The Path October 2020

An Albuquerque Academy Community Newsletter


Back to School, Online | National Merit Scholar Semifinalists | A Cross Cultural Art Exchange | Admission Open House | Impact Report

Back to School, Online

Like most schools around the U.S., the Academy started the 2020-21 school year with online classes. Academy administrators and faculty prepared for this eventuality throughout the summer with intensive professional development focused on online teaching and by reimagining the school calendar. One of our students’ biggest challenges in the spring was managing the number of classes and assignments while learning online. Our new trimester calendar for grades 8-12 means students take only two academic courses per term; in the 6-7 division, students rotate through their classes, taking four or five classes per cycle. The new schedule will also reduce points of contacts to fewer than 36, so if there was a positive case on campus once we are able to resume in-person classes, we could more easily trace contacts.

As of October, Academy classes remain online, even as some New Mexico schools launched hybrid models to accommodate public health orders limiting in-person classes to 25% fire code capacity for private schools. “It makes little sense to disrupt something that is going well until we are able to do something we know will be better,” says Head of School Julianne Puente. “Because we are teaching a year of content in one trimester, every teaching minute counts, and our students need to be in class with their teachers 100% of the time. A two- or three-day, in-person, rotating model for a portion of any given class requires us to surrender precious instructional time.”

In September we were able to begin offering a wide variety of in-person extracurricular activities including visual and performing arts, athletics, Ex Ed activities, publications, DECA, community service, college essay workshops, and more – voluntary, masked, and safely distanced. These opportunities for students to enjoy their campus and spend time with friends doing the activities they love most have helped address our concerns about student wellness and sense of community. It’s unfortunate that we cannot see their smiles behind the masks.

National Merit Scholar Semifinalists

The National Merit® Scholarship Corporation has announced that 23 of the Albuquerque Academy seniors who competed in the National Merit Scholarship Program last year have been named semifinalists in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program.

More than 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which serves as an initial screen of program participants. The nationwide pool of semifinalists represents less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors and includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.

Next spring these students will have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $30 million.

Congratulations to all of the semifinalists across New Mexico on being honored for their hard work and dedication. The 2021 semifinalists from Albuquerque Academy are:

Rosa Bieber-Stanley, Diana Chinenkova, Ryan Dalton, Alexandria Dolan, Jared Duran, Carter Elias, Amelia Johnson, Lauren Keller, Lorelei Logan, Melinda Modisette, Jacob Roberts-Baca, Jonah Romero, Casey Savage, Daniel Shapiro, Cole Smidt, Andrew Spears, Connor Spears, Zoey Stady, Megan Stein, Emma Sullivan, Katherine Thuma, Sarah Wang, and Brianna Xie.

A Cross Cultural Art Exchange

Melinda Modisette ’21 began an art exchange project aimed at connecting students across the world through art after receiving the Ogawa Service Leadership award in 2019. Her goal was for artists to illustrate, through half of an art piece, the defining characteristics of their home city and country and what they wanted to depict about their culture to students abroad. The half-completed art pieces, started by six students in Lanzhou, China and six students in Albuquerque, were then exchanged by mail and finished by the art students in each respective country.

Melinda explains her inspiration for the project: “I wanted to help my community recognize that although nobody has the ability to change someone’s experiences, how they grew up, what kind of culture they were raised in, or what color their skin is, these aspects of a human being shouldn’t be changed, but rather cherished.”

The final pieces are now featured on the project’s website, which also details the students' one-and-a-half-year timeline, including discussions surrounding cultural differences and similarities and the struggles they faced collaborating during the COVID pandemic. According to the website, the students learned to communicate with others in a completely different culture and see the world from another perspective – from how the tooth fairy operates in China to the differences in KFC’s menu in the two countries.

The Ogawa Service Leadership Award is presented to two Academy students each year who demonstrate leadership qualities and a dedication to community service. Students receive a grant that they may use towards a community service initiative for the following academic year.

Admission Open House October 25

Families, please join the Academy for a virtual open house on October 25, 2020 at 1:30 p.m. Feel free to invite a friend, too! Hear from students, parents, and faculty, enjoy student presentations and a campus tour, explore the admission process, and learn more about tuition assistance. Registration is required. You can find more information here.

Plus, check out a few kid-friendly, Academy faculty-led activities for prospective students!

Impact Report

The 2019-20 Impact Report is now available to the Albuquerque Academy community. Each year, the Academy provides a snapshot of the fiscal and philanthropic health from the prior school year and shares its gratitude for the countless ways you supported the Academy.

View the 2019-20 Impact Report here.

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