Weekend Wisdom

Kristen Potter Farnham ’86

29
“We don’t run alone.”
“Last summer, I participated in Tri for a Cure, a sprint triathlon in Portland, Maine, that raises funds for the Maine Cancer Foundation. I’m a regular ocean swimmer and I love to bike, but running is my nemesis. Although it’s only a 5K, I was dreading the run. As I slogged through the last half mile in the pouring rain, I approached the final water station, where my husband, Bob, son Henry, and daughter Audrey were volunteering. I was pretty depleted, but Audrey jumped onto the course and ran to the finish line with me.
 
“For me, Kent Place was like that triathlon.
 
“Kent Place allowed me to swim, bike, and run. We didn’t specialize in one academic area or extracurricular activity. Instead, the curriculum required us to delve into a whole range of subjects and probe different aspects of our abilities. I love that we were asked to try our hands at lots of things. The strong writer who struggled in math was also the lacrosse captain and sang second alto in Chorale.
 
“KPS taught me the value of practice. Every day, we rehearsed, trained, rewrote the essay, conjugated more verbs, and tackled another problem set. Even when we were tired and cranky, we showed up — for ourselves, for our families, for our teachers, and for our teams. Putting in the work has helped me across many finish lines at home and at work.
 
“Kent Place was challenging. Our teachers set high expectations and pushed us out of our comfort zones. They also provided support and guidance, and underpinning those expectations was the implicit message that we could do the work. I have carried that confidence (repeat after me: I can do this) into every academic and work setting since then. That conviction sustained me on the tri course as well.
 
“Kent Place was and is a community. Although studying can be a solitary pursuit, real learning is a group effort. I absorbed so much not only from my teachers, but also from my coaches and classmates. I made lifelong friends who are wise, engaged, and generous women. Since graduation, we have shared many of life’s high points and also some dark days. Like my daughter Audrey, they have shown me that we don’t run alone.”

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Kent Place School is an all-girls K through 12 independent college preparatory day school with a coeducational Preschool, located in Summit, NJ.