KnightLife: What Makes a Community Great?

Have you ever wondered what, if anything, some of our local businesses do to support our community beyond the products and/or services they provide?  Well, I recently received a sascounique glimpse of one such company along with several of my colleagues when we visited SASCO Chemical on Pine Avenue.

Besides the incredibly useful, but rarely considered, products created there (a powder coating to keep rubber products from adhering to each other during transport; a compound that prevents the glues used in composite woods from sticking to the presses in which they’re made; cleaning products that aren’t caustic; and an additive that can take the awful smell out of formaldehyde!) SASCO Chemical gives a great deal back to both their local and global communities.  Locally, SASCO Chemical has carefully crafted a work space that is safe and user-friendly for their employees.  A well-appointed break room, safety equipment (including suits that allow workers to pump in cooled or heated air to stay comfortable no matter the season), and an on-site gym with a regular cross-fit instructor are just a few of the amenities available.  All employees have also been cross-trained in all departments, providing them with a broad set of skills that enable them to grow, make wise choices, and direct their efforts to support the mission of the company.  Notable, too, is the fact that SASCO Chemical sources most of the materials needed to create their products and operate their business from other Albany businesses, all the while keeping our little economy humming!

Globally, SASCO Chemical has worked diligently to make sure their footprint on the earth is minimal.  Their shipping containers are made to be washed and reused, and all of their products are non-hazardous.  In fact, some of their products can be added to something harmful in order to render it safe!  Most notable for me, however, is their sense of conscience.  All throughout our amazing tour the message from our hosts, Rusty Skalla ’01 and Pam McDonald, was one of principles.  They believe very strongly in educating, supporting, protecting and empowering their employees, in fostering and maintaining honest and strong business relationships locally, and in protecting our environment now and for future generations.  They are taking great steps to care for their little corner of the world and the people who live and work in it.

Shannon Lacovara, Middle School Humanities

KnightLife: Just Beyond the Doorstep

This week, our faculty took to the community with the singular goal of a-janlearning what our neighbors are up to. We all know amazing things are afoot just beyond our doorstep, but we become so engrossed with working with and caring for our students, we fail to engage with all the wonderful people and organizations in Albany and the surrounding areas. Given this, it seemed the best thing to do was for the teachers to take a field trip, and leave the lesson plans for another day.

To our surprise and immense appreciation, we found the organizations we contacted were willing to open their doors to us. Ten groups of teachers were sent away from the schoolhouse and each group visited one of the following locations: Albany Civil Rights Institute, Albany State University, Albany Technical College, Flint RiverQuarium, Jones Ecological Research Center, Phoebe, SASCO, Thrush, WALB, and White Oak Pastures. At each and every stop, the energetic people and dynamic undertakings each organization engages in blew our faculty away.

Ultimately, we set off on this adventure to learn about our community, meet and interact with our neighbors, and model the kind of engagement we seek to instill in our students. Our desire is to bring our classrooms to Albany and Albany to our classrooms. With that in mind, we will be running a blog series over the next several months in which teachers will share their discoveries from this experience. We hope you enjoy the upcoming blogs as much as we enjoyed living them!

Geoffrey Sudderth, Middle and Upper School Director

KnightLife: Finding My Voice

Hi, my name is Lindsey Stewart, and I am socially awkward.

If I know you well, you might not see that side of me. However, meeting new people, having to make small talk and coming up with interesting things to say so I don’t sound like a major dork is actually very hard for me – it always has been.

Fortunately, I discovered one place I feel completely at home: the stage. In seventh grade, I discovered how easily I could find my voice when I was standing in the spotlight. It seems ironic that I would finally break out of my semi-shy, awkward shell by being the center of attention, but it worked. I could be whatever the playwright’s words asked me to be while creating a character, and I found a piece of myself within each different one.

Lindsey Stewart in AnnieActing captivated me. For years, I had wandered my backyard singing songs from Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera, and when my parents finally took me to the Fox Theatre to see them, I knew from the overture I was hooked. For six years at DWS, I acted, sang, painted sets, and poured my heart and soul into every production I could.

Then I graduated and it was all over, or so I thought. Much to my surprise I ended up back at DWS in 2007 to teach English, my second passion. I became an assistant director to the spring musical, took over the one-act play my second year, and just last year took over the spring musical. DWS helped me get a second master’s in Theatre Education, and just like that, I returned to the theatrical world where I truly belong.

In order to feed the work I do with the students, I take to the stage myself. In Albany, the only opportunity that works with my teaching schedule is Theatre Albany. I enjoy getting to be an actor myself while working under a fellow director. This allows me to remind myself what it’s like to be the actor and also to appreciate and learn from the methods of a seasoned director. I get to spend time with a different network of friends who share one of my interests, and most importantly, I have fun!

Many people ask me, “How do you manage to do it all? Teach? One-Act? Theatre Albany?” I simply tell them, that is my relaxation. When I’m on the stage myself, I get to take a step back from my world and be someone completely different, even if it’s only for two and a half hours. Some people run, some people read, some people nap. I act. I sing. It’s what brings me peace and rejuvenation.

So why is theatre so important?

It’s the place I exude confidence, the place I don’t think so much about what I’m saying, the place I inject my feelings into the moment. For students, the benefits are seemingly endless. Studies show students involved in theatre score nearly 100 points higher on the SAT, while strengthening speaking skills and confidence levels, physical development and kinesthetic skills, mental development and higher order thinking, personal and intra-personal development, ability to work towards a goal and work collaboratively, and a concept of self-discipline and awareness. With so much going on behind the scenes, there is a place for even the shyest of student, whether it’s moving sets, building props, or helping with makeup.

Theatre is so much more than play time. It’s a place of self-discovery unlike any other. I am proud to say my whole world’s a stage, but I’m willing to share my spotlight with anyone who wants to join me.

Lindsey Stewart, Alum/Teacher/Actor

Lindsey Stewart

KnightLife: The Journey Begins at DWS

Who am I?

I’m unique…no, I’m weird…actually, no, I’m the happiest person I know. My name is Satyam Veean, and I am 24 years old. I graduated DWS in 2009 and attended the University of Georgia, graduating in the top 5% of my class. I went straight to medical school and am now a 3rd year at the Medical College of Georgia. My plan is to become an interventional neuroradiologist. I’ve written 2 books. One is called Stop Smoking… Now!  The other, Life. I have my own charity, Hearts and Hugs Foundation, and every penny from my books goes towards the charity. The foundation of all these pursuits and accomplishments find their roots at DWS.

Why DWS?

Actually, the real question is, why didn’t I start DWS earlier? I began as a 9th grader, and I remember my first day of high school like it was yesterday. It was quite intimidating. I only knew a handful of people, and my primary concern was making friends. Things worked out though as I was the 2009 Prom King! Anyway, why DWS? I give DWS every bit of credit for my success in college, medical school, and life. When I attended UGA, I felt overly prepared due to my experience at Deerfield. I’m not saying I never had to study, but I had the opportunity to enjoy my college experience while absolutely crushing all of my classes with ease due to the foundation DWS provided. Compared to college, I worked significantly harder in high school – DWS gave me the tools to succeed and it was up to me to make the most of them.

I owe a debt of gratitude to the DWS faculty. Thank you so much for teaching me how to be a great professional both in and out of the classroom. Moreover, thank you for instilling in me a work ethic that is simply unparalleled. Lastly, thank you for helping me develop a broad enough knowledge base to conquer every day with swag.

Students, I know it’s homecoming week and the last thing you want to read is a blog by some alum who graduated six years ago, but trust the process, LISTEN to your parents, teachers, and mentors. Be the best you can be every day. Surround yourself with successful people because you’re a reflection of those you surround yourself with (and no one wants to be around failure…trust me on this one). Wake up every morning knowing you can be better than you were yesterday. Have an open mind and accept differences in opinion. Learn from others and make an effort to talk to that “nerd.” Be involved in your community and lift others up when they need a hand. And seriously, be yourself.

Thanks everyone and GO KNIGHTS!

Satyam Veean, Class of 2009