Through the Van Eney ‘09 Fellows Program, select seniors transcend our traditional curriculum with a year-long intellectual pursuit that reflects their growing interests and passions. To complete this year of independent study, our students must demonstrate genuine curiosity and a commitment to pushing past their academic boundaries. And with so many obstacles to overcome this year, we are reminded that mentorship and support are equally important to the program. In the spirit of true fellowship, our 20-21 Fellows hosted two events inviting all members of our community to share in their inspiration, challenges, and discoveries: a fair for their peers and an evening of presentations for families.
The Fellows Fair
With COVID guidelines in place, the Upper School was unable to gather as a whole for the annual presentation of Fellows projects; Zoom is limited in terms of interaction and connection for such a large gathering. Our innovative fellows crew met this challenge by staging the first ever Fellows Fair. With our Fellows presenting in different classrooms on a rotating schedule, upper schoolers could see all of the presentations in a more intimate setting, ask questions, watch films, listen to music, play games, and more.
Scroll below for photos of the fair.
An Evening With the Van Eney '09 Fellows
We were beyond excited to welcome a limited number of family guests to Price Auditorium while also live-streaming for those at home. This was one of the first events this year that families were able to attend in person. Program director Ms. Mary Ellen Carsley began the evening with a heartfelt thanks to the Eney Family for their continued support of the program. Then reflecting on this past year, which in many ways reshaped our perspectives, she explored the meaning of community as formally defined and as she has come to understand it while mentoring the Fellows. Following her introduction, each Fellow took the stage, led the audience through their year of discovery, and thanked their faculty mentors for guidance and support.
"I think of community as a verb, not a noun. Community is more a shared call to compassionate action and understanding. In ideal circumstances, through fellowship — which defines community — we strive to share the best of who and what we are. We share our joys and our sorrows, our failures, our achievements. And through true community, we can become better and stronger. Because together we can, as Helen Keller said, do so much. Considering all of this, in the light of my experience working closely with each of these young people in this most challenging of school years, I humbly realized that this definition of community, our Severn Fellows knew all along." — Ms. Carsley
Scroll below for photos of the evening presentations.
Although the pandemic presented many obstacles this year and last, it also opened doors to new traditions. Following in the footsteps of their 2020 predecessors, our Fellows again created short videos to highlight their findings and overall experience in the program.
They also created websites documenting every step of the process from inspiration and initial meetings with mentors last summer to the completion of their work this spring.
Julia Youssef '21, Dinosaur Illustration Study, a series of informational and fossil-informed illustrated pages for a number of dinosaur species. Click here for Julia's website.
Arielle Hillock '21, Classical Music: A Beginner's Guide, an interactive music book for beginners of elementary and middle school age. Click here for Arielle's website.
In Honor of Van Eney '09
The program honors Van Eney '09, who died in a tragic accident in June 2011. In his short life, Van made an impression on all those whose paths he crossed. His quiet reserve masked a carefree and fun-loving guy who brought great humor, joy and love to his family and friends. He was a devoted son and brother and a loyal, generous friend, who exhibited kindness and consideration to all. An avid football and lacrosse competitor, his selflessness showed in his concern for his team and teammates’ success over any individual accolades. With these traits in mind, the Severn Fellows Program was named in Van’s memory as a testament to who he was and how he lived his life.