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Last weekend, I attended my (gulp!) 25th high school reunion at Northfield Mount Hermon School in western Massachusetts. Going back to school is always a delicious emotional treat for me and my classmates. We were 4-year boarding students, which meant we literally grew up together, a large yet tightly bonded group of adolescent “siblings”. We revel in the chance to return to our roots, share stories of the past, confidences of the present and dreams of the future. We also luxuriate in the beauty of the sprawling campus of our former home, set amidst the rolling green hills and lush woods of New England.
At times, I can’t help but find amusement in how much our individual lives have changed since the years we spent at NMH. I, for one, was not particularly athletic in school. Sure, I played JV soccer and took the requisite PE classes – field hockey, yoga, ultimate frisbee and various other activities – but I was hardly a jock. I especially hated running, though I did find myself a member of the track & field team, the emphasis there being on field. One of my best friends and I decided we wanted to be a part of the team – mostly for the opportunity to wear cool uniforms and travel to other New England schools in hopes of meeting a few cute boys. But neither of us were runners, so instead we opted for the shot-put and discus. We hid safely behind the talent of another team member, who was virtually unbeatable across New England in field events. Therefore we didn’t have to be very good – we just had to show up, put in a few halfway decent throws and our teammate would inevitably take the win. We had fun, though, and that certainly counted for something.
Every so often, of course, we were forced to run laps around the track during training. I can still remember how much I detested those running days, and would do whatever I could to avoid what I considered to be blatant torture. Now, as I revisit the memories of those high school years and ponder the woman I’ve grown into, I’m thankful for so many of the foundational qualities that I learned at NMH. I’m also thankful that my disdain for running is something that fell by the wayside along with my penchant for pegged jeans, dramatic black eyeliner and Duran Duran songs.
– Holly Bennett