“There are people all around to support you. Everyone has a teacher or a staff member they really connect with, and they’re always ready to help you.”
Anisha, Class of 2024
Anisha knew Northfield Mount Hermon was for her early on. She already had a family connection to the school — her aunt, Maggie, graduated from NMH in 2017 — and her experience while touring the school as a prospective student helped seal the deal.
“One of the students – who wasn’t a tour guide – just saw my family. She stopped us and asked how our tour was going,” Anisha says. “Normally, when you’re touring, you're not part of the school’s community. But this student, she let us ask questions and was really welcoming. That really stood out to me.”
Anisha has continued to find that sense of community now that she’s a student at NMH — even under sometimes challenging circumstances. Anisha, who’s from Londonderry, Vermont, joined NMH for 9th grade in the fall of 2020, when COVID-19 restrictions meant students lived and learned in small groups and large gatherings and activities were limited. Still, she says, the isolation created a sense of closeness that helped her build “a lot of friendships.”
These days, there are many opportunities to connect with other students, she notes, from clubs and extracurricular activities to the “nice communal space” that is the dining hall. Anisha plays basketball and lacrosse and serves as a Peer Educator, a student leadership position that promotes health and wellness on campus. She’s also involved with several clubs and organizations, including the Film Club; Circle of Sisters, an affinity group for girls of color; and Carry Me Home, which collects clothing donations for refugees in Brattleboro, Vermont.
A high point in Anisha’s experience is Shared Voices, an interdisciplinary class in U.S. History and American Literature in which students explore the relationships among politics, economics, art, and literature in shaping the American experience. Classes like that, which bring together students and teachers around larger themes, are opportunities to make important classroom connections. “Freshman year, for instance, I took a shared English and religion class,” Anish says. “The class became really close. It makes for a lot stronger school community.”
Teachers increase that sense of connection, too. “We call teachers by their first names unless they request not to,” she notes. “I feel comfortable enough to ask them questions. Teachers from freshman year still say hi, still remember me. And my advisor now is almost like having a second mom here.”
Her teachers’ passion for their subjects has widened Anisha’s interests, and she hopes to take her studies in several directions, from environmental science and business to art.
Anisha says self-motivation is key to thriving at NMH. “You have to be here because you want to learn. You have to come here with a vision of pushing yourself – it’s about self-motivation, not motivation from my parents.”
At the same time, she says, “There are people all around to support you. Everyone has a teacher or a staff member they really connect with, and they’re always ready to help you.”
It all circles back to her initial experience during that campus tour, though: “That level of welcome, I feel like that sums up NMH and the student body,” she says. “The idea of education for the head, heart, and hand — of community.”
From the moment she first toured campus, Anisha felt a sense of community and connection at NMH — from clubs to the classroom to the communal space of the dining hall.