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Moultonborough senior connects past, present to be named Parker Scholar of the Month

MOULTONBOROUGH — The revolutionary educator Francis Wayland Parker may not have had Google on his mind when radically changing the way students were taught in the late 19th century. But Moultonborough Academy’s use of the software’s file storage system would meet with his approval, wrote Seunghyun Yeo, the Francis Wayland Parker Scholar of the Month for January.

“The biggest thing I drew from his philosophy ... was that he made (learning) really student-based,” said Yeo, who goes by “Angela.” Parker, a Bedford native who pushed progressive education models, believed students should be engaged, “rather than being a sounding board for a lecturer and rote memorization.”

Moultonborough Academy has integrated his ideas through two programs, according to Yeo.

Panthers Achieving Work Successfully, or “PAWS,” provides pupils with 45 minutes each day “designed to stimulate more interaction among students and teachers,” she wrote in her essay.

Yeo, an 18-year-old senior, said she recently used that free period to talk about J.D. Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye” with a literature teacher, even though it wasn’t on her class syllabus.

“He helped me catch the finer nuances and thematic elements of the book and we examined the more complicated characters together,” she wrote.

The other program she highlighted in her essay makes use of Google Drive, allowing several students to collaborate on a single project from any computer. Yeo wrote that one classmate was able to update a shared project while on vacation in Florida.

“Of course, Francis Wayland Parker would never have imagined communication the way we do it today with technology,” she said. But, she said, “the basic principles” of his embrace of technology and thinking imaginatively still apply.Beyond essay writing, Yeo is first in her academic class, is the top player on her varsity tennis team and, along with her older sister, Michaelle, restarted the discontinued quarterly student newspaper three years ago. Yeo said journalism may become a career option and spent the latter half of a 20-minute phone call with a reporter grilling him about a career in print media.

This is the second time Yeo has had an essay selected, having received the honor while a sophomore two years ago.

“I was definitely really, really excited to hear I was selected,” she said.

The Francis Wayland Parker Scholar program is sponsored by the New Hampshire Association of School Principals, in cooperation with the New Hampshire Union Leader, Lifetouch Studios and the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Northern New England.

Other nominees for January were: Sarah Allwarden, Exeter High School; Carolyn Ebner, Plymouth Regional High School; Gregory Pratt, Manchester High School West; Josh Brown, Inter-Lakes High School; and Benjamin Papp, Manchester Central High School.

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