The Power of Conversation: Alumni Connecting with Students

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Each year, alumni face several opportunities to engage with students on campus through events, games, panels, the Alumni in Residence program, and the newly created Class of 1969 Speaker Series. While in-person events were restricted due to the pandemic, the school looked toward virtual engagement strategies. Online panels through Zoom and other virtual platforms offered a meaningful connection to share conversations through arrangements by the college, counseling, and alumni offices.

Zola ’20 (jersey #19, front row, center) celebrates a victory over Holderness with the softball team in April 2019.

Nurturing Well-Being and Connection

Director of Counseling Services Nicole Siciliano organized many group sessions for all students and community members this fall, focusing on the need for mental health support. Additionally, an evening was organized with alumni panelists Zola Braswell ’20 and Noah Bolduc ’20 to address mental health and its effect on athletic performance. The goal was to help students identify self-care strategies to maintain focus and healthy balance throughout their athletic season. Zola and Noah were able to share from their direct and recent experience at New Hampton School, offering insight on joining mental and physical well-being to support overall performance as an athlete and student.

Christian ’17 at his senior game for lacrosse with parents Steve ’82 and Carol Thomas.

Speaking from Experience

New Hampton School student-athletes were treated to an all-star line-up of alumni panelists earlier this fall. In what has become an annual tradition, College Office Counselor Eileen Williams organized an evening event for students interested in pursuing collegiate athletics. Representing all three NCAA divisions and five different collegiate level sports, our guests shared their realities of playing at the next level. They answered questions ranging from recruiting to mental health and candidly shared their experiences of being college athletes. 

Panelists this year included:

Mike Levine ’00
DIII college hockey player at Utica College, prep school and college hockey coach, currently a Player Development/Scout for the Vegas Golden Knights (NHL)

Tori Fitzgerald ’14
DIII field hockey and softball athlete at Bates College, club and prep school softball coach

Cayla Barnes ’17
DI hockey player at Boston College, 2018 Olympic Gold Medalist

Grant Robinson ’17
DIII basketball at Amherst College, NABC (National Association of Basketball Coaches First Team All-Northeast Region, D3 Hoops Second Team All-Northeast Region, and First Team All- NESCAC

Christian Thomas ’17 
DI college lacrosse player at Merrimack College, 2-time NCAA National Lacrosse Champion

Eva Hodgson ’18
DI college basketball at College of William & Mary, CAA Rookie of the Year

Each panelist fielded questions while sharing reflections on their transition from New Hampton School to their college teams. Attendee Jensen ’21 shared: “As someone who is feeling stressed about where to go to college, and what level of basketball I should be pursuing, it was very helpful to hear a variety of experiences (the pros and cons of both). This nice mix really allowed for any athlete to take something away from this Zoom. Anyone could find a connection to something that one of the alumni said because their answers were so diverse. They also did an amazing job telling of the true realities of play sports after New Hampton School.” Jensen further reflected, “I was very intrigued by Grant Robinson, and how he already has a job lined up after college. […] Also hearing how Tori and Mike found a way to stay close to the sports that they love after college was inspiring and certainly opened my mind up to potentially pursuing something to do with basketball after college. All in all, this was one of the best conversations I have been able to listen in on.”

Elibet Moore Chase ’75 celebrates her 40th New Hampton School Reunion.

50 Years of Co-Education at New Hampton School

On Wednesday, December 2, the Alumni Office hosted its first event as part of the Alumni in Residence program and Class of 1969 Speaker Series for its community. Students and faculty members heard from a talented, dynamic panel of alumnae and former faculty focused on the theme of Celebrating 50 Years of Co-education at New Hampton School. The panel included Alice Norris ’72, Lois Diehls Cornell ’75, Elibet Moore Chase ’75, Carolyn Crosby ’81, Gara Field ’87, former faculty member Carol Brooks (1974-1979), and was moderated by Jennifer Shackett Berry ’83—alumna and former faculty and staff. Panelists shared stories about their own school experiences and career paths while helping students better understand the incredibly special bond between New Hampton School alumnae of all ages.

Although everyone’s New Hampton School experience is unique, what rang true for all panelists and students today, was that students from all decades appreciate the open classroom environment and the support that they receive from their teachers. Before opening the program up for questions, panelists were asked to share advice with our student body. Elibet Moore Chase ’75 advised that there will be a number of voices that will influence you and that it’s important to be sure that you listen to your own voice.  Figure out how you can unearth your true passion and how do you can feel comfortable letting yourself pursue it. Gara Field ’87 quoted a mentor and long-time faculty member Mark Tilton who told her, “’Don’t sacrifice what you want most for what you want now.’ Have a dream, make a plan, do the work. Always stay true to yourself. Alums will always respond to your emails, phone calls, etc. This community has impacted every alum in so many ways, and they will always be willing to answer a call and help you along the way.”

If you’d like to hear more from the evening, you can access the recording here. If you’re interested in joining us in the classroom, providing an internship opportunity for a current student, or wish to offer career mentorship, please contact the Alumni Office.

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