Community gets chance to speak to school’s 4 Rhodes Scholar alumni

March 16, 2010 — by

Few—or perhaps no other— high school in the country can boast of having had four graduates go on to become Rhodes Scholars in the past decade. As a way of learning from these graduates’ experiences, the Media Arts Program (MAP) will be hosting a panel discussion with them on April 8 in the McAfee Center.

Through this event, the MAP program hopes to not only provide the community with an exciting and motivating event but also raise money and awareness for the MAP program. It will be the first of a series of events hosted by the program.

“I just hope that the public can come out,” said English teacher and MAP coordinator Kerry Mohnike. “The community can see what’s going on in the MAP program to raise awareness about the kind of work we’re doing in the MAP program.”

Rhodes Scholars Ankur Luthra (Class of 2000) from UC Berkeley, Betsy Masiello (Class of 1999) from Wellesley, Chelsea Purvis (Class of 2001) from Yale University, where she is attending law school, and Henry Barmeier (Class of 2007) from Princeton University will all be available to talk during this event. Barmeier and Purvis will be live via webstream from their homes, while Luthra and Masiello will be at the McAfee in person.

Luthra, who attended Berkeley, Oxford and Harvard, worked as a program manager at Microsoft, the Vice President of Summit Partners and is currently working as the Associate at Ziff Brothers Investments. Masiello, who also attended MIT, currently works at Google. Barmeier, the newest member of SHS’ elite group of Rhodes Scholars, plans to continue his majors in public food and agriculture policy at Oxford University for the next two years after graduating from Princeton this spring.

“I am, of course, thrilled to be a part of this discussion,” said Barmeier. “As the ‘rookie’ of the group, I am most excited to hear what the other Rhodes Scholars have to say about their time at Oxford. I hope that the audience understands that there is no ‘track’ to becoming a Rhodes Scholar. That said, I think if there’s one thing Rhodes Scholars have in common, it is passion and commitment to whatever it is that they do.”

Funded by the estate of deceased South African businessman Cecil Rhodes, the Rhodes Scholarship brings 32 exceptional, devoted, passionate and moral students from across the world to study at Oxford University each year for post graduate studies.

The scholars will talk about everything from their experiences at SHS, their passions, what led them to apply for Rhodes Scholarship to what they are doing now in their future life. Mohnike believes that the community will have a chance get a better sense of what kind of students and people SHS produces for society.

“I hope that [the community] will see not only the academic scholarship of these students but [also] that the students [who] are being accepted from SHS are being accepted because they’re extremely passionate people and that they’re ‘do-ers,'” said Mohnike. “They care about what they’re doing and they’re good at what they do. I just hope that people will understand the caliber of [students] coming out of SHS in a different way.”

Admission to this conference is free and open to the general public, but there will be a donation box that will be passed around the audience with the recommended donation being $10. Proceeds will go to the funding of new technological equipment for the MAP program.

“What we’re really trying to do is establish an activity or event that is an ongoing revenue string for the MAP program,” said Mohnike. “Because funds are limited and we won’t get any state funds, we’re really trying to support the MAP program.”

Hoping to get a large turnout, Mohnike believes that this panel discussion will be very educational, motivating and inspiring for the community.

“This is a great opportunity for Saratoga to look back on their experiences to kind of get a sense of students who have come from this school in the last 10 years and to look at the kind of people that are being selected for these great honors,” said Mohnike. “These people are just dedicated, passionate people; they’re not just people who are interested in what their grades are.”

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