Three Brookline High School students received the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents Certificate of Excellence from Superintendent Andrew Bott at the November 30th School Committee meeting. Honored for their perseverance in the face of extraordinarily challenging personal and family circumstances, these students maintained their ability to excel academically, be involved in numerous activities, and continue to be full, contributing members of the BHS community.
BHS staff shared sentiments about these students during their recognition at the Shcool Committee Meeting, and their remarks can be found below.
Brendan Kobus, BHS Interim Associate Dean of Students, on Tiara Ranson:
“Tiara is one of THE most optimistic and resilient people I have ever met. She embodies countless positive qualities; she is a successful student, a loyal friend, a dedicated teammate, always happy and positive, smart, kind, inclusive of others, mature and focused, funny and full of life! She is loved and admired by many. Tiara is truly AMAZING!
On the surface, no one would know the hardship that Tiara has endured in her lifetime. In 2013, Tiara suffered a terrible loss within her family. Despite her world crashing down, Tiara continued to remain positive and a ray of light to those around her. Tiara entered high school and immediately began to connect with peers and adults. She excelled in the classroom and got involved with teams, academic groups and in social justice work. Tiara is currently a member of AALSP, Captain of the Cheerleading team, a Calculus Project Teacher Assistant, member of MSAN, member of the Achievement Gap Initiative, Mentor to freshmen students of color and crucial member of faculty interview teams.
During her Junior year, Tiara underwent a precautionary, yet invasive, medical procedure. Prior to the surgery, Tiara was nervous about the procedure, but in typical Tiara fashion, she was more worried about falling behind in her classes. School is extremely important to Tiara, as she is an intelligent and capable young woman, who has a hefty list of goals she would like to (and will) accomplish.
One of the things I love most about Tiara is that she doesn’t allow the hardship to define her. Tiara is an outstanding young woman, and few adults could go through what she has experienced and still come out stronger. She is intelligent, ambitious, and fiercely driven. Tiara will undoubtedly continue to be hugely successful in college and beyond. She is a force to be reckoned with. We are so happy that she is receiving this award.”
Lisa Redding, BHS Interim Dean of Students, on Evan Yu:
“Evan came to BHS from the Runkle School and he was so eager to be at The High School and to learn all that he could. His teachers raved about his performance and his personality. Considerate, caring and honest, Evan immediately wins you over. Evan’s transition to the high school was going extremely smooth, until December.
In December of his freshman year, Evan came down with back pain after a fitness exercise; a casual trip to the doctor turned into an immediate transfer to the Children’s Hospital/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Evan was diagnosed with Leukemia. For the next two-plus years, Evan and his family went through an unimaginable challenge. A grueling chemotherapy schedule left Evan weak, and his immune system wiped-out. Yet every time his guidance counselor, Lenny Libenzon, visited him in the hospital, Evan was the most steadfast and optimistic person in the room.
From day one of his diagnosis, Evan stated that he wanted to graduate with his class. Barely a couple of weeks into the treatment, Evan began to complete homework and tests that our teachers submitted to us for him. He came back to school full-time in the third quarter, which was a risky decision, since his immune system was still weak. Yet he was adamant about wanting to learn and be with his classmates, and we were proud to have him back. Through his unimaginable 9th grade year, which included spending the summer catching up on work, Evan excelled academically due to his determination to keep pushing forward. Sophomore year, Evan continued to attend classes in between his treatments, making up multiple days’ worth of assignments when he went in for chemotherapy. On many days we simply marveled at his perseverance to be at school.
Throughout his ordeal, Evan participated in many Jimmy Fund activities (camps, meeting Red Sox players, fund-raisers). He was also featured in the Boston Globe and won a competition for the Home Goods bag design, with proceeds from the sale of the bag going to Dana-Farber. In addition, Evan kept up with his Chinese School on Saturday mornings, taking lessons via Skype from the hospital. As a result, he is fluent in Cantonese and is near-fluent in Mandarin. Evan also tried to enjoy his hobbies every chance he had: drawing, kayaking, fishing, playing cello, and cooking!
We are so happy that Evan is now in remission. He has shown strength and courage in the face of adversity while managing to earn a 3.77 GPA and a spot in our National Honor Society. We are so incredibly proud of Evan. He is a young man of extraordinary character and he is truly a Warrior!”
The entire Brookline School District extends pride and heartfelt Congratulations to Tiara, Evan, and Carolyn!
Left to right: Tiara Ranson, Evan Yu, Carolyn Parker-Fairbain