The Frederick Gunn School
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The Frederick Gunn School: Where lessons go beyond the classroom

Developing students to “Be a Force for Good” — that is the mission of The Frederick Gunn School, a co-ed boarding and day school for students in Grades Nine to 12. Since its establishment in 1850, the school has developed scores of students to become lifelong learners and leaders. It does this through academics that get students thinking critically, the games they play, opportunities for expression and 174 years of community. Two keystone programmes combine all of the above to offer something uniquely Gunn.

The multifaceted benefits of entrepreneurship

“Self-starterism” is a term not found in the dictionary – yet! – but fondly used by Arne Rees, Director of Entrepreneurship at Gunn. To him, self-starterism is a big part of entrepreneurship, and it’s not just something to be used in a business setting but all of life – and that’s what he’s all about in his Entrepreneurship classes.

“It benefits you in many, many different places in your life and, frankly, it appears also in a lot of situations when you’re an employee,” he explains.  “It’s extremely powerful as a concept. It doesn’t mean you have to create your own company to be a self-starter.”

Rees brings decades of experience to Gunn. Before becoming an educator, he was a founding partner of Velocity Capital, a venture and growth stage investment fund, and CEO of Sportradar US, a sports technology company he led through an IPO on the Nasdaq.

Besides teaching, he plans to invite guest speakers, such as Gunn alumni and some contacts who are current or former entrepreneurs. The goal is to get them to share their experiences in the volatile industry and offer critiques and guidance to students as they set up early-stage ventures. “I want students to understand what a cash flow statement is like, how financing for a start-up works, how numbers work, because you need those,” says Rees. “But a lot of what I want them to understand is about starting a business, the dynamics, the people.”

That includes getting students to pitch business plans, collaborating with students in IDEAS Lab courses such as Advanced Engineering to develop a product and even helping Gunn student-athletes to market their name, image, and likeness under new NIL rules. Rees is in charge of developing the centre, an integrated, interdisciplinary hub that will be housed in The Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Center for Innovation and Active Citizenship.

A medicine course that cultivates our humanity

When Teresita Magaña started out teaching Spanish at Gunn, her students came to know that she was a licensed physician back in her home country, Belize. And they wanted her to teach them Pre-Med, or any other class related to the medical field. “If that’s what you want – what the student body wants – you should advocate for it,” she told her students.

Shortly after, several students visited the Dean of Students to pitch the course. They were successful. Since then, Magaña has headed the Pre-Med course with pride, teaching what she loves to her students.

Before Gunn, Magaña worked in rural areas that were largely overlooked and underserved. Spending time in villages and remote regions, she was reminded of key lessons. “In med school, they taught us that we don’t treat diseases,” she says. “We treat individuals as a whole.”

Gunn’s Pre-Med course doesn’t just teach students to take blood pressure or listen to heartbeats, but it also focuses on cultivating their humanity. Students are introduced to clinical methods and hands-on experiences in medical techniques, and even go overseas to visit and work in a medical clinic. In 2023, Magaña organised a six-day trip for her students to visit her home country, in the hopes of teaching them about different cultures.

“The main reason for taking them to Belize, especially those interested in pursuing careers in the medical field, is for them to be immersed in different cultures,” explains Magaña. “You need empathy in the medical field, to be able to understand and accept differences so you are able to take proper care of a patient. Everybody has a different story. You treat people with more kindness and with more respect when you understand that difference — different cultures, traditions, beliefs, socioeconomic backgrounds. Not only that, but it makes you more aware of how blessed you are as well, to be living in a country like this, to be going to a school like Gunn.”

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