M-W Spotlight shines on middle school student

on March 24, 2016

Monroe-Woodbury is made up of remarkable people: students, faculty, staff and more. In the
M-W Spotlight, individuals will share their stories and experiences and shine the light on what makes M-W an exceptional school district.

The first spotlight shines on M-W seventh grader Brian Whitfield, who participates in EXPAND, is a member of an award-winning Odyssey of the Mind team and has some important plans for his summer vacation.
Middle school student Brian Whitfield is the first M-W spotlight feature.

Q: You’re involved in EXPAND and Odyssey of the Mind. How have those activities enhanced your M-W experience? Do you have a favorite class?
A: I am a seventh grade student in the yellow house. I am a Safe School Ambassador and a recipient of the Purple Pride award. I have had perfect attendance since first grade. My favorite classes have been my science classes because I like to investigate new things and have the opportunity to design and carry out experiments.

I have been on the Odyssey of the Mind team for three years. The first year I was on Mrs. Philips’ team and the last two years I have been on Mrs. McInerney’s team. I like Odyssey because it allows us to take a problem and come up with a solution that may be totally different from any other team in the country. Last year our team won the NYS championship and we represented the state at the World Finals. We put in lots of hours practicing and I have made some great friends on the Odyssey team.

EXPAND has been a really good experience because it allows time out of the regular school day to work on higher level thinking problems and we get to show our research at the EXPAND night.

Q: What do you do outside of school?
A: I participate in Pop-Warner football. I have just finished my fifth year. This year I was selected as a Pop-Warner Eastern Region Academic All American. I volunteer with the Special Olympics. My brother has Down Syndrome and participates in Special Olympics basketball. I also help out at different functions sponsored by the Down Syndrome Association of the Hudson Valley.

Q: What do you like best about going to school in M-W?
A: I like that it is a large school and gives us an opportunity to meet many different people from different places and cultures. Being a large school has helped me have a large circle of friends. It also gives me an opportunity to try out lots of different clubs and activities.

Q: Is there one person in M-W who has made a big impression/changed your life?
A: Both Mrs. Philips and Mrs. Mac have made a really large impact on me. They are both really committed to bringing out the best in us. They expect great things out of their Odyssey teams and they give us the tools and freedom to grow as individuals and as a team.

Q: What will you be doing this summer?
A: My dad teaches biology in a school in India during the summer. I would like to travel there with him. While I am there I would like to take some classes with the eighth grade students. I think I would like to take history classes to learn more about India and Asia and maybe take some basic Hindi classes. Hindi is the language that Indians speak other than English. While I am there, I would like to volunteer at an orphanage that is near the school. I hope to bring school and hygiene supplies with me or buy them when I arrive to donate to the school. I would like to share with the kids that Americans are really a kind and sharing people and we are not really like the way we are pictured on TV.

Q: Do you have any idea what you want to do when you graduate (though it is still a few years away :)?
A: When I graduate I think that I would like to be either a chemical or nuclear engineer. I think that I might like to go to West Point – but I still have a lot of time to think about that!

Stay tuned for the next M-W Spotlight!