Nate Dansie ’15

Published On: October 15th, 2019 | Categories: Alumni Voices |

Nate Dansie
Powhatan School 2015
James Wood High School 2019
University of Virginia 2023


High School Activities:

United Way Youth Volunteer of the Year, Key Club President, National Honor Society Vice President, Varsity Soccer Captain, Student Council Association Vice President, Class of 2019 Treasurer, and DAR Good citizen.


What first comes to mind when you think of Powhatan?

I always think of Powhatans Motto when I think of the school, “learning not for school but for life”. Powhatan still inspires me to learn more than just for what is required in school. It made me more interested in learning for myself about life and everything that it has to offer.


What was the time you felt most confident at Powhatan?

Powhatan pushed me out of my comfort zone in multiple intellectual and physical fronts. Taking part in field trips like the Survival trip in sixth grade and the Chesapeake Bay Trip in eighth grade pushed me out of my comfort zone. I learned new skills and new information, that in the end made me more self confident. Knowing I had done these new things and learnt these new things made me more confident in my own abilities. I was most self confident after I had given my chapel talk in eighth grade. I was scared of talking in front of the entire school, but once I was up there I realized how much fun it was and all of the younger kids loved it (my chapel talk was about LEGO)! I had more confidence in myself from that experience and was more open to future public speaking opportunities in the future.


Can you give me an example of the project or activity you enjoyed the most at Powhatan?

I really enjoyed the Chesapeake Bay trip in eighth grade. Spending 3 days on the Chesapeake Bay with my classmates was an amazing experience. We learned so much about nature and the Bay, but we also all grew closer in our last year together and the food was really good! I loved being disconnected from the rest of the world and just learning and taking in nature. It was one of the highlights of Powhatan for me!


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

The most challenging activity for me, personally, was the Shakespeare play in eighth grade. My class performed Much Ado About Nothing, and it was a lot of fun to put on – even though I was not the best actor and I was not great at memorizing lines! It took me a while but I fell in love with reading Shakespeare during that play and have enjoyed all of his literature that I have read since then.


Who was your favorite teacher?

My sixth grade English teacher, Mrs Jaffe, was my favorite teacher. She was my home room teacher and always treated us as if we were adults. She had high standards for us and expected a lot but it made us all better. She made us interested in learning about history and English, and as a result we wanted to always be there to learn more. She always found new and interesting ways to explain concepts and topics and I still remember the preposition song. We would sit in her room before class started and during lunch just to learn more and talk with her!


What skills did you come away with from Powhatan that helped you in high school?

I came away with a really good work ethic from Powhatan. Compared to most other kids at my high school, I always seemed to be on top of things and ahead of the curve, but I remember at Powhatan I was always right in the middle. Just being surrounded with other kids who were motivated and teachers who wanted the best for their students made me a lot more aware of the work I needed to put into a task to get it accomplished. I would spend hours writing note cards and working on homework during seventh and eighth grade, which is more than some of my friends did throughout all of high school.


What do you think of when you hear our school motto? (“We learn not for school, but for LIFE.”)

I have personally taken this motto to heart, partly due to my high work ethic and also because I am passionate to learn more. I really believe that learning should be for life and not just for school. I am just interested by lots of different topics and things, and so it is so amazing when I am learning new things because I know I can apply it in my life in new ways! I think of all of our field trips and projects and guest speakers when I hear the motto, because the school really does it’s best to try to ignite a passion for learning in its students.


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

To the rising eighth graders, I would tell you all to find out what you are most passionate about and interested about the most in life, and do everything you can to achieve that goal. Take in as much as you can early on and find that something that will drive you to work harder than you ever have and push yourself to become a better person. If you guys put in the extra effort now and learn not to procrastinate, to take things seriously, but also to enjoy everything that you guys do, then you will be set for the next stages of life. Enjoy your last year at Powhatan as a class, but be ready to take everything you guys have learned into your future and always always always have the perspective of learning for the purpose of learning more rather than just for school. You will be ahead of everyone else in your high school and will be able to do amazing things in life with that mindset! Have an amazing eighth grade year!