Keegan fellows to support students in all stages of life

Education, positivity, personal connection at the forefront this summer

Nathan Bornstein, Staff writer

This year’s recipients of the Marina Keegan Fellowship plan to honor Marina
Keegan ’08’s ideals of activism and community with summer projects involving
graduation portraits and body positivity. Katie Baker ’23 will photograph adults
receiving their high school diplomas, providing their families with inspiration and
perhaps sharing their stories with the school community, while Annie Stockwell
’22 hopes to educate Lower School (LS) students about mental health and body
image through developing workshops and a health curriculum that incorporates
body positivity.
A committee of eight members—Marina’s parents, five of her former Upper
School (US) teachers, and her friend Luke Vargas ’08—met twice over Zoom to
discuss the proposals of this
year’s 16 applicants.
“Applicants had to be
pretty thoughtful about
what realistically they could
do during the pandemic,”
Committee member Beth
McNamara, who taught
Marina English, said.
“We talked through
every application, and
the more evidence of a
developed plan they showed
us, the better off they were.”
The two recipients stood
out for the feasibility of their
plans and their embodiment
of Marina Keegan’s ideals,
Ms. McNamara said.“Like Marina, both
of them have the activist

components of connecting
to people with clear
compassion. We want our
students to be involved
in whatever project they
are doing. We are starting
something, adding to
something, or developing
something—‘the opposite of

loneliness,’ quite literally,” she said, referring to Marina’s essay and book of the
same name.
Committee member and US English Teacher Ariel Duddy appreciated how
Annie and Katie applied their individual perspectives to their plans, she said.
“The two of them demonstrated a real connection between themselves and the
community they aim to serve, which felt pretty powerful,” Ms. Duddy said.
Annie reported close relationships with people who have struggled wit

h body
image, body dysmorphia, and eating disorders.
“I have seen how it affects people and how it can really change somebody’s
life,” Annie said. “I wanted to do something that could have helped me or other
people who have been affected by low self-esteem and poor mental health.”
Focusing on LS students is a key piece of her project, Annie said.
“It’s so important to give the younger generation the tools they are going to
need to feel confident in themselves because having confidence can a

ffect you for a
really long time and keep you in a strong headspace.”
Starting this summer, Annie plans to research mental health and body image
and consult experts before collaborating with LS faculty members on their health
curriculum for 2021-22. Annie also hopes to visit the LS with other US students to
discuss mental health and self-love, she said.
“The goal is only positivity; we don’t want to introduce anything negative to
kids ever.”
Annie’s grant of $200 will likely go toward transportation costs and workshop
materials, she said.
Katie will use her love of photography to commemorate the achievements of
adults receiving their high school diplomas. The idea came from her experience as
a volunteer in the adult diploma program at Jewish Vocational Services (JVS) in
Boston, she said.
“Here at BB&N, graduation is such a given, and in our lives, we

don’t know
many people who don’t graduate or don’t have the opportunity to graduate from
high school,” Katie said. “But especially after seeing how much these adults in the
JVS program want to graduate, and how hard they work on top of parenting and
multiple jobs, I want them to succeed. And when they do, if they have a portrait on
their wall of them with a diploma, it’s going to make their kids want to live up to
that and have their own goals.”
Katie plans to attend two JVS graduation ceremonies at the Massachusetts
State House in Boston this summer, using h

 

er $600 grant for portrait materials,
frames, and gift bags.
“I want to continue Marina’s legacy and do something good for my community
in her honor,” Katie said. “I am proud to embody her spirit and values through my
project.
Both Keegan fellows continue to mull the logistics of their projects, Ms.
McNamara said, and will finalize their plans by June, the official start of the
fellowship.