A 21-day sailing voyage, performing at the Sydney Opera House, learning from world-renowned doctors and surgeons, and attending a prestigious music program with students from around the world.

Opportunities like these are made possible through Cheshire Academy’s Rizzolo-Larson Venture Grant. The grant has provided students, for more than 15 years, the funding to carry out innovative projects of high merit that are unique, exciting and demonstrate “outside the box” classroom learning.

The 2018 Rizzolo-Larson Venture Grant recipients presented their valuable experiences from the summer on Nov. 1 at the all-school weekly Morning Meeting.

Kamila Zygadlo ’19 flew from Poland to Portugal in August and then departed for her 21-day sailing voyage which ended in Norway. Zygadlo sailed on small vessels growing up, but sailing on a large ship was a dream of hers for a long time, she said. Zygadlo, along with about 60 others, sailed on a barque, a ship with three or more masts, for more than 2,400 miles. Zygadlo saw dolphins, swam in the Norwegian Fjords and saw planets at night from different views.

It was inspiring,” she said. “I learned so much. I met people from all different backgrounds. I overcame my fear of heights. It was a chance to reflect on life and learn about myself. It was a real adventure.”

Zygadlo learned new sailing skills. She also helped steer and navigate the ship and worked in the kitchen.



Jameson Hardy ’19 performed at the iconic Sydney Opera House in July. Hardy was among 250 high school students from around the world selected for the Honors Performance Series music event (More than 1,200 applied). The grant funded Hardy’s trip.

“It was surreal,” Hardy said. “You’re just kind of in awe. It’s an honor to say that I performed there. I’m thankful for the opportunities the Rizzolo-Larson Venture Grant provides to students like myself. It allows students to pursue things they’re really passionate about.”

Hardy also got a chance to tour Sydney, Australia, visit Bondi Beach and the Blue Mountains.



Cassidy Vinal ’19 attended the National Youth Leadership Forum: Medicine – Envision Experience in Atlanta, Georgia. She visited different medical schools, learned about various medical careers and medical techniques.

She also got a chance to work through an emergency room simulation and connect with world-renowned doctors and surgeons.

“The experience opened a broad interest in the medical field for me,” Vinal said. “I wouldn’t have been able to go without a venture grant. I developed friendships and an interest in the field of medicine.”

The Cheshire Academy science department nominated Vinal for the program. She attended with about 500 students from around the world.



Grace Sun ’19 used her grant to attend the prestigious Walden School’s Young Musicians Program. The intensive five-week program held in Dublin, New Hampshire accepted just 50 students from around the world and focused on music composition. Sun took a specialty class on film scoring, something she has quickly grown to love.

Sun learned many new techniques and concepts, sang in chorus, composed music and enjoyed hiking Mount Monadnock.

“I’m very thankful for this experience,” Sun said. “My passion for music grew even more.”

Sun plans to study Music for New Media at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University.

The application process for the 2019 Venture Grant is now open for Cheshire Academy students. Details on how to apply can be found here.

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