Category: Academics

Summer Reading 2019

The English Department announces its 2019 Summer Reading Program. For information about titles, thought questions, writing requirements, and online purchasing, go to the English Department tab and click on the submenu “Summer Reading 2019” or follow the link here. You can also type “Summer Reading 2019” into the search bar. We wish you a wonderful summer of reading!

Academic Convocation 2019

Last night’s academic convocation celebrated the stunning success of our students in the classroom, but it also celebrated the way our experiences within the classroom can have a stunning impact on our lives.

At last night’s ceremony, Head of School Steve Griffin announced the permanent renaming of our 10th Grade Departmental Award in Visual Arts. Ms. Hastings then had the honor of bestowing the Jo-Ann Hastings Award to its first recipient, Marie Hua.

“The Jo-Ann Hastings Award in the Visual Arts recognizes the contribution of Jo-Ann Hastings, MacDuffie Visual Art teacher from 1986 to 2019. This award recognizes the qualities that Ms. Hastings encourages: technical excellence, creativity, and the understanding that through perseverance, one can always improve one’s artwork,” said Griffin.

As Ms. Hastings enters retirement after 33 years, she brings with her a magnolia tree gifted during the ceremony.

These are some photographs of last night’s academic convocation. A complete honor roll list is forthcoming.

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MacDuffie Sends Three Students on the Ivy League Path

The MacDuffie School will see three local students tackle Ivy League education in the fall of 2019. The three young women, Nicolette Peterson, Aurora Basnet, and Yunxia Hallowell will set foot on the college path at some of the top-ranked Ivy League schools on the East coast. It is an impressive representation among a senior class of only 75 learners.


Peterson, a native of Granby, Mass. will go to the University of Pennsylvania.


“I’m planning on majoring in cognitive science and studying pre-med at Penn. I’m very excited, but I’m definitely a little nervous too. I’ll be living in the middle of Philadelphia, which is a very different environment than Granby where I’ve grown up. I’ll miss all of the incredible friends and teachers that I’ve been able to spend the past six years with. Also, I’ll definitely miss making it rain with Mr. Vennell,” said Peterson, referring to an activity led by Mr. Vennell during assembly where the entire student body layers sounds of snapping, shuffling feet, and rubbing hands to simulate the sound of a thunderstorm.


Basnet, also from Granby, will pursue a degree at Cornell in  global and public health sciences on a pre-med path.


“Becoming a Cornell student is one of my wildest dreams manifesting. At Cornell, I am incredibly excited to delve further into my passions for public health practice and policy. However, despite all the excitement I have for my future, I will terribly miss the MacDuffie community that has molded me into who I am today. After all, although I am becoming a Cornellian, I will forever be a Mustang,” said Basnet.


Yunxia Hallowell, who hails from Springfield, Mass. will join the Princeton ranks this fall.


“I’m so excited to have the opportunity to be a student at Princeton, and I’m so grateful to my family, my mentors, and everyone else who helped me through the college process. I’m especially thankful to my teachers, whether they dealt with me for one semester or six years; I’ll miss my MacDuffie teachers next year,” said Hallowell, “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to do impactful work with my professors,” she said.


Hallowell is currently undecided on a major, but says she is thinking about majoring in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International affairs.


“I am very proud of all of our students, but want to commend these three young women in particular for their accomplishments.  The Ivy League schools are looking a special kind of student, who wishes to make a lasting impact in the world. These three students meet that standard and more!” said Head of School Steve Griffin.


Students at The MacDuffie School represent 25 different countries, bringing with them a diversity of experience to a shared corner of the globe in Granby, Mass.


Save $200 off England 2020 if you sign up by May 31!

If you missed our information meeting, you can still learn about and enroll in our March 2020 trip to some of the best tourist and literary sites in England.  “From Shakespeare to Harry Potter” includes such sites and events as:  a West End theater performance, Windsor Castle, Shakespeare’s birthplace, the spires of Oxford, and a tour of Warner Brothers where Harry Potter met the big screen. Just go to:  CHA-TOURS and type in the tour name or email Ms. Tomkiel at: for an itinerary and enrollment form. Enrollment is quick and easy. Family and friends of the MacDuffie community are welcome to join us.  This is a great opportunity for reunions, new friendships, and new connections with those we see every day.

Save $200 off the cost if you enroll by May 31.

MacDuffie Goalie Charles Avery to Play for UDA Soccer Academy, Attend University of Chester

MacDuffie boys’ soccer goalkeeper Charles Avery says the thing he likes about goalkeeping is how it allows him to control the flow of the game.


“You can control where the game goes. If you have a good goalie, you will never lose the game. If you have a good forward, you can always still lose,” he said.


After his graduation from The MacDuffie School this June, the senior from Belchertown, Mass. will attend the University of Chester where he plans to study exercise science.  As well, he will play for UDA Soccer Academy in Chester.


“You play in a semi-professional league in the UK and play against other professional academies. A lot of the guys have been called up from there to play for semi-pro teams and some professional teams,” Avery said of the opportunity.


The soon-to-be graduated Mustang has played soccer at MacDuffie since he was in eighth grade.


“I played eighth-grade varsity, freshman, junior, and senior year. I played starter since junior year. I missed two games since then due to injury but I’ve played every other minute other than that,” Avery said. “Most of it has been in goal. That’s where I’ve been trained and specialize. That’s where I’m going to go play at the next level too,” he said.