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Scholar of the Month: Bishop Brady freshman brings fresh viewpoint

Union Leader Correspondent

January 08. 2017 8:10PM
Kayleigh Nelson, a freshman at Bishop Brady High School, was named December's Francis Wayland Parker Scholar. (JOHN KOZIOL/UNION LEADER CORRESPONDENT)

Freshman Kaleigh Nelson has already made her mark at Bishop Brady High School.

She has a 98 percent grade-point average, and volunteers with Girls at Work and at Dance Inspirations in Concord, where she studied ballet, tap and jazz.

The 14-year-old daughter of Lauren and Stephen Nelson of Franklin was named the December Francis Wayland Parker Scholar.

Parker, 1837-1902, was born in Bedford and went on to pioneer the progressive school movement in the United States, emphasizing a student’s mental, physical and moral development over rote learning.

Students seeking to become a Parker Scholar must write an essay describing how Parker would fit in at their school.

To quote Nelson, Parker would be a “great” fit at Bishop Brady High School, a Roman Catholic college-preparatory school with 360 students in grades nine to 12.

“My teachers all teach using different methods while still teaching us what we need to succeed,” Nelson wrote. “They involve us in the learning and make it fun. We don’t just memorize lists and we aren’t told what specific questions will be on the test. The way we learn and the way they teach are aligned with the way Wayland Parker ran his school.”

A graduate of the Strong Foundations Charter School in Pembroke, where her younger brother, Brendan, is a fifth-grader, Nelson said she decided to attend Bishop Brady because she has friends who also go to school there.

At Strong Foundations, Nelson was Student Council president and a member of both the school chorus and National Junior Honor Society. She was also a member of the ski club; she’s actually a snowboarder and her home slopes are at Ragged Mountain Resort in Danbury.

Nelson hopes to become a lawyer, although she’s not yet sure what kind of law she’d like to practice.

Nelson said she enjoys reading and writing; her favorite subject is English.

“I just enjoy grammar in general,” said Nelson, adding she was honored and happy to be named a Parker Scholar.

English teacher Susan Lee said she nominated Nelson “because she’s excited about learning. She’s the student who doesn’t mind taking the intellectual risk. She really wants to learn and she’s a really good writer.”

Lee said Nelson also “likes to help other people,” and helps them work through problems so they can understand the subject matter themselves, rather than just providing answers. She is also “the leader of every group she’s in,” said Lee.

Other nominees for December were Hannah Peterson of Alvirne High School in Hudson; Emma Charland of Mascenic Regional High School in New Ipswich; Erin Hurley of Moultonborough Academy; Macy Prince of Plymouth Regional High School and Benjamin Madden of Hopkinton High School.

The 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.

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