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December Academic Standout- Emily Gray

Academic Standout Recognition

Date: November 15th, 2021

Student: Emily Gray

House Team: Bear Mountain

Presenter: Nate Clifford

The KMS faculty is proud to recognize Emily Gray as this week’s Academic Standout! Emily is a Junior U19/U21 Women’s Alpine athlete, who comes to KMS from Boone, North Carolina. Emily was enthusiastically nominated by several of her teachers, who recognized her high academic drive, her commitment to both the practice as well as mastery of specific academic skills, and her influential as well as impactful contributions to her classes. Overall, each nominator agrees that Emily is an asset to any classroom, and is a wonderful addition to our school community this year! We can think of no better student to recognize this week!


Presenting for Emily this week is English Department Co-Chair Nate Clifford, who was the first to put forth her name for consideration. Nate states, “Malcolm Gladwell once said that anyone could be an expert at anything. The human brain and body are incredibly adaptable, it simply takes 10,000 hours of practice. Only 10,000? For an athlete who spends every morning in the gym and on the hill, perhaps this number makes complete sense. But for some reason, this nugget of wisdom seems to evade writers. Too often we cram our work into a single sitting on the brink of the due date - desperately praying that inspiration will strike. Imagine my surprise when perusing an assignment, to find that Emily Gray had submitted a document early? How unusual. Upon further inspection I was further stunned to find two pages of meticulously typed notes. This was not a submission, this was a first draft. Ms. Gray has developed a craft with her writing, a process that often requires more than one sitting, and more than one attempt. While most of us are quick to do what we love, rare is the student who values the 10,000 hours of practice required to achieve mastery. Ms. Gray reminds me that success comes from finding joy in discipline. She is a master of her craft, because she is unafraid to prepare, and embraces rehearsal. I don't know if she would say that she enjoys practice, but perhaps that is her greatest lesson of all, to embrace that which we find challenging.”


Seconding Emily’s nomination is Social Studies Department Co-Chair, and fellow North Carolinian, Courtney O’Keefe. Courtney writes, “It is with great excitement that I nominate Emily Gray as this week’s Academic Standout! I am grateful for the opportunity to teach Emily this year in my Cultural Anthropology course. From our very first class together, Emily has continuously impressed me with her authentic commitment to academic rigor, her natural inquisitiveness, her genuine thoughtfulness, her honest reflectiveness, and her strong dedication to the pursuit of her academic and personal growth. Within my class, Emily is one of the driving forces of class discussion as well as exploration of the topics we study. Her ideas, opinions, and unique perspectives have often allowed us as a class to approach our understanding of other peoples and cultures from a more human-centric, empathetic lens. A lens which is in high demand now given our current national and global climate. As a student of Anthropology, she is always focused on exploring the “why” behind cultural actions and beliefs, seeing it as a way to not only understand the world, and its people, around her better, but also a means to better understand her own cultural backing and place within the world as well. This reflects not only an openness of mind and a willingness to learn, but also an embracing of humanity as a source of learning as well as respect. It should also be mentioned that Emily’s academic skills, especially in the realm of writing, are some of the best I have seen in my years here at KMS. Her written responses are always well-organized, contain as well as effectively utilize critical detail and evidence to back-up any and all claims and ideas, and demonstrate consistently clear effort and effective usage of time. Last Friday, I watched as Emily edited her most recent essay response explaining race as a cultural construct. This is not an easy essay to write- it requires an open mind to the content as well as a clear focus and effective organization to make the response a high level academic essay. She not only worked diligently through the editing checklist that I created, which contained several overviews related to expectations associated with the academic writing process, but I also watched as she left herself comments in the doc on areas that she wanted to revisit over the weekend. She asked excellent writing questions, working with me to better her approach to some of her main ideas and quotes. As a lover of writing, this was unbelievable to witness and I cannot express the joy I felt watching her work. Overall, it is my belief that Emily can be proud to say that anything she turns in and does within my classroom is the best representation of herself as both a learner as well as growing young academic. Congratulations, Emily! I look forward to seeing what the rest of the year brings in class! “


Adding to the nomination list is Math Department Co-Chair, and Math and Science teacher Allison Resnick. Allison reflects, “Emily has really stood out so far this year in our Calculus class. She is always punctual as well as always turns in her work on time. Emily did an excellent job keeping up while on the fall training trip, which is impressive as a first year student. She does not hesitate to reach out when there is any confusion on a topic, and always does a thorough job showing all of her work in solving all of the problems.”


Lastly, rounding out this wonderful list of nominations is World Language teacher Christy Harris. Christy states, "Emily has been a fabulous student since the first day of class. She is attentive, participates frequently, and always does high quality work. She is kind to her classmates, and such an asset to Spanish 2!"


Congratulations, Emily! A well-earned as well as well-deserved recognition! Be proud!


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