SJA News - February 22, 2023

Grateful to be a Hilltopper

Last week, I had the pleasure of representing St. Johnsbury Academy in Boston at a hiring fair, where I spent two days interviewing candidates from across the US. In nearly all these conversations, I was asked what sets St. Johnsbury Academy apart from other schools. My answer is never one I grow tired of enthusiastically providing. I always enjoy the chance to share why I am proud to be a Hilltopper, and while I could speak about a great number of things, I focus my response on three points.

First, I like to tell folks how important Chapel is to our identity – the daily opportunity for our community to celebrate, calibrate, motivate, and call our members into action. Chapel is rich in tradition, and it is a catalyst for forging our identity as a community of learners. Other schools have Chapel or morning meetings, but I feel ours is unique, in that it occurs each day, features student and adult voices alike, and occurs where students are surrounded by their advisors and fellow advisees.

Our advisory program is indeed distinctive. While a student may know one or two of their peers in advisory when they join our community, by the time they graduate, they know all their advisory members well. They have experienced and participated in the lives of one another, have provided support for and been supported by one another, and are in many ways, part of a family – a family of 10 to 12 members who didn’t select one another, per se, but live their SJA experiences together. Advisory members have different interests, beliefs, passions, and outlooks on life. Some love math, literature, or biology. Others look forward to a career as a master electrician, as a chef, or as a digital designer. Some members of advisories are from Vermont, and others are from across the country or around the world – residents in one of our campus dorms. Advisories, just like families, take on their own personality over time, but each advisory has a commonality: They are led by a committed and caring adult in our community.

And third, I like to tell people about our incredibly talented and accomplished faculty and staff members. I recognize that administrators around the world similarly make this claim, but that said, I have not personally experienced a group of educators who better leverage their understandings, experiences, and passions to serve the students better than the faculty and staff do at St. Johnsbury Academy. Our faculty and staff are filled with people who listen well, are empathetic, and find ways to care for their students in impactful ways. The culture at St. Johnsbury Academy is one of caring, and I am so thankful to work on a team that truly endeavors to serve each student well.

John Lenzini

Associate Headmaster  


Scholastic Art and Writing Awards Announced

St. Johnsbury Academy students won thirteen regional art awards in this year's 2023 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for Fine Art and Writing. A total of eight students won awards for their work in Drawing & Illustration, Digital Art, Ceramics & Glass, Comic Art, Expanded Projects, Fashion, Critical Essay, Poetry, and Flash Fiction.

Gathering on the steps of Fuller Hall for the photo are (l-r): Ruby Tillotson ‘26, Fernanda Yabur Bustamante Falcon ‘25, Jenna Zorn ‘23, Peyton Qualter ‘24, and Ryoma Kato ‘23. Missing from the photo are Julian Lumbra ‘23, Michaela Krane ‘23, and Uma Chirkova ‘24.


Science Olympiads Travel to UMass/Amherst

The Science Olympiad team attended the University of Massachusetts Invitational on Saturday, placing 23rd in a field that included some of the best teams in New England. Among the 15 SJA Science Olympians competing, notable 

accomplishments include Uma Chirkova '24 earning 6th place in Remote Sensing while working without a partner.  In Bridge Building, the team of Ashley Chen '24 and Misumi Matsudo '23 finished 9th while the team of Yubo Zhang '25 and Yueqi Liu '25 earned 10th place. In Experimental Design, Zetong Wang '23, Dolma Sherpa '24, and Uma Chirkova '24 together earned 10th place. The traveling team included juniors Estelle Kokernut, Ayan Hasanova, Kanan Gasimov, and Muzaffar Hussein, and seniors Lily Weber, Hanson Tsai, and James Wai Bong Wong. The team is now preparing for the Vermont State tournament, their next opportunity to demonstrate the ability of Academy students to research and address challenging questions in science, math, and engineering. 

Trio of Nordic Skiers Compete in Qualifiers

This weekend, Sisu Lange ‘25 (center) and Ruth Krebs ‘25 (r) raced at the U16 Dublin Double Eastern Cup race in Dublin, New Hampshire. In the sprint race on Saturday, Sisu finished 4th overall, while Ruth finished 1st overall. In Sunday's 6k Classic race, Sisu finished in 14th place overall, and Ruth 21st place.


Earlier this month, at the Eastern Qualifiers race at Sleepy Hollow Nordic Center, Ruth and Charles Krebs ’23 (l) earned spots to represent the state of Vermont at the Eastern High School Championships to be held later this year at Rickert Nordic Center. Sisu qualified as a U16 racer and will represent Vermont at the U16 Championships held in Maine.

Yearbook Sales and Senior Parent Ads

Senior ads are now on sale. Parents and families of seniors are asked to create their ads using this link and click on the "Sign In" link and create a new account. The deadline has been extended to March 3.

Just a reminder that seniors will receive their yearbook as part of their Graduation Package which also includes their Prom tickets, and Commencement tickets. 

Underclassmen or parents wishing to buy a yearbook can use this link: Yearbooks. Please click on "Select" to create a new account.

If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Legge at [email protected]


Saturday, February 25

Winter Break Begins

Wednesday, March 8

Classes Resume

Sunday, March 19

National Honor Society Induction Ceremony, 3:00 PM

Spring Meet the Coaches, Time TBD


The Girls' Basketball teams were the first students to use the school's new bus for their game at Essex. The bus offers coach-style seats for more comfort on long rides.

Students in Chef Bystrzycki's classroom created delicious treats for Valentine's Day.

The sparks were flying outside the welding shop this week. Mr. Mitchell and his students are busy with several special projects.

Mrs. Loder and Chef Andre are on their way to Italy with a group of students for two weeks of sightseeing, art, and incredible food!

Ms. Sandvil's Spanish 1 students went on a “Winter Scavenger Hunt” and had to speak in Spanish while walking across campus! The project even included a stop in the cafe to discuss the fine art of waffle making.

Mr. Shea and his Film students shot footage for a new school video in the library on Tueday.

Students are busy with their auditions this week with Mr. Walker for the spring production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Show dates are scheduled for May 18-20.

Last week members of the Kingdom Blades held a special practice for youth skaters.

Photos from Saturday's Varsity Girls' Basketball game vs. BFA-St. Albans can be viewed here.

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