The first question everyone seems to ask Nathan VanDeVelde ’15 (Raleigh, N.C.) is “Where do you find the find the time?”
September 15, 2014
Nathan VanDeVelde holds a copy of Shape the World, a game he created as a sixth grader. It is one of several items he has donated to the Live the Legacy Auction. Culver photo/Jan Garrison

Nathan VanDeVelde holds a copy of Shape the World, a game he created as a sixth grader. It is one of several items he has donated to the Live the Legacy Auction. Culver photo/Jan Garrison

VanDeVelde smiles and admits time is a “very precious” commodity these days with classes, polo, jumping, his various art projects, planning for the winter play, and doing his drawings for his application to the Rhode Island School of Design – his top college choice.

“I spend most of my free time at Crisp (Visual Arts Center),” he said, using his Friday afternoons and weekends working on his many projects. Among those is a 10-foot wide by 5-foot high mural of iconic Culver images that will hang in the Admissions Department. It will be similar in size and scope to the Black Horse Troop mural he created for Troop B in West Barrack. “I’m hoping to have it completed by Parents Weekend.”

Add to that a set of three nesting tables he is donating to the Live the Legacy Auction on Friday, Oct. 3. Each table will have a different Culver Academies image on it. And the nesting tables aren’t the only item he is contributing.

VanDeVelde is also donating an ink-washed print of a horse and rider jumping in front of the Vaughn Equestrian Center, a set of original artwork gift cards, and a board game he invented when he was in sixth grade called Shape the World.

The game was selected for the 2009 International Toy Fair in New York City. VanDeVelde, who was 12 at the time, was too young to attend the adult-only event, so his mother put a large photo of him up at the display booth so people knew he was the inventor.

The game involves making pictures out of different geometric shapes. The drawings are specific to the selected category and the players are given points based on their drawing. VanDeVelde said the game was considered for retail by toy giant FAO Schwartz; however, that deal fell through when the company changed chief executives.

But his uncle, who works with toy manufacturers, was able to help his family “get our foot in the door” and 10,000 copies of the game were produced. They were sold through North Carolina retailers and there is one currently left in stock at Amazon.com. Playing instructions are printed in English, Spanish, French, and German.

One of the few remaining Shape the World games will be up for auction on Oct. 3. While the game is intended for ages 9 and up, VanDeVelde said younger children are able to understand and enjoy the game. It is intended to be played by the whole family and a portion of the proceeds from each sale goes to charity, he added.

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