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Portraits of Young Friends: Emmitt Sklar ’17

emmittsklarI’m having a lot of fun during my senior year.  It feels like the culmination of many years of work in academics, sports, and extracurriculars, and it’s a nice feeling to see it come to fruition.” Emmitt Sklar ’17 , a lifer who entered the BFS Preschool at age 3, isn’t letting sentimentality get him down as  he closes out his days at the school.

“It’s nostalgic knowing that I’m going to lose a lot of what has become routine for me: going to Meeting for Worship, going to advisory, studying with people who I’ve grown up with over the last fifteen years. But at the same time I’m excited to start the next part of my life.”

Emmitt particularly enjoyed the senior retreat to Powell House, an annual tradition at the school that kicks off the students’ ninth grade and senior years at the school . Time spent at this rural Quaker conference center in Old Chatham, New York, “allows seniors to spend time together bonding and reflecting over the past four years of high school,” Emmitt explained.  “One particularly memorable event is the bonfire that we have the last night.  It bookends the bonfire we have at Powell House freshman year, and gives everyone a space to express what the last four years meant for them.”

The Model UN star is also facing the challenge of writing the IB extended essay this year.  “The idea  for it started in freshman year when I did a Model U.N. committee on Saddam Hussein’s government during the 1980’s,” he said.  “That turned into a general question for me which was, ‘What leads states to act like they do in an international field; power dynamics, ideology, or  a leader’s quest for personal power?’  I read various authors to  understand competing philosophies.  I’m reading Henry Kissinger’s Diplomacy and contrasting it with Woodrow Wilson’s Why We Are At War.  Both are written by controversial figures and give insight into how these people thought.”

He’s also contrasting these thoughts with his own ideology.  “Understanding how people who might disagree with me think is something I value, and I pursue that through books along with Model UN.”    He elaborated further:  “I read Wilson to understand an ideological perspective, and Kissinger to understand a realist’s perspective, and various others.  I then turned back to Saddam to analyze those ideas using him as a test subject.”

Emmitt will be handing in the essay this spring as part of the IB diploma requirements.  Simultaneously he’s finishing up his studio art pieces for the annual IB Art Show. His work is, not surprisingly, political in its  themes.  “I’ve really enjoyed being able to pursue my interests in politics and international affairs through the lens of art, and the support of my teacher, Mark Buenzle, has helped me a  lot when it comes to demonstrating my ideas.”

Studies aside, Emmitt enjoys biographies, most recently finishing the third of Robert Caro’s exhaustive four-volume The Years of Lyndon Johnson series. Emmitt’s ‘s currently tackling Richard Cramer’s What it Takes, “an analysis of the major primary candidates of the 1988 U.S Presidential Election.” He has also played on the BFS baseball team for the past four years.

Emmitt was recently accepted to Davidson College in North Carolina on a Belk Scholarship. ” It’s a four-year full ride based on academic and extra-curricular achievements,” he said.

Not surprisingly, he plans to study international affairs or economics in college, and credits a lot of his passion to his four years in Model UN.  “It’s taught me a lot about how the world works, and it has allowed me to develop life skills that aren’t a part of the curricula.”