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Landmark College President Judges Gettysburg Address Contest

By Madeline Bergstrom

PUTNEY, Vt.—Landmark College president, Dr. Peter Eden, served as a judge for the Greenwood School’s Gettysburg Address contest on Wednesday, April 2. The school’s Gettysburg tradition is the topic of a new feature-length film by Ken Burns, The Address, which premiered at the Latchis Theatre in Brattleboro, Vt., after the contest. Dr. Eden joined numerous other Landmark College staff and faculty members at the sold-out premiere. Burns is pictured at right at the premiere.

“To see the film portray these students and the LD educational model at The Greenwood School in such honest ways was fantastic,” Eden said. “Naturally, I was enchanted by the story because it is so close to what we do here at the College.”

The film explores the challenges, gifts, and triumphs of the students at The Greenwood School, interweaving their journeys with the history and significance of Abraham Lincoln’s famous speech. The Address will air on PBS on April 15. Burns and PBS have challenged all Americans to learn the address and to upload videos of their recitations alongside those of a broad array of celebrities and politicians.

Each year, all students at the Greenwood School study, memorize, and publicly recite the two-minute speech, incorporating it into their studies on a daily basis from November to February. The Greenwood School is a middle and high school boarding school in Putney for boys with language-based and attentional learning differences.

This year marks the second time that Dr. Eden has served as a Gettysburg judge. His first time judging was last year, during the contest that appears in the film. “I felt particularly moved by the movie,” Eden stated, “as those winners were ones I picked along with the other judges.”

In addition to Greenwood School's competition, this year Greenwood partnered with 13 LD schools across the country. Each held its own Gettysburg Address competitions, and all winners returned to Greenwood for the first ever National LD Schools competition.  

During the question-and-answer session after the premiere, Burns spoke about the powerful and life-altering experience of getting to know Greenwood’s students. He identified the “secret sauce” that makes the school so successful: in a word, “love.” Like Landmark College, the Greenwood School offers a very low student-to-faculty ratio, a multimodal approach to learning, and a philosophy that emphasizes strengths rather than deficits.

Burns also expressed the hope that his film will help to further the national conversation about the ways in which all people learn differently.

Last September, Landmark College and the Greenwood School signed a memorandum of understanding, laying out the new ways in which the two schools will work together. The initiative created a Landmark College Internship Program through which Landmark students serve as teaching assistants at Greenwood; an Educational Technology and eLearning partnership; a program allowing Greenwood seniors to earn college credits at Landmark; and a professional development program for Greenwood educators offered by the Landmark College Institute for Research and Training (LCIRT).

Landmark College was the first institution of higher learning to pioneer college-level studies for students with dyslexia. Offering two- and four-year degree options, a graduate-level certificate in universal design with technology integration, and summer programs for students who learn differently, Landmark College is a global leader in integrated teaching methods for students with dyslexia and other learning disabilities, ADHD, and ASD. More information is available at

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