Class of 2014 Where They Are and Why They Still Love TLS

Members of the Class of 2014 are in college now, across the United States. It seems just yesterday many of them were in Preschool. They make us proud. In congratulating them on their next steps in life, we asked them three questions.

1. How did TLS prepare you for college (or for life after TLS)?

2. Please share a brief memory of a favorite teacher/class/event.

3. What advice can you give current TLSers?


Philip Allison ’14; Vanderbilt University

1) TLS is a great one. TLS prepared me excellently for life after Middle School, and I will carry what I learned there for the rest of my life. All of my teachers were fantastic, it was a great learning environment, and my best friends today are those I met in sixth grade. I have only fond memories of my days at TLS; I genuinely loved every minute of my TLS years.

2) My two favorite teachers at TLS were Mr. Conley and Mr. Hurst. Both were my basketball coaches at some point and my lacrosse coaches, and every class was a good one. I still have a relationship with them, as they both lived near me, and I highly recommend kids to play the sports these teachers are coaching.

3) Live in the moment at TLS. Time flies, and the relationships you form at TLS have the potential to be special and to last you your entire life. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to recount my TLS golden years.

Haven Aurland ’14; Harper College

1) The most important lesson I learned at TLS was never to allow anyone else to determine my self-worth and the ability to achieve anything that I set my mind to do.

2) My favorite memories at TLS are learning how to cook with Mr. Parlanti and learning about science with Mr. Mohan.

3) Work hard at anything you do!

Emma Baker ’14; Colorado State University

1) TLS prepared me for high school and college by providing me with an education of incredible academic caliber. This laid a strong foundation for my future academic endeavors.

2) My favorite memory was doing a presentation in Mr. Conley's Spanish class where we cooked a dish and brought it to class and then explained how we made it while the class ate it.

3) My advice for current TLSers would be to appreciate the teachers, because they care an incredible amount about you, which is what makes TLS so unique and special.

Olivia Baker ’14; University of Kentucky

1) TLS prepared me for college by teaching me good people skills and how to be an all-around good person.

2) My favorite memory was having Ms. Zimmerman as a teacher because she is such a joy to be around, and she so sweet and kind.

3) The advice I would give is just enjoy your time there because I miss it dearly.

Kelsay Birdsong ’14; Bluegrass Community & Technical College, Radiology Program

1) The Learning Center improved me from being behind to excelling and graduating with high honors and on the dean’s list. My self-esteem improved academically so much. I am at BCTC in the radiology program with plans to continue at UK to get a four-year degree.

2) Favorite memories were the Little Kentucky Derby celebration as well as going to get groceries at Thanksgiving for the less fortunate.

3) You can learn and have fun with support from the excellent teachers.

Isabeau Camp ’14; Miami University of Ohio

1) TLS taught me so many useful skills that if I were to list them all, you would have a full-on novel on your hands. But if I had to narrow it down, the most important concept I gained from TLS was a positive relationship with my teachers. I never felt scared to ask for help, a skill that greatly aided me in high school, and even now in college. The impact of having teachers who care and are willing to help makes it so you never feel isolated or stupid for trying to learn.

2) I adored every time I walked into Miss Cowling’s room. Her passion for history and the amazingly detailed stories she shared are the main reasons I pursued history so ardently in high school.

3) Try not to take it for granted. You only have this close-knit community for so long until you are thrust out into the big, bad, scary world.

Kate Christensen '14; Vanderbilt University

1) At TLS we were continually put into groups to do research, experiments, debates, and projects. We couldn’t change groups when things got difficult or awkward. We learned to adapt to both boys and girls, different personalities and learning styles, varying opinions, and different levels of motivation. We had to learn to critique each other tactfully, delegate workloads, and pull together to present our best collective work. These assigned groups taught me at a young age how to work with other people and deal with my own frustrations. Leaving the group was never an option. I’m prepared at college and in the future to work with a variety of people and advocate for myself and the group when necessary. I’ve already met all my professors, emailed them about questions, and have attended many of their office hours. TLS taught me to have the courage to do this.

Take risks! Allow yourself to be uncomfortable! TLS taught me to stand up and speak in front of a crowd over and over and over again. The training was at times A LOT, but we often put on amazing plays, debates, and projects in front of the whole school and parents ... and they were awesome! We worked so hard and encouraged each other when we were pushed. Dr. Cooper was tough sometimes, but we were all proud of the final results and our performances. I had to communicate directly with teachers and peers when I had questions about school. Parent involvement in this way was discouraged. This training gave me the courage to stand up in front of 100 orthopedic surgeons at a medical meeting at Duke University my junior year of high school and present a paper on the effect of implant design on periprosthetic fracture rates. I could do this because TLS had trained me to go for it, even if the possibility of failure existed ... it felt awesome!

2) My favorite memories include the fifth grade play, Southwest trip, little buddies, Mrs. Anderson, Mr. Johnson, Dr. Bonzo-Sims, and Ms. MacCarthy.

3) Get to know your teachers; it pays off! You don’t know now what you might want to do or where you want to go for college. It could change many times before the end of your senior year. If you develop good study habits and work hard in school, you will have choices.

Hang out with friends who make good choices. It makes life much easier.

Embrace every opportunity you get to try out for the play, be on the debate team, try out for a sports team, or run for student council. You may not make it big, but you learn something in the process. Try everything available to you on the SW trip and encourage your classmates. It’s an amazing opportunity.

Halle Cline ’14; University of Kentucky

1) TLS prepared me for high school and beyond. The Lexington School is a place where students are forced to learn outside the classroom. It takes a strong, core curriculum and stretches to become something completely different. I have yet to have an English class as challenging and rewarding as Dr. Bonzo’s eighth grade course. At TLS, my mind was challenged in a such a way that nowhere else could match.

2) TLS holds my second family, and a great deal of my favorite memories. Miss Cowling holds a special place in my mind and heart. She is simply the best of the best when it comes to history. I can still feel my hand cramp when I think about writing notes in her class and see the multiple written-on review packets strewn across my desk at home. I can honestly say I grew as a student in her class and still use those skills she taught me to this day. With her are so many others who helped me grow throughout my experience. I love walking down the different hallways and seeing teachers who greet me with a giant smile, hug, and a “how have you been doing?” TLS’s faculty is incomparable and, as a whole, my favorite memory.

3) Enjoy your time at TLS and do not take it for granted! Current TLSers, you do not realize yet the amazing education you are blessed to receive. No matter where you might travel for high school, you will have a moment where you realize nothing will ever be like The Lexington School – in the best way possible. The friends you make will follow you for years to come. The family of teachers, as I have learned, will always be at TLS to support you no matter the endeavors you encounter after your graduation from The Lexington School. Truly, nowhere else can compare to this school of ours.

Jack Cline ’14; Louisiana State University

1) TLS helped me get an early start on making sure I knew how I studied and learned best. It served me well through high school and continues to do so in college!

2) I will always remember Miss Cowling’s history class and being on the football team with Coach Conley!

3) Have fun! TLS goes by quicker than you think, and it’s good to slow down and enjoy it every once in a while.

Geaux Colts! My photo is from a summer trip to the Oregon wilderness.

Zachary Coons ’14; University of Richmond

1) TLS gave me the skills I needed to get accepted at the University of Richmond and to achieve any goal I set out to reach.

2) My favorite event at TLS was definitely the Southwest Sequel or one of the two Costa Rica trips I went on. I enjoyed some amazing experiences with the Johnsons and with my fellow TLS alumni.

3) Enjoy TLS while you're there. That's probably what most alumni say, and there's a reason why. My best friends to this day were in my grade at TLS, and we have so many amazing memories at the school. (It's probably best that I don't share many of these stories. I don't think the administration wants to know.)

Juliet Criswell-Marco ’14; Bluegrass Community & Technical College, Assoc. for Fine Arts, Film Program

1) TLS helped me in college because I learned how to take tests. I also learned to explore things that interested me, which in turn helped me discover what I should major in. I remember how several teachers would encourage me to do the things I was passionate about.

2) My favorite event would have to be all the middle school trips. I truly had a blast exploring, playing, and just being around my friends. During Middle School, I remember getting together with some friends to make some silly movies.

3) The best advice I can give students is to make sure you take time to find yourselves. Explore hobbies you enjoy, make art you want to make, be true to yourself, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Emma Draper ’14; Williams College

1) The most important way The Lexington School prepared me for college was by helping me develop a strong work ethic, which served me incredibly well in high school and will continue to do so in college. The integration of an honor code at TLS meant that the Williams Honor Code was no surprise to me this year.

2) While I can't recall specific events or conversations anymore, I can still remember the kindness, warmth, and energy that radiated from Tomi Lounsbury and Kelly Telech that made it feel like such a wonderful privilege to be able to speak with them.

3) Work hard to achieve your goals but be kind to yourself when you fall short. Understand the value of planning ahead, but don't get so caught up in the future that you forget how to be present. Accept that your interests and plans might change. Invest in your relationships. Think critically about your privileges. Treat people with kindness.

Connor Duzyk '14; University of Richmond

1) TLS prepared me for college because it offered classes that helped me not only build upon the knowledge I learned in high school, but also prepared me for classes I am taking now.

2) One of my most favorite moments with a teacher was spending time with the Johnsons and their family on all the class trips we took to Barrier Island, the Southwest Trip, the Southwest Sequel, and the Costa Rica Trip.

3) For advice: make the most of it while you’re there at TLS. Some of you are about to go to high school, which can be challenging, but fun at the same time. Then you go off to college and you know how to act, not only academically, but socially too.

Olin Gentry ’14; University of Kentucky

1) The main source of fulfillment I got out of TLS was that it made me a better person. Yes, the schooling was and still is great, but it’s how it helped me grow that I thank TLS the most for. Things like shaking Mr. Baldecchi’s hand every morning and feeling such love from the teachers like Miss Cowling, Ms. Zimmerman, and Mr. Wald, just to name a few, really helped me appreciate TLS. I think there is a sense of pride as well after completing TLS because of the nature of the school and how difficult it is to succeed, and very few schools have that capability. When you compare TLS to other schools, nothing really compares. I don’t know what it was about it, maybe it was that my dad went there, the high intellectualness of my classmates, the teachers, or something else, but TLS made me into a better and smarter person, and I will always be thankful for the opportunity to have attended such a great school. My class as a whole had some of the smartest people I know.

2) There are so many memories to choose from. The Holiday Concerts, the fifth grade play, recess, basketball season. I think my favorite memory would have to be Miss Cowling’s history class. I love history, and to be able to go in there and listen to all sorts of stuff was awesome. Honestly, and I even thought this at the time, how in the world is Miss Cowling able to remember all this stuff off the top of her head? She didn’t have to glance down at anything and in one day she would be talking about Sparta to her sixth graders and the Battle of Yorktown to her eighth graders. She was able to mention minute details that we didn’t even need to know, and I was honestly just so impressed and interested in the class that that has to be my favorite memory.

3) My advice: Be appreciative of the time you have at TLS. When you get out of elementary school, life comparatively isn’t as rosy, and TLS did a great job of keeping it rosy throughout my schooling there. What TLSers will come to realize is that not everything is as good as TLS. I know that is broad, but it is the truth. TLS just had a way about it that made it a truly special place, and in my opinion, no other school can compare.

Spencer Kriss ’14; Washington and Lee University

1) TLS prepared me for college by teaching me to hold myself accountable for my performance in the classroom and on the field.

2) My favorite memory has to be Mr. Conley taking us outside during an early morning Spanish class for a run.

3) I would advise current TLSers to thank their parents for sending them to TLS and to be grateful for the opportunities that come from that.

Jackson Leach ’14; Tulane University

1) TLS instilled me with great study habits and gave me a desire to learn and grow. I apply these tools to my education now in college, and I used them to guide me to success during all four years of high school.

2) To date, my favorite class period out of 13 years of education remains Miss Cowling's explanation of the Battle of Thermopylae (I still remember how to spell it) and the events surrounding it. Countless days of detailed history lessons inspired me to pursue history-based courses in college, and, remarkably, I retained much of the information Miss Cowling taught me in sixth and eighth grades.

3) Procrastination is the downfall of the modern student. With so much access to technology and online entertainment now, it’s difficult to have the discipline to give time to studying and time to leisure. TLS does a fantastic job of teaching this skill. Limit your time on your phone; you will thank yourself for it years down the road.

Cleve Merritt ’14; University of Kentucky

1) TLS prepared me for college in so many ways. Most importantly, it provided me with the tools to study efficiently and the ability to manage my time so I can succeed. I owe so much to TLS and to the continued support of all my past teachers and TLS friends.

2) My favorite memories of TLS are Spirit Day, guest speakers, and the awesome school trips, where you bond with teachers and friends, especially the final Southwest trip.

3) My advice to all current students is to take advantage of the guidance and support given. Ask for help and never be ashamed or shy away from asking questions because TLS teachers advocate for all students and all learning styles. They love you deeply, and you realize that when you leave and head onto high school. At any given moment when you walk back through the doors, you are greeted with huge hugs and have good talks with your past teachers. And most importantly, all teachers tell you that if you need anything at all to call and they will be there to help you in all your future adventures and endeavors.

Andres Mitchell ’14; Samford University

1) TLS prepared me for college in many ways, one of them being to have respect for others. In any classroom, the environment was that of listening to others speak before speaking. This creates a respectful and fun environment so we kids hardly argued or got annoyed with one another.

2) One of my favorite TLS memories comes from the seventh grade trip. Mr. Joe Griggs was the chaperone in the house I was in, and every night he read to us. I think it was one of The Hunger Games books, by Suzanne Collins. Anyway, it was kind of him to do that because all of us dudes back then loved that. To some, it was one of the best parts of our day. He also taught me a few things about making bacon for breakfast.

Another memory is talking with Ms. MacCarthy. I got called to her office and so did my best friend George Shashy ’14, but we weren’t scared. We weren’t nervous to talk to her. Why? Because she listened first and then spoke. In today’s society, everyone wants to be heard, wants to be right. Most people don’t care to step back and see the bigger picture (Mr. Phillip Chris Johnson ’89 taught me that). George and I weren’t scared because she listened to each of as if she was a good friend. She then was kind about why she wanted to speak with us and told us everything we needed to know. How many kids, Middle Schoolers, in today’s society do you think can say they aren’t scared of talking with their principal? Very few. But that’s the difference at TLS. Each teacher knows you as if you were an old friend. I could never forget my teachers.

3) Advice I can give for current TLSers? Well I don’t know too much, but I do know this: think before you speak. In this day and age, people have remembered that words have power. Whether it be for good or bad things, they are powerful. So, kids, when your mom or dad says: “Think before you speak,” you better listen. It can be the difference between your making a friend or losing the opportunity to make one.

One last piece of advice is this: “People won’t remember what you said to them, but they will remember how you made them feel.” My father taught me that. In the end – the big picture look – Middle School is just three years, but that can make an impact in not only the life of the speaker, but also to the listeners of those words.

P.S. Please send my warmest regards to the entire staff and faculty of the Middle School. I would not be the young man I am today without their guidance.

Mr. Hurst; I hope your turtle is okay. Don’t forget about Shao Lin Do!

Mr. Johnson; I’m still going to design the perfect Surfing Bus for the seventh graders to take on their trip :)

Miss Cowling; If it weren’t for you, my love for history would not be so. I’m taking Communication Arts 102, and its main focus is on all the wars the U.S. has had. We focus on each war by reading text from that time period. We just finished A Farewell to Arms, by Earnest Hemingway, where the protagonist is an American ambulance driver for the Italian Army. I miss your classes.

Señor Herrington and Señor Conley; Your Spanish teaching has helped me tremendously. I’m in Spanish 301, a junior level class as a freshman! I’m so thankful for the creativity you both used in your classes. When you make Spanish come alive, it’s easier and fun to learn. Thank you.

Dr. Bowling; I was in three plays at Sayre and my last play was a musical! I still remember the Shakespeare play and how I loved to act. Thank you for teaching me I can live more than one life; the stage is a portal to many lives.

Dr. Bonzo; I’m thankful for your strenuous classes. The way you sort of “tear down” the bad habits we have and help us build the things we are missing; that is amazing. I’m so thankful for your class.

Mrs. Staley; Hi! There was a saying in Dr. Cooper’s room: “If you cannot teach me to fly, teach me to sing.” That wasn’t the case for me. For me, it was, “If you cannot teach me to fly, teach me how to draw,” because I wasn’t able to do it to save my life. But you taught me how, and now I’m confident with a pencil and a piece of paper. More than that, I’m confident with a brush in my hand and a canvas set before me. You helped me develop my artistic skills and the courage I needed to be confident in myself.

Dr. Cooper; I was in a musical senior year! I’ve never had to sing on stage, but that changed and guess who taught me to sing? You did! Thank you for pushing us when we didn’t think we sounded good. Thank you for your positive attitude every day we entered your classroom.

Mrs. Johnson; I wasn’t confident in my English skills when I began at TLS as a sixth grader. My fears were relieved when I was in your class because with you, English wasn’t that scary anymore. You would make us read out loud and we would take turns, and that did so much for my self-esteem and speaking. When we had to do Wordly Wise 3000, I was eager to learn new words, but afraid of being wrong. You helped me realize it’s okay if I’m wrong, as long as I learn from my mistakes. Thank you.

To the Kitchen Staff; Thank you, thank you, thank you for three years of delicious and nutritious food you provided for me. Thank you for your kindness and your commitment in keeping me fed, so I could keep on learning. When I was in Guatemala prior to being adopted, I would sometimes help the Chef. She would teach me things about food, sure, but most importantly about the world. One thing she taught me was never to take for granted the food I am given, because there are others who aren’t able to get any food at all. So I am thankful for you.

Marshall Nielsen ’14; Davidson College

1) The Lexington School prepares its students for college by fostering a culture of academic achievement and making the classroom a rigorous, yet supportive, environment. Because of my TLS teachers and classmates, I experienced growth in both my curiosity and love of learning. The Lexington School is a prime example of what any academic institution should be. In fact, when touring colleges, I found myself searching for places that were similar to TLS.

2) Out of all the fantastic opportunities TLS provides, one of my favorites was the Southwest Sequel through TLS Voyages. We were able to revisit Zion National Park to build upon past memories from our eighth grade trip. The Southwest trip is one of the most unforgettable and rewarding experiences a TLS student will have. Led by TLS faculty and staff, students learn the importance of teamwork, sacrifice, and how to look at the "big picture" (Shout out to Mr. J).

3) My advice to current TLSers would be, without a doubt, to cherish your teachers and the relationships you have with them. The faculty and staff at The Lexington School truly care about each and every student and are deeply passionate about developing not only your critical thinking skills but also your character. Enjoy the friends you make, as your relationships will be lifelong. Most of all, look around you and take it all in, so you can one day look back, wishing you could re-live your days as a student at TLS, like the rest of us.

Sam Perez ’14; University of Georgia

1) Growing up at TLS instilled in me an understanding of how to study and get work done most effectively. I was surrounded by academically motivated classmates, and my teachers encouraged us to reach our fullest potential in the classroom – and outside it – and they gave us the resources to do so. Time management is such a crucial skill to have in college, and TLS helped prepare me for balancing my work.

2) One of my many favorite memories of TLS was one of the last nights of the Southwest Trip. My whole class was gathered around the fire, and we each got a chance to share our thoughts about the previous years. Getting to reminisce about my time at The Lexington School surrounded by people who had been so influential in my life was such a sweet moment that has stuck with me over the years.

3) Cherish this time! It’s so easy to take your time at TLS for granted. The community of incredible friends and caring teachers is so special and really a unique part of the culture of the school. The years will fly by before you know it!

Eliza Platt ’14; New York University Shanghai

1) As I’ve been in Shanghai, I continually think back on my times at TLS, both good and bad. The most help I received from the school was when Dr. Bonzo and Mrs. Jefferson helped me with my college applications. That program was the most incredible and insightful experience I had. It allowed me to look back on my time at both TLS and Woodford County High School. Additionally, my TLS education was the most advantageous to my college career. The foundations for writing and mathematics I built there have been the most important as I move on to my college career.

2) The teacher who most greatly impacted me was Dr. Bonzo. She wasn’t my advisor, but she was someone who truly understood me and allowed me a safe space to vent and rave about anything that may be bothering me throughout the day. When I attended TLS, we didn’t have a school counselor, and I feel Bonzo played this role for me. My parents are both educators at TLS, but I still consider her to be my school mother. She cared for me with an unbiased point of view and allowed me to see from more perspectives than just my own.

As for professors at NYUSH, my current favorite is Mo Laoshi (Chinese word for teacher). She’s my Chinese professor, and she is incredibly understanding and caring. She treats us as if we’re her children because when it comes to the Chinese language, we’re all still babies and learning at a kindergarten level. She’s incredibly helpful, and I’m excited to spend this semester in her classroom.

3) My only word of advice for current TLS classes would be to be uncomfortable. A mistake I’ve made in my life up until this point would definitely be staying in a comfort zone. I left Asheville School because I was uncomfortable with myself and the friendships I made at that time. I regret not staying for another year and trying to start fresh. Instead, I chose to be comfortable and follow the straight and narrow. The education I received from WCHS was more than adequate – I mean I made it here regardless – and my GPA was the best it’s ever been, but I hardly ever felt challenged in that setting. I’ve been trying to leave my set path for as long as I’ve been on it. Coming to China with no knowledge of the language and a limited, Americanized understanding of the culture was the craziest decision I could’ve made, and I decided to jump on it. I’ve never been the type to conform to the expectations that are set for me, and I can’t think of a place that is better suited to me than NYUSH. The people here are from all over the world. Some days I just sit outside and watch as my classmates pass me, and some days I count how many different countries and cultural backgrounds I’m surrounded by. It never fails to astound me that all our individual lives and experiences can mesh so seamlessly into the same learning environment. The fact that this is such an international university only goes to add to the various class discussions that take place. We’re all born in different circumstances, and the litany of perspectives on any given topic is always astounding. The myriad cultural exchanges that take place on any given day are an incredible thing to witness, and I’ve been so pleased with the entire experience thus far. I’m very proud of myself to have made it into such a prestigious educational facility, and I can’t wait to come home and tell y’all all about the experience.

Tom Polites ’14; Tulane University

1) TLS instilled in me a love of learning and quality study habits that not only helped me in high school but in my first semester of college as well. My teachers taught me to think critically, be attentive in class, and that learning can be fun if you go into it with the right mindset. A special thanks to Miss Cowling for introducing me to Greek history, my favorite subject, and one that I’m learning about extensively this semester.

2) Without a doubt, my favorite memory from my time at TLS is the eighth grade Southwest trip. You’re completely cut off from the outside world with only your friends and teachers, and it creates a bond among your classmates that’s truly special. It’s the perfect way to wrap up your TLS experience.

3) Enjoy the experience. TLS is a wonderful place with incredibly kind and caring people who want you to be the best person you can be. Cherish every moment. Throughout my time in high school, I was always thrilled to see my TLS teachers, and some of my best friends to this day are people I met in elementary school. There aren’t many schools quite like TLS.

Anabeth Psimer ’14; Morehead State University

1) Being a student in The Learning Center gave me the confidence that I could succeed in high school and college, even with dyslexia.

2) My favorite teachers were Mrs. Ezell, Mrs. Stefanick, and Mrs. Arbaugh.

3) My advice to other Learning Center students: Just because you learn in a different way doesn’t mean you aren’t smart and capable.

Woods Rouse ’14; Washington and Lee University

1) TLS prepared me for college by instilling a strong work ethic that is essential for a successful life and for the college workload.

2) My favorite memory at TLS was the last campfire on the Southwest Sequel. It solidified the bond with my classmates for really the rest of my life.

3) Enjoy your time at TLS. It is truly a special place. The friends and connections you make there will last forever, and you are being taught by some of the best teachers you will ever know.

Ben Schaeffer ’14; Swarthmore College

1) TLS prepared me to be organized, studious, and, above all, instilled a love for learning in me. In addition, the family atmosphere allowed me to form lifelong connections which will certainly prove beneficial as I take on college.

2) The first day of notes in Miss Cowling’s sixth grade class stands out to me because that would become my favorite class I took while at TLS. Besides that, I’ll never forget playing lacrosse and soccer with guys that I’m still best friends with today.

3) Cherish every moment and don’t take it for granted.

Ian Schaeffer ’14; Northwestern University

1) TLS instills a love for learning in its students from a very young age. This puts them on a path for success, as they not only have well-developed study habits, but they are also taking more advanced material.

2) My favorite TLS memory was playing on the lacrosse team and winning a couple of middle school championships.

3) Work hard, but don’t worry about your middle school grades. Forge good study habits.

McKinzie Smith ’14; Nash Academy Dog Grooming School

1) Before going to Nash Academy, I completed my vet assist certification at Locust Trace AgraScience School. The Orton-Gilligham techniques I learned at TLS helped when it came to learning medical terminology and abbreviations. I love working with animals and love the hands-on instruction.

2) Mrs. Jane Childers was important to us and to The Learning Center. I liked that The Learning Center hosted famous people with dyslexia who were successful not just in spite of, but because they learned differently and thought out of the box.

3) Take advantage of getting to know people different from you. They can enrich your life. Limiting who you associate with only shortchanges you.

Anna Susini ’14; Brown University

1) TLS taught me so many skills that stuck with me after I left, even after high school and into college. From equipping me academically to teaching me how to focus on ideas such as adaptability and the big picture, I knew I was ready to do anything once I’d left. I also learned how important it is to forge good relationships with your teachers, and every time I go back to visit TLS, I remember how grateful I am for those relationships and for everything they have taught me.

2) One of my favorite memories from TLS is Dr. Bonzo’s English class. I still don’t think I’ve ever taken a class that felt as intense as hers, but I learned so much from it. I learned that it was okay to struggle and go through the drafting process. I learned how to turn something as simple as reading a book into a complex art. I learned how to have a proper Socratic Seminar. Most of all though, I learned how much I enjoyed being challenged to think in new and different ways.

3) The advice I would give current TLSers is not to stress too much about the future and to enjoy the moment they’re in. TLS is a very special place, and even after they leave, it’ll always hold a place in their hearts. They are incredibly lucky in the fact that they can rest assured if they make the most of their time there, they’ll be more than ready for the next chapters of their lives. TLS will always be a home for them to come back to, and it’ll continue to be a support system long after they leave.

Deacon Thomas ’14; NOLS Gap Year; Transylvania University

Taking full advantage of his Gap Year, yet always remembering TLS, Deacon answered Pinpoints’ questions when he called home early one morning from Texas, on his way to Big Bend National Park to canoe the Rio Grande for next three weeks. He’d just come from the Gila National Forest, backpacking for three weeks. By press time, he’ll be in Carlsbad, caving for three more weeks, then the East Cochise Stonghold for three weeks of rock climbing. His last two weeks are in the Galiuro Mountains, backpacking on a student-led expedition. Deacon’s knowledge gained from TLS wilderness experiences serves him well.

1) TLS prepared me for college and high school and life by helping me be ready for a heavier academic workload and also giving me the courage to know that no matter the outcome, I should try new things. This is evidenced by my decision to take a Gap Year and spend three months in the southwest wilderness. So far, the experience has been amazing, and I’m so glad I overcame my fears to take this leap.

2) The debates in Dr. Bonzo's English class were definitely one of my favorite memories.

3) My advice is to stay focused and work hard. The experiences and advice given to you by teachers and staff will guide you through high school, college, and into adulthood.

Colton Warner ’14; Cornell University

1) I use my skills I gained at TLS every day. The sense of community and family at TLS made me excited to take risks and delve into the unknown. It's the habits instilled those years that have helped me the most. Just like at TLS, I feel comfortable asking my professors questions if I need help, and I always number my planner for the day. Another aspect of TLS that hasn't left me is the community. My best friends in life are all still from TLS, and it's been amazing to grow up with such an extraordinary, fun group of people.

2) One of my favorite memories from TLS was one day when everyone was tired in class, and Mr. Conley made us get up and run around the playground to pump us up. He was the best at making everyone excited to learn.

3) My advice for current TLSers is to be grateful for all the opportunities TLS has to offer and have a ton of fun!

Ellie Webb ’14; Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service

I miss my TLS family!

1) TLS gave me every basic tool for learning I needed going into high school. While some students were still trying to figure out how exactly to format an essay or how to make an organized bibliography, I was able instead to focus on developing my skills in other areas, as my TLS teachers had prepared me well. I was well prepared with other skills on a non-academic level as well, and, thanks to TLS, I’ve never been afraid to speak in public or try a new activity. Thanks to the eighth grade etiquette class, I will never forget the basic rules for a formal dinner. On a personal level, TLS gave me a great network of individuals to turn to whenever I need anything, as some of my closest friends today are fellow graduates.

2) One of my favorite times of the year at TLS was always the Foreign Language Fair. I loved the competition between the French and Spanish students, as well as the opportunity to learn more about other cultures. From the poster war to the scavenger hunt, there was always noise and excitement in the middle school wing. In retrospect, my excitement about this time of year is probably one of the things that led to my interest in pursuing international affairs and my love for the French language.

3) My advice to current TLSers is to keep in touch with the people in your class after you graduate! The people from my graduating class are some of the most passionate, kind, and driven people I know, and they are bound for great things. I know I will always have people to turn to and so many connections due to the network TLS provided me.

Ellie’s picture is from her Georgetown University Convocation ceremony, at the School of Foreign Service.

Allen Westerfield '14; Vanderbilt University

1) TLS taught me how to work hard. Knowing how to study hard and effectively made my high school career easier and allowed me to achieve my college goals.

2) Miss Cowling’s classes will always be some of the best I’ve ever taken. I will never forget the incredible teaching style she used; the way she told history as though it was a story was amazing. Dr. Bonzo’s class was another one that sticks out; some of the topics covered in that class were eye-opening, especially when we read Lord of the Flies.

3) My advice to current TLSers is to cherish and enjoy every moment at TLS. Keep in touch with friends you make, and learn everything you can from your teachers. You not only learn actual school material, but also a vast array of skills regarding study habits and other things that will help you for years after graduation.

Emerson White ’14; Brandeis University

I love staying in touch with TLS as much as possible, and I look back so fondly on my times there. Sending my love.

1) In my eyes, there is truly no better college preparation than attending TLS. TLS provided me not only with an amazing foundation and education, but also with important life skills that are crucial for college. TLS taught me how to study for exams, how to manage my time, and effectively balance being a student-athlete. Since I am a collegiate volleyball player, time management is a necessary skill I use every day. TLS also taught me that being a student always comes first and being an athlete is a privilege. I am loving school and volleyball, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without TLS.

2) When reflecting on my time at TLS, countless wonderful memories come to mind. My favorite memory, however, would have to be when I got the opportunity to return to TLS for the Southwest Sequel in 2016. The eighth grade Southwest trip was truly a life-changing trip, and when the opportunity to return to Zion was presented to me, I immediately jumped on it. The Johnson family, both Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, not only taught me amazing skills in the classroom, but they also taught me life lessons outside the classroom, and they have impacted my life in an amazing way. I will always be thankful to them both for taking 16 of my best friends and me back to one of our favorite places on earth to enjoy time together and reflect on the great gift of our friendship which TLS created for us.

3) To current TLS students, my biggest advice is to have fun. Enjoy your years at TLS because they truly will shape you as a person and give you friends that last a lifetime. Take in all the lessons both in and outside the classroom that your teachers give you. Your time at TLS will prepare you for not only high school but also for your years in college and beyond. Always thank your teachers, because they deserve it.

31 Responding Members of the Class of 2014


Philip Allison '14 Vanderbilt University

Victor Allison '14 Vanderbilt University

Shaun Anderson '14 Tennessee State University

Haven Aurland '14 Harper College

Emma Baker '14 Colorado State University

MacCarthy Baker '14 Florida State University

Olivia Baker '14 University of Kentucky

Kelsay Birdsong '14 BCTC, Radiology Program

Allington Bowling '14 Tulane University

Nick Calhoun '14 University of Louisville

Isabeau Camp '14 Miami University of Ohio

Kate Christensen '14 Vanderbilt University

Halle Cline '14 University of Kentucky

Jack Cline '14 Louisiana State University

Kedrick Cobo '14 University of Kentucky

Worth Coons '14 Southern Methodist University

Zachary Coons '14 University of Richmond

Juliet Criswell-Marco '14 BCTC, Associates for Fine Arts, Focusing on Film

Emma Draper '14 Williams College

Connor Duzyk '14 University of Richmond

McMillan Fister '14 University of Kentucky

Eden Fry '14 Drexel University

Andres Gedaly '14 Boston University

Olin Gentry '14 University of Kentucky

Megan Goldthorpe '14 University of Tampa

Ruby Kate Gray '14 Hanover College

Spencer Harris '14 University of Kentucky

Caroline Keating '14 University of Alabama

Spencer Kriss '14 Washington and Lee University

Zachary Langdon '14 Macalester College

Jackson Leach '14 Tulane University

Morgan McDonald '14 Wake Forest University

Cleve Merritt '14 University of Kentucky

Andres Mitchell '14 Samford University

Sahar Mohammadzadeh '14 Harvard University

Sarah Morrison '14 Sullivan University

Joey Neuzel '14 University of Kentucky

Marshall Nielsen '14 Davidson College

Morgan Patton '14 Transylvania University

Sam Perez '14 University of Georgia

Ellie Phillips '14 Washington University

Eliza Platt '14 New York University Shanghai

Tom Polites '14 Tulane University

Anabeth Psimer '14 Morehead State University

Woods Rouse '14 Washington and Lee University

Ben Schaeffer '14 Swarthmore College

Ian Schaeffer '14 Northwestern University

George Shashy '14 University of Dayton

Alex Simpson '14 Dartmouth College

McKinzie Smith '14 Nash Academy Dog Grooming School

Anna Susini '14 Brown University

Deacon Thomas '14 NOLS Gap Year; 'Transylvania University

Matthew Trawick '14 University of Kentucky

Annie Varner '14 Washington and Lee University

Colton Warner '14 Cornell University

Ellie Webb '14 Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service

Allen Westerfield '14 Vanderbilt University

Emerson White '14 Brandeis University

Myles Winkley '14 Cornell University

Clark Wood Jr. '14 Auburn University

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