Tremendous Twelve: Class of 2015
These twelve seniors were chosen by the 2015 editorial class of the Knight Errant due to all that they have accomplished. They have come from across oceans, started non-profits, lived the country life, created works of art, danced, acted, sung, read for fun, camped, stilt-walked, volunteered, and simply been themselves in the most tremendous of ways.
May 18, 2015
As an integral part of BSM soccer team, the staff of the Showplace Icon Movie Theater, the track team, RKVC, NHS, the justice club, and so many more activities, it’s a miracle Jordan Maddaus has any time for herself––let alone the other estimated thousands of people she’s helped through her lifetime of intense volunteering.
Part of her reason for joining and co-founding the justice club last year was because of Jordan’s commitment to helping other people. She wanted to be a part of a BSM club that brought important social is- sues into students’ everyday conversations.
Jordan’s call to social justice is made even more apparent in her dedication to helping out those in need. “Every summer I make a point to go on mission trips with my church. I think a lot of people don’t go out of their way to help others, so that’s something I’m proud of,” Jordan said.
However, Jordan doesn’t participate in just any type of volunteering, she tries to live by the “teach a man to fish” motto in her service work. “[My passion] is helping people but not just, ‘oh let’s make sandwiches to hand out to people.’ [My passion is] actually fixing it, not just putting a bandaid on the problem,” Jordan said.
One of Jordan’s most important high school experiences came from the girls’ soccer team. “I got to know the girls on the soccer team very well, and we won a lot. I liked the experience and it’s nice out that time of year, so people actually go to our games,” Jordan said.
For college, Jordan plans on attending Grinnell College, a small private college in Grinnell, Iowa, where she’ll either study English or medicine. “It’s really small and in Iowa. I’m not sure what I’m gonna study. I kind of want to be a doctor, but I really like English and writing. I’m playing soccer there, too. It’s a D3 school, so they can’t give you scholarships, but I got recruited by their coach,” Jordan said.
When asked what she’s looking for- ward to for college, Jordan replied that she’s looking forward to a greater sense of diversity and opportunity. “[BSM] isn’t always a safe or open a place to talk about certain things. I’m excited to be going to a college where any topic is fair game. [I’m looking forward to] not being judged for what you believe in and asking questions. So, just more diversity in every sense of the word.” Jordan said.
Jordan’s love for service and justice will continue to play a role in her life, “I’d like to do either the Peace Corps or Doctors Without Borders. [In the end] I’ll probably end up back here because I like Minneapolis a lot,” Jordan said.
Many of you readers out there have probably heard of Justin Barnett. His name travels through the halls of our fine institution like a cool, refreshing breeze, but yet, even though he’s famous, the general populace of BSM hasn’t been able to really get to know him. That’s why we, the Knight Errant, have decided to put together an expose? on just what makes Justin, Justin.
First and foremost, Justin is an intellectual. “I do a lot of nerdy things, I like to strengthen my mind,” Justin said. He participates in eSports, where he forms the backbone of the team. He crushes all competition in Knowledge Bowl, and he participated in the chess team, where he was almost unmatched in skill. “I’ve always been a guy who likes to test his wits, I’ve always liked Knowledge Bowl and seeing what kinds of different trivia I know,” Justin said. But Justin isn’t just an intellectual, he’s also an athlete: he is a member of the BSM bowling team where he studies the art of a perfect game under the tutelage of Mr. John Sabol and the expertise of alumnus Ryan Kelly.
But beyond school activities, Justin’s also a culinary expert. For the past 10 months, Justin has worked at Five Guys burger shop, where he makes burgers and other assorted delicacies for customers. “The job is all right, but it’s my co-workers that make it fun.”
But Justin finds his true passion in music. “Music has been my passion for the past 18 years. I’ve lived my whole life around music and I grew up with a heavy metal and rap influence,” Justin said. But Justin is too interested in music to ever make it a career, “Music has always been a hobby of mine and I don’t want to turn it into a career unless I know I can actually make it.” Justin’s musical passion also serves as an emotional outlet, “I let my emotions flow through my instrument; if I’m feeling angsty, I’ll play angsty punk song, and if I’m sad, I’ll play some sad classical music.”
Justin is a musical jack-of-all-trades, playing both the guitar and bass as well as sharing the prestigious role of first chair violin for the BSM orchestra.
As far as college goes, Justin plans to attend Minnesota State University Moorhead, where he will study accounting and possibly computer science. “You know what you get when you go to Moorhead? A cheap education,” Justin said.
When asked what he’ll miss the most about BSM when he leaves for college, Justin responded that he’ll miss his friends the most. “My friends are the ones who urged me to keep going strong at what I do, and for that, I’m gonna miss them next year.”
“I’m crazily obsessed with Lady Gaga. I waited outside for her concerts for two hours––in heels,” said Luke Guidinger with the prompt of: ‘Are there any final things you want included in your story?’
Luke is perhaps one of the most theatrically gifted students to ever walk through the halls of BSM––something he’s been do- ing since his arrival to the school in seventh grade. This tallies his BSM stage presence at six years in which he’s participated in every junior high and senior high play and musical, as well as the One Act play each year. In addition to this, Luke also takes classical and musical voice lessons at the MacPhail Center for the Performing Arts, is a participant in Prelude and has done several productions with Stages and the Children’s Theater.
Luke’s theatrical success can be traced back to elementary school talent competitions in which he would sing. “My mom thought I had a good voice [after watching the talent shows] and put me into voice lessons. There were also people at my church that did theater and encouraged me to do Stages, which was my first theater introduction, but it started with singing and then just took off from there,” Luke said.
Next year, he’ll be attending the Boston Conservatory and plans to get a BFA in Musical Theater to use as the basis for what he hopes is a successful acting career. “I want to be a professional working actor in a big city. Let’s say that. I’m too young to be like ‘I want a Tony award,’ come on, let’s keep it humble,” Luke said.
The power and strength in Luke’s singing, acting, and dancing abilities have made impressions on every one who has seen him perform; but sometimes he’s noticed for other things on stage. “During a costume parade at the Children’s Theater, I wasn’t given any pants, so I thought that that was part of my costume. We were doing the show “Hair,” so like we’re a bunch of hippies [so I thought] ‘okay maybe I’m pantless.’ So I walked out without pants on and my director was there, and she gave me this really judgmental look––and she was from New York––so you know, really judgmental,” Luke said.
Despite the clear focus on theater in Luke’s life in and out of BSM, that is not the aspect of the school that he’ll miss the most. “I’ll miss the community feeling. Everyone always says ‘hi’ and is very nice, and I don’t know if I’ll get that on the East Coast––I don’t know if I’ll make these connections next year,” Luke said. However, he is excited to be surrounded by other musically inclined people at the Boston Conservatory and to finally focus his studies in theater.
And with that, Luke’s final remarks for the senior class are as follows: “Be yourself and be fabulous.”
Although maybe not the most focused interview subject––the series of answers she provided were peppered with lip-popping noises, unprompted questions wondering if Britain was in the midst of election season, proclaiming her desire to go hug a morose-looking child, and interjecting revelations like, “the difference between nouns and verbs that are the same word, like record and record, is that nouns have the stress on the first syllable and verbs have the stress on the second syllable. Record, record,”––Anna LeJeune was certainly one of the most entertaining.
Anna was born as the fourth child with three older brothers. Her parents and any onlookers to this family assumed she would grow up to be a bit of a tomboy. They were wrong. This little contradiction mirrors how the rest of her interests and actions work as well. “I listen to punk rock, but I also love Tchaikovsky. I’ll drive to Wisconsin to go see Ella [Hurley], but I won’t drive [three minutes] to Punch to feed myself. My favorite author is Chuck Palahniuk, but I have a soft spot for Jane Austen. Oh, you should put in ‘she’s super hot but doesn’t have a boyfriend,’ oh no, you’re typing. Don’t you dare put that in there, that was said in jest!” said Anna.
She may appear to be an average teen- ager with a devil-may-care attitude and a killer fashion sense, but really, she has the heart, hobbies, and sleeping pattern of a grandmother. Knitting, sewing, crocheting, and reading are among her favorite activities, though sometimes her little DIY projects don’t work out as planned. “I tried to make a crocheted swimsuit once. I never finished, now I just have a half-stitched tan bra covered in fabric,” said Anna.
Though a staple of her personality, this craftiness does not encapsulate her passion in life––she doesn’t have one. “I like a lot of things, but don’t love one thing. Except dogs. You can phrase it as me being well- rounded, but really I’m just indecisive,” said LeJeune. There is one activity she’s enjoyed throughout her lifetime, though. “I don’t know if I walked or skied first. I think I did both on the same trip,” which will make her choice of the University of Denver for college next year all the more enjoyable.
With no clear vision as to what she’ll study in college, LeJeune’s life goals are a bit random as well. “Ideally I’d live in a cabin in the middle of nowhere and write books, but I don’t think that’s happening. Maybe I’ll start an all-girl Led Zeppelin cover band and just live out my days. You probably shouldn’t put that in there,” said Anna.
Her little Walden-esque dream doesn’t seem so far-fetched, though, when it’s taken into consideration that she reads, on aver- age, thirty books a year. “I read for fun, but I don’t do my homework. Again, I’m just full of contradictions,” said Anna.
Strolling around the hallways of BSM, you might have come across a five-foot four Vietnamese student casually carrying oversized binders and wearing shiny headphones around his neck. You may have noticed that he’s one of the new international students, and you may have also figured out that he’s a part of the senior class of 2015. Behind his quirky exterior, however, lies an even more interesting personality.
Khoa Ho, born in the historical Ho Chi Minh City, came to the United States the beginning of his junior year. While the primary reason for his transition, similar to those of his fellow international students, came from his desire for more academic opportunities, Khoa has not faced the same kind of language barrier as others. “I don’t want to sound cocky, but I think I’m pretty good at English. When you come to America and have to use [English] on a daily basis, it’s a really fast process,” Khoa said.
Not only has Khoa naturally adopted and mastered his second language, he’s also integrated smoothly into the BSM community. He is involved in numerous extracurricular activities––ping pong, swimming, Ultimate Frisbee––and has become the heart of his favorite class: AP Calculus BC. “Khoa is one of the smartest kids in the class. His positive attitude and undying optimism always help us get through hard tests––especially his reminders not to forget +C,” senior Maggie Houtz said.
Khoa’s true love for BSM, however, began on his first day of school when he was handed his MacBook Air. “My favorite thing about BSM is the laptop. When you have a laptop, you can just sit around and play around [with it]. In Vietnam, we don’t use a lot of technology in our curriculum. I was a PC guy before I used a Mac, and I really hated the Mac. When I started using one, it clicked. It’s very nice; plus, it’s a really cute laptop,” Khoa said.
With his new electronic assistant, Khoa quickly delved into the world of sports. “I like sports, but technically I don’t have the size to play sports––let’s just be frank here. [During my] free time, I just go on Bleacher Report [or] ESPN and read about stuff. I tried fantasy football, but I sucked at it. I [also] don’t like to sit around a lot, so I think I’m pretty active. Sometimes I just get up and stretch myself, like Ms. Overbo,” Khoa said (Khoa’s response was followed by a series of unorthodox yoga motions).
So what does Khoa really want to do in the future? Well, he’s joining the Purdue University Class of 2019 and hoping to major in athletic training, but he is uncertain as to what will come in his next chapter in life. “I want to become a sports doctor, but thinking about the future is not something that’s part of my personality. I [could be] a doctor, an engineer, or I can go out there and buy myself a food truck and sell food on the street. I like cooking, so that would actually be cool,” Khoa said.
I’ve known and been friends with Natalie Chevalier for almost fifteen years now––we’ve been close since pre-school. Throughout our time from elementary school, into junior high, and now, concluding high school, Natalie has integrated creativity and heart into everything she has done. Whether it’s inventing what felt like millions of characters for an “Incredibles” inspired superhero game in second grade or winning the Dance Team state tournament in twelfth, Natalie has been using the right side of her brain her whole life.
This gravitation towards physical creation, no matter what medium, is not a new feature to Natalie’s skill set. “I’ve always enjoyed doing crafts and writing, painting, and drawing since I was little. I like making things and I have a weird love for school projects, as opposed to a lot of people. Anything that I can apply creativity to I enjoy,” Natalie said.
That obvious love of creative expression prompted her to begin dancing at Summit Dance Shoppe at age four, carrying on until she made the Benilde-St. Margaret’s Dance Team when she arrived as a seventh grader. Her fourteen year career reached its ultimate high point during the winter seasons of her junior and senior years when the Dance Team, captained by Natalie both years, won the state tournament for jazz. “Dancing on the state floor was the most surreal moment I’ve ever experienced. Hearing your name called, and hearing the ‘buh’ sound of BSM, and holding your friends’ hands after the longest season of your life was just in- credible. I cried so hard both times,” Natalie said.
What started as a simple love of dance has trans- lated into a love of movement and meaningful physical expression for Natalie. She is planning on taking this passion with her to college, studying kinesiology, specifically exercise and movement science, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison next year as well as dancing on their Dance Team. “I like science in general, but human movement is something that’s always fascinated me. Through my own injuries, I know the toll exercise and movement can take on your body and relating that to science is really interesting. I’ve highly considered studying the movement of dancers because their bodies are so different,” Natalie said.
Using this passion and applying it to her service work as an adaptive yoga teacher at Courage-Kenny Rehabilitation Institute has further influenced her decision to go into the kinesiology. “It’s really cool because what you’re doing is making a difference; you’re work- ing with people with disabilities. You help them stretch and sit up right in the [yoga] process. Knowing that you have a part in relieving that pain they have from whatever disability they have is an unmatched feeling,” Natalie said.
Not everything Natalie does is graceful, however. “One time, I had heels on for mass and I was in a hurry to get to class walking back by the chapel. I slipped on water and completely ate it. My books went everywhere. I’ve also completely ripped my pants down the crotch area because I attempted to do some weird child’s pose mutation as I was walking out of gym class. I’m so embarrassing,” Natalie said.
At the end of the day, dance is what keeps Natalie going. “I don’t know how else to describe it but there’s no feeling comparable to the feeling you feel when you’re dancing. It’s such a different type of movement––an amazing mix of artisticness and athleticism. It’s an escape for me; dancing is speaking with your body. It’s your soul. It’s a glimpse of your soul,” Natalie said.
Although Eddie McHugh may initially strike one as an ordinary, good-natured guy, there is far more to this senior than what meets the eye. Eddie, who has attended BSM since the seventh grade, has become highly involved in the BSM community, particularly the soccer and hockey teams. “I’ve been on the soccer team for six years, and I played hockey at the JV level,” Eddie said.
However, it is Eddie’s unlikely residence––a farm in Corcoran, Minnesota––that takes many by surprise. “I live on a farm,” Eddie said. “I have horses and chickens and geese. I kind of went about it as a passion thing.”
At the beginning of his freshman year, Eddie and his family moved to a farm in Corcoran. “We had a horse, and my mom always liked animals and always wanted to live on a farm. It took us a while to do it, but freshman year we bought land and built a house,” Eddie said.
On the farm, Eddie’s passion for farm- ing quickly expanded. “We got a couple more horses and started to board other people’s horses at our house. I started riding; I never really did it until then,” Eddie said.
Over the years, the number of animals has expanded as well. “We have three horses and also keep other people’s––we’ve had up to six. We have two geese, five chickens, two cats, a dog, and most recently a fish,” Eddie said.
Eddie is different from your typical senior as he has recently begun competing in horse races, particularly the barrel race, qualifying him for the Minnesota State Fair. “I’ve competed in horse shows and barrel racing. I actually qualified to go to the State Fair and ride. You go to smaller rodeos, and if you get first place you can go to the State Fair. I got first in barrels,” Eddie said.
But most of all, Eddie enjoys the balance between his two worlds––the farm and BSM––and the experience they offer. “I really like it. We aren’t like a full-in farm family; it’s a hobby farm. But I still live next to a bunch of big-time farmers. It’s cool to be able to experience that lifestyle but get to drive into the city for school and be around people from the city. I get to see both sides of it,” he said.
Eddie will begin college at Indiana University in the fall, studying business. However, he hopes to, one day, be able to live the same lifestyle that he experiences now. “I want to do well for myself, and I could see myself doing the same thing as my dad––living here and working in the city but moving out into the country to have a family,” Eddie said.
Senior Peri Warren is not your typical high school senior. She’s not even your typical “involved” high school senior. She goes above and beyond; she managed to start her own nonprofit giving kids living in North Minneapolis healthy food options, played volleyball, ran track, and participated in a myriad of clubs including the fast-growing diversity and justice clubs.
A big part of Peri’s life is service. “My dad’s work has an outreach type of program where they work closely with low-income projects and during my sophomore year, they worked with Lucy Craft Laney School, and [my family] saw the personal connection and when I was a junior we adopted the school and have since done a backpack drive in which we got backpacks for all the students with all the supplies needed,” Peri said.
The nonprofit that Peri created pro- vides healthy food options to children living in low-income families in North Minneapolis. She does this by using money that she has saved up and funds from the new BSM Dear Neighbor grant awarded to her to buy locally grown foods. “I work a lot with farmers. It’s a lot of networking. I have to figure out which produce will sell the most…I buy the produce at a wholesale, bulk price, and then I pack the groceries and have the volunteers help assemble them. Then we sell the food for a discounted price,” Peri said.
Providing these families and students with healthy meals that they can rely on is something that Peri feels very passionate about and is something that sets her apart from your typical high school senior. “I’m passionate about youth and the access they have to nutritional foods. They need more healthy and affordable produce,” Peri said.
For college, Peri has decided to continue her impressive volleyball and track careers at Occidental College in Los Angeles, California. She chose Occidental because it suited her very specific major choice. “My major is Urban and Environmental Policy and [Occidental] also has my exact major, which was really hard to find. It involves a lot of food work as well as working in the inner city and urban areas. Everything worked out [at Occidental],” Peri said.
With this major, Peri hopes to follow her dreams and expand the nonprofit that she has already started. “Eventually, I would like to have a permanent grocery store in Minneapolis. I would hopefully like to expand that. I want to make sure that people who don’t have access to healthy foods do,” Warren said. Whatever the future has in store for Peri Warren, one thing we can be certain of: she’ll change the world for the better.
Just a few months ago, Bright Rwagatare stood on the stage of the Great Hall dressed in a sleek, black suit that was the definition of dapper. As the Grand Knight Staff was handed to him, a roar of approval went up throughout the gym. It was a fitting symbol of how much he is respected and revered in the BSM community.
The process of Bright coming to Minnesota begins with former BSM teacher Mr. James Cave. Cave, accompanied by current BSM teacher Mr. Dave Kuntz, travelled to Rwanda to experience the culture. The two were looking for someone with local knowledge to help them navigate the country when a chance-encounter led them to Greg Bakunzi, a man who promotes tourism throughout Rwanda and who also happens to be Bright’s father. Two years later, during a visit to Minnesota, Bakunzi and Cave agreed that Bright’s education would be best nurtured at BSM. Thus, the Cave’s opened up their home and welcomed Bright into their family. “I expected there to be snow right when I arrived,” Bright chuckled, “then I realized it was hotter than Rwanda has ever been.”
Bright first set foot on the BSM campus in 2010 equipped with an infectious smile and, at the time, a lot of anxiety. Being thrown into a society unlike anything he had ever experienced back home in Rwanda, Bright was forced to completely adjust, which took time. “My first day at school I had no idea how to open my locker, so I just stood there for probably five minutes and somehow Isaac Schmitz just showed up and helped me. My head was spinning, and I was thinking to myself, ‘I cannot do this.’ I was scared of everyone and everything,” Bright said.
Soccer was an essential outlet for Bright’s transition from Rwandan culture to his new home’s as it provided a way to relate to athletes that go to BSM. “In eighth grade, I had a hard time understanding the American lifestyle and didn’t think I would be continuing onto high school after that year, so soccer felt like it was the only thing I was good at. Soccer helped me become more social and freed my mind of all the confusions I was going through,” Bright said.
Now that Bright has not only settled into life in the US, but is thriving in it, he has his sights set on the future. “Hopefully, I can start a farm project. I’ve been saving a little bit of money, so when I go back [to Rwanda] I’m going to buy some land there. It would have to start small, and then if everything goes well I would keep developing on it,” Bright said.
Next year, Bright will be attending Winona State University to study International Business and continue his soccer career on the club soccer team, and as the end of his senior year approaches quickly, his final remark in regards to the senior class is, “This was probably the best year of my life. It was fun, exciting with a ton of new experiences, and I loved it.”
If you went to the BSM art show that was recently held in the school library, chances are that you noticed some art created by senior Mari Larsen. Mari’s art certainly holds center stage when it comes to her contributions to the BSM community, but there’s much more to this creative Dane than just her art.
Mari began her artistic career at a very young age. “I was raised in a house that drew a lot so when I was bored my parents would just give me paper and markers,” Mari said. While growing up in an art-friendly household, her love for art increased tremendously in grade school. “I started seriously doing art in the fifth grade,” Mari said.
“Art” is a bit of a broad statement; to be specific, Mari works with pencils for drawing, paints with watercolors, and is skilled in digital art on PhotoShop and tablets. During her time at BSM, Mari has completed five different art courses and was an AP art student this year. “For my AP class my concentration is drawing people. I like drawing people. I haven’t mastered the human body, but I try,” Mari said.
Mari’s strong Danish heritage also plays a big role in her life. Not only does much of Mari’s extended family reside in Nørager, Denmark, Mari’s father was 100 percent Danish. Throughout her life, Mari has worked to maintain her connection to Denmark and has immersed herself in Danish culture in more than one way. “We spoke it a lot when I was a baby. Then we stopped, and about two or three years ago I decided to pick it up again.” At the moment, Mari is in the intermediate level for Danish at a Concordia camp she attends for two weeks every summer. Additionally, Mari has visited her family in Denmark twice over the course of high school.
While Mari may be adept at artistically rendering anything she sees, she’s not as graceful in some other ways. “Once I sat on a chocolate chip cookie at lunch so it looked like I pooped myself for the rest of the day,” Mari said. Fortunately, this wardrobe crisis did not happen on the day she met Josh Hutcherson her freshman year––part of a prize for one of the various art competitions she’s won.
When asked about her favorite moment at BSM, Mari responded, “Environmental Science every day,” which makes sense when considering her passion for saving the bees, her volunteering at Fruits of the City, picking apples to deliver to food shelves, and her adventures river rafting in the Grand Canyon.
Next year Mari plans on attending Minneapolis College of Art and Design, where she’ll continue her career as an artist. “I’m going to MCAD. So, I’m studying art––going to art college. I’m probably go- ing to focus on illustration or graphic de- sign.” Mari said.
Vidal Guzman has been lurking the halls of Benilde-St. Margaret’s since he was in seventh grade, participating in a lot of activities. He has participated in bowling, ski and snowboard club, and golf. By far his favorite activity is Boy Scouts. Vidal participated in Boy Scouts for almost seven years and tried to become an Eagle Scout but fell short of the rank by one merit badge. “I really like the outdoors and enjoy camping with the other scouts,” Vidal said.
Vidal’s membership in the Boy Scouts transfers well into his love of being outside. Within the past year, Vidal has been on over 10 camping trips, including an 11-day adventure to South Dakota, which helped pique his interest in outdoorsy activities like camping and fishing. Vidal hiked through the Badlands, a trek almost 70 miles long. “We didn’t get to shower for like three days; we all smelt so bad,” Vidal said.
While at BSM, Vidal has had a lot of memorable moments. During his junior year of high school, he had his mom as his Spanish teacher all year long. Amidst all the jokes and embarrassing comments from his mom all class, for Vidal, she was always an asset. “It’s nice to drop off all my stuff at her office instead of my locker, and if I forget something, she might get it for me,” Vidal said.
Vidal’s senior Prom was his most memorable BSM moment. Vidal brought Rachel Conley flowers and chocolates to her first hour class, making the brave move of asking her in front of everyone. A few days later another girl needed a date so Vidal hit the jackpot by bringing two dates to the Prom. “You know what they say: ‘two is better than one,’” Vidal said.
Vidal’s post-high school plans include attending Normandale Community College for two years, then transferring to either the University of Minnesota or North Dakota State University for two years in pursuit of a Chemical Engineering degree. He is has been participating in ACS since he was a sophomore and will be going on to the trip to China this summer with the program. “Engineering is an efficient way of being lazy because I can build something to do it for you,” Vidal said.
After college, Vidal would like a job where he can travel and blow things up. “I’m a big pyromaniac,” Vidal said. He’s traveled on multiple mission trips throughout his entire life, and wants to continue to see the world. “My sixth grade mission trip to the Mayan Ruins in Guatemala was my most memorable trip,” Vidal said.
Leaving BSM, Vidal will miss his friends the most, even though most of them are staying in Minnesota. “Just going to college and seeing where life takes me is what I’m most excited for,” Vidal said.
As a Canadian native, Alex Setchell developed a passion for the outdoors. Alex took this passion for the outdoors and carried it with her down to BSM, and although Alex was grateful for her three years in America, she will return to Canada after high school to continue her education at Dalhousie University in Halifax.
In 2012, Alex and her family transitioned from their home in Toronto, Canada to their new home in the western suburbs of Minneapolis her sophomore year. Life in Canada does differ from the lifestyle in Minnesota, so Alex had to adapt to a new way of schooling, life and friends. “It’s not that different from Canada, but you do notice some subtle changes,” Alex said.
As she transitioned to a new school, she immediately felt welcomed by BSM’s attitude and sense of community. “The people here have so much spirit and pride,” said Alex. This pushed her to become involved right away by participating in cross country, alpine skiing, and track. Alex excelled in each one of her sports while also managing to remain academically strong.
While her school years have been spent in the United States, Alex frequently visits Canada on school breaks to visit her mother; she heads home for the summer months as well. “I lived at my cottage in Canada last summer and worked at a marina,” Alex said.
Another facet to this wilderness explorer is her ability to stilt-dance––an essential skill that any Bear Grylls enthusiast would know is of the utmost importance for survival. After trying out the stilts for the first time at a camp when she was twelve, her instructors were pleasantly surprised to see her natural talent. The following summer, she was asked back by the camp staff to work for them as an instructor.
Alex plans to combine her love of education and environment by finding a job in the field of natural science. She first considered a career in science when she took biology class her sophomore year.
Although she is sad to leave the United States, Alex looks forward to returning to her native country and exploring a new city. “I am excited to try something new and become more independent,” Alex said.