Back on the Bank: Not All Parks and Chilling with Junior Leila Beaver

Katie Fryburger

“I know it will only get harder as it goes, but I’m trying not to stress myself out too much now. I’ll take it a day at a time, I guess.”

Being a teacher’s kid seems impossible. But, what if both of your parents were teachers at your school? Leila Beaver is no stranger to frequently running into her mom, Mrs. May-Beaver, and her dad, Mr. May-Beaver, in the hallways or being told, “I have your mom/dad next period.” 

Whether by choice or by accident, she has grown accustomed to being around them 24/7 since she arrived at Lovett in sixth grade. And she can’t even escape them over the summer.

Her parents have been working at Lovett for over twenty years, and they decided to marry soon after meeting each other during their first year teaching. “They went on a faculty trip to New Orleans and hit it off,” she said. “They immediately knew that they would end up together.” 

While I thought this was a sweet story, Leila rolled her eyes at me, though this could have been because I didn’t turn on the air in my overheating car. 

She decided we should talk at her nearby park, which is her favorite place to bring friends in her freetime. She claims it’s the best place to “sit and chill.” When she isn’t dragging people to the park, she enjoys performing in theater at Lovett and participating in learning programs, such as her six week Jewish literature class over the summer. Leila also loves playing with her dog Opie, and spending time with her older sister Chloe, who recently began her freshman year at the University of Georgia.

But Leila’s life isn’t all parks and chilling. She is entering her junior year, presumably the most difficult year of high school at Lovett. The seniors also enjoy scaring the new junior class by claiming they will “drown in work and assignments,” which doesn’t help their stress levels.

When I asked Leila about her thoughts on the upcoming year, I was impressed by her mature answer. Most kids would blurt out a simple, “I am going to die,” but she replied by saying, “I know it will only get harder as it goes, but I’m trying not to stress myself out too much now. I’ll take it a day at a time, I guess.” 

With difficult classes like Honors American Studies, AP Art History, and Honors Spanish IV, it can be challenging to maintain this positive mindset. On top of that, teachers and students are beginning to ask about college plans, which is a bit overwhelming for a student like Leila who hasn’t even gotten her license yet, despite being sixteen. “I’m working on it,” she laughed. 

So how would she answer the classic question, “Where do you want to go to college?” She told me she would say, “I’m not sure yet, but even if I was, I probably wouldn't tell you,” which made me smile. She believes that information regarding testing and AP scores should remain private, like her sister and parents have advised her.

Even though she chooses not to share scores, Leila agrees that Lovett produces a competitive environment fueled by graded assignments. “I made it a goal not to be competitive,” she admitted. “I try my best because I don't ask for people’s scores, and I feel like it’s Lovett’s nature to pin people against one another, even if they don't mean to.” 

Overall, both Leila and her parents are ready to finally be returning to in-person learning after a year full of hardships due to COVID-19. She claims that while her mom and dad prefer regular teaching, her “mom liked online more” than her dad did. 

Obviously, I had to ask one last burning question about her parents before she left to take a well-deserved nap. “Who is the better teacher?” I asked. Amusingly, her eyes grew wide at the fairly direct question. “I haven't had my dad, so it might be biased,” she said. “I think my mom is easier, and I know she does fun pop culture stuff. I would probably say her, but I've heard from students that they are both good.” 

This wasn’t the drama-filled answer I was trying to pull from her, but it’ll have to do. She eventually left my car and her favorite park to return to her room and take a nap with her favorite plush “Squishmallow” pillow.

The Lovett School is an independent, coeducational day school where children from Kindergarten through Grade 12 find the courage to explore and the drive to discover.

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