Former Director of NSA visits Vermont Commons School

Vermont Commons School seventh grader Emma Dixon of Shelburne asks a question of General Keith Alexander last week in South Burlington. Photo by Lee Krohn
Vermont Commons School seventh grader Emma Dixon of Shelburne asks a question of General Keith Alexander last week in South Burlington. Photo by Lee Krohn

As part of a featured guest speaker series, Vermont Commons School (VCS) welcomed General Keith Alexander, who recently retired as the 16th director of the National Security Agency (NSA), on Friday, May 9.

Film and speaker presentations at VCS are designed to engage students in topical discussions and to think critically. In the last few years, Senator Bernie Sanders, novelist Howard Frank Mosher, and filmmaker Colin Trevorrow visited with students and answered questions.

Like previous presentations, General Alexander spoke briefly then answered questions from the seventh through 12th grade students. Bill Darrow, a VCS parent, said General Alexander’s visit was “a great opportunity for students to hear from and talk directly with an important national figure on the cutting edge of current events.” General Alexander fielded questions from the students on data collection, Edward Snowden, privacy, and his career in the military and at the NSA. He even shared stories about his years as a middle school student and told about a prank he pulled on his teacher in sixth grade.

The school’s next scheduled speaker is Miles Lamberson, a VCS senior, who will address his classmates at the graduation ceremonies Friday, June 6.