at 6:30 p.m.

Before the film, the church will host a light supper at 6. To learn more, call Cathy Hazlett at 802-457-4780.

David Corriveau can be reached at and at 603-727-3304. Education news also can be sent to

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