Penguin Hall Student Spotlight: Avery B. ’22

Avery B. ’22 and her family donated blood two weeks ago (on Avery’s 16th birthday!) in Boston.

Read how APH Student Avery B. ’22 is finding the silver linings in learning from a distance and unexpected opportunities along the way!

Is there anything about Distance Learning that has surprised you?

Although nothing replaces the classroom setting and the Socratic Seminar style for which Penguin Hall classes are known, Avery has found that learning online is not as bad as she’d expected: “I’m not that tired! I have a pretty good schedule for waking up on time, being ready for class.” She appreciates all the effort that her teachers are putting into making online learning engaging, especially in her STEM classes, which she says are harder to learn over Zoom. “In Chemistry, Mr. Rivers assigns us labs at home; it can get a little chaotic, but it’s fun.”

What positive things do you see happening as a result of the Pandemic?

Avery is spending a lot of quality time with her two older siblings — her sister Kendall is a senior in high school, and her brother Cameron (Cam for short) attends University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Now that they’re all home full-time, how are they spending time together? “We bake, stress baking I guess! I just prefer straight brownies or cookies, while they (my siblings) are making things like Hawaiian Chicken for dinner, just trying all these recipes on Instagram! It’s something new every night.” 

They’ve also taken advantage of a unique experiential learning opportunity — working together at Flores Mantilla in Marblehead. It started with Cameron’s girlfriend, who works at the shop and who recruited him and then Kendall. One day when Avery had some free time, her brother and sister asked if she wanted to help out as well. “They told me there were dogs at the flower shop, and I can’t resist — they’re so cute.”  

The sibling trio has made flower deliveries over the past few weeks to other local stores, wearing masks and following all state-issued rules and procedures. “I’ve also helped them with the books… it’s a lot of organization, which I didn’t expect. Customers have emails and letters they want written on cards, which we hand write. We record the name, location, and date they want their flowers delivered.”  The only downside? “Allergies… but I don’t mind, because it’s beautiful and I’m learning a lot,” says Avery.

Do you have any summer plans?

Avery has attended Camp Tel Noar in Hampstead, New Hampshire for the past eight years. This summer, she and her peers were scheduled to take a five-week tour of Israel through a Program called Dor L’ Dor. This week, Avery learned the trip was cancelled. “We were going to travel and learn about the Jewish religion and Israel.” 

She is doing her due diligence and looking for other travel or learning opportunities that might still be available. And while Avery hopes her camp reschedules for next summer, she’s not sure how that would affect the age group after hers. There’s a lot of uncertainty at present, which is unsettling for everyone. But that’s not deterring Avery from making plans. “I’ll go to Israel someday, even if it’s not right away,” she shares with a smile.

What is something that most people don’t know about you?

If it’s not already obvious, Avery is very close to her siblings and loves spending time with them. “Covid has brought us closer together; we’ll just hang out in my room doing nothing,” she says. Avery’s self-taught skills on the ukulele may also be new knowledge to members of the APH community! “[My siblings] will ask me to play ukulele for them because they think it’s relaxing. I love teaching myself new songs. I just learned Vida La Viva and also Fur Elise.” 

Loved learning about Avery? Read about Kayle W. ’22 and what she wishes more adults would ask students her age!