A book that speaks to the heart
By Alvino E. Fantini
A Lone Star in the Green Mountains
by Kathryn Bonnez
The Experiment Press
Here’s a book you’ll want to read. It’s beautifully written, fun to read, and speaks to the heart. It’s also a cross-cultural adventure that most SIT and EIL alumni (and staff) will identify with.
Kathryn Bonnez, an alumna of SIT’s masters in TESOL program from 1980-81, recently retired from her career as a teacher of ESL and joined other retired individuals on World Learning’s Institutional Archives staff of volunteers. Her book, A Lone Star in the Green Mountains, was added to the archival collection of publications put out by The Experiment Press, begun by founder Dr. Donald B. Watt.
The archival book collection includes works published by The Experiment Press, books written by staff and alumni about their intercultural experiences or about the organization, and intercultural materials and numerous language texts in a great variety of languages.
I found the title of Kathryn’s book immediately intriguing, suggesting a cross-cultural theme about a Texan who found her way to Vermont, and I began reading it at once. The work spoke to my own experiences in so many ways as the author describes her reasons for coming to SIT, her experience, and her love for Vermont. However, I think it will also speak to many others as well — to students who chose the unique institution which is SIT and to those who chose Vermont because of certain values we share and a lifestyle we seek. Indeed, over the years, I have found that students and staff at SIT were kindred spirits of a sort and that we were lucky to find each other, to be in each other’s company, here in Vermont and around the world.
I recommend this work as an excellent read for alumni as well as for staff and faculty who join this organization. Certainly, everyone can benefit from reading both Dr. Watt’s book Intelligence Is Not Enough (which, happily, is accessible online), which spells out the vision and mission that became World Learning, followed by Kathryn’s book, which describes why so many of us chose to be part of this vision and mission, and in this place. The book is a well written, easy read and provides many interesting facts about both the organization and this area of the state. It also speaks positively about both SIT and its location, reflecting why most people choose to come to SIT.
If you are unfamiliar with the World Learning Institutional Archives located in the Winner Building on the SIT campus, come by for a visit and a tour. You will be surprised at the nearly three floors of material — documents, files, photographs, videos and DVDs, artifacts, and more that comprise 30 collections — that date back nearly 100 years, telling the story of this remarkable organization and documenting its history and development over eight decades. The Archives is on a summer schedule so please write for information about visiting hours (firstname.lastname@example.org). Beginning September, the Archives will be open Fridays from 1 to 4 pm.
Alvino E. Fantini is SIT professor emeritus. He was a senior faculty member since 1964. He has worked in language education and intercultural communication for more than 40 years in the United States and abroad.