Kendra Mills merits unique opportunity
Liberal arts school is for students after 10th grade and provides “a broad-minded, paradigm-shifting education”
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By Kaydon Coburn  May 3, 2013 12:00 am

It will be a homecoming for Credo High School student Kendra Mills when she attends her new school next fall. Mills, currently in the 10th grade, was recently awarded a unique, major merit scholarship to Bard College at Simon’s Rock, located on the east coast. The college is only a three-hour drive from her hometown of West Tisbury, Mass.

“It’s definitely closer than California,” joked the 16-year-old sophomore. “I was really, really excited and pleasantly surprised as well.”

Mills was Waldorf home schooled in her elementary years by her mother, Kristen Kinser, before both moved west two years ago. Mills’ move to Credo is the farthest away of any student. 

Kendra feels the next move back east is the natural next step in her academic career. Her father, Donald Mills, already resides east. She was aware of Bard through friends and family. 

“Then I discovered the merit scholarship opportunity,” she said.

Bard the only choice

Since the early scholarship program is unique, Bard was the only school to which Mills applied.

“I will have a lot of people I am close with and I’m intellectually engaged with,” an enthusiastic Kendra said. “I met several people and we have been e-mailing back and forth, talking about school. It’s fun. I really enjoy it…people who are genuinely excited about school. I am really excited about other students who are excited about school. All the teenagers I met have a certain level of independence, which brings us together, already… even though we’ve only spent a few days together.”

Mills is very appreciative of the support from the faculty, students and administration while attending Credo the last two years. 

“My time and education that I received there (Credo)…I am more prepared for college than I could be in any other situation,” she said. “I moved across the country and it was really exciting to me. I feel my education is complete with the rigorous academics. I have received an equal amount from my family.”

Family influences

Along with her immediate family, Mills notes her extended family of aunts and uncles for support, and specifically two successful great-uncles, one a judge, and the other a CEO of a steel company, for their influences and conversations on career guidance.

“That developed my ability to assess my own career (choices),” she revealed.

Said Credo director Chip Romer, “I am gratified that our Credo program led to this opportunity for her. All students study farming at Credo. We grow amazing flowers and vegetables, but we also grow metaphors. 

“Kendra is an example of what can happen when motivated students are nurtured in a richly fertile environment.”

To say Mills has not decided on her undergraduate degree would be an understatement. 

“I definitely have ideas about what I am passionate about – history, language, English, humanities, art, literature, political science and many other things as well. I’m not completely sure,” she said. 

Mills was the Club Credo initial CEO (a two-generation nightclub for teens and parents) last year, and is currently a member of the Rancho Cotati Lacrosse Club.

Mills attributes her success to her ability to think ahead and plan out her time. “That’s the most important thing. It’s not so much the bulk of time I spend on it (studying). I do it in an effective way or a way that works for me,” states Mills.

Mills has advice beyond her years for fellow academically struggling students.

“Two things – prioritize and schedule your time wisely so that you can complete the work that is necessary,” she said. “The second is to find something you’re really passionate about. There are things I am not excited to do… I try and break it (work) up. I try to use the things that motivate me for my school work.”

Credo preparation pays off

“Kendra's acceptance and scholarship into a very competitive early college academic program speaks to Credo's unusually rigorous college prep academic program and the many other enriching aspects of our curriculum,“ says Romer. “I'm not surprised that Kendra was selected; she is a high achieving and very capable young woman with strong competence in many areas.”

Bard College at Simon’s Rock, located in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, is a small, liberal arts and sciences college in the middle of the Berkshires. Students attend after 10th-grade and are provided with “a broad-minded, paradigm-shifting education; faculty trained in the country’s best universities; inspired and inspiring classes; first-class facilities for the sciences, the arts, and athletics; and an astonishing range of opportunities for conducting specialized research and gaining hands-on experience.” 

More than 40 concentrations

Simon’s Rock offers more than 40 concentrations, leading to an AA or a BA degree. Simon’s Rock was founded by Elizabeth Blodgett Hall in 1966, and joined Bard College in 1979 (established in 1860).

“Simon’s Rock receives a number of impressive applications every year, making the admission process highly selective,” Steven Coleman, Director of Admission said in a media statement. “While we award various scholarships, our Acceleration to Excellence merit scholarship is granted to our most impressive applicants. Kendra’s AEP scholarship is a testament to the remarkable nature of her academic and extracurricular accomplishments.”

Said Romer, “I look forward to seeing her mature into positions of authority; she is a creative and critical thinker and a deeply empathetic person. I trust her to help the world in a significant and positive way.”

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