A jk through 12 independent school in Charlotte, NC
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To say that Katherine has a wide range of interests is certainly an understatement. She is a passionate chemistry student who is an officer of the Latin Club and is just as comfortable reciting her poetry during the fall play as she is sharing her power tools and dance moves during Spirit Week. In addition, Katherine served as Student Government treasurer for three years and leads SWAG (Super Women’s Affinity Group), a group of 20–30 students who host monthly forums to talk about feminism.
“I think Country Day offers students boundless opportunities to really succeed in what they’re interested in,” Katherine raves. “All it takes is finding what you love and having the drive to pursue it.” Katherine’s passion for chemistry helped her land a job working in a graduate lab at UNC Charlotte during the summer, where she teamed up with other young scientists to create a new anticancer compound. “I examined how ruthenium-based drugs can tackle a wide range of cancers,” Katherine explains. “Prostate and lung cancers are the most common targets of these molecules.”
When Katherine was a rising high school junior, she thought the graduate lab environment was sink or swim. “I swam I guess, because I made a brand new chemical compound that might be able to fight cancer!” Remarkably, Katherine’s compound from the recrystallization of a solution she had almost discarded and her results were conclusive after she conducted follow-up tests. “UNC Charlotte is going to continue the research and hand it over to the biology labs to perform further tests,” she says.
Katherine credits the exceptional faculty at Country Day for helping to ignite her passion for learning. “My teachers have opened so many doors for me by introducing me to opportunities—like working in the lab, writing for the play, and teaching Latin in Boston. These opportunities have let my passions grow and thrive. Without their positive encouragement, I know I wouldn't have accomplished nearly as much in so little time.”
Morgan was only seven when her beloved grandfather was diagnosed with colon cancer. She wanted to show her “Poppy” how much she supported him and donated 12” of her hair to Locks of Love, a non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children suffering from long-term medical hair loss. Morgan got such a thrill from her experience and decided to dream even bigger.
“After Poppy died a few years ago, I wanted to make a bigger difference. I didn’t want other families to go through the pain of losing a loved one to colon cancer like I did. In fifth grade, I wrote my “Spotlight Project” on raising awareness for colon cancer and created a little foundation called “Morgan’s Gift of Hope.” My teachers taught me how to conduct research and how to write a good speech, while my mom helped me build my own Web site (morgansgiftofhope.weebly.com).
My goal is to raise $1,000 for colon cancer research at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center (where Poppy had his treatment) and I’ve raised more than half so far. I want my gift to bring hope to other families who are dealing with cancer the way mine did. I may be a kid, but I know that cancer must end and “Morgan’s Gift of Hope” will help with this fight against cancer.
When Johns Hopkins heard about my work—and that I was only 11—they were so impressed and invited me to Baltimore for a tour of the Kimmel Center!
I love Country Day because of my caring friends and teachers. They helped me through the hard time of losing my grandfather. I’ll never forget how all of my third grade classmates made cards for me after Poppy died. The cards meant so much to me that I hung all of them around my bedroom! It goes to show that all of us can make a difference and make the world a better place!”
When Julia began Country Day in ninth grade, she was pleasantly surprised to discover just how many different clubs and organizations she could join. Julia’s desire to see equity and justice throughout the world led her to join the school’s Diversity Awareness Forum (DAF) and Black Student Union (BSU) clubs, where she began taking on leadership roles from the start.
Brian Wise, Country Day’s Director of Diversity Planning, was so impressed with Julia’s initiative that he invited her to go to Indianapolis with several upperclassmen to attend the National Association of Independent Schools Student Diversity Leadership Conference, a multicultural gathering of high school leaders focused on building community.
Julia is a champion for the less-visible and less-acknowledged in our society. As a student facilitator at Upper School faculty meetings and at the Middle School ACT Diversity Conference, Julia has educated many in the Country Day community about “micro-aggression,” a term used to describe the everyday indignities that minorities experience which are committed unintentionally by the majority.
Julia also loves planning activities for Inclusion Day, a day in Upper School spent examining social issues related to race, religion, gender, and privilege. “I’m so thankful Country Day has opened my eyes to these opportunities. I love putting myself out there in the world and trying my hand at new things,” says Julia.
“We are working really hard with the administration for a more inclusive Country Day,” she says. “I like how forward-thinking the school is and how we are evolving. Still, there is work to be done.”
Julia credits Country Day with setting a passion for academic excellence within her, particularly within the humanities. She thinks she may be interested in pursuing a career in human rights or social justice after she graduates.
“Country Day has exposed me to a whole new world of possibilities. The standards that my teachers set are so high, and I know they are preparing all of us well for college.”
When it comes to trying to pinpoint the origin of Manu’s passion for foreign relations, there’s no shortage of places to look. Manu, who is of Pakistani descent, speaks Urdu at home and has also taken Chinese at Country Day. His friends admire his attentiveness and thoughtfulness as a student leader in Model UN, WorldQuest, and the Speech and Debate Club. When Manu was thinking about where to attend college, he wanted to find a school similar to Country Day that was well-versed in a variety of subjects. He attends Columbia University and studies public policy and diplomacy.
“I’m beyond grateful that I was given the opportunity to attend a school like Country Day where teachers give so much attention to their students. I’m passionate about a wide range of topics, especially current events and politics. My teachers took great pains to push me out of my comfort zone and to try new things, especially public speaking. Thanks to their guidance, I have become a much better thinker, reader, and writer.
When I joined Model UN as a freshman, I learned the nuances of public speaking, as well as how to conduct research. Our team of 15 members traveled to several colleges for Model UN simulations, including Duke, Emory, and George Washington University. In addition, spending time in the Speech and Debate Club forced me to think on my feet and to generate ideas mentally for rebuttals before speaking.
Thanks to Country Day, I have a deeper understanding of all subjects. I’ve learned everything from how to have a sophisticated discussion to how to write an air-tight argument in an essay.”
Below are excerpts from the speech Jackson delivered to more than 500 people at the Fourth Grade Moving Up ceremony.
Hello, my name is Jackson and I am in fourth grade. I have been a student at Country Day for five years. So you can imagine I've got a lot of stories to tell! When I was a new student in kindergarten, I was told to move my seat, to a different table. I was very shy and took this to be a very BAD thing. I shut down, refusing to move my seat feeling completely horrified. I thought I had done something wrong. There was no way I was moving my seat. My teachers gave me two options; I could move my seat or go to Dr. Dina's office (Lower School guidance counselor).
I chose Dr. Dina. She taught me how to handle things and control my emotions.
When I came to Country Day, I wasn't very good with relationships and I was scared to try new things. I had always been somebody that would stay on the jungle gym watching the other kids play.
I was scared to play with people I didn't know. Scared of rejection. Not confident.
The soccer games always looked fun to me. But seeing as I was shy, I was too scared to play. My experience with Guidance helped me gain the confidence to leave the jungle gym and join the game. If it wasn't for the confidence I gained I would not be speaking to you here on this podium today. The confidence and skills I learned in Guidance will help me throughout my life.
Growing up can be really challenging. We experience many emotions. Some good, some bad, but sometimes we are not equipped to handle these emotions. Sometimes we just need somebody to talk with—to figure out what we are feeling. My five years in the Lower School have flown by. I appreciate the knowledge I have gained, the friendships I have made, and the support I have received from my teachers.
A Strong Forward-Thinking Institution
Country Day Regional Firsts
Founded in 1941, Country Day’s long legacy of firsts among the Charlotte region’s independent schools includes groundbreaking programs and progressive ideas.
Exceptional Academic Results
Proven Track Record
When the time comes to graduate, our seniors possess the skills they need to succeed in college and ultimately, in life. Country Day graduates include scholars, athletes, and artists who continue their academic careers at some of the nation’s finest colleges and universities.
Going Beyond Academics
Preparing Students for Life
At Country Day, academic rigor is balanced by community service and athletic, artistic, and extracurricular endeavors. As partners in our students’ success, our goal is to shape confident, healthy, well-rounded adults who are comfortable and successful in diverse settings—individuals of honor, integrity, and purpose who are ready to make significant contributions to society.