with Winston Boney, Bean Crane, and Liz Butler

I spent 11 years at BCD, which at this point is just over half my lifetime. BCD shaped who I am today in ways that I’m still discovering. It’s difficult, even after 7 years away from the school, to reflect upon those years with any clarity—I still feel too close. One reason for this is that my 3 best friends to this day, Winston Boney, Bean Crane and Liz Butler, are BCD classmates of mine.

Though we shared many years together in BCD classrooms, shared cabins during stays at Mr. Gore’s Camp Najerog, and bus rides to Butternut and Bousquet, our friendship really solidified during our 8th grade year when we all participated in a transformative Jesse Howard theater production called Nerds Eye View. The entire play was based on improvisation and brainstorm sessions with the 11-person ensemble cast of 8th and 9th graders. The final product was a beautifully colorful collage made up of pieces of all of us. The premise, a satirical portrayal of the high school social hierarchy, came out of our collective anxiety about moving on from our safe haven at BCD to the intimidating world of high school. Our self-constructed characters displayed our dreams and insecurities. And, the moral of the story—that being a “nerd” means being self-loving and unabashedly passionate about what you do—helped us all recognize the futility of trying to fit into any prescribed notion of being cool or successful. I think this is a lesson that BCD was quietly instilling in us all along. The incredible people who taught us over the years at BCD—Mr. Fawcett, Mr. Ashworth, Mrs. Meyer, and Mr. Douglas, to name a few—always inspired us to think outside the box. They pushed us to create rather than to reproduce; something I still strive to achieve in my academic life at Kenyon College, where I am now a Junior International Studies major.

After 8th grade, all 4 of us took off in different directions: I went to Groton (a boarding school in Eastern MA), Bean went to Hotchkiss, Winston to Millbrook, and Liz to the Opera school at Walnut Hill and then the Berkshire School. Throughout high school and college we’ve remained close friends: managing to get together during any holiday breaks, meeting up whenever we happen to be in the same region or city (most recently Paris), seeing each other perform in talent shows and play productions at our respective schools, and calling each other whenever we’ve needed words of encouragement or just a good laugh. Our paths have taken us to vastly different and faraway places, but our childhood connection has only brought us closer over time. We’ve all embraced our inner “nerd” and I’m proud to say that because of this, we’ve all grown into passionate, interesting, and unique people:

Winston’s passion for art and service has taken her from the Savannah College of Art and Design, to Ghana where she and Bean worked on behalf of a non-profit to raise money for the construction of a Library and IT center in Kumasi, and finally to UC Boulder where she is a sculpture major.

After their trip to Ghana, Bean sprouted an idea for a non-profit organization called ArtXChange, which is an online platform that connects nonprofits with local artists to auction art, the profits of which benefit both parties. She is now in the 2nd stage of funding for this project, working with a startup incubator called DALI, which stands for Digital Arts Leadership and Innovation lab. This year she won the Stamps Scholar Award for $10,000, which will go towards the website’s launch. Somehow, her entrepreneurship has not gotten in the way of her college career at Dartmouth, where she is active in a variety of clubs and intellectual pursuits. She just returned from a semester abroad in Copenhagen where she studied sustainable city development.

Liz, who was voted “Most Likely to Brighten Your Day” in our 8th grade yearbook, is still brightening people’s lives as an improv and sketch comedy star at Denver University. In January she filmed a comedy sketch with film star Warren Miller and professional skier Chris Anthony. She has also continued to improve French language skills as a French and Theater major at DU, and will be studying abroad in France next semester.

Now, I know this piece was meant to be a profile about me, but these 3 women have been an integral part of my life throughout my time at BCD, and ever since. They have inspired me over the years to follow my inner nerd, create rather than reproduce, and love myself as much as the people around me. My passion for knowledge and people has taken me from Ohio, where I worked as a research assistant for my professor this past summer in the John S. Adams Summer Legal Scholars program, to Morocco, where I spent 3 months studying Arabic and migration and 1 month researching the sustainability of women’s argan oil cooperatives in the southern region of the country.  Upon my return from Morocco, I visited BCD with my college a cappella group, the Kenyon College Chasers, as a part of a weeklong national tour. I’ve been singing with them for the past 3 years and have found with them a sense of community reminiscent of the close-knit BCD community that I loved so much. Seeing the new generation of BCD students, who listened attentively and applauded enthusiastically at our performance, reminded me that BCD truly made me, and my best friends, into the kind of people who find joy in all aspects of life, ask questions that push the boundaries of what is known, and are able to follow the nerd in ourselves and love the nerds who surround us. My wish for all current BCD students is that their passions take them to amazing places and bring them into contact with people as nerdy and amazing as my BCD classmates.