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Five Norton Fellows Giving Back  

Claire Kietduriyakul, a rising junior, is teaching math and English to children of migrant workers in Bangkok, Thailand, this summer.  

“My goal is to help the underserved pre-school and young children whose parents are workers,” Claire said. “I will be teaching fundamental math and the English language through worksheets and books, and holding seminars providing these kids with information about nutrition and realistic healthy eating habits.”  

Claire is one of five students who were granted Norton Fellowships this year to pursue their interests and become more engaged with their local communities over summer break.  

The four other Norton Fellows are all rising seniors: Georgia Biasi will teach piano to kids at the Stamford, Connecticut, Boys and Girls Club. Rachael Lantner will engage in a STEM project to create and test rockets with underserved youth in Hartford. Sally Hayes will teach environmental stewardship to children in New York. And Will Stillman, a member of the varsity soccer team, will run a free soccer clinic for kids in Windsor, his hometown.  

“The Norton Fellows Selection Committee received a wealth of amazing projects, making it difficult to select just five,” said Matt Kammrath, the Keller Family Director of the Norton Family Center for the Common Good. The Norton Center administers the fellowship program.  

Interested students must apply for Norton Fellowships and, if chosen, each receives up to $1,000 to help complete the project. Those who apply must be entering their junior or senior years. “This year’s [recipients] demonstrated a strong connection to their local communities and a passion to serve the common good in helping better those environments,” Matt said. 

Claire grew up in Thailand, but English is her first language. “English … has always been my favorite subject at school, as I learned it early on in my kindergarten days,” she said. “I eventually gained a true passion for the language coming to Loomis. Thus, I wanted to give others opportunities to explore the language and use it as a tool for when they are older.” 

Claire has another goal for the children with whom she is working — “to spark their interest in pursuing higher education as well as finding a branch of learning that they can be passionate about, whether that be math, science, even other languages.” She said she plans to continue the project when she returns to Loomis for the 2024–25 school year “by holding children's books donations and continuing to make worksheets for the kids.” 

The inspiration for Sally's Norton Fellowship project came from the International Education Program trip she took last summer to Scandinavia. 

 “I became almost mournful of the difference between our culture toward the outdoors and natural areas versus theirs,” Sally said. “In Denmark, locals called the river a communal spot. We observed people swimming, kayaking, and sunbathing on the riverfront. I thought back to my home near the Hudson River [in New York state], which is quite polluted. Connecting my experiences growing up to the Scandinavia trip inspired me to create educational opportunities for children to learn about the natural environment. I believe that earnest love for the environment inspires people to live more sustainably.”  

Rachael said her STEM initiative on rockets with Hartford youth combined her “love for math and creativity to create a project that would allow people to learn math while having fun. I hope to inspire these students to pursue their passions. By learning about math and basic physics in a creative way, I hope that they understand that they can find the intersection of their passions and create something out of that intersection, similar to what I have done for this project. Moreover, I hope they leave with a greater understanding of where they can apply their math skills.” 

Georgia started playing the piano in the second grade. “Since then, music has been a huge passion of mine,” she said. “It has been a way I have bonded with others, challenged myself, and learned it was OK to make mistakes. As I reflected on the joy and fulfillment the piano brings me, I couldn't help but acknowledge that musical education is often inaccessible due to its high cost, depriving many children of the opportunity to experience the joys of music. I chose this project because I wanted to take a step toward making musical education accessible to all.” 

Will said he chose the idea for a free soccer clinic because he wanted “to support the local community and local groups I was a part of, like Windsor Soccer Club. He said his desire is “to give everyone involved a sense of having gained knowledge and skills they can use moving forward in their soccer careers.” The soccer clinic will take place in the fall. 

  

  


 

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