LWS Experience Winter 2012
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the lowell whiteman experienceJournal of The Lowell Whiteman School
Boarding Parents ConversationAlumni Notes
2From the Head of SchoolThe Lowell Whiteman ExperienceWinter 2012 The Experience is published twice year-ly. Please contact the school to update mailing and email addresses.
Head of SchoolChristopher Taylortaylorc@lws.edu
Board of TrusteesNancy Ventrudo, Board Chair
Mike DeGrandisAaron FinchBeth FindellDavid Hill
Sandy HornerRyan Marovish `93
Erika MayfieldDeb OlsenNick Rose
Adrienne SouthworthKevin VentrudoEd Walker `74
Tim Borden, EmeritusChris Lockwood, EmeritusSteven Halverson, Emeritus
LWS School MissionThe Lowell Whiteman School challenges its students intellect and imagination to help them lead productive, creative and responsible lives in a dynamic, global society.
About the cover: A Shovel for EveryoneLed by Mr. Taylor, the student body and faculty show off their shovels in front of the Williams Lodge. Even tough there hasnt been much snow this year, every Penguin is ready to get to work when the snow does come.
MY ADVENTURE IN CHINA
November 3, 2011--Im sitting in the backseat of an old VW on my way back to Shanghai travelling from a city I visited and knew nothing about--not even the name. My companions in the front seat are in rapid and very enthusiastic chatter about I know not what. My host informed me this morning I wasnt returning by the rapid train, but would return by car. Assuming I was close to Shanghai, since I had driven three hours to this city, I was surprised to learn it would take five hours to drive to Shanghai. It actually took a little over six.
Ive been in China for eight days. Having lived in San Francisco and having a Chinese sister-in-law helped me overcome the initial shock of being surrounded by literally millions of Chinese people and Chinese characters plastered every-where. The food seemed familiar and the rapid-fire, sometimes guttural and strange sounds of the Chinese language reminded me of my dinners in Chinatown.
Both Beijing and Shanghai seem to stretch on forever. As I took the train out of Shanghai, I was amazed by the continuous string of high rise buildings and the enormous amount of construction underway. The fog and smog created a gloomy haze over the countryside. I have not seen one bird and have seen only one cow in my travels. I was prepared to see shanties where the farmers lived. While the houses were modest and constructed from concrete, they looked far nicer than the shacks I saw in the rural South in our country.
I keep thinking about the experiences of our students in the GIS program. Ive tried to imagine being on a train for 40 hours, eating mostly rice for meals, travelling when nature calls to an outhouse, and getting accustomed to the culture and language of a strange place. Twice today Ive washed my hands in a public place with no means of drying my hands. The men stand in groups, talking and quite often spitting. Im a bit of a curiosity.
When it is all said and done, the trip is about the people--approximately 1.4 billion! The Chinese are a friendly nation. Perhaps because Im perceived as im-portant in the hotel or when I visit schools, the people are helpful and very cheer-ful. We have just stopped for a break and snack. Thanks to my English speaking companion, I am surrounded by packets of Oreo cookies--more than I could eat in a week! This brings up the interesting use of English by the Chinese. When I asked my host if Chinese students have any fun, he responded that they are, very funny. Signs along the road warn or advise drivers in ways such as, be careful when you drive, as opposed to, drive carefully.
So why am I in China? As I have thought about Whitemans long history of global adventures, starting with Lowell moving the entire school to Mexico in the spring of 1959, foreign travel has been a major building block in an LWS education. China is clearly a powerful and economically successful nation. While there is speculation by some experts that China cannot sustain its rapid success and influence in the world, for the time being they have accumulated enormous wealth and families are interested in educating their children in America. If the Chinese are going to have a major role in the economic and political world we live in, our students need to learn about and appreciate this huge country and ancient culture. This will require studying Chinese and living in China. Hosting Chinese students in our school will give the Chinese an opportunity to learn about American his-tory and culture. Im here to recruit students to LWS, to explore opportunities in China as we plan our senior GIS trip in April, to explore teacher exchanges, to provide training at LWS for Chinese teachers who teach English, and to create contacts and resources in China as we expand these programs.
I began this initiative with the encouragement and financial support of a parent, Bob Vanderbeek. With the advice of Julie Seagraves of the Asia Art Council in Denver and Alice Renouf of the Colorado China Council in Boulder, I planned a trip to Beijing, Shanghai, and the Anhui province coupled with recruiting fairs organized by The Association of Boarding Schools. Many American boarding schools have a considerable number of Chinese students; as many as 30% to 40% of their students are Chinese/Asian. This develop-ment began five or six years ago and helped many small boarding schools withstand the 2008 decline in the economy with falling enrollments.
What have I learned on this trip? Chinese students feel the pressure of doing well on national exams and the lack of individuality in their education. Because of long days of classroom work and homework, they feel they dont have enough time to explore diverse activities. I spoke with close to a hundred students on my trip. I also spoke with about a third of their parents. There were some very established American schools on this trip that have a hundred applications for three spots. Others, like me, were new to recruiting Chinese students and were learning to recruit some students. A few very marginal schools have been able to recruit large numbers of Chinese students to replace the American students who were weak academically, but whose families had financial resources until 2008.
I met with companies that tutor Chinese students, consultants who advise families about American schools, and school administrators who have Chinese students in their schools interested in studying in America. Im eager to see with which individu-als and companies we will establish a relationship in the future. I am happy to report LWS has enrolled a new 9th grade boy from China.
Chris Taylor, Head of School | firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Taylor offering an LWS shirt to a school official; participating in a special ceremony in Shanghai.
4LWS Desert Week 2011 Although I am a three-year junior here at LWS, this was my first Desert Week. I was on the bike trip, but the day of hiking sticks out in my mind as one of the best memories of not only the trip, but of my life. A day that started out upset and cold turned into an adventure with many smiles.
My two tent-mates and I woke up to wind and sand in our eyes, and as we stumbled out of our tent we realized that it was in fact about as cold as Antarctica and miserable biking weather. We were less than thrilled to say the least. Grey skies and cold, damp, wind blasted our emotions. Pancakes were made and tribe bike trip held a pow-wow, and the decision was made to take a day off, hang out in town, then hike up to see an arch. With the wind carrying off my happiness like a paper bag blowing away, we drove to the beginning of the Bow Tie Arch trailhead.
The hike started off cold and with a hint of unwillingness lingering in the air. But as one starts walking up a canyon, along rock walls, and up ladders bolted into sandstone a smile cant help but force itself upon a face. As I turned my head to the right all I could see was the Colorado River flowing below. The rail road tracks seem to circle the globe and everything seems to go calm. The grey clouds that ruined my day moments before seem to completely transform creating the most beautiful picture.
Standing under Bow Tie Arch the world seems small and vast at the same time. The little worries drift away and the fresh desert air fills your body. From what I can gather from my two going on three years at LWS is this: that these moments, each individual encounter, is what makes this school special; taking a situation and making the best out of it is what this school is based on. Not only did this experi-ence provide a great time for character building, it also opened my eyes to more of my beautiful surroundings. --Vreni Lupear `13
~Mountain Biking in Fruita and Moab~
~Kayaking the Gates of Lodore~Desert Week was probably the most fun in-school vacation that Ive ever had. Nine of us students, led by Linville, went four hours to the Green River to go kayaking. It was in the canyons and there were huge red rocks--like the Grand Canyon, but different.
The first day of kayaking, this rapid called Whinnies was the first big rapid that we went on. The river was flowing huge at 2000 gallons per second or something like that. In the middle there was a massive boulder and the water was very wavy. We went down the rapids in a line, being told to avoid the big boulder to the right. I was in the middle of the line, and everyone was picking a really flat line which I wasnt too thrilled with so I decided to improvise. I was stoked and warm with pumping adrenaline, so I veered to the left a little bit and rode some huge waves. What I didnt realize was that th