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Norton Fellows Begin Summer Community Engagement Projects

Five Loomis juniors and sophomores have been selected for this year's Norton Fellowship Program, which enables students to take active roles in their communities through self-directed engagement projects during the summer.

The newest Norton Fellows provided overviews of their projects and shared their goals with each other in a kick-off meeting on June 1 with the director and associate director of the Norton Family Center for the Common Good, which runs the fellowship program.

Junior Beatrice Dang plans to interview veterans living in her hometown of Bloomfield, Connecticut, recording their oral histories and creating a book about their experiences to be shared with the veterans' families. Beatrice also plans to give copies of the book to local libraries to help preserve the history of the town's citizens for future generations.

Junior Abby Huang will expand a global language lab project on which she began working through Loomis' Community Service Program. The project involves creating fun and engaging videos to teach English to language learners from Asia. While in her hometown near Hong Kong during the summer, Abby will meet with a group of school-aged children in order to further develop and test her interactive English language lessons. Abby's goal is to focus on dialogue practice to enrich a written grammar curriculum that commonly is the bulk of English training that children there receive.

Sophomore Steele Citrone from Fairfield, Connecticut, hopes to draw attention to and generate interest in organ donation. He will focus on reaching young people in their late teens as they apply for driver's licenses and approach the age of consent.

While staying with her grandparents in India, sophomore Kavya Kolli will organize a self-defense course for school-aged girls living in a rural area of Chhattisgarh state. Kavya has a black belt in karate and has taught and mentored martial arts students for several years. She hopes to provide enrichment for this underserved population and help them to build self-confidence and leadership skills.

Sophomore Olivia Malcolmson, who is from the Boston metro area, will work on developing an online platform for adopted teens and their families. The website will provide a forum for users to connect, share information, and offer support to each other across a broad geographical region. Olivia, who is herself adopted, recognizes the value of a supportive community in helping families cope with issues that may arise between teenagers and their birth and adoptive families. Olivia plans to work on the technical as well as the content aspects of the platform.

Eric LaForest, the Keller Family Director of the Norton Center, and Molly Pond, associate director, gave the students some practical advice about managing their time, staying connected to the Norton Center faculty, and dealing with budgets and finances. They wished the fellows much success and said they hoped the experience would show them ways they can continue to engage in their communities and share their experiences at Loomis.

Both directors said they were impressed with the proposals this year and are excited to learn about the fellows' discoveries and experiences throughout the four- to six-week projects.

Connect to the Norton Center page of the Loomis website to learn more about the Norton Fellows Program.