2017 Wilburn Fellows Named

Published Thursday, October 5, 2017
by Nick Depuy

The Wilburn Fellowship celebrated its sixth successful year at New Canaan High School with the Awards assembly held on May 16, 2017.

The gathering was attended by the named finalists, many of the applicants, teachers and department heads, members of the Guidance Department, as well as Fellowship Committee members to celebrate all the projects that were submitted, the Finalists, and this year’s Fellows.

During the 2016-17 school year, the Committee received 9 applications, representing a range of interesting proposals to celebrate people’s differences.

The Committee was once again faced with difficult choices, given the quality of the projects submitted, and the Fellowship recognized for the first time all three finalist groups of students by naming the creators of those projects this year’s Wilburn Fellows. 

Students Megan Rigione, Shea Smith and John Renda’s project, The Nambale Connection earned the three of them designation as 2017 Wilburn Fellows. The project skillfully brought students of New Canaan High School together with those in Nambale via sharing of information and resources that allowed both groups of students to tackle a common problem, global climate change, through efforts to use clean energy sources to meet the needs of the students in very different parts of the world, while fostering an exchange of cultures and different ideas of common problems in the process.

Next, students Sydney Kend, Abigail Weiss and Nicole Weiss were named 2017 Wilburn Fellows for their project, NCHS Girls Govern Global Media, a project aimed at helping all students, both male and female, understand women’s rights and feminism in a universal and comprehensive sense, in an inclusive sense versus stereotypical thought of conflict between the sexes.

Lastly, Jackson Appelt was named a 2017 Wilburn Fellow for his project, Stringing Communities Together which used sport to bring students of much different socioeconomic circumstances together (Harlem and New Canaan) in a way where learning is imparted to those who are disadvantaged in the educational process while bringing understanding between groups from very different realities in a positive, compelling and long term way.

As has been the case over the years that the Fellowship has thrived at New Canaan High School, the students of the school have demonstrated their belief in diversity and their willingness to promote understanding of people’s differences as a way of life that can be celebrated without fear, jealousy or resentment.

The Fellowship Committee looks forward to the submission of wonderful projects that bring people of difference together in the upcoming 2017-18 school year.