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Defining an Exceptional Education: The Annual Scholars Symposium

During their time at St. Luke’s, students are encouraged to embrace a deep love of learning, challenge themselves academically, and, as the Center for Leadership motto states, find your voice and make a difference. For a group of St. Luke’s seniors, these ambitions are realized through the Scholars Program. In April, twenty-five members of the Class of 2021 showcased their mastery-level research and presentation skills during the annual Scholars Symposium.

The Scholars Program and Symposium, led by Director of Studies Jim Yavenditti, encourages students to forge their own paths by embarking on  a yearlong, extensive independent research project on a topic that inspires them. Scholars’ topics fall into three categories, Classical, Global, and STEM. Scholars begin with a deep dive into research, consult with faculty mentors throughout the process, and conclude with a formal presentation of findings at the Symposium. 

Topics this year include: A Tool of a Weapon? The Implications of Artificial Intelligence Reliance Globally; Clytemnestra: The Woman With a Man-Strong Heart; Removing Microplastics: A Non-Invasive Watercraft Filter; and Bending Reality: Politics, Media, and Authoritarianism. (For a complete list of Scholars and presentations, click here.)

Yavenditti refers to the annual Symposium as “the highest form of independent scholarship here on the St. Luke’s Hilltop.” This year, the 25 Scholars’ presentations took place via Zoom over five nights. Presentations were live, and audience members were able to ask questions following the presentations. St. Luke’s will share recordings of the presentations at a later date.

Head of School Mark Davis says the Scholars Symposium is a St. Luke’s distinction: “These presentations are an example of what happens when committed students engage their passions in a year of research, guided by incredible teachers. The level of knowledge and the sophistication of the presenters...truly astounding.”

St. Luke’s 2021 Senior Scholars included: 

Hanaa Ahmar, Zach Amendola, Jack Briggs, Marguerite DeMarco, Brian Douglas, Chase Fredriksen-Isaacs, Blake Haden, Jonathan Hobson, Rex Jensen, Tigerlily Jensen, Abby Johnson, Elyse Kim, Jack Laibe, Pierce Leclerc, Doron Loewenberg, Moli Ma, Bella Martino, Cate Mathews, Danielle Nares, Liam Patty, Drew Priore, Caroline Ross, Ping Ryan, Nick Rutigliano, and Emma Seel.

St. Luke’s Scholar Advisors included:

Classical: Leo Mahler (classics teacher) and Jim Yavenditti (Director of Studies)

STEM: Alec LeBris and Jason Warner (science teachers)

Global: Beth Yavenditti (Director of Global Education) and Jason Haynes (US History Department Chair)
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St. Luke’s School is a secular (non-religious), private school in New Canaan, CT for grades 5 through 12 serving over 30 towns in Connecticut and New York. Our exceptional academics and diverse co-educational community foster students’ intellectual and ethical development and prepare them for top colleges. St. Luke’s Center for Leadership builds the commitment to serve and the confidence to lead.