KO students use Martin Nicholson stipend in enriching ways

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This summer, KO’s Martin Nicolson Scholars used their enrichment stipend in rewarding ways that sent them around the globe and into virtual classrooms. 

Each year, KO awards its Martin Nicholson Scholars a $1,000 stipend to use towards a summer experience in their freshman, sophomore, and junior years. The scholarship was founded in honor of Mary Martin and George Nicholson. To be admitted, students must demonstrate good academic standing, show strong involvement within the KO community, and practice good citizenship. This year, scholars who weren’t able to use their stipend in 2020 due to the pandemic were able to carry the money over to this summer. 

The stipend is an opportunity for scholars to follow an existing passion or have an outlet to explore a new one. English teacher Ron Monroe is an advisor to the program along with Director of Academic Planning Carolyn Mckee, and the two help scholars decide how to use their scholarship and provide resources for them to investigate different available opportunities. “[The scholars] are developing a resume that is an impressive consideration for any college or university,” Mr. Monroe said. 

Senior Pat Schwab used his stipend last summer to travel to Greece and pursue his passion for photography. Traveling entirely on your own can seem like a scary feat, but Pat said he didn’t have time to feel homesick because he filled his schedule with lots to do every day. “I packed my schedule with plenty of tourist attractions, beaches, historical and architectural sites,” he said. “Each day presented a new piece of culture and history to immerse myself in. My camera was only a lens through which I was able to experience this new culture.” 

Pat said that the hardest part of the trip was financially supporting himself and missing the comfort of his own shower and bathroom. He stayed in a hostel with about 60-70 other strangers from around the globe including a few Greek natives. “The people were, by far, my favorite part of Greece, both Greek natives and my hostel roommates,” Pat said. Pat mentioned that he bonded with a group of Irish tourists. “I met an actor from Britain who I spent one day with in Santorini on a boat tour of the island,” Pat added. “He was quite an interesting man.” 

Pat said that he returned from the trip with 250 pictures of the surrounding scenery and over 400 portraits of people he met on the trip. “A camera is a universal language, because every person of any language understands smiling while their picture is being taken,” he said. 

Senior Natalia Correa had quite a different experience than Pat. She engaged in a “mini med school” two-week summer intensive program through Tufts University. 

Each day, Natalia was guided through an at-home lab led by her TA, who was a student about to enter his or her first year of medical school. The program sent Natalia and her fellow classmates protective gear and other materials needed for the labs. The class got the opportunity to hear from a different lecturer each day; these sessions featured dentists, veterinarians, physicians, medical school students, and other individuals in the medical field. At the end of the two weeks, Natalia and a group of her classmates completed a capstone project encompassing all that they had learned. Natalia’s group focused on the 1919 influenza. The class helped her navigate working on her own without resources immediately available to her. 

Since Natalia wants to take the pre-med route in college, this program prepared her well for her future. “I learned about what I want to do in my future,” she said. “I’m very interested in pre-med, and I think this program helped me explore the different options in the field and how I can use this information when I’m applying to colleges.” 

Junior Quin Kearney used her stipend to live on a large sailboat in the Caribbean for 17 days through a program called Action Quest. Through this program, Quin learned how to sail and scuba dive. 

This was the first time Quin had traveled internationally in a while due to the pandemic, and the hardest part for her was going through customs. “I was really nervous going there because I didn’t know anybody and I had to travel across borders by myself,” she said. Ultimately, the staff were very helpful, and Quin safely arrived in the Caribbean.

On a typical day at sea, Quin would wake up at 7 a.m. Each student had a designated job for the day, and the assigned chef would cook breakfast for everyone that morning. After breakfast, the day was made up of learning how to scuba dive and sail. After dinner, they would have a sail or scuba chat, which made up the “classroom-centered” part of the program. 

From this trip, Quin learned that she likes to be alone and that sharing a bathroom and living space with other people can prove to be a challenge! But Quin also learned the important skill of how to better advocate for herself.

Quin developed friendships with many people that were a part of the program, and she continues to keep in touch with them today. She hopes she can visit a few of her friends soon when she travels to Michigan. 

To Quin, this program was extremely beneficial, as it furthered her interests in scuba diving and sailing, both of which she is eager to pursue further.

Each of these scholars, along with many others, used their stipend in creative ways this summer, and they each had a unique and worthwhile experience. Hopefully this inspires you to use this upcoming summer in a fulfilling, enriching way to discover new passions and explore existing ones!