The Nelson Sisters
by Stephen Reed
Over the last few years, Northwood has enrolled many outstanding international students. Recently, I spent some time with two such students, twin sisters from Saint Lucia, juniors Christie-Ann and Iva-Amanda Nelson.
Introduced to Northwood by a non-profit organization, Inspiring Young Minds, they saw Northwood as a chance for enhanced academic, artistic and athletic opportunities. Although Amanda was somewhat daunted by April’s cold weather on their first visit, both girls found the school welcoming, cozy, and traditional.
When asked what teacher or course she has found most inspiring, Christie responded “Ms. Fagan always seems to have a positive outlook on whatever situation, savory or unsavory, and gives me great advice when I am conflicted. She cheers me up when I feel stressed. She made me cookies for my sixteenth birthday last year.” Amanda spoke glowingly about Eliot Lee’s course, The Voice of Toni Morrison, which encouraged her to look at more social and ethical issues in society. “The discussion-based learning and the comfortable, open space to voice opinions has allowed me to be engrossed in literature and eager to learn more.”
The girls have found the most challenging part of attending Northwood to be ”balancing schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and social life.” Both agree that the process of learning to manage time has been a key to their success and happiness.
They have both loved the experiences here that they would not have had a home. Amanda notes “With the Adirondacks as Northwood’s playground, I have been able to ski, skate, toboggan, ride sleds, and walk across the frozen lake.” Christie adds:” Northwood has allowed me to pursue my interests in dance, crew, and robotics.”
Asked about their aspirations after Northwood and college, both mentioned a STEM-based profession. Christie sees herself as a doctor, engineer, scientist or researcher. Amanda talks of going into biomedical engineering or neuroscience. She also writes about giving back to the community through an existing non-profit or by forming her own organization.
In evaluating her decision to attend Northwood, Christie said, “I am glad I came to Northwood. The people have become a big part of my life and the environment really gives kids a chance to thrive in academics, sports and as an individual.” Amanda commented, “My decision to attend this school was not in vain. I not only have great access to networking that will be beneficial in the future, I am also taking advantage of the golden opportunity to learn from others while learning about myself.”
Without question, the school has been the beneficiary of the decisions of these bright, engaged young women to leave the sun of Saint Lucia for the snow of Lake Placid.