Class of 2020 Alumni Gathering

FBRA’s Class of 2020 Alumni Gather to Reflect on their time at FBRA

On, May 21, 2024, we invited the Class of 2020 to come out and reminisce about the good old middle-school days of French Broad River Academy. After hearing these soon-to-graduate-from-high-school young men and women reflect on their time at FBRA, we can definitively say that they are going places, and they are grateful for their time at FBRA.

the kids are alright fbra class of 2020 alumni
Left to right: Will Yeiser, Liddell Shannon, Anna Hodges, Jazlyn Hume, Kate Hackett, Elizabeth Smith, Kessie Ragland, Adam Davis, Trevor Scarborough, Mancel Adcock, Lee Currens, Elliott Kohn, Lucas Rogers, Abraham Pospishil, Elizabeth Douglas, Jack Schroeder, Jeff Edmonds

Read on to hear from the class of 2020 alumni themselves about what how FBRA has impacted them since their middle school graduation.

Favorite memories from FBRA?

“I think one of my favorite memories is being on the river in the morning . . . the experience of being able to see the sun rise and all the bugs in the morning was really really cool.” – Abraham Pospishil

“My two closest friends, I met through French Broad. I’m still very tight with them.” – Adam Davis

“I feel like when I came to French Broad I was super super introverted, and there were a lot of opportunities to perform and speak and stuff like that, and I remember singing in 8th grade at one of the performances, and I would’ve never ever done that in 6th grade.” – Mancel Adcock

“I remember the 6th grade cave trip, and instead of a sleeping bag I had accidentally packed a dog bed. It was like, 40 degrees in there, and I just hunkered down and curled up in that dog bed.”  – Lee Currens

“In 7th grade I started a band with some people [in my class], and it was fun to keep playing music outside of FBRA … I still have all the songs on my phone.” – Lucas Rogers

What aspects of the Outdoor Program have stayed with you over the years?

“I think that, learning independence and leadership through the outdoors, and having to do a lot of stuff for ourselves has been very helpful in school and life now to be independent and to have the confidence to go through things by yourself.” – Kate Hackett

“I think that learning to work with other people made a big difference in my time in high school.” – Abraham Pospishil

“FBRA taught me how to do hard things.” – Trevor Scarborough

“I definitely learned about acceptance … I remember some hikes when it was raining really hard and Mr. Dowsley was like, ‘You guys, we have this great waterproof skin, and it turns out that, even if you don’t have a rain jacket, you aren’t going to die.’ That’s a great lesson of acceptance: it may not be the most ideal situation, but it’s always going to turn out fine.” – Elliott Kohn

“Just being outside for at least one day a week, I didn’t realize how much it made me sane. Being cooped for the whole school day every day, in comparison, it made me realize I need to get outside every day. I didn’t realize it at FBRA because we were just doing it so much. If I sit inside all day, I’m not as productive and I don’t feel as good.” – Lee Currens

“For me, it just taught me a love of the environment, which has sort of motivated some of my schooling. I’m planning on getting an environmental minor in college.”   – Adam Davis

What have you carried with you from you Costa Rica trips?

“It was really cool obviously just to be in a new culture and experience that.. That’s the first time I’ve really just been completely immersed in a new culture. But also, I think that just being in a really tight space with three other people, I remember learning how to work things out.  I remember my partner and I getting really mad at each other, but like, we learned how to figure it out and still be respectful to the place that we were. And I think that I’ve learned a lot about getting along with people.” – Lee Currens

“My 8th grade year in Costa Rica when we were out very rural, and I think we had to hike up the little dirt road to our host grandma’s house, and I think that it was kind of up to me to say, this is my opportunity to communicate with her even though it was very scary at first because if I tried to act things out it still didn’t really make sense to her. So that week, I feel like I really learned to talk to her about things that I needed, but also just communicate.  That helped me later on to build relationships with other people even if I was kind of scary at first.”  – Elizabeth Smith

“It was really cool to see how I could build relationships with my host siblings and my host mom… we could find ways to connect without speaking, like playing games and joking.” – Jazlyn Hume

“On the last day of being with our host families in 8th grade, my host family took me up to this really pretty pasture  with all these cows overlooking the rest of the village. It was really special that these people that we’d just met could show us something that was really important to their life and their home and something really beautiful to them.”  – Kessie Ragland

“We did a lot of things that we were scared of during our time, but we’d really come together to do them.” – Anna Hodges

“I think it’s cool that it was set up in a way that we were encouraged to notice really small details, like in nature or whatever it was in Costa Rica. Having that perspective in middle school really means a lot.”   – Abraham Pospishil

Talk about any differences between FBRA and your high school in terms of the academic experience.

“I did not realize how lucky we were at FBRA just to have teachers that wanted to make it engaging and interesting.” – Lee Currens

“I agree that the difference [between FBRA teachers and my high school teachers]  is stark. There are some teachers in my high school that care as much as FBRA teachers, but not nearly as many.” – Trevor Scarborough

“In terms of one-on-one relationships between teachers and students, and students and students, there was much more connection at FBRA [compared to my high school.]” – Elliott Kohn

“At French Broad you build a lot more personal relationships with the teachers, you know, every Wednesday I’m going canoeing with my Spanish teacher or hiking with my math teacher and that just made me more inclined to want to pay attention in their class and be more involved in my classwork.”  – Adam Davis

How did your FBRA experience help you in high school? 

“We were just talking about presentations and google slides and having to present, and that’s something I haven’t done a lot of in high school… but at French Broad it was something that we were expected to do, and being socially aware, being in front of people a lot. – Abraham Pospishil

I’ve definitely noticed that I struggle a lot less with my homework load than some of my friends. I credit that to …  learning how to manage your time early really helps in high school.” – Anna Hodges

What should FBRA have done differently?

“More coed activities!”

What are your plans after you graduate from high school?

Abraham Pospishil will attend North Carolina State University to study Biology.

Jazlyn Hume will attend Oregon State University to study Engineering.

Kate Hackett will attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to study Nursing.

Kessie Ragland will attend Cornell University to study Human Biology.

Anna Hodges will attend North Carolina State University to study Chemistry.

Trevor Scarborough will attend North Carolina State University to study Environmental Engineering.

Elizabeth Smith will attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to study Biology.

Elliott Kohn will attend North Carolina State University to study Engineering.

Mancel Adcock will attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to study Statistics.

Lucas Rogers will attend Appalachian State University to study Psychology.

Lee Currens is taking a gap year to do service work in Bolivia and Peru, and then he plans to attend Savannah College of Art and Design to study Photography,

Adam Davis will attend Appalachian State University to study Political Science.