Wow! I forgot several times that I was talking to a sixteen-year-old when I met with Lyssa Jackson, Kurn Hattin, class of 2008 and a sophomore at the Putney School in Putney, Vermont. Lyssa made quite an impression when she was at the Homes and certainly continues to do so. She is very mature, independent and self assured. She knows who she is and what she wants. Her Kurn Hattin mentor, Janet Wilson, trustee, recounts, “the first time I saw Lyssa, she was sitting up tall in the front row of the music class and appeared bright, alert and very poised. Her talent continued to blossom. We started working together refining her singing and we really developed an appreciation for one another.” They have continued their friendship and see one another frequently.
Lyssa had many choices as to which high school she could attend. “I had a lot of support while filling out applications and going on school visits,” she’s happy to say. She chose the Putney School because “it fit my personality,” she said. Janet Wilson introduced her to the Putney School. “Coming to the Putney School was really easy for me. I had already spent several years living at a boarding school, and understood and appreciated the life of having a houseparent and roommate. It’s often the very first time for other students here, and it does take some getting used to,” Lyssa explained. “I had a busy schedule at Kurn Hattin, but it’s even busier here. I have a full course schedule and I’m involved in a lot of extracurricular activities.” Lyssa is also on the board to help with the planning of the Kurn Hattin Alumni Association’s Centennial Celebration being planned for 2014.
This year, Lyssa ran for and was elected as one of the two students on the Board of Trustees at the Putney School. What’s unique about this is that she’s the first sophomore to be elected to the Board. She prepared her speech and started off with the points in it. Then she put it down and actually talked with the student body about their hopes and concerns. As a voting member of the Board, she helps to make financial decisions and also runs the School Life Forum. She’s learning a great deal and has so much to offer regarding the governance of the school. “I’m very comfortable speaking in front of a large group because of all the practice I got at Kurn Hattin,” she proudly states. This is very true. While at Kurn Hattin, Lyssa served on the student council, was an award winning contest essayist and a frequent soloist in musical performances. “I haven’t come out as a singer yet, but the artist in me came out.” Lyssa laughs. “I’m taking guitar lessons and I make silver jewelry and weave. Weaving is my passion, I will do it for the rest of my life. I really want to get a floor loom of my very own.” Lyssa’s artwork is worthy of any art competition. Her Fiber Arts teacher at the Putney School is also impressed. “In one short semester, Lyssa learned to weave complex patterns, work with fine yarns and mix dyes to create her own perfect palette of colors with yarn made of fleece from the school’s flock of sheep. She is always enthusiastic, cheerful and impressively productive during the many hours she spends working in the weaving room.”
“I owe a lot to Kurn Hattin. It helped me be the person inside of me. I was encouraged to try new things, to seize the opportunities and that it was OK not to be the best at everything, especially on first try,” Lyssa reflects. “To the new and future graduates, I want them to know that attitude is everything. No matter where you go or what you do, you have to have a good attitude.” Lyssa truly practices what she preaches. Her good friend, Mollie Goldblum, adds, “above all, I have gained a lot of respect for Lyssa’s strength of character. I am always amazed by her positive outlook and strong focus on achieving every goal she sets for herself.”
Lyssa is already thinking about her future. “Right now,” she pauses to say, “I’m leaning toward attending Dartmouth College after the Putney School. I’m interested in psychology and neurology. I’m also working on writing a memoir about my life. I feel I can do whatever I want to do. Nothing can stop me.”
We’re sure there will be nothing in her way.
Senior Development Officer