Merry Christmas from the AtchMerHammers!
Sit down to read another episode of out Christmas letter, with the irresistible opportunity to start right off with Dana's paragraph as we have head it is everyone's favorite.
Dana: My year hasn't exactly been a whirlwind of new activities, but I suppose it's my responsibility to keep you entertained anyway. Here goes! Indubitably, I'll cater to my audience by filling you in with the only thing most adults appear to be interested, "The College Process!" My compliance in providing you with this information has noting to do with my affinity for doing so; in fact it's quite the contrary. I hope that my vain attempts to avoid the subject that hitherto have been thwarted by patient and garrulous questioning can at this point be deferred by simply saying, "It appears you didn't read the Christmas letter!" Yes, I'm applying to colleges this year. This is my fifth year of high school and things have been going quite nicely. I've been mainly looking at liberal arts colleges with excellent engineering schools, spanning from Boston to LA. The list includes a range of excellent academic institutions, only one strictly engineering school, and I didn't apply Early Decision anywhere. All my applications are submitted, and you'll find out where I end up in this letter's next installment. This fall at Kimball Union, I opted out of the endearingly terrible Thirds Soccer team in favor of theatre. I had a significant role as an elderly pedagogue in Sophocles' Electra, starring alongside many of my best friends and having a splendid time. Right now I'm training for both another year of rugby and the brand new crew program, but I'm having considerable difficulty choosing between them. For what's ahead, you'll have to tune in next year!
Ashley: Hello again! Since you last heard form my, I've had quite a year! Senior year flew by at Westford Academy. I went to prom in early May wearing my dream dress. Our phenomenal class trip to Disney was followed by one of the biggest highlights for me, our Senior Showcase. It was a show including any senior who participated in the Threatre Arts Department. I sang a solo and arranged all the ensemble pieces. It was an incredible learning experience of which I am very proud! Graduation came so fast; it felt unreal. This summer, Quita's family had a family reunion on Martha's Vineyard, so we all spent some fun in the sun. Afterwards, I worked at Camp Takodah for five weeks, finally as cabin leader! I worked with the youngest kids (ages 9-11). Two sessions, twice the fun! Next summer will be my tenth year at Takodah! I now attend the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford, my top choice, and I'm so happy there. I'm studying towards a BA in Music, the best major for music students at Hartt. I've found a great group of friends and, to my pleasant surprise, I am doing wonderfully! Looking forward to next semester and this summer, I can't wait to see what the New Year has in store for me!
Rachel: Hi all! It's my turn now to tell you a little about my past year, and much has happened for me! I finished my spring semester with a bang as a can-can girl for my ballet workshop show, which was a lot of fun! This summer I worked at Camp Takodah for 10 weeks, as a member of the kitchen crew during boys’ camp and as a cabin leader during girls’ camp. It was a great experience, but tough to go straight from camp to Paris. My semester in Paris was an incredible experience! Now being home, it feels like a dream. I took French Contemporary Society, Advanced Grammar and Composition, Paris Art and Architecture, Photography, Ballet, Salsa, and Oriental Dance (very similar to belly-dancing). All but one of my classes were in French. I picked up French very quickly, especially because my host mother did not speak a word of English! I took advantage of being in Europe to visit Marseille, Avignon, Dublin, and Barcelona. All the trips were incredible, and my adventures are available on my weblog, online at academics.skidmore.edu/weblogs/students/r1schill for your reading and viewing pleasure. Although I had an unforgettable time abroad, I'm glad to be home. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! A la prochaine fois!
Molly: Happy Holidays everyone! So much happens in a year, every time I sit down to write this paragraph I am amazed. I spend spring break in Florence where one of my best friends was studying abroad. It was a fabulous trip (and my 21st birthday present). I cried most of the way home because I didn't want to leave. I finished my Junior year at Lake Forest College after which I moved in with my cousin, Lisa, and her family so I could continue my jobs of babysitting and waiting tables. I did make it home several times though: for the happy occasions of Mum's birthday bash, Ashley's graduation and a 4th of July family reunion on Martha's Vineyard. A very sad event also brought me home this summer: our very dear family friend Rowena died and I came home to say goodbye to her one last time. She was like a second mother to me and I love and miss her very much. In August I moved into a tiny little apartment in the Gold Coast neighborhood of Chicago where I participated in an off-campus program for students interested in the arts. I learned a lot about both life and art and I will miss the city and my new friends very much. After New Years, I return to LFC for the last semester of my Senior year! In next year's letter, look for mentions of graduation, Tanzania, and graduate school. In the meantime, I hope you are all happy and healthy and I wish you the best of luck in 2006!
Quita: After last year's challenges and this Spring witnessing one of my best friend’s valiant struggles to enjoy ever minute she had left, I decided to take a little more time to enjoy and appreciate life. I welcomed by 50th birthday with a gala party and danced the night away with my family and friends. Many years in retail sales (9th year at Calico Corners) have taken their toll on my poor feet. I had foot surgery in June and used the 8 weeks of recuperation to sell and empty my Mother's house in Lincoln and play our family reunion. I had not realized how difficult this would be on crutches. Over the 4th of July we celebrated on the Vineyard with 29 Atchleys and their significant others ranging in age from 2-68. I visit my mother a couple of times a week and she continues to do well in the nursing home. My children are growing up, they both graduate in May, Molly from college and Dana from high school. The house seemed too empty, so I got a puppy. Everyone teases me about how much I love Alba, my new Westie. She has given our cranky old Jack Russell, Satch, a new lease on life. Something we all need.
Bill: First, let me apologize to all for the tardiness of this card and letter. My darling wife had everything ready to go LONG before Christmas, but my frantic business schedule kept me from completing it for your reading pleasure. However, that schedule has been the surprise of my year: I transitioned after 8 years with FOCUS to my exciting new position as Director of Sales for Avidyne, the leading provider of integrated glass cockpits in the world. We supply the glass you see in airliners for general aviation such as Piper and Cirrus. It is awesome to combine my sales and sales management talents with my passion for flying. Since joining Avidyne at the end of September, Quita has hardly seen me. However, I'm working with a long time friend from Intel, the company has a talented team of passionate aviators who are a pleasure to work with, and I'm LOVING it. Aviation seems to dominate by life now, as serving America under Civil Air Patrol remains by primary avocation where my growing responsibilities include Incident Commander as well as Mission Pilot, increasing the odds that our sleep is disturbed by 2am alerts (no one ever seems to get lost when one is awake!). By the way, for those who have not seen me recently, there is a lot less to see having shed over 1/4 of my body weight. Motivated by the desire to start playing rugby again and encouragement from my wife, I embarked upon what seemed like an impossible journey to transform my eating habits to a healthier and reduced diet utilizing "South Beach." I've significantly exceeded everyone's expectations and played rugby this summer and fall for the first time in 6 years. The best part is that my wife can't keep her hands off me!!! Remaining highlights of the year were a great trip to Japan with Ashley for her 18th birthday, a fabulous 50th birthday party for Quita, and Quita's family reunion on the Vineyard.
May 2006 bring you the very best, we look forward to sharing it with as many of you as good fortune allows!