LA Announces 2019 Graduation Speaker

Kate Williams of “1% for the Planet” will keynote LA’s 226th commencement

Groton, MA – Kate Williams of “1% for the Planet” will keynote the 226th commencement exercises of Lawrence Academy.

Kate Williams. Photo:

Devoted to balancing her passion for spending time outdoors with her commitment to doing the often desk-bound work of stewarding and advocating for outdoor places, Ms. Williams stepped into the role of CEO at 1% for the Planet – a global and diverse network, which proves that anyone can make a difference – in May 2015.

Kate brought a strong track record as a leader to the non-profit company, including roles as Board Chair of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), as Executive Director of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, as founder and owner of a farm business enterprise, and as an elected political leader in her community.

Ms. Williams also brings a deep passion for and commitment to the power of collective action; a call for action currently taken up on the LA campus by the student-led Lawrence Academy Environmental Sustainability Council.

“When people come together across traditional boundaries to solve complex problems, they create an unstoppable force,” she says. “It is my best hope that I can lead by creating and supporting these kinds of powerful connections.”

Williams earned a BA at Princeton University where she majored in history, and an MS at the MIT Sloan School of Management where she focused on Systems Theory.

Kate lives in Vermont with her husband and two children.

Head of School Dan Scheibe will lead LA’s graduation proceedings on May 31 on the Quad. Joining Ms. Williams at the podium will be Class of 2019 students elected to speak by their classmates.

For more information or media inquiries, please contact the Lawrence Academy Communications Office.

2019 Judith French Junior Poetry Recitation Winner

And the 2019 Judith French Junior Poetry Recitation Winner is… Sabrina Ladiwala!

Sabrina Ladiwala reciting “Still Life with Ladder.”

Click here to look at this year’s 2019 Judith French Junior Poetry Recitation photo gallery.

For the Greater Good: Groton Schools United

LA, Groton School & Groton-Dunstable Rise Against Hunger

Groton, Mass. — Astounding numbers, all:







and 1

Impressive digits that account for two days, three schools, 55 volunteers, $4,500 (raised by Lawrence Academy), $6,200 raised overall (by LA, Groton School, and Groton-Dunstable) and 18,144 meals packaged for one (1) cause: Rise Against Hunger.

Day 1: Three schools gathered to "Rise Against Hunger."

January 13, 2019. Day 1: Three schools gathered to “Rise Against Hunger.”

Rise Against Hunger x 5

“It’s our fifth annual Rise Against Hunger meal packaging event,” said Rosin Casey, a Lawrence Academy junior from Pepperell. “In total we’ll have made 77,000 meals for the total five years.

“So, it’s all really exciting that all our work is paying off.”

However, this year, Rosin and her fellow LA Spartans had company; lots of company.

“This is the first year that we have all three schools here from the town of Groton,” explained Rosin, who co-chairs the Rise Against Hunger club with fellow Pepperal Native Kayli Grise ’20. “We have Groton Dunstable regional high school and Groton School, who has been with us for the past three years now, helping us package meals.

“So now we’ve gotten the whole town of Groton to help do this huge event, which is awesome.”

Also impressive is the commitment shown by 55 students and community members from all three schools.

“It’s become a real tradition,” said Robert O’Rourke, Groton School’s Director of Community Engagement. “I have two of our students who are here for the third time, and they’re really excited to be back.

“When I advertised the event, it filled up immediately,” continued O’Rourke. “I think many students have heard how exciting it is to be here and to be part of this.

“However, I think the best part of it is a chance to connect with our peers here at Lawrence Academy and also Groton-Dunstable, and just have students with shared interests — who come from different backgrounds — have a chance to contribute to an important project together.”


Together was a word that echoed in the LA student center, where volunteers moved station to station packaging meals to be distributed around the world.

“It’s fun to see all three schools together, isn’t it?” asked Marie’Anne Durst. “It’s not all that often that everybody’s together. In fact, I don’t think that we have ever done anything together!

“It was really exciting to be a part of this.”

But beyond the cooperation, remains the primary goal.

“It is the idea that we’re fighting against hunger,” added Durst. “That’s especially because it’s for children, and it’s, as Kimberly explained it to me, it’s an international and national, too.

“So that’s what’s really exciting.”

Excitement Personified

Kimberly, of course, is Lawrence Academy’s Kimberly Poulin, Groton resident, Assistant Dean of Students, and Director of Community Engagement.

“We’re grateful to your peers at Lawrence Academy, Kimberly and her team, who I know do an enormous amount of work behind the scenes to make this possible,” said O’Rourke. ” I’m really grateful for that. I’m glad to keep this partnership going at maybe even to think about more ways to can collaborate because I think there’s a lot to be said for working together.”

Casey agreed, adding, “we owe it all to her. I mean, she is amazing.

“The work she puts in, and the amount that she cares — not only for the club, but everyone that we’re helping through this whole process — it’s inspirational.”

For her part, Mrs. Poulin threw the praise right back to the students from all three high schools.

Day 2: The LA crew.

January 27, 2019. Day 2: The LA crew…

“That was a goal from Sam Rosenstein ’17, from our original leader here at LA,” said Poulin of the participation from every corner of the region.

“Sam and I kind of giggled one day and said, how great would it be if we could eventually have all three high schools in Groton be in the same room.

“So, I’m really glad that we finally reached that point and next year I know that Groton Dunstable is totally with us. And I know Groton School will be, as well.”

And, as far as the praise pointed in her direction, Poulin deflected it, preferring instead to prepare for next year.

Next Year…

“I get to work with students,” she said with a smile. “That means that I’m lucky. That means that I’m the one that’s in a really good place.

“I get to watch them learn, figure out, problem solve, decide what they want for their goals and then reach for it,” she said.

So, what’s next year’s goal? Another impressive number:


As in, crossing the 100,000 meals packed for the Rise Against Hunger club at LA.

“It was honestly a surreal moment ringing the gong for the last time after packaging the last box into the truck,” said Grise. All the hours we’ve poured into raising money, it seemed as though each piece fell into place.

“It wasn’t a minute after we cleaned up that we sat down as a club and began to discuss plans for next year. We plan on packaging more than 20,000 meals our senior year to reach over 100,000 meals collectively.

“I look forward to working with both Groton School and Groton Dunstable next year to accomplish this goal.”

Kayli Grise, co-chair of LA’s Rise Against Hunger squad, hits the final gong.

*100,000 total in 6 years, which means LA, Groton, and GDRHS have to package at least 23,000 meals – LA’s largest meal-packing event ever.

Educator John Hunter Asks Students to Help Their Teachers

The Inventor of the “World Peace Game” reminded LA students to bring their mentors up to speed…

As 2019 Mees Visiting Scholar John Hunter began his first full day with Lawrence Academy students with a request.

Hunter, a renown educator, featured in the documentary “World Peace and Other Fourth Grade Achievements” asked a packed Richardson-Mees Performing Arts Center (RMPAC) to assist their teachers.

“I can’t see as far as you can,” explained Hunter, now in his 60s. “So, what I am going to ask you is to reveal the future…and help me to be a better teacher.”


“I just can’t keep up,” added, Hunter, point blank and speaking on behalf of his fellow educators. “I can’t know everything.

“There’s [many] of you in a classroom and one of me; with my old Atari or Commodore [64] brain.

“I invite you to help me design our curriculum,” he added.

No, Hunter has not joined the Lawrence Academy faculty.

However, in essence, Hunter was asking the students to do precisely what Head of School Dan Scheibe wants LA’s scholars to do as Lawrence Academy (under the direction of Hunter’s friend and colleague — LA’s new Assistant Head for Academic Life — Jamie Baker).

“We are trying to use [John Hunter’s] visit to inspire us as teachers to think about the ways that we can create ‘space’ for students,” said Mr. Scheibe, speaking both literally and philosophically. “to learn to fully respect what you have to offer.

“We want to create the type of relationships — not only between students — but between faculty and students… that will make your learning come alive.

“So you can see why we, as teachers, want to be able to work with John Hunter,” he said.

In turn, Hunter is glad for the opportunity to work with LA’s students.


“To prepare you, we know that we can’t just teach you information anymore,” he said. “Teaching you information is almost useless.”

Then, holding his smartphone aloft, Hunter added, “You can find the sum total of human knowledge… in your pocket on one of these. So what do you need me for?

“It can’t just be knowledge; [however] teachers do have a purpose and function. But it’s in collaboration with you. If you are waiting to receive an education, you’re not going to get much of an education.

“So, I invite you to be involved with your own learning and get involved in your own learning,” he concluded.

John Hunter will be collaborating with the community through Tuesday morning…


A Primer: John Hunter’s “World Peace Game”

Teaching For A Safer World

As we head into tonight’s showing of the documentary “World Peace and Other 4th Grade Achievements” featuring John Hunter, we wanted to provide a little more background information and reading about the “World Peace Game.”

First, a primer:

Screen Shot 2019-01-28 at 3.26.18 PM

Now, some background reading about the game (and John Hunter), co-authored by our own Assistant Head for Academic Life, Jamie Baker. It originally appeared in Independent School magazine:

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Lessons from the World Peace Game

In an era of unprecedented volatility, ambiguity, impassioned conflict, and intractable problems that affect the basic living conditions and prosperity of many, education has never been more important or more in need of purpose, meaning, and applicability. The solutions to the dilemmas that define our world will be created and implemented in the future by students in schools around the world today. Their education ls their preparation for that responsibility.

By Jamie Feild Baker & John Hunter

Here is the full PDF of the piece: WPG Independent School article

Join us for tonight’s screening of the documentary and Q & A.

The event is free and open to the public.