Alumni StoriesAlden Garrett ’73 and Lily Eriksen ’11

Multiple Generations, Constant Mission

For many, The Bush School feels like a family. For others, that is coupled with literal family, woven into the very fabric of the school. Alden Garrett ’73 called The Bush School, “our place.” Her daughter, Lily Eriksen ’11 was a Bush ‘Lifer’ as Alden was, attending the school from Kindergarten through Twelfth Grade. Lily’s grandfather served as President of the Board of Trustees. Lily’s cousins joined Bush as students.

“Each family member’s experiences at Bush are distinct from each other,” Lily states. “It’s been experienced in different eras and from different perspectives.” Alden attended the school during the Civil Rights Era. She was a Kindergarten student in 1960. She attended classes in the old carriage house where Wissner Hall stands now. The small class size gave Alden lifelong friends and lifelong lessons about challenging assumptions and understanding differing perspectives. “The day Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot,” Alden remembers of her Seventh Grade class, “our English teacher challenged us to define the difference between an assassination and a murder; between a tragedy and sadness.” Critical thinking was of great import to Alden at the school. She is now a lawyer. “I came out of Bush confident that I could and should question everything. It opened my eyes to realizing how incredibly privileged I was and continue to be, and that with privilege comes responsibility.” Responsibility means caring for one’s community and one’s family, however narrow or broad that definition is. Her daughter learned this as well; those connections and bonds can last and exist beyond a school’s walls. “It is special to see peers grow and evolve,” Lily says as a Bush Lifer. “You know you can depend on them and their support in any way, well beyond school. It is a unique experience.” Each family member cultivates a different perspective and experience. For Lily at Bush, “I grew to understand that everyone has a different point of view and that although you may not agree with another person’s perspective, you can hold a conversation and 1969-1973 Tykoe yearbook photos of Alden whose high school years spanned a period of change in which Bush transitioned from being a girls’ school in which students wore a formal uniform into a new era of co-education framed by the cultural revolution of the late 1960s. Experience 2020 3 9 come to a better understanding.” These insights brought Lily into state politics. She currently serves as Deputy Finance Director at Jay Inslee for Washington. “The idea of giving back and supporting my community,” Lily says, “came from my time at Bush.” Just as important as finding value in others is finding value within one’s self. Discussing experiential education programming like AMP and AMP Week, Lily says it taught her to take risks. “Learning to feel comfortable taking risks gave me a real sense of accomplishment.” Teachers taught her more than course work. Teachers like Gillian Toledo who helped Lily through questions like, “Why can’t I?” Teachers like Upper School French Teacher Esther Reiquam, “an ardent cheerleader who was always there for me.” Bush celebrates each student’s inherent worth and value, and has been doing so for many years, family generation to family generation. “I loved having my daughter go to Bush for her own experience,” Alden concludes. “Although the school has changed quite a bit, there remains the same mission to support the individual, challenge them intellectually, and nurture them.” The same mission as a family’s.
The Bush School is an independent, coeducational day school located in Seattle, WA enrolling 715 students in grades K–12. The mission of The Bush School is to spark in students of diverse backgrounds and talents a passion for learning, accomplishment, and contribution to their communities.

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