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The Batten Leadership Program met for an emotional, soul-searching Zoom ceremony to bid farewell to the Fellows in the Class of 2021 after more than three years of learning and action. 

Given the large crowd, an in-person ceremony and the customary dinner could not happen; instead, the Batten Leadership Program organized a gigantic Zoom meeting, with nearly 140 students in the five Fellows programs, parents, and faculty directors.  It included Fellows from the five programs: Chesapeake Bay; Global Health; Global Affairs; Engineering, Design, and Innovation; and Literacy. One benefit of Zoom—the students were unmasked and in the comfort of home (possibly with snacks at the ready). 

The opening words from Batten Leadership Program Co-Directors, Sean Wetmore and Price Hall, highlighted the way that the Fellows shifted gears in March 2020, when Covid-19 reshaped daily life, and experiential learning and summer travel, two hallmarks of the Fellows experience, slid beyond reach.  

Yet the Fellows rallied and found new ways to help the community, in many cases leveraging technological innovation to do so. They created and delivered situation reports about COVID-19 in the spring to inform the community and help the school make decisions. Over the course of the academic year, Fellows have tutored students on Zoom, both at Tidewater Park Elementary School and in partnership with Hampton Roads Refugee Relief (HR3), and they have built desks and made book boxes for students in need of learning resources.  

The Batten Leadership Program launched an Instagram to publicize activities, reach more people, and thereby build more community partnerships. “You all embraced this time of ambiguity and need . . . to better serve our program and our community,” Mrs. Hall observed. 

“Thank you” and friendship were twin themes of the event. A senior from each Fellows “cohort”—using the program’s argot for the group of students admitted in each Class year—spoke about the research, activities, and relationships that had been forged as the students gained understanding and sought to taken meaningful, effective action. The speakers reflected on the learning they had gained from stretching themselves and going out in the community and the world to pursue service projects. 

One after another, they expressed appreciation for their peers, affectionately calling out individual quirks and inspiring traits for each Fellow in the Class of 2021. “Take advantage of this program and everything it has to offer. It will change your life for the better,” said Caroline Suber, a Literacy Fellow. “Learn, grow, and improve, individually and as a group.”   

“Together, we have bonded into a true sisterhood,” said Ella Davis of the Global Health Fellows. “I love my five people, and I know I will miss them next year.” 

2021 EDI Fellows: Tenaya Vallery and Robert Call, Co-Directors 

  • Christopher Asuncion 
  • Olivia Danielson 
  • Caitlin Johnson 
  • AJ Keels 
  • Keon Tavakoli 
  • Charlie Walker 

 2021 Global Health Fellows:  Price Hall and Tara Eskander, Co-Directors, Yonne Nasimiyu, Assistant Director 

  • Maddie Brooks
  • Erin Clayton 
  • Ella Davis 
  • Leila Jamali 
  • Michela Jones 
  • Anaiya Roberts 

2021 Global Affairs Fellows:  Jack Gibson and Natasha Naujoks, Co-Directors 

  • Jack Elliott 
  • Peyton Harrell 
  • Will Inderlied 
  • Annie Livingood 
  • Bridget Tan 
  • Sophie Watson 

 2021 Literacy Fellows:  David Kidd, Director; Elaine Denson and Vanessa Yearick, Assistant Directors 

  • Blake Brown 
  • Reed Miller 
  • Caroline Suber 
  • Virginia Ames Tillar 
  • Joshua Warsaw 
  • Graham Webb 

2021 Chesapeake Bay Fellows:  Chris Nelson, Director; Megan Hallberg, Assistant Director 

  • Barr Gill 
  • Layla Mersel 
  • Jessica Parker 
  • Jennifer Permenter 
  • Lydia Sweeney 
  • Matthew Wetmore 

Chesapeake Bay Fellows

Chesapeake Bay Fellows

Engineering, Design, and Innovation Fellows

Engineering, Design, and Innovation Fellows

Global Affairs Fellows

Global Affairs Fellows

Global Health Fellows

Global Health Fellows

Literacy Fellows

Literacy Fellows

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