November 26, 2018
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Budding filmmaker Danielle Wald ’18 of Plantation, Fla., turned a service trip to Africa into a mini-documentary that was showcased at a Florida film festival.
When Wald first traveled to Africa, she went to Kenya and Tanzania with her parents as a high school sophomore and fell in love with the countries’ cultures. She since has returned to Tanzania twice as part of a service program to teach English and math and to build housing for teachers in the village of Mongola Juu. “The Tanzanian government will supply villages with teachers, but they need appropriate housing that adheres to certain standards,” Wald said.
Wald, who is considering a major in neuroscience, hopes to continue exploring Africa, perhaps through humanitarian work for Doctors Without Borders. “There’s so many opportunities to travel, being a doctor,” she said.
Wald is among the 452 students of the Class of 2018 who bring extraordinary talent and promise to the Hill. Also included in the class are:
His name is Jono Bornstein ’18, but some know him as “Big Butt.” The New Rochelle, N.Y., native earned the nickname from his time spent volunteering as a clown in hospitals. He wears two mismatched sweatshirts zipped together for his costume, stuffing the extra material, plus a pillow, down the back of his pants — hence his alter ego.
Bornstein started his clown career after taking a class on community service and clowning in Hebrew school when he was 13. He travels to children’s hospitals as a member of the Smiling Hearts Clown Squad, which aims to boost kids’ spirits and draw their attention away from their illnesses.
“With hospital clowning, you’re not there to perform, you’re there just to distract them,” he said. “Hospital clowns have to adapt to how the kid is feeling, look at how they are reacting to the clown itself and then decide what to do from there.”
Bornstein, who is continuing his theater career at Kenyon, already has a role in the Stage Femmes’ One Acts and “Bare,” a pop opera being staged by Brave Potato Productions.
Not many people can boast of having a book published by the age of 18, but Jessie Alperin ’18 is different. The Newton, Mass., native is the author of “Skeletons of the Past, Memories of the Future,” a compilation of poetry and illustrations about the Rwandan genocide.
Alperin became interested in Rwandan genocide in the seventh grade after hearing a visitor discuss it at her school. She began to research the genocide through an independent study program at her high school and, for her final project, was inspired to write poetry, which she later turned into a book.
“A way that [genocide] victims went through reconciliation was through poetry, so it worked really well with my project,” Alperin said. After completing the project, she continued her scholarship of the genocide, meeting with experts and attending a number of lectures. An aspiring museum curator, she plans to major in art history and comparative literature at Kenyon.
Ben Gelfand ’18, a puzzle enthusiast from Santa Monica, Calif., started solving Rubik’s cubes when he was in fourth grade. He now is able to solve a 3-by-3 cube in less than twelve seconds.
Gelfand’s puzzling encompasses more than the standard Rubik’s cubes sold in toy stores. The largest cube he has ever solved was an 11-by-11 behemoth. Gelfand decodes the cubes with a set of about 75 algorithms that he has memorized.
In addition to untangling Rubik’s cubes, Gelfand has amassed a collection of more than 120 “twisty puzzles.” “When I get into something, I’m kind of a hoarder,” he explained, adding that he also has a shoe collection of more than 60 pairs.