Senior Summers

This summer, three Riverbend seniors participated in particularly prestigious summer programs. Michael Donato attended Boys Nation. Grace McIntire received a National Latin award at the National Junior Classical League Convention, and Amy Millis attended the Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows program at Wake Forest University.

Boys Nation is a program the American Legion described as “among the most respected educational programs of government instruction for high school students.” Donato reminisced, “I learned how intense it is to be a politician. When I went on Capitol Hill, I saw how busy they are and how they never stop moving.” He added, “[My favorite experience was] getting to meet President Obama. It was a powerful moment … He talked to us about how important Boys Nation is and how we were going to be leaders in some form.”

Grace McIntire became Riverbend’s first national Latin champion at the National Junior Classical League Convention for her Dramatic Interpretation performance. She explained, “Dramatic interpretation is where you recite a Latin passage and act out the contents and feelings of characters in the passage. I was competing in the Girls Advanced Prose Category of Dramatic Interpretation, but best in show means I was chosen as the best from girls, boys, and each of the four different categories.” McIntire described her preparation process as a series of improvements: “When you get to a point where you think you have done everything you can, you make a video and audio recording and go back to the drawing board as you analyze each individual part of the performance …. After that you should use a mirror to fine tune details and really get the exact facial expressions.”

McIntire’s victory came as a shock. She said, “I was in the middle of an intense voting meeting with the Riverbend delegation when I was pulled aside by one of the NJCL co-chairs. She informed me I was best-in-show and asked me to perform at the Awards Assembly! I was bouncing with joy for the rest of the day. I didn’t believe it. Still up until I was about to perform at the Awards Assembly, I thought there must have been a mistake.”

Amy Millis was one of forty-five students from thirty-six countries to be selected for the Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute at Wake Forest University. BFTF is sponsored by the State Department, and seeks to develop an “academically and intellectually rigorous, socially and culturally diverse, and practically valuable forum for European and American youth.” Millis said the program allowed her to “openly interrogate assumptions public education had instilled in me,” and that BFTF was an “environment that catalyzed intellectual growth in everyone.” Through the program, Millis was able to create a social entrepreneurship project “intended to promote civil and cultural engagement among youth through an interactive website.” The project was inspired by her existing online literary magazine Chronopolis.

Amy also received a scholarship to participate in a program through the Rappahannock Electric Cooperative for a week, participated in the Chesapeake Bay Foundation summer program sponsored by the Commonwealth Governor’s School, attended the High School Diplomats program at Princeton University, and interned with the World Bank. A busy summer indeed, but, Millis agrees, a worthwhile one.