The Class of 2020: In Their Own Words

Four years of joyous memories, utter surprises, impactful classes, and seemingly infinitely wise teachers: The Class of 2020 has been through it all, and then some. They're here to tell you what they've done, what they're doing next, and what's been especially meaningful to them during their time at Commonwealth School.

They even divulge the true meaning of life...

What are your favorite memories of Commonwealth?

“Studying in hallways only to look up and see a friend and immediately dropping whatever you're doing to talk excitedly about anything." —Pam

"Listening to a performance of the Three Sisters while sitting in a backstage sink during our freshman year, singing ‘Deck the Halls’ during the Winter Holiday Assembly, and of course the Hancock sunsets." —Alena

"Going to Chipotle with my boo, Declan." —Nick F.

"Going to Chipotle with my boo, Nick." —Declan

"Tech week, all of them. Drawing fake tattoos, drinking terrible soda, lying on the floor in stolen costumes, singing broadway backstage, long walks at night, eating cheesecake in Starbucks, incoherent video calls at midnight. Nights at Hancock spent talking in the field until we missed curfew, afternoons by the lake cutting each other's hair and reading tarot. Getting lost in the woods, picking apples, playing games without learning the rules first. COMMUN, showing up early in a suit with a cup of coffee, running up and down Newbury between the buildings, making notes on clipboards and hiding in offices to complain about all the inefficient meetings we've sat through, the feeling of accomplishment walking out of the building after it's all over. Mornings in the ceramics studio, with singing along to John Denver and washing the tools, not really making anything but sharing the space with the people who I might not otherwise have ended spending that morning with." —Alec

"Going out to dinner with friends before the school plays, playing the piano in 4a, working in the dark room, beach days, Hancock campfires and card games, Ben & Jerry's Free Cone Day, celebrating post-exams." —Aunnesha

"Probably spending time in the kitchen and getting to know Heather, Isaiah, and Ana more. A close second would be senior fall Hancock."  —Nevan

"Orange juice & squash, puzzles, chem labs, concerts." —Abi

"The long hours spent on the 5th floor either doing art, watching the sunset or just talking with friends. The multiple times that we spent an hour trying to decide where to eat dinner in Boston." —Lillian

"Being one of the tiny people and ceramics in general... also, hallway + biolab hangouts, skate into vacations + museum days, passing of the clay, quarantine fting, birthday surprises…" —Amelia

"The spanish exchange freshman year. Those cranberry (orange?) chocolate chip muffins freshman year that were to die for! Last year's prom and actually dancing for the first time since middle school. All of the Hancocks, for all the traditional boring cliché reasons. Reading poetry by the fireplace, and warming butter with our hands because it was too cold to cut otherwise. (Oh, and that awful grilled cheese kitchen moment of spreading butter on cheese with our bare hands, and... ) —Jocelyn

"Raiding outlet stores in Italy. Having a voice crack while singing in Latin to the entire school. Legit getting anxiety every time someone says the word ‘chair.’" —Nathan

"I love working with everyone—faculty, staff, teacher's kids, and of course students—in the Hancock kitchen for meal prep. I also love hanging out in the hallways and Dartmouth lobby having pointless arguments and blissfully trivial conversations." —Ellie

"The day-to-day experience: classes, clubs, sports, math competitions, riding the train to/from school(!), etc." —Rohan

"Playing games of deception at Hancock, staying up late with friends at Hancock, discussing philosophy at Philosophy club, hanging out with people in the Back Bay." —Nick G.

"Hancock." —Alex

"Hanging out with friends at lunch or in the Dartmouth Lobby, chatting, randomly joining chorus halfway through junior year, fencing, Hancock (mushroom hunting, stargazing, cooking with friends)." —Travis

"The assemblies and napping on the couches." —Lennie

"Apple picking, late-night shenanigans and pancake art at Hancock. Marshalls and Pinkberry (RIP). Anything and everything that happened in the ceramics studio (tiny people, material girl[s] and smashing pots, to name a few). And of course cross country, which was painful but ultimately very memorable." —Margo

"Some of my favorite memories are from Hancock, like being a head chef for dinners and sitting around the campfire singing." —Noa

"Hancock, Quote of the Week, Model Congress, and Free Cone Day." —Wilder

"Walking around Camp Winona at night or in early morning at Hancock.” —Lindsay

"Just 3D things." —Ben Mawn-Mahlau

What's the most surprising thing from the past four years?

"Winning an intense game of Sardines as a freshman." —Alena

"Reading is cool????" —Declan

"All the different types of people I've befriended!" —Aunnesha

"I think the thing that surprised me most is that, looking back, I'm now a person I would have looked up to when I was a freshman. There's a feeling of accomplishment in that, beyond everything else I've done here." —Alec

"I haven't stepped foot in the photo studio apart from tours." —Nevan

"Quarter #1.6" —Abi

"How much I've enjoyed all of it. Also, that all the stairs don't get less tiring." —Amelia

"Somehow they're mostly over…" —Jocelyn

"I've worn the same sweatshirt since freshman year." —Nathan

"How much I love and miss the school building itself." —Ellie

"I tried ceramics in 10th grade and discovered I enjoyed it, and I've continued to take ceramics since then." —Rohan

"How likable most people are at Commonwealth and how many of them are more outgoing than expected. Very friendly community that I've been blessed to be a part of." —Travis

"How people have changed and how they haven't." —Lennie


"I still don't know where every classroom is." —Margo

"Every year was wildly different!" —Noa

“How much Commonwealth has changed me and made me into the person I am today. There are a lot of memories from my time here that I'll never forget." —Wilder

What one word would you use to describe Commonwealth?

“Funky.” —Lindsay 

“Defenestration.” —Pam

“Home.” —Alena

“Rewarding.” —Nick F

“Fair.” —Declan

“Fulfilling.” —Aunnesha

“Craft.” —Alec

“Zany.” —Nevan

“Sonder.” —Abi

“Engaging.” —Amelia

“Caffeine-and-Elbow-Grease.” —Nathan

“Beautiful/fulfilling.” —Ellie

“Enlightening.” —Rohan

“Transformative.” —Nick G

“Introspection.” —Travis

Ben & Jerry.” —Alex

“Dysfunctionally entertaining.” —Margo

“Chaotic.” —Noa

“Interesting.” —Ben

“Inconceivable.” —Alok 

What influenced you the most at Commonwealth?

"The dogs that come in during exams that I always get so excited for but never have been able to meet." —Pam

"Ms. Tyson and Mr. Conolly, and their incredible enthusiasm for anything and everything to do with John Donne, Jane Austen, tea, Shakespeare, Newsies the musical, Irish folk music, Latin poetry, Soviet cinematography, and Russian literature of the 19th and 20th centuries." —Alena

"The Vibes." —Declan

"I couldn't possibly name a single person, but I think Boston has had the greatest influence on me. Truly feeling I was a part of something bigger and falling in love with the whole complicated mess of the city changed me, for the better." —Alec

"You can't make me pick one, that's torturous. A tie between Ms. Brewster's never-ending drive to help me perfect my writing by slowing down and Mr. Sherry's anecdote-filled conversations with me.” —Nevan

"The Italy trip." —Abi

"All the awesome people—friends and teachers." —Amelia

"Last year's seniors, all my various friends, Ms. Eskelund." —Jocelyn

"...and the real treasure is the friends we made along the way." —Nathan

"Ms. Toomey and Mr. Wolff, both their dynamic in Materials class and sculpture." —Ellie

"The teachers." —Rohan

"My peers." —Nick G

"The teachers, as they taught me to enjoy learning and helped me better understand myself." —Travis

"The couches in the Dartmouth Lobby." —Lennie

"Music." —Alex Ding

"Ceramics! Prior to high school I'd never taken a ceramics class, but now I never leave the studio. Also all my advisors who helped me survive these past four years. And of course my friends, who are nothing short of amazing." —Margo

"Definitely my friends and my advisor." —Noa

"Doing yoga." —Lindsay 

"Nathan." —Ben

What was your favorite class?

"A tie between history and art." —Pam

"That is a cruel question, but I guess Printmaking." —Alena

"U.S. History or Anatomy." —Nick F

"Schtats [Stats] or Printmaking." —Declan

"Photography!" —Aunnesha

"Again, I just can't pick one. I'd say my top three are Calculus 2, U.S. History, and Physics 1 Accelerated." —Nevan

"Bible!" —Amelia

"Reasons for Writing? U.S. History? Short Story, back when that was a thing? Mr. Wolff's first-year Chem 1 A?" —Jocelyn

"[Insert Brewster class here]." —Nathan

"The Science and Art of Materials." —Ellie

"Theoretical Calculus (I took it in 11th grade with Mr. Sherry)." —Rohan

"U.S. History." —Nick G

"Physics with Mr. Barsi" —Travis

"Life Drawing." —Lennie

"Theoretical Calculus." —Alex Ding

"Ceramics!" —Margo

"Does it count as cheating if I choose two? Either Theory of Relativity or Biology 2!" —Noa

"Computer Science 2, because I learned a lot about topics I knew almost nothing about before taking the class, such as web servers, artificial intelligence, and blockchain." —Wilder

"All of my history classes (thank you, Ms. Haber and Ms. Budding), Physics, and Chemistry." —Lindsay 

"Chem 2." —Ben

"Other people's ceramics blocks." —Alok

What’s next?

"UC Berkeley! I hope to do my part to protect the planet, and meet cool people and travel new places while I'm at it.  —Aunnesha

"First RISD, then the whimsical and spectacular world of polygenre art!" —Alena

"Searching and researching" —Abi

“In the near future, I'll probably be eating dinner, but in the far future I'll be comparing the Chipotle at Nashville with the one in Boston.” —Nick F.

"NYU's Stern School of Business with a Bachelor of Science in Business with a concentration in Finance. Studying abroad is definitely up there on my bucket list, along with meeting Alec Baldwin and interning at some upper-tier investment banks. I'm aiming for a career in investment banking or private equity." —Nevan

"College, and then maybe finding that weird but delicious fruit that I tried in Florida three years ago." —Lillian

"I'm going to Brown.  I'm not sure exactly what I want to study, but I'm guessing it will be something in the health sciences. I have a lot of other interests, though, so I'm not sure exactly what direction I'm heading in." —Amelia

"Art school!!!" —Pam

"Reed College and the San Diego Circus Center in the summers. I know a guy there with connections to Cirque Du Soleil and I'd love to perform for them someday...and then I want to give it all up and live in a quiet place somewhere and write and do talk therapy or something." —Jocelyn

"Mosquitoes, humidity, and all the Vietnamese Coffee." —Nathan

"I will be attending Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota! Eventually I hope to learn how to fly a plane, hike Mt. Everest, and become poly-lingual." —Ellie

"Majoring in physics at Northeastern." —Lindsey

"I'm going to Johns Hopkins University, where I plan to major in computer science and applied math." —Rohan

"Philosophy and psychology major into philosophy academic" —Nick G.

"Finance, pre-med, or maybe dentistry." —Travis

"Going to NYU to study who knows what." —Lennie

"College, then real adulthood." —Alex 

"I'm attending the University of Rochester, and I'm currently undecided. Future (unrelated) dream: go to Thailand and see elephants!" —Margo

“College, catch up on sleep, might learn a new language who knows.” —Declan

"There is a saying: yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the ‘present.’ —Master Oogway, Kung Fu Panda. I'm planning on taking a gap year before attending NYU to pursue entrepreneurial projects in the food industry and costume design. I'd like to spend some time being a person and learning more about what makes me happy." —Alec

"In California, working in a up-and-coming biotech startup, running a small stationery company on the side, and of course owning some dogs." —Noa

"Haverford." —Ben Mawn-Mahlau

"I'm probably going to Tufts, majoring in chemistry, and minoring in studio art." —Alok

What’s the meaning of life (wrong answers only)? 

“42.” —Ellie

“42?” —Alena

“42.31415926 (whatever the digits of Pi are continued).” —Travis

“42, what else?” —Wilder

“24.” —Abi

“Dust.” —Declan

“Yellow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” —Aunnesha

“The answer is between an oil painting of a mug of coffee and a bagel with cream cheese, and a watercolor of a peeled mandarin orange.” —Alec

“Find what life means to you. Find what brings you happiness and what makes you passionate then completely ditch those things and live out your life in misery. Make sure you get a job that brings you the utmost despair (and doesn't even pay well) and then retire at the ripe old age of 101.” —Lillian

“The meaning of your life is what you make of it!” —Noa

“Eat hot chip and lie.” —Lindsay

“Eat at all the Chipotles in the world.” —Nick F

“More opportunities to eat burritos and goof off.” —Jocelyn

“Food, mostly.” —Alex

“Friday pastries!” —Pam

“Following the categorical imperative.” —Nick G

“First period frees.” —Amelia

“Nathan Le's 39 anime recommendations.” —Nevan

“To experience the MBTA.” —Margo

“We shall know on that day wherein Mr. Conolly doth descend from his porch and thus decree ‘Sic Est.’” —Nathan