May 24, 2022
English Brother School Visits KO
Headmaster Andrew Gordon-Browne and Director of Advancement Graham Papenfus from Kingswood School in Bath, England took a busman’s holiday across the pond to visit schools that share an affiliation with them this past April. In our case, Kingswood Oxford shares not only a name but many traditions with its English namesake including the wyvern mascot, school colors of black and crimson, and forms instead of grades.
Brenda Semmlerock, KO’s school archivist, planned a jam-packed itinerary while the visitors were in West Hartford so they could experience the full gamut of KO from the perspective of a student. When they first arrived, Semmelrock treated them to a full-American breakfast at the local faculty favorite, Effie’s. Heading next to campus, Gordon-Brown and Papenfuss were escorted on an extended tour of the campus by Shield and Dragon ambassadors, Amrita Natarajan ’22, Jhanvi Daddala ’23, and Nicolas Tippner ’24 who shared their insights on the school schedule, the classes, and our traditions. Gordon Browne was impressed with the confidence of our representatives as they explained the inner workings of life on campus. Additionally, Semmelrock created a display in the archives of the Bath, England history and showed the exhibit to our English colleagues.
During the afternoon, Browne and Papenfus observed a Form 4 English class with Cameron Biondi where the students discussed the concept of identity and how it relates to the work that the class was reading, Tommy Orange’s There There, concerning Native American characters living in Oakland, CA. Gordon-Browne and Papenfus joined in on the class exchange and expressed their admiration for the students who could articulate their feelings on a weighty topic with ease and empathy. Following the class, our guests took in some more local color with a tour of the Mark Twain House with Director of Advancement Dina Plapler.
Semmelrock hopes with the connections she has established with the English school including her own visit to Bath several years ago and a fellowship Zoom last year, that the groundwork can be laid for meaningful exchanges among the students.