Dakota Flood is a multi-talented 17-year-old 11th grader at Learning Prep who joined our school community in September 2020. Dakota travels from their hometown of Belmont to West Newton each day and is easily recognizable at drop off because of their latest vibrant hair color and anime-inspired fashion and accessories.
Dakota is a three-season athlete and participated in LPS Interscholastic Soccer, Special Olympics Basketball, and LPS Volleyball this year. Dakota is a strong competitor and looks forward to continuing in a leadership role on their sports teams next year. Dakota sees their participation on the sports teams as “a good way to meet other people” including middle school students.
Dakota is a member of LPS’ After School Anime Club which allows them to share their vast knowledge of anime, manga and cosplay. Dakota attended last year’s Fan Expo in Boston and looks forward to returning to the three-day expo as Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle, Yuri from Yuri on Ice, and either Hinata from Haikyuu or Childe from Genshen Impact this August.
Dakota started dancing as a toddler and took jazz, tap, contemporary and Hip Hop. During the COVID pandemic, they changed dance studios and decided to focus on Hip Hop. Dakota not only participates in Hip Hop classes two days a week, but also takes Ballroom dance and participated in a recent showcase with their instructor. Dakota is already developing ideas for their next showcase theme later on this year.
Over the February vacation week, Dakota traveled to Panama with their youth group to complete community service work in tough physical conditions. A highlight of the trip was visiting the Emberá tribe which was “cool because we got to learn their style of dance.” Also, “everything they sell, they make on their own.”
Dakota is a versatile artist whose talents can be observed in their contributions to the LPS Art Book, fuse bead artwork, as well as several resin projects they’ve created this year. Following the Student Council games event in March, Dakota observed that there were several students interested in playing chess and a limited number of chess sets at the event. Dakota then created an entire chess set and board out of resin over the April break for their counselor’s office to ensure that other students who want to learn or play have access to do so.
We look forward to welcoming Dakota back to our community this fall as a senior at LPS!
Alexa Domow is a 11 year old 5th grader at Learning Prep. Alexa is a new student this year only having joined our community in September 2022, and travels from Chelmsford every day.
Outside of school, Alexa's big passion is dance. Since the age of 3, she has been dancing at Dancing Center Unlimited in Chelmsford and dabbles in all types - everything from tap, ballet, jazz and acro. Her favorite type of dance is jazz because she loves her teacher Ms. Maggie, and because she loves to dance barefoot! According to Alexa, the best part of dance is "being able to take a break from school and relax". Just last month her team performed at Disney over the April break (see photo), and she competed and earned the second highest ranking! Alexa is gearing up for her upcoming spring recital where she is excited to show off her Princess and the Frog-inspired Jazz costume. She will also be competing in Nationals on Cape Cod at the end of June. Some of her biggest fans include her cat, Charlie and her dog, Tessa; who will be cheering her on from home!
Outside of dance, Alex enjoys Girl Scouts, cooking, singing, and acting. While Alexa is new to Learning Prep this year, she has made great progress, and says she feels the most proud of being able to ask for help when she needs it. She also says that the best part of LPS is her counselor, Nadine.
This month we’re excited to spotlight Hannah Pogoda!
Hannah is an 18 year old 12th grader here who joined our school community in 2013 and has been an LPS Panther for almost 10 years now! She travels from her home in Boston every day (but not before saying goodbye to her malti-poo pup, Lucy!)
Hannah is a big anime fan and has been a member of the LPS Anime Club since it first started last year. She is also an avid reader and enjoys walking to Newbury Comics after school to pick up new manga books, often stopping to get boba tea along the way.
Hannah enjoys outdoor activities, especially sailing in the summer and skiing in the winter. While discussing these hobbies, Hannah recalled a time when she was skiing and accidentally ran into a tree! She says this experience did not deter her from the sport and that she continues to love skiing each winter, such dedication! In addition to sailing in the summer, Hannah also attends Beyond Akeela, a sleepaway camp she’s been going to for the past two years. She is very excited to be returning this summer for her third and final year.
Hannah also participates in the Dual Enrollment program at LPS, a program that allows seniors to take a college course through Landmark College. Although the class is challenging, Hannah appreciates that it is giving her a glimpse into what college is like. This is especially beneficial since Hannah is currently deciding on which college she will be attending next year.
Hannah has been a hard-working, responsible, and dedicated member of our school community since she was in third grade and we are excited for her to take the next step in her academic career!
This month we’re excited to spotlight Cameron S! Cameron is a 12 year old 6th grader here at Learning Prep. Cameron joined our school community in August of 2022 and travels from his hometown of Cohasset, MA.
Cameron is not just a great student, he has a love for WWE and his family. Cameron is very active in afterschool activities. He currently participates in the LPS After School Sports Club, takes Jitsu lessons, and recently began taking an improv class. Watch out world! I am sure we will see Cameron’s name in lights someday!
Tesfanesh “Tessa” Brauer is a 14 year old 8th grader at Learning Prep. Tessa joined our school community in August of 2019 and travels from her hometown of Holliston to West Newton every day.
Tessa is not simply a wonderful student, she also has a deep love for and talent in the performing arts. Tessa is a multi-talented performer: she has participated in the LPS Drama Club, takes singing lessons, and has been taking dance lessons since the age of 6. This year, Tessa performed in her Dance Company’s performance of the Nutcracker.
Emmerson “Emmy” Cawthorne is a 13 year old 7th grader at Learning Prep. Emmy joined our school community in August 2021 and travels from her hometown of Winchester to West Newton every day. Emmy is very friendly and creative and she loves baking.
Emmy has a variety of extracurricular activities that she pursues outside of school. In addition to participating in LPS drama last year, she acted in plays as a student in Winchester elementary school, including Giants in the Sky and Horton Hears a Who. She is currently in a community program called Spotlight where she will be in an upcoming performance of Annie. Emmy is also an ice skater and a cheerleader! In addition to cheering her brothers on at their weekend hockey games, she was part of a cheerleading squad for the Winchester/Woburn Pop Warner Football team.
When Emmy is not acting, ice skating or cheerleading, she might be found doing yoga or meeting with her girl scout troop. She has been a girl scout since 2nd grade. She enjoys being a girl scout because of the fun activities like hiking and camping. Now that she’s getting older, she loves that her troop focuses on doing things to help others. One recent activity included making cards for residents in a local nursing home which made her feel good.
We are thrilled to have such a positive, determined and talented young woman in our Middle School at LPS. We look forward to seeing what Emmy will do next!
Peter “PJ” Pothier is a 15 and a half year old tenth grader at Learning Prep. PJ joined our school community during the Summer of 2021 after attending the Wolf School in Rhode Island for middle school. PJ travels from his hometown of Pembroke to West Newton every day. In the classroom at LPS, he is focused, hard-working, and conscientious
PJ is not just a great student - he is also a student athlete. When PJ was 11, he ran his first 5K in Scituate, and a love of competitive running was born. Since that time, PJ has been a member of the Wolf School Cross Country team, and this year, he joined the Pembroke High School Cross Country team.
This season, PJ’s team won the Ocean State XC Invitational, the Dick Atkinson Invitational, and the Patriot League Cross Country Championship. It was an outstandingly successful season! PJ loves being part of the team. In addition to running daily with the group, he loves attending meets, team-building events like pasta parties, and supporting other Pembroke Titan teams. After the season, PJ will take a break to enjoy his family’s favorite winter activity of skiing, but in the spring he looks forward to running again on Pembroke’s spring Track and Field Team.
PJ is proud to be able to be part of LPS’s academic community and his hometown’s athletic community. As he looks toward graduation, he is excited to leave his mark as a Panther and a Titan!
Joey Murphy is a 14 and a half year old 9th grader at Learning Prep who recently joined our school community in January of 2022. Joey travels from his hometown of Hudson to West Newton every day, but he doesn’t mind the commute, because, as he put it: “I’m in the right school that’s going to help me read better and help me with my dyslexia better than my public school did.” One of Joey’s passions is his involvement in the Boy Scouts. Joey entered the Boy Scouts when he was in the 7th grade and instantly felt he “had joined a family” that was passionate about the same things that he holds dear to his heart; being in nature, respecting wildlife, and being part of a community that represents a cause and mission that “is bigger than me.”
Joey currently holds the rank of Tenderfoot in Local Troop 2 out of Hudson, MA. His goal is to earn the rank of Eagle Scout, which is the highest attainable rank in the Boy Scouts of America. Since their inception in 1911, only four percent of Boy Scouts have earned this rank after a lengthy review process. The Eagle Scout rank has been earned by over 2.5 million youth - Joey intends to be one of them.
Joey feels that since joining the Boy Scouts, his self-confidence, communication and leadership skills, and ability to take social risks and make friends has had a tremendous impact on how he views himself and the world. According to Joey: “it started off as something to do but turned into something much more.” Joey reports that being in the Boy Scouts has helped him mature and is helping to prepare him for the challenges of adulthood ahead. The community volunteer work that Joey and Troop 2 partake in on a regular basis gives Joey a sense of pride and has him feeling “that I’m helping my community and making a difference in the world.”
Joey’s passion and dedication to the Boy Scouts hasn’t gone unrecognized by Local Troop 2; Joey is in a leadership position in his troop as Senior Patrol Leader and is well on his way to earning the requirement of at least 21 merit badges to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. Other Eagle Scout requirements include demonstrating Scout Spirit and displaying an ideal attitude based upon the Scout Oath and Law of service and leadership. This includes an extensive service project that the Scout plans, organizes, leads, and manages.
Once Joey achieves the Rank of Eagle Scout and ages out of the Boy Scouts, he has plans to continue being a part of the Boy Scout Organization and give back. Joey’s intentions after earning his Eagle Scout is to continue on as an adult leader, volunteering in the organization with the hopes of becoming a Junior Scout Master and ultimately rising to the rank of Scout Master so he can provide future scouts that “are just like him” the same experience that he had.