Alumnus Returns to Talk 'Blair in Kenya' at Skeptics
Melissa Collins

Kelvin Serem '13 joined "Blair in Kenya" founder Quinten Clarke '87 at the Society of Skeptics on November 28 to discuss the nonprofit organization that has provided vital educational, medical and economic opportunities to hundreds of Kenyans over the last 12 years. The presentation was held in the Chiang Center for Innovation and Collaboration's Collaboration Forum.

Since 2005, Mr. Clarke and "Blair in Kenya" supporters have delivered over 25,000 pounds of clothing, shoes, computers and medical supplies to Kenyan villages, raised more than $300,000 toward educational programs, and operated a micro-finance lender with over $20,000. The nonprofit oversees the operation of two schools, one of which Serem helped establish in his hometown, Iten, as well as scholarships to fund the education of more than 150 children and medical clinics.

Last spring, Mr. Clarke and members of Blair's girls' varsity basketball team traveled to Kenya to introduce local kids to the sport and host a basketball clinic. Over the summer, Mr. Clarke returned to Kenya with Blair faculty, students and alumni, and five medical professionals to host the nonprofit's annual medical clinic. The group also enjoyed homestays and more time on the basketball court during their June visit.

Serem, a Kenyan native, arrived at Blair in 2012 on a scholarship thanks in part to a chance connection to veteran history teacher Martin Miller, PhD. In December, he will graduate from Lafayette College with bachelor's degrees in international affairs and government and law. At Blair, he was a top runner for the boys' cross country and track and field teams, and he continued on to run for Lafayette's Division I program as well. Serem was instrumental in the establishment of the Blair-Serem School in Iten, which opens its doors to more than 200 students each year. (To read more about Serem's journey to Blair and beyond, click here to read an article featured in The New York Times.)

At Skeptics, Mr. Clarke and Serem updated the School community on "Blair in Kenya's" latest endeavors and highlighted what the organization hopes to accomplish next.

The Society of Skeptics was established as a forum for students and faculty to discuss and debate important global issues; it has grown to become one of the premier high school lecture series in the United States. Each week, speakers from the political, social, scientific, economic and literary arenas share their unique perspectives with students, who are encouraged to engage with presenters, asking questions and debating points of view.

The program was an outgrowth of the Blair International Society, begun in 1937. Forty years later, former history department chair Elliott Trommald, PhD, Hon.'65, established the modern Skeptics program as a regular forum for student discussion and debate; history teacher Martin Miller, PhD, took over in the mid-1980s and molded the program into a weekly lecture series, one that has since continued without interruption. Under the tutelage of Dr. Miller, Skeptics has featured a wide variety of speakers who are engaging, accomplished in their respective fields and often controversial. For a listing of upcoming Skeptics programs, please click here.

 

 

 

 

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