We are pleased to honor Luke Henter in our Fall Peabody Alumni Spotlight. Luke graduated from Peabody School in 2012, and is currently enrolled at Princeton University. Luke’s brother, James, is currently in the Seventh Grade at Peabody. During his time here, Luke gained an appreciation for nurturing his intellectual passions, and has been able to continue developing those interests throughout his educational career.
Luke acknowledges that his teachers were instrumental in honing his drive for exploration, and he feels lucky to have had incredible teachers all through his Peabody years. However, a few teachers stand out in his memory.
Mrs. Elisabeth Barr introduced Luke to his love of writing, and he comments how he has been deeply involved with writing since that time.
“I’ve done some summer workshops at the University of Iowa and Kenyon College in Ohio, I’ve served as the Editor-in-Chief of my high school literary magazine, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have some of my work published in a few online magazines. Writing has always been a wonderful outlet for me, a cathartic experience that has helped me through some anxious and stressful times.”
Luke also thanks Mr. Travis Miller and Mr. Tolly Merrick for being educational mentors when he was in middle school.
“Mr. Miller is one of the best science teachers I’ve ever had, and he was the one who first brought out and focused my academic curiosity—I’d always been (and still am!) interested in learning as much as possible about every topic I can, and Mr. Miller showed me how to channel that curiosity into tangible results. Mr. Merrick, meanwhile, I only had for one year (8th grade government class), but he taught the class that spoke most directly to me and my interests. I was already somewhat engaged in the political process, but he showed me and my class layers and nuance we’d never seen before. I credit Mr. Merrick for introducing me to the fields of political science and public policy, which have become two of my greatest academic passions, and the subject in which I am currently planning to concentrate at Princeton.”
Mr. Miller remembers Luke as a curious and engaged student. “I remember having a conversation with him about quantum mechanics – it was the second day of sixth grade – and thinking ‘this kid’s going places.’ Not only was he incredibly bright, but he always worked hard and had a lovely, positive attitude. I have taught many amazing kids over the years, but Luke still manages to stand out among such company.”
Mr. Merrick distinctly recalls Luke’s leadership abilities. “He modeled excellent scholastic skills, a keen interest in the content, and often led the class in discussions. Luke’s warm ‘big brotherness’ was on display every afternoon when little James would wander in our room at dismissal. I believe James was in 2nd grade, and he had the expected deer-in-the-headlights look when he entered the room full of animated 8th grade boys. Luke made him feel welcomed and safe every day.”
Mr. Merrick further comments that Luke’s enthusiasm for the political process went far and beyond. “We went to the Supreme Court that year, and were able to see two cases argued. It was an overnight trip, complete with a private audience with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Sadly, Luke got sick the day before the trip and couldn’t go. So, he made up for it by logging on to the SCOTUS site, and listened to the entire set of transcripts for both cases. This was the type of lengths he went to to feed his curiosity and his passion for learning.”
When asked how Peabody prepared him for high school, Luke noted that his middle school experience and high school experience were quite different. “At Peabody, you have a lot of support and guidance from adults who care about you and want to ensure you succeed. As you grow older, a lot of that burden will be placed on you. At the same time, you will begin to grow into and discover new intellectual passions and interests. My advice to you is simple: Go after these. Do not wait for new opportunities to become available, don’t expect someone to walk you through the process. If you are interested in something, act on it. Make it your own. Explore the topics that excite you, not what anyone says should excite you. There is no more rewarding experience than succeeding at what drives you.”
“Peabody taught me that it was okay to be smart. Peabody taught me to be curious about subjects, to question everything, to do my own research and discover more about what interested me. Peabody taught me to follow my passions, a lesson that I took to heart and ran with, and for which I am very grateful. “
Congratulations on all of your achievements and your future endeavors, Luke! We are very excited to hear about your accomplishments in the future!