The Stovicek Sisters, Class of 2009
Stevens teachers recognize that every student has unique talents and interests. So when triplets Alexandra (Zandy) ’09, Nadia ’09 and Olivia Stovicek ’09 attended the school from PreK 4s through 8th grade, each was inspired to followindividual passions that led them on very different journeys. True to the Stevens mission, they have grown into responsible, engaged college students who are already making a difference.
That transformation begins early at Stevens, where teachers strategically plan the curriculum to engage all students as individuals. “Our teachers recognized that each student had unique interests, and they supported our focus on those topics,” recalled Nadia, a government major at Colby College who is writing a thesis on U.S. foreign policy. Her passion for government was awakened in her 6th grade current events class, where students were assigned to research and write about a news story each week. Recognizing her excitement, Nadia’s teachers encouraged her to pursue more in-depth study through independent research. “I was always excited about
reading, and my teachers shared suggestions for books and authors to read outside the curriculum,” Nadia said.
For Zandy, the spark leading to her exploration of women’s rights issues came during her 8th grade research project when she read about Anne Boleyn. Today, that interest has blossomed into a major in Anthropology and Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Wesleyan University. She has also deepened her commitment to women’s issues as a doula with The Wesleyan Doula Project. “Stevens always offered the flexibility for students to try different things. We didn’t have to fit neatly into five discrete classes a day.”
While Olivia was at Stevens, teachers carefully nurtured her natural love of science. Now a biochemistry and chemistry major at The University of Chicago, she recalls the cross-curricular study at Stevens, Permanent City project in 2nd grade, that focused on communities in social studies and the electricity that powers cities in science. The connection resonated with Olivia, who is also a research assistant at The University of Chicago’s Crosson Lab and secretary of the board of Women in Science at The University of Chicago.
As they explore topics that interest them, Stevens students also cultivate strong foundational skills like public speaking and writing that carry alumni like the Stoviceks through high school, college and life. Zandy values the frequent class discussions and presentations that have shaped her into a confident public speaker and yoga instructor.
Writing assignments at Stevens, including her 8th grade research project on nutritional problems faced in the United States, prepared Olivia well for high school and college. Discovering a love of writing, she is now a deputy editor of the Chicago-based newsmagazine, South Side Weekly, while she pursues her degree. “The teachers at Stevens were invested in making sure that everyone in the classroom was studying a topic they were interested in and enjoyed. Stevens helped me to become interested in topics that I might not have thought about exploring on my own.”
This article was originally published in the 2016 Fall issue of SCOOP Magazine.