The following article originally appeared in the Fall 2022 edition of Hamptonia. View the full magazine online.
On a bright summer day in 2019, Annie and Alex met on the front steps of Berry Hall for the first time. The two of them that fall, nervous and quiet, became new 9th-grade boarding students at New Hampton School. Annie and Alex were introduced by their dads, Kabraul Tasha ’89 and Ryan King ’90. Kabraul and Ryan were more than just classmates at New Hampton—they were roommates in Lewis House for a year—and were amped to reconnect. For this first meeting, the Tashas (Kabraul and Julie) traveled from Cape Cod, and the Kings (Ryan and Holly) made the cross-country journey from California. Behind this encounter, they held the dream of creating friendship between their daughters. Annie and Alex did not know then that their legacy in Husky Nation would begin as roommates themselves.
Finding the right roommate and advisor fit for new Huskies supports them in numerous ways, especially in their transition to making a new home in the New Hampton village. On paper and in person, Annie and Alex’s personalities fit. It seemed to be a match in every way. But would their story play out as roommates, as with their father’s legacies before them?
In the fall of 2019, Annie and Alex moved into their new room in Rice House. They recall their goodbyes to their parents and the tears that followed. Annie still remembers a piece of advice from her father: “Freshmen year will go by fast, Annie. Make friends!” Meanwhile, Ryan shared stories with Alex about his lasting connections with the faculty. Alex shares, “My dad talked about his relationship with Mr. Tilton and how close they became.” Kabraul added that legends like Mr. Tilton were his biggest support. “I owe my success to him,” shares Kabraul. “He kept me in check. I needed his tough love. He truly cared, and he made sure we knew it.”
As their parents departed, the overnight camping trip to Burleigh Mountain quickly followed. During those pivotal first days together, the girls vividly recall their first icebreaker in their room when a distracted Alex was prepping for field hockey practice and fell flat on her face while lacing up her cleats. It was a laugh the two needed at the time.
As weeks and months passed, they grew individually and together. “People say we are the perfect match. We have had arguments, but then we give each other space. You have to,” shares Annie. The two enjoy a common friend group but also seek out new friendships on their own. Their closeness is palpable as they consider their words, sometimes finishing each other’s thoughts. Alex adds, “It’s like living with a sibling. You have to know how they live and then adapt to that. Adjusting and changing together is important.”
Entering their final year and putting the finishing touches on the decorative theme that adorns their room, they reflect on what they love about their New Hampton experience. “I never thought I could be so close with my teachers,” shares Annie. “They are always there for you. They want you to succeed.” Alex, too, has a strong sense of family and community connection. “I love how you can walk down Academic Row and say ‘hi’ to everyone you see, and they will say hi back. Students and teachers. That is the atmosphere.”
Their story builds, grows, and speeds towards next spring’s graduation and many new chapters beyond. And while they’ll soon leave their student days behind, their families, friends, and the New Hampton community will always remain beside them.