LUDLOW, Vt. – Taylor Lynn Meyette is the Expeditionary School at Black River’s first graduate. In a class of her own in so many beautiful ways, Taylor’s work ethic and self-discipline is one of a kind. For the graduating Class of 2021, their senior year has been marked by a global pandemic, and all the changes and unknowns that will now follow suit. Yet for Taylor, as she walks forward and toward her goal of becoming a veterinary technician she does so with grace, kindness, and a sense of humor. These are the characteristics that will be her legacy at Black River.
We are proud to graduate our first student because she embodies why this school came to be and all that it aims to achieve for future generations of graduates. Black River’s mission is to “educate students to be intellectually curious, resourceful, and confident in themselves for a life of personal fulfillment and civic engagement.”
A first-generation college student, Taylor credits her success to having consistent support and guidance from her grandmother, Deb Bixby, and her Uncle Kevin and Aunt Devin. This past fall when we were brainstorming her college essay, Taylor explained that her intellectual curiosity grew from her Aunt Devin encouraging her to “study hard bookworm.”
At an early age, when faced with adversity, Taylor found solace in the presence of animals. She enjoyed caring for her pets and benefited from the affection they gave back to her. Taylor credits those childhood experiences as shaping her goal: to earn a post-secondary credential in veterinary science. “Study hard bookworm” will remain her mantra as she enters the classrooms at the University of Wyoming.
By learning to focus on what is positive, Taylor’s resilience is a beacon. She will graduate Black River Saturday, June 12, wearing on her cap, another quote that Aunt Devin recited to her: “Forget all the reasons why it won’t work, and believe in the one reason why it will.”
Taylor’s resourcefulness and self-confidence is anchored by her grandmother’s respect for the importance of public education. Deb’s commitment to this school, and her consistently thoughtful communication with the me has been a key feature in nurturing ours and Taylor’s potential.
The work ethic Deb has instilled in her grandchildren distinguishes them and will be an exemplar for others who choose to join this learning community. Each day Taylor is the first to arrive for class. She preps her list-to-do and offers to help with everyday tasks. Notetaking and organizing her file folders are one of the many skills that sets Taylor up for success in college and beyond. I will miss the friendly conversation that accompanied each of our start-to-the-day routine during Black River’s pilot year. And, Ludlow will miss seeing Taylor’s smile at the local grocery store, where she works five nights a week.
It is because of Taylor and Deb’s respect for others, as well as their faith in this community, that we are now equipped to sustain the school’s future. Our progress has been in part due to the leadership of this young woman. Congratulations, Taylor! We are proud of you.
And, thank you, Deb Bixby, very much. We are forever grateful for all you do for Black River’s students and staff. Because of your contributions to this learning community, we look forward teaching more students to be as disciplined and hard working as Taylor.
Written by Kendra Rickerby, Head of School, Expeditionary School at Black River