Moldovan student plans to bring home lessons, teaching styles she’s learning at Deerfield Academy

  • Deerfield Academy junior Ana Vizitiv is the school’s first Moldovan student. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • JAMPALA

For the Recorder
Published: 10/25/2021 4:54:38 PM

For the first time in history, Deerfield Academy has a Moldovan student, marking its number of represented countries up to 48. Ana Vizitiv, Class of 2023, is a STEM student, an activist and a trailblazer as the Moldovan representative for the UN’s Women’s Conference.

Vizitiv’s journey to arriving at Deerfield Academy was sparked by her desire to bring in new perspectives and reform Moldovan education.

She holds strong faith in Moldova’s system of challenging students to study 14 different subjects to make students’ knowledge multilateral. However, it is yet to be updated since the Soviet Union’s evolution.

“Moldovan education has strong theoretical aspects, yet in order to complete the needs of the youth today, it needs to become more practical and incorporate more hands-on learning,” she explained.

Vizitiv also noted the key to education is making connections between peers and teachers that teach one another to become better social citizens. Such an ideal would harness students’ genuine interests in learning instead of participating for the sake of getting good grades to graduate.

As a step forward, Vizitiv normalized a culture of creating intermittent coffee breaks for communication periods, an aspect that her old school lacked before. Through her initiative, she wanted to promote a less stigmatized culture of casual communication between teachers and students, as she noticed clear changes and improvements through the shift of dynamics. Yet, Vizitiv knew that a small break was rudimentary, and to accomplish a true change in the education system, she would need to scale her efforts much larger.

Vizitiv was also highly motivated to address gender equality in education as one of the few women in her STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) classes. By such notion, Vizitiv founded FeminisMD, an organization that promotes feminism and gender equality through the empowerment of women’s voices in Moldova. Not long after, a representative from UN Women Moldova reached out to Vizitiv in a request for her to serve as the official representative and speaker for the exhibition “Generation of Equality” for a forum taking place in Paris.

With such accomplishments came Vizitiv’s decision to branch out and expand her breadth of new knowledge. The path of researching new educational opportunities quickly led her to discover New England boarding schools: schools that seemed to encapsulate her ideal educational institution. Vizitiv knew that by understanding the culture of schools abroad, she would be able to bring new perspectives on reformative ideas of education back to her home country.

“The quality of education determines the success of the country, ” she said. “I want to bring back a renovated breadth and development into Moldovan education.”

Once Vizitiv found Deerfield Academy, she felt an immediate affinity: it stood out to her as a school with a robust STEM curriculum, a well-rounded and diverse student body, and a focus on the community traditions. Coming in as a new junior, she said she wished she could have come earlier — especially after feeling the warmth of Deerfield Academy’s community that reminded her of home in Moldova.

“But when I first came to Deerfield, Dr. (Mark) Acton, my Physics Mechanics 1 teacher, told me one thing that changed my entire approach to learning,” Vizitiv recalled. “When I was struggling with something, he said to me: ‘Don’t worry Ana, you’re not the only one who is having a tough time. I’m sure everyone is having some trouble with the concept.’”

Vizitiv continued to explain her gratitude to Deerfield Academy for embracing her intellectual curiosity, treating her as an equal in any classroom and facilitating her growth in wanting to expand her learning boundaries.

“Here at Deerfield, it was if the science was brought to life,” she said. “For my first physics class, we went outside to explore the concept of acceleration of gravity through various collaborative experiments. The first thing I did after class was I called my friends, and I couldn’t even describe how much it meant to me and how motivational it was.”

Seeking the exact sentiments that Acton reflected, Vizitiv came to Deerfield Academy hoping to take back the lessons and teaching styles, and then implement them into her home schools in Moldova — ones that transcend gender boundaries and are inclusive to all.

In Deerfield, alongside taking challenging Advanced Placement (AP) STEM classes, she is continuing independent projects and starting a new club, Changes, essentially an extension of her efforts in Moldova.

During her last bits of reflection upon sharing her story, Vizitiv said, “Coming to Deerfield made me realize that I do have a chance to find power in myself. And I will. I will make sure to find solutions to my problems and empower others to know that you can overcome anything with the realization that you have so much power within yourself.”

Deerfield Academy’s Senior Associate of Admissions J.J. Briones said, “Deerfield is privileged to have Ana Vizitiv as the first Moldovan citizen to be admitted here. She will be a shining example to our large local Moldovan community in Greenfield that we are truly representative of the world.”

Neha B. Jampala is a junior at Deerfield Academy. She writes for the school newspaper, The Scroll; is the head writer for Company Roots, an online entrepreneurial blog; and also explored publishing a novel outside of school. As an intern for the Greenfield Recorder, she hopes to grow her skills in journalism and delve deeper into her passion for writing by sharing stories while also contributing to the community.




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