Peru ECS | John-Alex Mason ECS Scholarship Recipient 2014

February 18, 2014
John-Alex Mason '94

Carl Churchill will participate in the Peru ECS as the 2014 recipient of the John-Alex Mason ECS Scholarship. As a CSS alumnus of the Class of 1994, John-Alex Mason had been active in the life of the school and even planned and led a Blues ECS alongside faculty. As a student, John-Alex’s passions were explored and nurtured at CSS. His family credits CSS for offering transformative educational experiences such as ECS’s that allowed John-Alex to pursue his music career and become a well-known Blues musician. After John-Alex’s passing in October of 2011, memorial gifts from family and friends established a scholarship fund to fully fund an ECS experience for a deserving student.

In his scholarship application, Carl, a CSS junior, wrote, “…I have always been fascinated by the area (of Mesoamerica) and its culture. The Mayan civilization had not only beautiful artwork, but they even had their own written language. I have become so amazed by their culture and others like it that I have even begun to study how to write and speak their language and its variations.”

For many years, Carl has wanted to become an archaeologist. Through Middle School he competed with an unparalleled intensity for the National Geography Bee. His Middle School Ancient Civilizations teacher, Mr. Amos White, recalls his portrayal of Hannibal in 8th grade and how Carl’s hunger for facts propelled him well beyond the curriculum of the class. While many students were playing sports, Carl was voraciously reading history books.

“Carl accomplished so much additional learning outside of class. He could impress his peers and teachers with his knowledge of maps and facts on ancient civilizations,” said Mr. White. “In fact, an Upper School History teacher even invited Carl (a Middle School student) to an Upper School class as a guest lecturer!”

Since learning about his selection to the Peru ECS, Carl has been teaching himself Quechua, the indigenous and ancient language of several South American ethnic groups. Anne Taylor, the Peru ECS faculty member, is thrilled for Carl to be immersed in a subject area he is obviously so passionate about. One of the group’s learning goals is for students to go beyond being tourists and discover how to be traveling scholars and global citizens. The opportunity of the Peru ECS places Carl in a position where he can further develop his factual account of ancient civilizations, but also fully experience complexity and nuances of these cultures.

Through a family friend, Carl has been invited to an actual dig at a Mayan site in Belize as well as to attend a Mesoamerican conference in Florida. His Peru ECS will certainly build his resume for such additional scholarly pursuits.

Last year, Carl participated in the Blues ECS. He is a bass and guitar player. Carl is a passionate student. Being an avid reader, noted history buff, and lover of maps has served him well in his extracurricular pursuits. Carl, along with three classmates represented the Model UN team in the World Affairs Council of Americas, Academic WorldQuest. The team won a sponsored trip to DC to compete nationally and represent El Paso County and Southern Colorado. He has also served as a pivotal player on the Knowledge Bowl team, his team recently advanced from Districts to State. Carl’s quick wit and flair for the dramatic landed him a major role this past fall in The Foreigner , where he delighted the audience with his sense of humor and over-the-top characterization of his role.

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