Tuesday, January 6, 2009

8th Grade Recommendation to NMH

An artifact for the archive of Jesse's life: a recommendation to NMH. Here's what one teacher had to say about this truly remarkable young man as an 8th-grader.

Box D, Marlboro, VT 05344

May 13, 2004
To Northfield Mount Herman School:
A recommendation for Jesse Lopata.

A Characteristic Experience:
In ten years we have produced a hundred or more scenes and one-act plays and I’d never allowed overt violence portrayed. Until Jesse came along. Jesse wanted to explore acting on a characteristically deep level and was attracted to a scene with subtle dialog and intense emotions. It involved cruelty to animals and equally harsh vengeance. I thought Jesse could do this in a way that audiences would forgive seeing young adolescents involved with despicable acts. We were not disappointed.
After preparing with a sophisticated exploration of the script and thoughtful rehearsals, Jesse and another talented actor brought to life the complex motivations of violence and impressed everyone with the power of dramatic art. In fact, Jesse helped our class see and discuss the parallels to our current war on terrorism and question the wisdom of a violent response to violence. I’ll bet it will be a long time before another student will convince me to bring violence onto our stage. Jesse is that rare individual who we can trust to show us that part of ourselves.

Additional Comments:
When checking boxes for the qualities listed on the form, I struggled with my commitment to reserve the use of “Outstanding” for only those truly rare examples. I have recommended a good number of students to NMH and hope I always give you clear, uninflated and useful information. With Jesse I had to restrain myself to keep from checking that first box for each & every quality. Likewise, I tried unsuccessfully to find something “good.”

Jesse is a remarkably mature and composed individual who is deeply fascinated with the world, delightedly exploring a wide range of interests. His mind questions, surmises, and evaluates with an enviable fluidity and effortless persistence. It is because of this limitless academic potential that I did not rate his academic performance as outstanding—though exemplary, it could never equal this unbounded promise. His work habits are equally enviable: he is prompt, diligent, and reflective; he plans efficiently and is often inspired. The product of his work is consistently well conceived, self-edited, and meticulously presented, if not downright beautiful. The content of his efforts is creative and insightful, guided by and generating essential questions. When it comes to students, Jesse’s the real deal, and he will inspire teachers and fellow students alike. I remember thinking I should hire him to write curriculum!

Best of all, he’s a kind and considerate young man who avails himself to others in an easy-going, good-humored manner. There has never been a teacher here that has not placed Jesse on their short list of favorite students. I was glad to hear that he was interested in your school for it would seem a good match. Not only should you be excited to admit Jesse, you would do well to pay him to attend! I have no idea what resources he has or needs, but Jesse possesses a rare talent for collegial learning in academia & the arts that, while is it’s own reward, certainly warrants financial support. In short, everyone in your community will be rewarded to know and work with Jesse Lopata.


Timothy Hayes

No comments:

Post a Comment