Sturgis Trustee Cynthia Hall Heads to Work in Ghana (Spring 2012)

By Marion Weeks, Community Outreach Coordinator

Cynthia Hall is no stranger to international travel. She has lived for 25 years in several countries of the European Union, including seven years in Brussels, Belgium as a working professional, and in Italy, France and Switzerland. She speaks English, French and Italian plus some Portuguese and German.

In July, Cynthia will embark on a new adventure when she heads to Accra, Ghana to begin work as Director of Advancement at Lincoln Community School (LCS).  Her responsibilities will include working with LCS offices of Admissions, Development, Communications and Alumni Relations. Lincoln Community School is an American international school with an enrollment of 630 students. The key word here is “international.” Only 25% of LCS students are American.  The remaining 75% come from 63 different countries. LCS is a full International Baccalaureate (IB) certified World School, the only such institution in West Africa.  [http://www.lincoln.edu.gh/]

Beyond sharing the IB curriculum, Lincoln Community School and Sturgis Charter Public School have several things in common. Both schools currently enroll approximately the same number of students but LCS includes preschool  – Grade 12.  Both schools started small but LCS definitely has us beat in “small is beautiful” beginnings: LCS began in 1968 with only eight students!  Both schools have faculty with impressive international experience. LCS has 68 full time teachers from 18 different countries. Although most Sturgis teachers are American citizens, 35-40% have worked abroad in other IB schools. Soon LCS and Sturgis will have one more thing in common: the pleasure and benefit of working with Cynthia Hall.

Cynthia has been a member of the Sturgis Board of Trustees since 2006. She is also a seasoned Sturgis parent: Evan Hall (Class of 2008) is presently a student at Maggie Flanigan Acting Studio in New York; Daria Hall (Class of 2011) is a Fashion Marketing student at American Intercontinental University in London.

When I first heard the news that one of our trustees was leaving to work in Ghana, I immediately wanted to learn more. I invited Cynthia for coffee at Caffe E Dolci, the perfect setting for stories of international adventure.  Although I had met Cynthia several years ago, I had no idea what a fascinating international life she has led.  As a Southerner with a DNA strand of appreciation for good stories, I was in for a treat.

Cynthia was born in Austria. While her father served as a diplomat in Austria, Russia and Romania, she attended American Embassy schools. Some were quite small – essentially one-room schoolhouses.  Her education also included two years at Ecole La Combe in Rolle, Switzerland. She graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in Italian Language after spending two academic years abroad in Florence, Italy and Paris, France.

Cynthia worked for eight years as a corporate photographer and photo editor. Some of her clients included Elle, Metropolitan Home, Maison et Jardin, Reader’s Digest, and Travel Holiday. (Editor’s Note: I have high hopes that Sturgis Soundings Magazine can soon be added to this impressive list.  We would be pleased to publish an occasional photo and update from Ghana.)

Cynthia has also worked as a photographic archivist at Dumbarton Oaks and served as production assistant for the International Film Lab, Inc. where she coordinated post-production work for foreign news agencies and produced live broadcast for Nippon TV (Tokyo). In short, she has a world of experience.

Cynthia moved to Nantucket in 1996 where she worked as Director of External Relations for Nantucket New School. Since 2008, Cynthia has served as Executive Director of the Osterville Historical Society and Museum. She has been a member of the Sturgis Board of Trustees since 2006 and chairs the Resource Development Committee. She has helped guide Sturgis through several years of significant change and will certainly be missed.

I was curious to learn what made her decide to pull up stakes and start a new adventure. She told me how she always wanted to live in Africa.  Several years ago, she had a conversation with an international teacher who told her she simply had to read Third Culture Kids: The Experience of Growing Up Among Worlds. The book describes a world she knows very well and it made her long to return overseas.

I searched for more information about the book that proved to be inspirational.  I found the following review on the Parenting While Abroad website: <http://whileabroad.com/parenting/?p=791>

“Third Culture Kids, Growing up Among Worlds by David C. Pollock and Ruth E. Van Reken is a book that is hard to ignore if you are a member of the global nomad community. Ask any Third Culture Kid (TCK) who has read it and they’ll tell you it was ‘life changing’ to learn that they are not weird or abnormal. They are simply part of a growing community of people who grew up among a multiplicity of cultures and languages. Their experiences are different from peers who never lived abroad. A TCK is someone who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside his or her passport country.”

Many people at Sturgis have lived and worked abroad. We understand the excitement and challenge of heading out to live in a new country and learn about a new culture. Although Cynthia Hall will certainly be missed at Sturgis, we are very pleased to see her follow her interests and wish her well on the next leg of her journey. We look forward to hearing her stories from Ghana.

Many thanks to Craig Trygstad and Nkruma Tara for sharing photographs of Lincoln Community School by Gary Craggs, IB Diploma Coordinator. 

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