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Submitted by admin on Nov 1st, 2011
"I grew up on Maui, and came to Putney as a sophomore. It was everything I had imagined it to be, and believe me, I'd scoped it out thoroughly. I'd practically stalked Putney on its website, studying every page. I'd read the student profiles repeatedly. I'd learned from the website that it is possible to be challenged both artistically and academically in high school, and that 'excelling' can mean more than getting a good test score.
"And now that I'm here, I do feel like I'm excelling—and that it's in ways that reach beyond tests. I applied for and got a semi-private art studio. I think I'm there 100% of the time that I'm not in class—or not eating, sleeping, working on the farm, or rowing. The Putney faculty has been extraordinary in their support of my ideas. Think about it. How many high school juniors do you know who would benefit from a space to create in? And how many do you know who can, just by demonstrating will, responsibility, and a whole lot of ideas, end up with a semi-private, loft studio and the full encouragement of the art faculty?
"One of the most important lessons I've learned here—and this was from my sophomore English teacher—is that, in any class, being 'good' should never be my goal. My goal, at least at first, should be to enjoy what I'm doing, because only then will I take risks and think creatively. I've applied her pearl of wisdom to other subject areas. I now make it a point to enjoy math. And who knew? I've learned to think mathematically.
"I do believe that some sort of art will be my long-term preoccupation. But I am also very attracted to studies in sustainability. Growing up in Hawaii, I was in a canoe club that also taught us about Hawaiian culture. It's a topic that's important to my family, since many of us are native Hawaiians. Then one day our club paddled out to Kaho`olawe, a sacred island off Maui's coast. During World War II, the US military had used the island as a bombing and gunfire range, destroying the island's reefs and archeological sites. The fresh water is all brackish now. That paddling trip is when it first occurred to me that I wanted in some way to help with ecological and cultural sustainability efforts. On subsequent trips to Kaho`olawe I worked with groups to help restore the island. And here at Putney, I try to contribute to sustainability efforts. For example, I'm on the Sustainability Squad, organizing student programs and initiatives. I'm even getting a feel for how to use my art for that purpose. After all, every good movement needs a great logo, right?"