The Many Faces of Middlebury Union High School

by / MUHS (0) in Features /

After viewing the documentary made in a 2011-2012 Middlebury Union High School (MUHS) English Class on middbeat, Local Editor Molly Talbert and Editor-in-Chief Kyle Finck reached out to MUHS Journalism teacher Matthew Cox. In a new partnership, The Campus will work with MUHS journalism students to produce local content.  

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Steve Small: Theater Instructor by Isabel Velez ’15

Steve Small is a man of many talents.  He works at the Middlebury Hannaford Career Center as the theater instructor. The Hannaford Career Center is attached to Middlebury Union High School. Steve has been working at the Career Center since 1994 and has been introducing students to the world of theater since then. When asked how he began his career in Middlebury he mentioned that a local playwright saw him act and asked him if he would sit in on a meeting about the new theater arts program at the Career Center. At the meeting Steve gave his opinion about what he thought the program could be, and the next day he was offered the job. The program in the Career Center that Steve teaches is called Addison Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) This program allows students the chance to run and create a theater company. This also allows students to immerse themselves in the world of acting. Every day students from local high schools have the opportunity of taking this course for either a semester or an entire year. People who go through A.R.T. learn not only acting skills but skills such as screen writing, lighting, sound, set designing, costuming, and theater management to name a few. As busy as Steve is teaching high school students everything he knows about theater, he also manages to keep his acting skills sharp by being involved in local plays at the Town Hall Theater. He recently played the role of Lennie in a production of “Of Mice and Men” and was just in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” as well.

Steve attended the University of North Carolina School of the Artsn where he majored in drama. During the course of his teaching at the Hannaford Career Center he has taught some incredible students who later went on to become stars. One of the students that he taught was Jake Lacy, one of the actors in the show “The Office”. Others include Quincy Dunn-Baker, Tristan Cunningham and Toby Schine along with many others. When asked about his most rewarding moment teaching theater he responded, “I think that it comes when the students finds that connection to the craft … That is the moment I like best.”

Marshall Eddy: Longtime MUHS Teacher by Zoe Parsons ’14

Marshall Eddy has been working at the Middlebury Union High School since 1970, and is one of the school’s longest tenured teachers. Before he was an art teacher at Middlebury Union High School, he got his Juris Doctor degree from University of Michigan Law School in 1968 and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Middlebury College in 1965. He has worked as an operating room orderly, a Russian language linguist in Army intelligence, a lawyer, and even a history teacher at MUHS before becoming an art teacher at the high school.

Moving from law to art is a big change, but Eddy became interested in art while he was practicing law in Middlebury. During one court case, he was snowed-in while staying in a hotel, and he started making art to pass the time. It started out as a hobby, but it grew to something larger, and he liked it more than he liked practicing law and teaching history. So when a position opened at the high school where he was working as an history teacher, he applied for the job and has been teaching art ever since.

Eddy acted in this year’s production of “Shrek: The Musical” at the Town Hall Theater with his family. He has acted in many productions before, and even preformed a one man opera with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, playing a “conductor” who sang while conducting. He also commutes to work every day on foot, year-round. “I’ve walked 14,000 miles to and from school in the last 43 years, but only moved two feet,” he said in a previous interview with The Tigers’ Print, the MUHS newspaper. He also led an extracurricular mime group at MUHS for 12 years.

As a teacher, Eddy has taught six current teachers, three staff members, and the chairman of the Union District #3 board. Eddy plans on retiring at the end of the next school year. Even though he has been teaching for over 40 years, he is always learning new techniques and taking art classes.

Jeff Clark: Bike Enthusiast by Jessica Prisson ’14

Jeff Clark, a world history and photography teacher who has taught at Middlebury Union High School for 15 years, leaves at at 5:50 every morning and bikes 12.5 miles to and from the school year-round, regardless of the weather.

Clark has an extensive educational background and holds a degree in Political Science and Master’s degree in Computer Application Programming. He also did Ph.D. work in intellectual history and is ABD (all but dissertation). His dissertation traces the intellectual origins of western attitudes towards nature from the biblical period to the present through the lens of deep ecology and eco-feminism.

A partial list of colleges he attended includes St. Michael’s, Nova University, Florida State University, and Arizona State University.

Clark got his first bike, a Schwinn Varsity, as a high school graduation present and soon embarked on a 130-mile trip from Saxton’s River in Rockingham to Glover, VT. He currently owns six bikes.

In 1983, he biked about 600 miles to Acadia, Maine and back.

In 1989, the biking enthusiast sold his car and began commuting by bike as he worked on a Ph.D. for 3 years at Florida State University.

Just last summer, he spent two weeks touring between 16 Vermont Breweries with science teacher Noah Hurlburt.

These days, biking up and down the colossal hill to Ripton proves more difficult during winter because of the late sunrise, early sunset, and snowy or icy road conditions. Clark has outfitted his Salsa Fargo and Salsa Vargo bikes with studded snow tires and bright lights comparable to a car’s headlights.

He averages about 25 miles per day for a school year total around 4,400 miles. He recently passed the 10,000-mile mark since he began biking to work 2 years ago. That’s the equivalent of riding from Maine to California nearly 3 times!

When asked why he does it, Clark will answer that he bikes partly for mental health, but mostly for “a more direct, intentional relationship with the outside world.” Aside from the meditation aspect, Clark bikes solely for the experience.

Mr. Clark’s future summer plans include the Great Divide Ride, a 2,745-mile trip from the Canadian Rockies to the Mexican Plateau.

Jonah Lefkoe: MUHS Senior Class President by Samuel Messenger ’14

Meet Jonah Lefkoe, Middlebury Union High School’s senior class president. Well, he’s not only the senior class president. He’s also president of the Middlebury National Honor Society, Brain Science club member, tenor sax player, and lineman on the undefeated football team that just won the state championship. As president of the National Honor Society, he helped organized many community service events and fundraisers, like the recent blood drive. Athletically, besides dominating people in the trenches on the football field, he also has thrown javelin, shot put and discus on the track and field team since middle school.

Also involved in the Brain Science club for all four years of high school, he hopes to major in neuroscience in college. He’s interested in the medicinal field, but is also considering careers in research or teaching after college. Jonah worked as an intern in the neuroscience lab at Middlebury College. Working with Assistant Professor of Psychology Mark Stefani, Jonah assisted in his research. He liked working there a lot, saying it “made him want to pursue neuroscience even more.” Jonah also is taking a computer science class at the college, which he also enjoys, taught by Professor Matt Dickerson.

In addition to playing tenor sax in band since freshman year, he also plays the ukulele in his free time. He has diverse musical tastes, ranging from Zac Brown Band to Al Green to Brother Ali. Jonah likes to read biographies and books about the brain. He lives in Middlebury with his parents Todd and Karen, his little sister Sophie, and his dog Pipin, a Havanese. He lives by Alexis Carrel’s quote, “Man cannot remake himself without suffering, for he is both the marble and the sculptor.”

Yeweon Kim: Foreign Exchange Student by Krisandra Provencher ’15

Middlebury Union High School has one foreign exchange student this semester; 18-year-old Yeweon Kim of Seoul, South Korea. Yeweon, meaning “Jesus Wants Me” in Korean, is a cat owner who loves piano, traveling and anything to do with cheese! Yeweon came to the United States through the Program of Academic Exchange, or PAX, a non-profit educational group that describes its mission as an effort “to increase mutual respect among the people of the world, to foster an appreciation of our differences and similarities, and to enhance our ability to communicate with one another.” Through PAX, Yeweon has been placed with the Foshays, a local Bridport family who have previously hosted three exchange students.

“When Grace, our oldest daughter, left for the Air Force, we had an extra bedroom and a hole that needed to be filled,” Jenny Foshay, Yeweon’s host mother, said. “Olivia, our youngest is 17 and homeschooled, so we thought it would be nice for her to have a sister around.”

Prior to coming to America, Yeweon had traveled to the Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Japan, as well as Cambodia and the Philippines for missionary work. She dreams of going to Egypt one day. Even though she may be well traveled, Yeweon’s biggest adjustment while staying here in America centers around school. In Korea Yeweon experienced a very strict and methodical setting, yet here in America she is experiencing much more relaxed and amicable environment. One of the biggest differences involves student and teacher interaction. “Most students don’t ask the teachers questions or talk to them during class, mostly because students are shy. We just listen to the teachers speak during class.” said Yeweon. Schooling in Korea doesn’t end when school finishes at 4 p.m. though. “We normally have extra study so we tend to finish at 10 p.m. I know it’s crazy!” Many of the subjects taught here are the same as in Korea, she said, the learning environments just happen to be different. Yeweon said that while in America, “I hope to use this time in Vermont to improve my English, become more confident, and learn about American culture.”