Making Their Mark
When I was in high school, a few AP classes, a couple of roles in some school plays and a spot on a varsity team was considered overachieving. My, how things have changed. Our annual list of teens to watch has elicited two responses here around the office: “These kids are amazing!” and “Thank God I’m not applying to college now!”
These teens excel in more than just academics. They are trailblazers in philanthropy, technology, the arts, science and humanitarianism. And while some may refer to them as the leaders of tomorrow, that’s not 100 percent accurate. They are the leaders of today. Whether it’s by developing local policy with international ramifications, uncovering scientific breakthroughs, or discovering ways to monetize a tech arena that has remained largely untapped, these kids have already achieved greatness. We can only imagine what the next twenty years will bring.
Not every kid who is destined for greatness makes a “Teens to Watch” list. We know this. Our completely fascinating interview with the modern master Chuck Close brings that home. As a child, Close was diagnosed with severe dyslexia, a neuromuscular disorder and a rare condition that prevented him from remembering faces. He was so “impaired” that a teacher once told him to consider a career in body and fender work.
Today his paintings are priced in the multimillions. We were lucky enough to catch up with Close this past summer as the Bruce Museum prepared its exhibit of his stunning work, on display now through January.
There is no appropriate segue to tell you about our cover story, “Innocence Lost”. Here, through the eyes of survivor Kaitlin Roig, we explore the day that twenty-six lives were taken in Newtown. The young teacher was first introduced to the world in an interview with Diane Sawyer just hours after the shootings. I remember being amazed by the poised twenty-nine-year-old who tearfully, yet eloquently, explained on national television how she hid her students in a bathroom and told them that she loved them, as the shooter passed by. Her presence of mind was awe-inspiring.
Soon after I saw that interview, I came to find out that Kaitlin lives in Greenwich. And although the editor in me really wanted to contact her for a story, I felt we should respect the privacy of someone who was most certainly picking up the pieces of her life. In a serendipitous twist of fate, a mutual friend introduced us just a few months later. We met at l’escale for coffee and chatted about her life—where it’s been, but more important where it’s headed. We are honored that she has entrusted us to tell her story.
As disparate as the lives of our teens, artist and teacher are, they are bound by one common theme: perseverance of the human spirit. Each of these twelve people shows us that no matter your circumstances, you can indeed achieve greatness.