Amanda Kesler
Powhatan School 2014
Handley High School 2018
Hobart and William Smith Colleges 2022

 

Amanda is the starting goalkeeper on the nationally ranked Hobart and William Smith Colleges women’s soccer team. She currently ranks among the nation’s best DIII goalkeepers in multiple statistic categories. She was a four-year varsity letter winner at Handley High School, where she set a school record for most career wins. Individual honors included VSCA All-State Selection as a senior, First Team All-Region 4A West, and First Team All-4A Northwestern District as a junior and senior. She is is working on a dual major, architectural studies and environmental science.
 

What first comes to mind when you think of Powhatan?

The first thing that comes to mind is the relationships that I shared with the teachers of Powhatan. The small class sizes allowed me to ask plenty of questions and grow my understanding of the material alongside personal relationships with my teachers.
 

What was the time you felt most confident at Powhatan?

Powhatan athletics helped me feel the most confident in myself as a young woman. I had an excellent coach and mentor, Sarah Nelson, who pushed me towards excellence and praised my hard work. I remember running at the Hill Mile meet several years in a row and feeling exceptionally accomplished when crossing the finish line regardless of my finish place. It was hard work in training and racing. When it was over and done I felt like, “Yeah, I can do that, too:” in reference to any other challenge, even if it wasn’t on the field. In accomplishing goals as an athlete at Powhatan, I felt great self fulfillment which stemmed into confidence as a high-school athlete and now a collegiate athlete.
 

Can you give me an example of the most challenging activity you had at Powhatan?

The most challenging activity I did at Powhatan was the Chapel Talk in eighth grade. My teacher at the time, Mrs. Robb, helped to strengthen my speech through one-on-one revisions and repetitions of oral speech practice. I was nervous to speak in front of the whole school about a topic that I was passionate in. I wanted to convey a solid message and found the writing process challenging. My peers helped in small group revisions as well as my English teacher to help me generate the best speech so that I felt ready to present.
 
Who was your favorite teacher?

My favorite teacher was Mr. Royston. He helped develop my creative side through assignments and materials that ranged from on paper, to off paper, and three dimensional sculpture work. He taught me the work it takes in planning a design and then construction and offered his critiques when necessary to make me a better artist. He also developed a great relationship with me as a student. Mr. Royston is a people-person and cares about his students’ successes.
 

What was a project that you enjoyed the most at Powhatan?

A project that I enjoyed the most was the Kite Project in algebra class. I enjoyed using a combination of art, science, and math to construct a tetrahedron kite out of tissue paper and straws with string. This project essentially taught me the foundations of a lab report. I had to describe the construction and compare the errors of my own construction to the ideal kite mathematically and then discuss the ways in which those errors could impact its flight. I enjoyed this project because it tied my creative side with a hands-on construction aspect, as well as my math/science side with the report write up.
 

What skills did you come away with from Powhatan that helped you in the years since graduating?

I learned great public speaking skills that I apply often as a student-athlete in college. I learned to talk to the team as a leader with a strong voice and presentation. I developed confidence in talking in front of groups, whether it be the press, my team, or other athletes in student-athlete leadership meetings.
 

What do you think of when you hear our school motto?

Powhatan helped me to appreciate the material I am learning and find applicable connections across academic disciplines. A difficult course with many failures can aid in developing skills that help one push through even more difficult courses in the future. It is more about seeing the long term benefits and underlying lessons from failures and successes in academics and then applying those lessons to other areas of your life. Powhatan has taught me this big picture mind-set that helps me in college to be a strong student and human being.
 

What advice would you give to the rising eighth grade class?

The advice I would give to the rising eighth grade class is to absorb the information from the teachers of Powhatan. High school and college are very exciting times to look forward to, but try to be where your feet are and appreciate those around you in this unique learning environment.