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Student Q&A: Carlise Brush ’23


My favorite class has been biology, which I took my junior year with Ms. Kelly. I have always enjoyed classes in this subject area the most because the material helps me better understand the world around me, never failing to fascinate me. Biology, in particular, piqued this interest for me more than the other sciences I have taken at St. Mark’s because it was more tailored to the environment, humans, and animals, which are areas I love to learn about.

In this class, we explored a variety of topics, such as the brain, diseases, genetics, and our environment. I did my first ever dissection for this class, and we learned in a hands-on way about the different sections of the brain. The class also encouraged us to use creativity as a way of learning. In our note-taking for the class, one half would be standard bullet points to record key information, but the second half would be any creative expression of what we just annotated. This method helped me to reinforce my learning by expressing it in multiple ways.

Since my III Form year, I have been involved with varsity soccer, hockey, and lacrosse. I was also a prefect in the III Form dorm my V Form year, and I am a head admissions prefect this year. I am also a member of Haiti Partnership and spent this past Lion Term learning about ways that St. Mark’s can improve its relationship with our partner school in Haiti. It is difficult to pick a favorite among these different areas where I dedicate my time outside of the classroom because they all contribute to different aspects of my identity at the School. Sports have made my time here the most memorable because the relationships I have formed have made St. Mark’s feel like home.

I love to spend time with my friends outside in the Athletic Quad playing games, sitting in the adirondack chairs, or eating in the Dining Hall. Being outside on the Athletic Quad with friends after practices and before study hall in early fall and spring are amazing opportunities to enjoy the weather and relax before starting homework for the night. Eating breakfast with my friends before classes is my favorite way to start the day because if I am tired or having a rough morning, being around my friends helps me to feel better and more excited about the day. The same goes for dinner time and having dinners where we get to bond as a team after practices or games.

My favorite experience at St. Mark’s was Lion Term this past year, working with the Haiti Partnership for two weeks in the spring. We spent our time learning about Haiti and Haitian culture, our partner school St. Marguerite’s, and how we can more impactfully aid the School from the United States. Mrs. Morgan and Rev. Solter designed the two-week course so that we could completely dive into the history of Haiti, the culture, and the work of other partner schools from the U.S. Our work throughout the course focused on ways that we at St. Mark’s could improve our relationship with St. Marguerite’s without the ability to travel due to COVID-19 and political unrest in Haiti. This experience has been my favorite at St. Mark’s because I got immersed in a different type of learning. I also developed a better understanding and appreciation for Haitian culture. I look forward to taking what I learned and implementing it into the Haiti Partnership club this year.

The student and teacher relationship here at St. Mark’s is one of the most special aspects of the School to me. The teachers are completely invested in our success and are always there to provide support when it is needed. But what I think really makes the relationship between students and teachers at St. Mark’s special is that they are so much more than our teachers. They are also our coaches, dorm parents, and advisors. The boarding school atmosphere of having your teachers with you every step of the way makes school truly feel like home away from home. The teachers get to know you on a much deeper and personal level, which makes their investment in our futures and successes that much more meaningful.

One of the most important lessons I have learned from my time at St. Mark’s is that you have to advocate for yourself when you need help. Last year as a V Former, I found that if I wanted to achieve the goals I set for myself, I needed some help to get there. I reached out to my teachers and asked to meet with them. One teacher I reached out to was Ms. Kelly, my biology teacher. I explained to her what my goals were and then asked how I should approach my learning differently to achieve them. With time and Ms. Kelly’s help, which included multiple meetings, I achieved my goals. One of my biggest learning curves coming in as a III Former was that I felt like I needed to be completely independent and struggle alone in order to do something, but I have found it is important to never tough it out alone!

I was motivated to pursue leadership opportunities and community engagement at St. Mark’s because I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone and become more involved with the community here. I wanted to dive into roles that I knew would be rewarding, such as being a prefect in the III Form girls’ dorm. I was really inspired by the prefects during my III Form year and wanted to be able to create a memorable and positive experience for the incoming class last year. Becoming close with the other girls in my grade was an influential factor in my love for St. Mark’s, so I wanted to help foster that connection for new students.