The numbers say it all: when the ISP program was conceived by Bruce Berk and Sandy Townsend in 1985 as an opportunity for seniors to explore life outside of school before graduating, less than half of the senior class took part. This trend continued up until 2016, when the numbers began to skyrocket. And now, thanks to years of hard work, planning, outreach, and networking by the ISP Committee, over 90% of the class of 2018 took advantage of the program and spent their final six weeks of high school exploring their various interests beyond the classroom.
Before participating, seniors must undergo a rigorous process beginning in the winter to determine their eligibility and logistics for their project. Multiple applications, meetings with the ISP Committee, scheduling, and the student’s academic standing are all considered during the planning process. Nevertheless, the hard work is necessary to ensure a productive and enjoyable experience for all involved.
This year’s projects reflected the diversity in passion of the graduating class, cultivated by their time at DS and their time spent outside as well. Representative of their trademark creativity, there was a strong focus on student art: Jakov Schwartzberg and Ben Wickett put on a production of the two-man play “Red” by John Logan; Brenna Conway wrote, directed, and choreographed her very own dance-centered show entitled “Rootless”; and Crystal Xie, Megan Farr, and Andrew Lombardozzi worked to produce a unique garment and curate the fashion and art publication “Alt Magazine.” Other students explored the world of nonprofits and social justice: Henna Malik spent her 6 weeks at the New Hampshire ACLU, planning and coordinating a rally to uplift youth minorities; Gracie Mikol and Grace Feigl worked at Gracie’s nonprofit Fueled by Kids to fight against food insecurity amongst Manchester children; and Bella Hoang and Caleb Richmond interned at the Kent Street Coalition, a grassroots organization working to promote justice and equality.
Despite the differences in each of their endeavors, all of the participating seniors gathered in the first ever “ISPalooza” on June 7 to showcase their work for the community. Performances were held, presentations were given, and all who attended left inspired and hopeful for a future pioneered by these incredibly hard-working and passionate young people.
Located in Manchester, NH, The Derryfield School is a private day school for grades 6-12. Students benefit from a challenging academic program, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.