L-R: Andrea Ringklib ’98, Meredith Davison ’98, Emily Broidrick ’98, Erin Supenis ’98, Jennifer Soderberg ’98
When Emily Broidrick ’98 passed away unexpectedly in November 2018, her classmates convened to discuss ways in which they could honor Emily’s memory. “When we heard of Emily’s passing, we scheduled a Zoom call with our class. So many classmates showed up. Frankly, we were in shock. Emily was so young. She was one of those classmates everyone liked,” said Class Correspondent Brooke Berescik-Johns. “Many in our class hadn’t seen each other since we graduated in 1998. While it was a sad time as we reminisced about Emily, and it was lovely for all of us to come together. As a class, we had not made a senior gift to the school and we thought that honoring Emily was a great way to reconnect all of us with each other and the school.”
Joining Brooke in moving the initiative forward to honor Emily were Rachael Rosselli and Jennifer Soderburg. All three work in development at different organizations with Brooke at the National Dance Institute, Rachael at the American Red Cross of Massachusetts and Jennifer at School Year Abroad. “Because all three of us work in development at other organizations, we know that there are many ways to honor people who are important in our lives,” said Rachael. “Emily enjoyed and valued her time at Walker’s. She had this personality where she always seemed available to you no matter what. She was kind with her time and with her listening skills for all of us. I always appreciated that in Emily. She could give sage advice even at a young age.”
Because the initiative took shape during the height of COVID, the group brainstormed with the Advancement Office staff on ideas that would offer an outdoor experience for students. “Emily enjoyed the outdoors and would always look for ways to spend time outside,” shared Rachael. The school had just purchased hundreds of brightly-colored Adirondack chairs that are scattered throughout campus that allow students to socialize, eat a meal without plexiglass or simply take a mask break. The group settled on the purchase of a special set of white Adirondack chairs that would be “Emily’s.” “These beautiful chairs would allow students to gather the way we did to enjoy each other and the beautiful New England setting,” said Brooke. “Emily’s chairs” are located on the lawn in front of Beaver Brook near the chapel, a prominent location where students can take advantage of the views to Talcott Mountain or the riding ring and paddocks across Bushy Hill Road.
“The Adirondack chair project is exactly the right way to honor Emily,” said Brooke. “Her name is on a small plaque on each chair so it’s there for all to see. The project is at a scale that allows all of our class to participate and make a significant impact on the project’s success.” The group aims to have 12 chairs named in Emily’s honor. To date, 10 have been ordered with two remaining chairs to be funded. “We settled on 12 chairs because we thought that this was a good number to accommodate a small class or a club meeting,” said Rachael. “They are also a place for someone to enjoy quiet time, maybe a small escape, to reflect and think. The chairs offer a chance for both personal and community moments.”
Members of the Class of 1998 who are interested in helping purchase the remaining two chairs or with the development of a fund to maintain the chairs can contact Leila Howland Wetmore ’82, P’18, Director of Development and Annual Giving at firstname.lastname@example.org or Marion Paterson P’17, ’19, Director of Alumnae Relations at email@example.com for more information.