The Friend

Betsy Quimby has not always found making friends easy. Through her  teachers, family, and church community, Quimby has learned she can be a friend to others, and to herself.

Photo by Betsy Quimby

Betsy Quimby has not always found making friends easy. Through her teachers, family, and church community, Quimby has learned she can be a friend to others, and to herself.

Caleb Goss, Visual Content Editor in Chief

“I’m okay. I feel like a lot of stuff is just not going the way I wanted to play out,” Senior Betsy Quimby said. 

Much like the rest of the world, Quimby’s everyday routine was flipped on its head going into lockdown. Where she would usually find solace in communities like her tightly knit family, small church community and school connections, Quimby had to familiarize herself to a new normal. Though she sees her relatives frequently, this was not the case at the beginning of quarantine. 

“I normally see my [relatives] a lot, and we’ve still been able to see them, but it’s just different. We didn’t see them for a long time at the beginning of the pandemic,” Quimby said.

Before lockdown, Quimby and her family would bake as a form of bonding. Influenced by her mother and grandmother, Quimby’s love for baking stemmed from countless sleepovers spent at her grandmother’s house with her brother. They would bake cakes and family cookouts.  

“My grandma and her family love to bake and cook for our whole family. Like, probably every week, we would have a meal at my grandma’s house that she would make for us,” Quimby said. “My mom [also] loves to bake. Every year for my dad’s birthday, we make him a birthday cake and decorate it with something that he loves.”

Some of Quimby’s favorite memories come from Christmas, where her uncle can be found savoring every bite of her favorite dessert to make: peanut butter cookies with chocolate on top. 

“[Christmas time is a] really happy [time]. Every year, me and my brother get a new pair of pajamas to wear on Christmas Eve. Being able to spend time together is really fun,” Quimby said. “We sometimes do lunch at my grandma’s house the next day, but it’s just a really happy [time] to be with them. I love winter, too, so it’s just a nice time of year.” 

From a young age, Quimby found comfort in going to Mt. Horeb Presbyterian church. With only three kids around her and her brother’s age, her involvement ranges from acting in Christmas plays to readings at church as well as a small youth group the year before COVID-19. After attending church outside at the start of the pandemic, Quimby has had to adapt to not being able to go to church after moving back inside to ensure the safety of others.    

“Just being able to grow up through the church was really awesome. I started babysitting at church for families,” Quimby said. “I feel like it’s made me more mature. I’ve been able to talk with adults and be comfortable around them.”

Though Quimby has grown comfortable talking with adults through participation in church, talking wasn’t always Quimby’s strong suit. Her dread to meet new people stems as far back as elementary school after getting her name moved down the chart due to not shaking hands with a guy out of fear. However, Quimby has come a long way in her journey to stepping out of her comfort zone. One moment in time when she branched out that sticks out to her was at the start of freshman year when she went to the Chesapeake Bay on a STEM field trip.

 “I remember at the beginning, I was really nervous because I didn’t have that many friends that were going on the trip with me. I knew a few people, but not that many. I just didn’t know who I was going to talk to or if I was going to have to be alone the whole time. I just remember, this is going to sound really cheesy, but at the beginning of the trip, Mr. Shantz was taking pictures of everyone. And I was like ‘don’t take a picture of me,’ hiding my face. Then at the end, I was trying to get in all the pictures,” Quimby said. “I was having so much fun. I had made friends with a bunch of people. That trip made me really go out of my comfort zone and try to talk to new people and hang out with people that maybe I wouldn’t have been friends with before.”

Not only was STEM a big contributor to Quimby’s journey of growing more comfortable talking to other people, but Quimby also went on to join Newsstreak, an elective focused on journalism. Quimby had planned on continuing band into high school, but surprising herself, she decided to sign up for Newsstreak, a decision she believes changed the trajectory of her high school experience. 

“I think Newsstreak has made me a lot less shy and [helped me be] able to talk to people, even though I don’t like going up to people and talking to them,” Quimby said. “It’s changed [who] I’ve been friends with and the activities that I’ve done and pursued. When I first got into Newsstreak, I was like ‘Why did I do this, why? Why didn’t I stick with band?’ But I think in the long run, it’s been really nice to have that break be the activity that I mainly focus on.” 

Partaking in opportunities offered by STEM and Newsstreak has not only given Quimby the chance to open up, but also given her the opportunity to form strong connections with the advisors who run them. Quimby has always cherished the advice of adults from members of her family to those in her church. One of her most impactful relationships is shared with English teacher Sara Gingras. Through these relationships with her teachers, Quimby has learned that she’s not alone in high school; her teachers are there to help. 

“I definitely think my relationship with Mrs. Gingras has been one of the most impactful teacher relationships I’ve had in high school. I had her for a fifth block class in tenth grade and it was just me and like, six other kids,” Quimby said. “At first, I thought I was going to hate the class, or it was going to be super easy. But we formed a bond within that class. I was able to form a connection with her, which was the first time I had done that in high school. [It] was really nice to have someone that I could talk to if I ever needed help.”

Though she is nervous about what the future holds, Quimby stays optimistic as she looks towards college. She had originally planned on going into engineering and had always loved math, but after taking precalculus and calculus, she has reconsidered her original idea after disliking the two classes. One avenue she has considered taking is teaching, a path both her parents are familiar with. Though she is unclear what career path she will take, one thing is certain: the once shy Betsy Quimby has grown out of her shell. 

“I like talking to my teachers a lot. Maybe that’s why I want to go into teaching. I’ve been able to form connections with my teachers. They’re able to help me and form connections with people and make new friendships which used to be something that I hated,” Quimby said. “I just wanted to be friends with two people and not have to talk to new people. But now, I guess, I like to make new friends. [Forming] friendships is something that I like to do.”