Being A Scholar AT SJA

Zoe Montague ’20

St. Johnsbury, Vermont
2020 Valedictorian

Zoe Montague the 2020 valedictorian sitting in the library

Throughout my four years at the Academy, I constantly felt lucky to attend a school with such great academics. First of all, the variety of courses available throughout all of the academic departments is amazing; there are 220 courses available at the Academy, which means that students really have the opportunity to explore a wide variety of topics that go far beyond the basics. Personally, some of my favorite classes at the Academy–Modern East Asia, AP English Literature, Calculus, Latin, AP U.S. Government, and Dance–have come from a wide variety of departments.


Another aspect of Academy academics that I found really valuable is the fact that almost all academic classes are offered at several different levels, including Advanced Placement. Courses such as AP Biology have been among my favorite classes at the Academy because of their rigor. AP classes are a great way for students to challenge themselves to learn at a faster pace and a higher level, as well as earn college credit. The large selection of AP courses–as well as Dual Enrollment classes that also count for college credit–ensures that students have many chances to take on a rigorous academic load that will help prepare them for college. 


No matter what level, however, the quality of every class that I have taken at the Academy has been fantastic. The teachers are extremely knowledgeable, kind, fun, and invested in the success of each student. Every teacher I have had has shown a genuine passion for their subject and for their students. Some of my favorite moments at the Academy center around the classroom discussions that teachers encouraged; in these moments, I felt that rather than simply teaching us to memorize facts, my teachers wanted to make us better critical thinkers. 


When I asked my teachers to write me letters of recommendation for college, each teacher was happy to help and took the time to write thoughtful recommendations, which I believe helped me get into Dartmouth and Princeton. I think that the academic opportunities at St. Johnsbury Academy–including the rigorous classes, the excellent faculty, and the wide variety of academic offerings–helped me get into my top college choices and gave me a strong academic background that will allow me to succeed there.


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