Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, July 5, 2018
Students take center stage at annual GSA meeting
by Anne Berleant
The June 21 annual public meeting held by the George Stevens Academy Board of Trustees offered no specific news or operational reports but instead focused on student experience, bringing in a member of each class to speak.
Rising sophomore Zeke Sacaridiz, rising junior Erika Hipsky, rising senior LeeAnn Varnum and new graduate Marshal Lebel all described their time at GSA. For two, the jazz and music program with musical director Steve Orlofsky held center stage. For another, the atmosphere, encouragement and range of student interests gave her confidence to be herself. Graduate Lebel spoke of the former Eastern Maine Skippers Program, now called Ocean Studies.
“I’m probably going to end up fishing the rest of my life,” he said. “That class really prepared me for my future.”
The students also noted the positive impact of international students, a theme Seeley also touched on in his opening remarks.
“The international students really help make our school diverse,” Hipsky said. “Not just in nationality. [We have] theater kids, lobstermen….The range of interests here is insane. And everyone is really good at what they do.”
Board Chairman Samantha Politte also gave thanks and farewells to outgoing trustees Margaret Hannah and Brian van Emmerik, and welcomed two new trustees, Jim Crawford, a seasonal trustee, and Brendan Reay, who recently moved to the area.
The public meeting followed a private meeting of the board of trustees. As a private school, such meetings are not required to be open to the public.