2018 Venture Grant Recipients

December 8, 2019

For these four Cheshire Academy students, a portion of their summer months was spent volunteering and learning about topics and issues they care deeply about. Their experiences were made possible through the Rizzolo-Larson Venture Grant, a funding program offered to students interested in pursuing innovative projects intended to enhance their educational opportunities outside of the classroom.


21-day sailing voyage from Portugal to Norway


Kamila Zygadlo ’19 flew from Poland to Portugal in August 2018 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.



Perform at the Sydney Opera House


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.



National Youth Leadership Forum: Medicine Envision Experience


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.




Walden School’s Young Musicians Program


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.