The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

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2017 Prentiss Grant Winners Explore their Passions Abroad


In hopes of furthering her graduate school studies of post holocaust Jewish literature, art and architecture, Middle School English Teacher Allyson Williams applied to this year’s Prentiss grant. Shortly after submitting her application, Williams received news that she had been selected as one of the recipients to embark on her dream trip through Germany, Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary.

In 1999 Michael and Patricia Prentiss established the Prentiss grant in the name of their daughters, Paige ‘92 and Kennedy ‘99. Rotating between middle, upper and lower school, teachers are presented with the opportunity to draw up a proposal expressing an interest in traveling anywhere around the globe to further their understanding of their subject and create an enriched curriculum for their students.

Assistant Head of School Blair Lowry works with a committee to select two or three recipients for the grant.

“The Prentiss family wanted to provide an opportunity for faculty members to have a once in a lifetime summer travel experience,” Lowry said.

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This year, Williams decided to take advantage of this once in a lifetime experience and apply for the grant. Putting together a loosely structured itinerary for her application, Williams plans to visit old synagogues and memorials across western and eastern Europe to further explore the horrors of the Holocaust, one of her main teaching points, along with Jewish literature.

“It was very open-ended,” Williams said. “You could describe your dreams and kind of see what happened.”

Lowry expressed the importance in leaving this application limitless for the teachers, who will dream up any location imaginable.

“That is a really important piece of it, that we are not deciding for them because it’s their experience, their adventure,” Lowry said.

Williams hopes that the trip will take its own course as she meet new people and discovers new things.

“I hope to come back with a greater understanding that our planet is really small and we need to be good to one and other, looking to the past and our great future” she said.

However, Williams was not the only one who wished to come back and share her adventures with her students. Middle School Science Teacher Jennifer Stimpson, another recipient of this year’s grant, wanted to explore a place where science evolved, leading her to propose the Galapagos and Hawaiian islands in her Prentiss Grant application.

“I challenged myself to apply this year because I really wanted to stretch my professional goals,” Stimpson said. “I want to learn more and be exposed to science in a new way.”

With endless options, Stimpson conducted extensive research before selecting her destination. Drawn to the unique life forms that only live on these islands, Stimpson chose the Galapagos and Hawaiian in hopes of bringing back real life examples of evolution to her earth science students. She also hopes to inspire her students to follow in her footsteps in furthering their scientific careers.

“What I’m hoping to bring back beyond the pictures and the experience is some kind of realness,” Stimpson said. “A real life application to make science real and connect that for the girls so they can understand that science exists in more than a textbook.”

Lastly Stimpson hopes to learn from other teachers in her tour group while exploring the islands.

“It’s almost like going on a dinosaur dig with a bunch of paleontologists. They’re in their zone,” Stimpson said. “I’m excited to hear their perspectives and at the same time I hope I leave some marks on them.”

Similar to Stimpson and William’s ambitions, Middle School Technology Integration Specialist Natalie Bravo applied to the Prentiss Grant in hopes that her lifelong dream to travel to Greece would become a reality. Once selected, Bravo planned her visit to several ancient ruins including the Acropolis and the Parthenon.

“I am eager to learn about the technology in both ancient and current Greece and to bring this amazing experience and knowledge back to the classroom,” Bravo said.

As the hub of ancient technology, Greece will give Bravo the opportunity to learn about her field in a place where technology has thrived for centuries. She also hopes to bring back ideas to her 3D printing class inspired by Greek structures and visit the Museum of Ancient Greek Technology in Katakolo, home to over 300 models of ancient Greek inventions.

“I have always been interested in learning about inventions and innovations, especially those that have had a great impact on our world,” Bravo said. “There are many Ancient Greek inventions that still to this day have a great impact on our daily lives.”

The Prentiss family established this grant to provide teachers with a way to explore the world in a way they never have before. These opportunities have transformed many faculty members and provided them with a once in a lifetime experience.

“The Prentiss family wanted to make dreams possible for faculty members,” Lowry said. “Even beyond the adventures that they have it’s the fact that the Prentiss family believes in the value of travel and how it can be such a wonderful learning opportunity.”

– Amelia Brown – Asst. Sports & Health Editor –

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