As the Peabody community embarks on our 20th year we want to take time to honor some of the outstanding students that made our school what it is today through our Peabody Alumnus of the Month program. Our first honoree is 2010 Peabody Alumna, Emma Kulow. Emma positively impacted Peabody School during her years here and we are proud to honor her.
Ms. Beaurline, Peabody Middle School math teacher, said “Emma is one of those students who is kind to all – even her teachers. She was the first student who said, “thank you” to me on leaving the classroom. Many other students heard her and began thanking me and the other teachers as well; what a talent to make a change in culture so effortlessly! Emma found that magical spot between joking with her friends and getting all of her work done. We, teachers, were always confident that Emma’s group would not only get along but also would be successful in their work. Emma did all of her work and often put in extra effort, consequently, she got as much as she could from her time at Peabody.”
Ms. Runkle, Emma’s fourth grade teacher, created an acrostic poem with some adjectives which describe Emma.
Emma is now pursuing her Environmental Policy major and plans to earn a Public Policy Master’s degree from University of Virginia’s Batten School in the fifth year majors program. In addition, Emma serves as the President of the governing body for her college dorm, participates in UVA’s Entrepreneurship Group, and belongs to several environmental activist groups. Although Emma has a very full schedule as a first year at the University of Virginia, she took some time to share her experiences about Peabody School with us along with some advice for our current 8th grade students.
What is your favorite memory from your time at Peabody?
So many memories stand out—our 8th grade class trip, French Day and International Day, making a mystery movie in my Spanish class—but I’d have to choose our band trips to Busch Gardens. Every year, my excitement grew as each band class moved us closer to Busch Gardens—our prize for our hard work, as well as the unofficial start of summer. I especially remember my first trip in 6th grade, where we filled ourselves up with funnel cakes, I rode my first roller coaster, and we fell asleep watching The Shining on the way back after stopping for pizza. It was my favorite day of the year, especially because I was able to share these experiences with my friends.
How do you think Peabody prepared you for high school?
Peabody did an excellent job preparing me for high school classes. Although the transition to high school was, of course, intimidating, I quickly grew accustomed to the course load and expectations of high school. The small-class setting in Peabody transitioned well into the larger high school classes—I felt comfortable talking to teachers, was motivated in class, and was able to contribute knowledge and experiences that were different from my classmates’.I also credit the Peabody Penguins with launching my basketball career! The basketball team fostered a supportive and encouraging atmosphere (shout-out to Ms. Kim!), which promoted my desire to continue playing basketball and my confidence in the sport. I played basketball in high school, and was Captain of Western Albemarle’s varsity basketball team. I was president of the National Honor Society and involved in several other honor societies—I highly recommend joining honor societies, and possibly assuming a leadership role in one, because they’re a highly effective way to initiate community service. I also followed in my brother’s footsteps and played piano in Western’s jazz band.
What advice do you have for current 8th graders at Peabody?
When you begin high school, find a friendly face! I was very intimidated by the transition to high school, and didn’t approach my peers or speak up in class during the first few months of school. It’s fine being intimidated—it’s a natural reaction in any new situation!—but don’t let it hold you back from meeting new people and being open to everything high school has to offer. Even just starting a conversation with a friendly classmate by asking them a question could improve your experience! Building off of that, seek new and exciting opportunities in high school. There are so many great programs you can get involved in, both inside and outside of school—Model UN, Ace Team, and Robotics Club were a few I wish I’d tried out—that can enrich your high school experience. I personally support athletics—they were an integral part of my high school career, and I believe they help you academically, emotionally, and socially, as well as physically—but each person has their own passions, and high school is a great time to begin finding yours. Finally, forget my advice for high school until you graduate. High school is inevitable—it will come, whether you want it or not—but it shouldn’t always be a looming presence in your future. Enjoy your time now! 8th grade is the time to relax, have fun, and treasure your friends before you move on to a new and demanding life. There are so many perks to being the oldest people in school, and so many fun 8th grade events (especially the class trip!), that are best experienced by focusing on the present and not the future.
In addition to her academic pursuits, Emma enjoys piano, basketball, and cooking. “I love spending all day in the kitchen and creating a meal from scratch,” she said. During her senior year of high school, Emma interned with Leni Sorensen, a culinary historian, gardener, and rural life skills teacher. After college and graduate school, Emma plans to work to incorporate climate change mitigation into United States policy and culture. The Peabody School community wishes Emma all the very best and we’re very proud to have her represent us as an alumnus.