Kayla Vieten said she was stunned when informed her essay garnered her the honor of being February’s Francis Wayland Parker Scholar of the Month.
“I’m very surprised,” the 17-year-old Gilford High School junior said. “English is not one of my strongest classes, so I took a chance with the essay.”
Vieten wrote that Parker, the 19th-century educator and Bedford native who pushed progressive teaching methods, would appreciate her high school’s use of programs such as “DEW” and its winter carnival.
DEW stands for delayed-entry Wednesday. On those days, upperclassmen can arrive at school at 9 a.m., rather than 7:30 a.m., she said. The upshot is that teachers get a little extra time to prepare for classes or conference with one another. Students get to have a little extra rest in the middle of the week.
“As a high schooler, it’s an amazing thing to have,” she said.
Then there’s the carnival, which gives students a short break once a day for a week to participate in games such as tug-of-war and musical chairs.
“Gilford High School understands that student responsibilities often occupy a student’s weekdays, weekends and even vacations, leaving little time for childhood fun,” she wrote in her essay. “The solution is Winter Carnival.”
Vieten boasts a 3.6 grade-point average and said she is starting to look at colleges in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, though she hasn’t narrowed her options yet. She said she’s interested in art and architecture.
She’s also an athlete, playing on the volleyball and tennis teams.
The Francis Wayland Parker Scholar program is sponsored by the New Hampshire Association of School Principals, in cooperation with the New Hampshire Union Leader, Lifetouch Studios and the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Northern New England.
Other nominees for February were: Madeline Brown, Lebanon High School; Riley Karp, Plymouth Regional High School; Erin Lawrence, Manchester High School West; and Amanda Simoneau, Campbell High School.