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Stewart Huntsman ’12

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Stewart credits Waterford college counseling for helping him with the college admissions process at Kenyon College.Stewart Huntsman is a recent graduate of Waterford (Class of 2012). He attended here from Nursery Threes all the way through Grade 12 and is now an undergraduate student at Kenyon College in Ohio.

What impact has Waterford had on you?
The relationships I forged with my teachers at Waterford have been one of the major parts of my life. The discovery, around eighth grade or so, that a teacher could also be a mentor and a friend was something which has continued to shape my life and has proved invaluable thus far in my college career.

Did Waterford help create a love of learning for you?
In short, yes. My teachers shaped and encouraged my love of history, and also taught me, in spite of numerous attempts on my part to thwart them, that learning could be a great deal of fun. I learned not only to love history, but to love English and physics and biology as well.

What passions did you find at Waterford that you may not have discovered elsewhere?
That would be the outdoors for me. When I was young, altogether too many hikes (forced marches if you prefer my mother’s half-facetious terminology) had me ready to swear off the wilderness altogether. But Waterford’s Outdoor Program taught me to love the wilderness again, and it was through that program that I was able to rediscover my fondness for hiking, climbing, and skiing.

Describe the faculty at Waterford.
The faculty at Waterford are wonderful people. They are committed to their love of teaching, and they are determined to pass that passion on to their students. Waterford faculty are friendly, approachable, kind and dedicated. They have had a great influence on my life.

Did you have a favorite teacher?
I had many favorite teachers. To name a few, I had Mr. Johnson in Lower School, Mrs. Phillips in Middle School, and Mr. Cole, Mr. Sayes, Mr. Wade, Mr. Shaw, Ms. Powers, Mr. Van Arsdell, just to name a few. These teachers all showed me different things, different ways of learning, and helped me to succeed. Without Mr. Sayes, it is doubtful I would ever have survived Geometry, let alone taken AP Calculus, and without Mr. Cole, I never would have found my love of the outdoors. All of these teachers, and so many more, helped shape me and my Waterford experience, and without them, I would be a very different sort of person, and a I suspect, a worse one. The debt of gratitude I owe them is enormous.

Was there a time that a teacher went above and beyond the call of duty for you?
Where to begin? Mr. Sayes, who was my primary math teacher in high school, knowing how much I loved history, gave me a book on the Vietnam War which he found to be particularly good. It was an exceedingly kind gesture, and I brought that book, along with another from Mr. Cole, to college with me. There were so many times when teachers showed moments of thoughtfulness, and this only one example. I wish I had the space to list them all.

Describe the Waterford community.
I think that the strength of its community is one of Waterford’s greatest selling points, because with the school comes not only an educational experience, but also a support network, of lovely, genuine people. To give an example, when my father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer during the spring of my senior year, the community stepped forward, and essentially took care of my family to help us through a very difficult time.

What did you like about your fellow students?
They were a fluid group of people. While there were decidedly groups of friends, the lines between them were often blurred, and people crossed between them with ease.

Do you stay in touch with your Waterford friends now that you are all off to different colleges and universities?
I do. Even though I lack a Facebook account, I have found it fairly simple to stay in touch with my Waterford friends, and they are some of the first contacts I make when I am home on a break. The group of friends that I made at Waterford is a close one, and I think that we will remain close for a long time to come.

Did Waterford help you find the right college for you?
I would say so. When people ask me how I landed in rural Ohio, I like to say that I just stumbled onto Kenyon. The truth is that it was Waterford that pushed me toward Kenyon in the first place. If it hadn’t been for the Waterford College Counseling department, I doubt I would have survived the complex and arduous college application process. It was Mrs. Rauscher who first pointed out Kenyon to me, more than four years ago now. I think Waterford did an excellent job of preparing me.

How prepared for college and for life were you?
Thus far, I have been exceedingly well prepared. Waterford prepared me both for the workload and taught me how to develop relationships with faculty — something which has served me quite well here. In school, in life, in general, I think that Waterford gave me an excellent foundation.

Anything else?
Waterford is a world unto itself, a unique community through which people cycle, but always return, drawn by its peculiar magnetism. I have been shaped by the Waterford School, and I think it is fair to say that it has left an indelible mark upon my soul. I began the process of discovering the wider world there, and I have made it my foundation. Without it, I think I would have been a different, and probably inferior, person than the one I am today.