kaufmanWe are pleased to announce our second Peabody Alumnus of the Month, Sam Rimm-Kaufman. Sam attends Yale University after graduating from Peabody and Charlottesville High School, where he stood out among his peers both academically and socially. Sam embodies our mission and exemplifies the ways in which Peabody prepares students to be life-long learners. At Peabody, Sam fell in love with learning. He approached the curriculum with curiosity and wonder, and had the courage to take intellectual risks.

As a result of the thorough education he received from our Middle School team, Sam was able to transition smoothly into highly advanced courses in high school math and science. In his sophomore year, he was chosen for Northrup Grumman’s prestigious HIP (“High School Involvement Partnership”) program. Only two or three students are chosen from all of our local city and county high schools, and his selection is particularly remarkable given that he was only in his second year of high school. Through the HIP program, Sam works one-on-one with engineers at Northrup Grumman, and last year he collaborated with a small group of fellow students to complete an engineering project. (Sam’s group produced an ornithopter, an aircraft that flies by flapping wings.) At the end of the year, Sam’s group presented their final product to an audience that included Northrup executives, community members, and HIP alumni.

Sam has also exhibited tremendous leadership and initiative at Charlottesville High School. He is involved in the student led after school science club, BACON (“Best All-Around Club of Nerds”), and he runs a subgroup of this club called DERP (Dangerous Extracurricular Research Projects). He is a member of the debate team, which will be going to this year’s state competition. Finally, he has taken on the role of Ritual and Practice Vice President for the youth group at his synagogue.

Peabody teachers remember Sam well. Tolly Merrick remembers teaching an all-boys eighth grade government class where Sam “added a grounding, balancing energy to the class. I remember Sam as hard working, open minded, and possessing a great sense of humor.” Marie Beaurline remembers Sam as stepping up to the plate academically and socially as soon as he arrived at Peabody. “Sam is a great thinker and a nice guy too!”

We reached out to Sam and asked him a few questions about his experience at Peabody and his plans for the future. His top choice for college is to attend Carnegie Mellon University and study engineering. However, he isn’t rushing into it. “After my senior year, I plan on applying for an internship at Northrup Grumman Sperry Marine, a military contractor that designs GPS navigation systems. If all goes well, I’ll spend a gap year before college as an intern, learning more about what makes a good engineer.” His fantasy job would be in engineering where he can work to solve social and environmental problems. “I hope that the work I do is used to make the world a better place or improve someone’s life. After retiring, I picture myself volunteering as a high school chemistry teacher so that I can give back to the community.”

As for his experience at Peabody, Sam feels that we prepared him incredibly well for high school from an academic standpoint. “Peabody put me a few years ahead in math, science, and Spanish,” which allowed him to dive into elective courses sooner than his peers. Furthermore, “the advanced math offered by Peabody funneled me into math that really provided a challenge and led to a love for math beyond what I had attained previously. Peabody fostered a love for science that led me to take more science courses than required.”

His transition to high school was an adjustment, but he adapted quickly: “Finding a group of friends did not take long, and once I had, the transition to high school became easier.” According to Sam, the most surprising thing about high school was the mixed community, which he describes as wonderful but a bit overwhelming at first. It was also his first experience in classrooms with larger numbers of students. “I know learning in a larger group has helped me,” he said. Overall, he found the transition from Peabody to high school to be “rather natural,” with most changes occurring in the social landscape and school environment. “Peabody helped me realize that teachers are human, and getting to know them makes the transition to high school easier.”

Sam honors the Peabody community with his success, initiative, creativity, and resiliency, and we are so pleased to honor him as our Alumnus of the Month. Congratulations, Sam! We are all so proud of you, and cannot wait to see where you go from here!