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2016 STAFF RECOGNITION AWARD NOMINATIONS NOW OPEN

Nominations for the 2016 Staff Recognition Awards are now open. These awards have been endowed through the generosity of Rudolf K. Haerle, Jr., Professor Emeritus of Sociology, who wished through his gift to recognize the importance of staff to the Middlebury Community.

Four awards are presented each year – one to a staff member in Dining Services, one to a staff member in Facilities Services, and two to staff members in all other areas of the Institution. Each winner will receive a cash prize of $200, and their names will be engraved on a plaque that hangs in the Grille.

Nominations for these awards may be submitted by completing the form attached to this link http://www.middlebury.edu/system/files/media/StaffRecognition2016.doc  and sending it as a Word document to the Vice President for Finance and Treasurer mailbox at ovpt@middlebury.edu, or mailing to Old Chapel 102.The deadline for nominations is Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The winners will be chosen by a selection committee consisting of the recipients of the 2015 awards: Joanne Leggett (Special Programs Coordinator -Admissions); Donna McDurfee (Administrative Coordinator of Faculty Affairs – Academic Affairs); Kevin Norton (Team Leader, General Services – Facilities Services); and Darren Zeno  (Bread loaf Chef/Roundsperson – Dining Services).

Sincerely,

Patrick

Managers/Supervisors: Please post in a common area for those who do not have access to email.

15th Anniversary, Page One Literacy Takes Stock of Success

Middlebury College students Kristina Frye ’17 and Elizabeth Zhou ’18 may share an equal enthusiasm for reading, but by no means do they love it for the same reasons. Upon sitting down with Frye and Zhou to discuss the student organization, Page One Literacy, it was impossible at first to see how the two served as complementary, yet opposing, points of reference for the organization, exemplifying the broad spectrum of those who love to read, effectively, yet perhaps unknowingly, playing yin to the other’s yang.12654367_1676518449295648_7552052978412513067_n

Frye and Zhou, President and Programs Coordinator, respectively, work together along with an average of 25-30 other students each semester to support and further the aims of Page One Literacy. Through semester-long after-school reading programs and one-time events open to the community, Page One Literacy strives to promote literacy and foster a love of reading among local children in the Addison County community. This year marks Page One Literacy’s 15th anniversary, providing an apt moment for the organization’s leadership to take stock of its successes as well as envision their future.

Frye and Zhou first met in the Russian Deparment at Middlebury, but it was through Page One Literacy that they have gotten to know each other better. Their contrasting motivations and distinct personalities are a testament to Page One Elizabeth ZhouLiteracy’s inclusivity, but more than that, demonstrate that reading is not reserved for one type of person only.

Zhou got involved in the program her freshman spring, seeking out a reading program in large part due to the impact that it had on her as a child. Zhou describes herself as a quiet kid who kept to herself and who preferred reading in a nook to running around with others. Reading gave Zhou another world into which she could escape and exposed her to characters with identities different from her own. In fact, it was through reading that she started to become more comfortable with her own introversion. Some of her favorite childhood books like the Berenstein Bears inspired adventure, while Shel Silverstein’s poems, according to Zhou, encourage you to “be yourself”.

13010732_1711291902484969_5153137138815732537_nFor Frye, on the other hand, reading has always been a social activity. Her fondest memories as a child include reading stories with her dad and sister before bedtime. Today, as a volunteer with Page One Literacy, Frye remarks that she has loved getting to know her co-volunteers and one of her favorite aspects of the program is its ability to connect people to each other.

A typical after-school session involves an introduction and a moment to “get the after-school jitters out”, reading in pairs or groups, individual silent reading, and a reading-related craft activity. Along with the problem of transporting college volunteer to the schools, Frye noted that the wide range of reading levels poses a challenge to volunteers. What to do when one child is reading at a fifth-grade level and others have only just begun reading weeks earlier? And what to do with a group of children coming into an after-school program with vastly different strengths, weaknesses, and life experiences? Volunteers are trained to be as flexible as possible and come to the program with a large repertoire of activities. Zhou cited one of her victories from last year when she unconventionally paired students of different reading levels together, due to an asymmetrical variety in the group. To her surprise, the kids responded positively.

“You learn to follow their cues,” Zhou says of the kids.

“In that way, our volunteers get a lot out of it, learning how to react to unpredictable situations. You never know how the kids will feel one day to the next,” Frye says. “You learn how to take your time and not follow a step-by-step plan. Working outside of your comfort zone can be a good thing.”

Zhou reflects, “You learn to make spaces as comfortable as possible for everyone.”

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This year the program has grown. While the difference of five volunteers may not seem like much, in fact, with the growth from 25 volunteers last spring to 30 volunteers this spring, Page One Literacy has been able to expand to 9 sites and 12 programs. Five more volunteers translates to a few extra after-school programs, extending programming to a few dozen more children. A critical sign of growth, Page One has also witnessed a shift in its relationships with other organizations and community partners, who have started to reach out to Page One with events instead of the other way around.

As far as goals for the future, Zhou included an investigation into the disparity of male-female volunteers with the aim of ultimately attracting more male volunteers to the program to serve as mentors and role models. Frye discussed retaining volunteers over multiple semesters and creating greater awareness on campus, as through the newly up-and-running Page One Facebook page. Whatever the future holds, Page One Literacy is in good hands.

 

Learn more about Page One Literacy at the website, on Facebook, or by reaching out to pageone@middlebury.edu.

 

Alison Haas ’16, CE Communications Intern

Language, Cultures, and Students in Motion – A Spring Break in the Kingdom

Kyler Blodgett ’17 writes about his experience on a LiM-Mini-MAlt trip this spring break to Orleans County and the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont with four other Middlebury students.

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“The five of us piled into the van early on the Tuesday morning of Spring Break, wondering if we had remembered all the USBs, international candies, and travel knick knacks for the next three days. We were headed 100 miles north of campus to Orleans County and the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont to deliver interactive presentations focused on global awareness and cultural relativity to students in the area. The Kingdom, as it’s called locally, is known for beautiful scenery with a low population, even relative to the rest of the state. Social services and employment options tend to be limited, but prospects of moving out of the area are low.

With this context in mind, we had spent the previous two weeks preparing our presentations. Trained by Kristen Mullins, director of the Language in Motion program on campus, we all based the presentations in our personal experiences living or studying abroad. The countries in our group included England, Ireland, France, Germany, China, and Cameroon.

As it is with many short service-learning trips, we hit the ground running. Our first afternoon in the Kingdom we presented at Brownington Central School, a K through 8 school with about 15 students per grade. There was a nervous energy among us as we met the principal and were given a tour of the small building; though many of us had worked with kids previously, the prospect of being handed the reins of a classroom either in pairs or solo was still daunting. We didn’t reconvene as a whole group until the school day ended two and a half hours later, but the nervousness had clearly vanished long before that. We shared stories of the students’ perceptiveness, and anecdotes of way the young kids focus on the most unpredictable details that is equal parts lovable and frustrating to a teacher.

Over a homemade dinner, we reflected on our gratitude that the kids were not hesitant to ask questions or show interest in the topics, a “too cool for school” feeling we had expected. We wondered if we would get such an enthusiastic reception at the neighboring Lake Region High School the next day.

IMG_1116Wednesday morning had a similar feeling of anticipation since it was the fullest and least centralized day of the trip. We met with Lake Region guidance counselors before the first class, a conversation that quickly turned towards the respective stereotypes the students have of internal cliques, foreigners, and often themselves. Though this knowledge made our presentation topics feel even more relevant, it gave us a pause to consider how we’d be received.

Much like Tuesday afternoon at the Brownington, we were collectively surprised at the level of the kids’ engagement. By second period, word had gotten around that college students were in the building and kids would often enter presentation classrooms and whisper excitedly. We saw little trace of the non-engagement counselors had warned us about; rather, students were very curious about our travels, and enthusiastic participants in simulations and discussions. In some of our most interesting moments, we were able to talk with the students about ways they thought outsiders stereotyped the Kingdom, and use that as a springboard to conversations about cultural relativity. The students brought an energy to activities that was contagious even when our own fatigue began to catch up with us in the afternoon.

Our group met up after the last bell rang with grins on our tired faces. We’d had two early mornings in a row, but the learning wasn’t done yet. We were lodging at the Old Stone House Museum not far from the schools, and the museum director gave us a tour that afternoon. She walked us through the fascinating history of the Old Stone House as a progressive boarding school run by Midd alum, Alexander Twilight, from 1829 to 1847.

 Before driving back to Middlebury on Thursday, we met with the director of the Teen Center at NEKCA (the Northeast Kingdom Community Action association), a hub of local social service providers. In a conversation that was both lively and frank, director Allyson Howell talked to us about the realities of running the Teen Center on a shoestring budget, and the difficulties facing youth in the Kingdom. These included the location as a notorious drug highway from New York City to Canada, homelessness, and rural transportation obstacles.

We each reflected on the trip in different ways. For some, it confirmed that secondary education would be key to their future career path; for others, the exact opposite. For many of us, the trip raised questions about how we can engage with a new community in such a short time and allow learning about experience living in the Kingdom to supplement or contradict our background knowledge. For all of us, I think, we appreciated the chance to broaden our view of Vermont from the slice of Addison County that we see regularly. We’re extremely grateful to all the people on campus who made this trip a reality, and for the students and educators we met for their patience, enthusiasm, and willingness to share a moment of their lives with us.”

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Learn more about Middlebury Alternative Breaks Trips at go/MAlt and about the Language in Motion program at go/LiM.

 

Alison Haas ’16, CE Communicatiosn Intern

Does New York Love Donald Trump’s Values?

Only four days before next Tuesday’s crucial New York primary, the Trump Traveling Circus came to Plattsburgh in upstate New York on Friday, and your intrepid blogger was at the rally. Here’s what I saw. I had originally intended to attend Trump’s Albany rally last Monday, but begin to hear rumors that Trump was planning […]