Nephthalie Bernard, CCSC ’10, worked hard in high school and it’s paying off at college.
Nephthalie Bernard is sitting on a wooden park bench underneath a large maple tree. With blue skies above and the yellow and red leaves of fall scattering the ground around her, this could easily be the set for a fictional Hollywood movie about life at a quintessential New England college.
But Wheaton College is not some movie set. The campus is made up largely of beautiful granite, marble, and brick lecture halls and dormitories and sprawls across the center of Norton. Elm, Spruce, and Maple trees line the quad, and off to the east is Peacock Pond. It is all a part of everyday life for Nephthalie.
It is a life she loves.
“What I love most about Wheaton is the faculty and staff,” she says. “I feel as though they truly go above and beyond for their students. They have office hours like any other college professors but it’s the dynamic of the classes that I appreciate the most. Also, I love the fact that Wheaton is predominately student-run. The students make their voices heard on this campus and they are definitely listened to. You won’t run into a student that is not at least involved in one activity on campus.”
The Cambridge native is majoring in psychology with a minor in education, and heavily involved in student activities at Wheaton (she is co-chairing the Christian Fellowship group on campus and is also an active member of iSpeak, a spoken word and poetry group). She says her success, something her classmates marvel at, is due in part to the education and support she received at CCSC. She says she is extremely grateful for how well the teachers and administrators at CCSC prepared her for college success.
“The work load at CCSC was tough but it is definitely the most important thing that has prepared me for college,” says Nephthalie, who graduated in 2010. “Wheaton is a school known for giving a lot of reading, and CCSC did the same thing. They taught us so early on how to read and 'mark up the text' and thoroughly annotate the readings. That is one of my best studying techniques now.“
Her classmates and even her advisors at Wheaton are astonished at how well she juggles her course load, extra curricula activities, and down time. Wheaton Professor Marcus Allen, who served as Nephthalie’s First Year Seminar advisor, was impressed with her interest in growing academically.
“She was one of the brightest students in the FYS and displayed a great degree of depth in her knowledge and ability to think critically,” Prof. Allen says. “She was often one of the few students who actively participated and demonstrated a profound sense of maturity in the classroom. Nephthalie is a very determined and hard-working student. She faces challenges head on and approaches life with a smile and optimism.”
School officials at CCSC are not surprised at her success. They describe her as mature beyond her years – considerate, kind, and thoughtful.
When Head of School Caleb Hurst-Hiller (who was upper school principal and a teacher when Nephthalie was a student), thinks back on Nephthalie’s time at CCSC, the first thing that comes to mind is her positive attitude and her work ethic.
“The energy changes when she walks into a room,” says Mr. Hurst-Hiller. “On top of all of that, she works tirelessly and commits herself fully to causes about which she cares – her church, her education, her teammates, her service,” he says.
When Mr. Hurst-Hiller was coaching boys’ basketball, Nephthalie was on the girls’ team and the boys and girls traveled together to away games.
“So the boys and girls teams pile onto the bus,” he says. “Controlled chaos ensues. Nephthalie sits near the front, her head buried in a science textbook, steadying her pen and completing an assignment. We arrive, Nephthalie plays harder than anyone on the court, giving her all, diving for loose balls, rebounding and boxing out exactly as taught. Win or lose, her attitude is incredible. She motivates her peers and cheers them on while she’s getting a breather on the bench. She watches the boys’ game afterward while doing homework. She and a teammate are huddled on the bus ride home, studying flashcards. They take turns holding a cell phone up for light. We return to school and she cheerily leaves, starting her hour-plus journey via public transportation home.”
Nephthalie remembers those days well. “CCSC is not for everyone,” she says matter of factly. “But it was the right place for me. I know I’m on my way because of the preparation and work ethic I developed at CCSC.”
And she knows the teachers and others at CCSC are there for her if she needs them. “CCSC is looking out for you and your best interests,” she says. “I always know I can go back to CCSC for anything I need. That’s a nice feeling to have.”