This fall, a group of 211 diverse, broadly defined, and talented new students will join Hotchkiss as freshly-minted Bearcats. From a journalist to an inventor to a black belt, these newcomers will bring boundless energy, enthusiasm, and ingenuity to campus.
By the numbers, an unprecedented 42 percent of this year’s incoming students self-identify as students of color, and in alignment with the School’s commitment to extending access, 44 percent of them will receive financial aid. Our new Bearcats hail from 27 states and 16 countries. They include low-income students, first-generation applicants, and families from across the U.S. and around the world. They are artists, musicians, writers, engineers, and athletes, to name just some of their passions, and Hotchkiss is thrilled to have them.
Let us make a few introductions.
Naima Johnson '24 from Atlanta, GA, is the youngest student ever to be accepted into the Harvard Diversity Council, a nationally acclaimed program that recruits highly motivated Black youth in metro Atlanta to train and matriculate into a prestigious summer residency at Harvard University. The program has an acceptance rate of one percent. Naima also made history by becoming the first student at her school to win two back-to-back “Amazing Shake” championships. This competition places an emphasis on teaching students manners, discipline, respect, and professional conduct. Naima was recognized as her school's top achiever for having an understanding of global issues, politics, and current events.
Ben Ely ’24 from Grantham, NH, is an inventor focused on creating solutions to everyday problems. He learned about Hotchkiss when he was awarded the prestigious Caroline D. Bradley Scholarship. After Ben visited the School and toured the EFX Lab with Instructor in Physics and Engineering Michael Boone, Hotchkiss became his number-one choice. “Right now, I am working with a university prototype shop to finalize a patent for a pair of devices to help novice sailors right a capsized sailboat. I think of them as training wheels for a sailboat,” said Ben, who currently captains his school’s varsity sailing team.
Boarding school will be an exciting new experience for Rinoa Oliver ’24 from Santa Cruz, CA. Like Ben, Rinoa also was selected for the Caroline D. Bradley Scholarship. In considering her options, Rinoa looked at schools chosen by previous winners of the scholarship.
“Hotchkiss immediately became one of my favorites because of its exceptional academic strength. I then realized that it was also the perfect fit because of its strong focus on community. My favorite subjects are math and science, though I love all my classes. Outside of school, I love participating in math competitions and the science fair, and have been recognized nationally in both of these. I also really enjoy playing piano and violin and participating in debates, and I would love to make a positive impact on the local community through Hotchkiss’s unique service opportunities,” she said.
Benjamin Who ’24, from Sugar Land, TX, is captain of his school’s speech and debate team, yet his passion is journalism. Two years ago, Benjamin recognized the need for a school newspaper, where students could share their voices and showcase their creativity. He rolled up his sleeves and with six other students created The Raider Review, publishing eight quarterly editions. The paper now has a staff of 20, including copy editors, writers, managing editors, and photographers. As the editor-in-chief, Benjamin enjoys collaborating with his team to bring his school an informative, well-designed publication with timely news stories that impact the entire student body. He plans on bringing that same “can do'' spirit to Hotchkiss this fall.
Maya Abdelwadood '23, from Dubai, holds a black belt in Tae Kwondo. A member of the National Junior Honor Society since she was in the seventh grade, Maya has won the computer science award at her school for two years running. She has lived in Dubai with her parents and older brother her entire life, and she is looking forward to coming to Hotchkiss to experience its diverse community, join in the Bearcat spirit, and partake in community service projects. “I’ve always wanted to attend boarding school,” she said, adding that she can’t wait to bring her passion and ideas to the Hotchkiss community.
Hayden Scott ’24, who hails from Chicago, is passionate about basketball, but his talents extend well beyond the court. Hayden has won numerous awards for speech and debate. He is a Jack Kent Cook Finalist, an ABC Scholar, and a Daniel Murphy Scholar. He also plays the trumpet and sings in choir. Hayden has attended schools in Los Angeles and Miami, but coming to New England will be a first-time experience. He is excited about experiencing campus life at Hotchkiss, where he said he will “bring a friendly face, an open mind, and a willingness to try new things.”
Sada Schumann ’22 from Bozeman, MT, is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who is looking forward to continuing her filmmaking at Hotchkiss as a new upper mid. She is also excited about being in a supportive community that allows her to explore all of her interests, from music to environmental sciences. Like all the new students, she is excited about enjoying community life at Hotchkiss. “I think I'm a relatively goofy person,” she said candidly. “So I hope to have a lot of fun during my time at Hotchkiss,” she added.
Benjamin, Naima, Ben, Rinoa, Maya, Hayden, and Sada are just a few of the 211 new students who will join the community in the fall, bringing with them widely varied interests, skills, enthusiasm, and commitment to Hotchkiss. Once the academic year gets underway, all of them will meet the instructors who will nurture, challenge, and help them fully realize their passions. They will learn to extend their reach and intellectual horizons, and they will form friendships that will last a lifetime.
To all of our new Bearcats, welcome. We can’t wait to meet you!