“Why Learn?” Speaker Series

Since 2015, the Upper School has opened each new school year with a faculty address that answers the question, “Why Learn?”

Faculty members from various departments –Art, English, Theater, Dance & Film, Languages, and Math –have given the talk.

We invite you to hear from some of our outstanding faculty about their perspectives on the importance of education.

Angela Costanzo, who teaches Art, asked, “What would happen if we didn’t learn?” She invited students to “learn how to learn” and challenged them to create a culture of hope, kindness, and agency.

Cristián Baidal
Upper School French and Spanish

Dr. Cristián Baidal is a native of Costa Rica who studied in French schools. His speech described the ways education improves lives. “The creation, construction, and transfer of knowledge is an act of communion that requires humility, gratitude, and generosity,” he said. “It’s also an act of love.” Watch video.

Jennie Picconi
Middle School/Upper School Math

Jennie Picconi described how she found her passion for math education through coping with setbacks. Watch video.

Kellen Blair
Middle School/Upper School Theater and Film

Kellen Blair, who was homeschooled growing up, said his unusual educational trajectory taught him that there is more than one way to tell a story. Watch video.

Shelby Stokes
Upper School English, now Dean of Faculty

Shelby Stokes argued that subversive learners who question the status quo are the ones who take ownership of their education. Watch video.