A 2006 graduate of Randolph Union High School, Sarah now lives in Kanazawa, a city of 450,000 people on the West coast of Japan where she teaches English to high school and college students. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys visiting local temples, experiencing the famous local cuisine, and spending time by the Sea of Japan.
"For me," Sarah wrote recently, "RUHS was a haven, a laboratory, and a flight deck, all rolled into one.
Haven. "I remember bringing a proposal for a school newspaper to the office with my close friend Liz and Mr. Stumpff [our teacher mentor], and feeling excited at the possibility of starting a new group within the school community. RUHS was the kind of learning environment that allowed my interests to come forward - the approval of the newspaper project being one among many. RUHS was a place where I found acceptance from my community. It was, for me, a nurturing haven that fostered confidence in my environment. As I succeeded in the classroom, I was also able to enjoy success as a member of a larger community of people – learning from both our similarities and differences. Importantly, RUHS showed me how to navigate and cooperate within a larger group, while supporting me in my individual pursuits. These are the foundations of interaction with humanity, and RUHS invested in laying the ground work."
Laboratory. "In other ways, RUHS was my laboratory for 'cooking up' an individual. I am grateful, looking back, to teachers like Doug Brukardt, for encouraging independent thought while tempering my unruly expression. In those days, I was concocting my self-image, and because of programs like after-school theatre, I developed an ongoing interest in the arts that has shaped my hobbies and pastimes. My six years at the junior and senior high schools provided me with a network of relationships and resources that I maintain today."
Flight deck. "Finally, RUHS was my domestic terminal; the first stop on my way to a larger world. As many others have said in their reflections, programs such as the Shizukuishi Cultural Exchange set my sights on the global community. Though I didn't have the opportunity to travel abroad at that time, it was my first chance to experience foreign cultures from the heart of Vermont. Yet within this rural community, I was able to see a standard for world citizenship that I have taken with me through my years in UVM's Living and Learning community; to my highly-diversified St. Michael's TESOL classrooms; and on to the present, as a professor of English as a Foreign language at Kanazawa College of Technology."
"To the students: Take your time and look around. You may feel that you are in a small place, but in many ways, the community of RUHS is larger than it may seem at first glance. Know that those who came before you have found value in the people there, and that you have the opportunity, today, to begin life as you want it to be. Keep Vermont in your heart and know that no place is too far for you to go, and no goal is unreachable. Maybe H.D. Thoreau said it best: 'Only that day dawns to which we are awake'."
"Today is the best day of your life."