10 Things BLS Students Carry

Glimmers of individuality are apparent in a hallway full of students through the items in their backpacks, purses and tote bags. Whether tangible or abstract, the things Boston Latin School students carry reflect a wide range of experiences, hobbies and backgrounds.

Tim O’Brien’s 1990 novel The Things They Carried inspired this article. Read in tenth grade at BLS, the book focuses on the fictionalized but genuine memoirs of American soldiers who served in the Vietnam War. Teachers modify the concept of writing about memories by assigning a “true school story,” allowing students to reflect on the experiences that every BLS student shares.

A few students share the items they can’t live without as discipuli Bostoniensis Scholae Latinae.

1. The Digital Artist’s Go-To

While some artistic students carry sketchbooks with them, Laila Hollins (I) says that her most important item is her iPad. As a digital artist, she says, “It’s very important for drawing.” She enjoys creating comic strips and short animations because to her, art is “a universal story everyone can enjoy.”

2. A Grandmother’s Ice

Students such as Tiana Nguyen (V) carry physical reminders of their family. Nguyen wears a pair of diamond earrings, with diamonds from a necklace belonging to her grandmother.

3. The Literary Grind Never Stops

Students can be seen reading books in the dining hall as they eat their lunch or on the bus ride home. Lana Nguyen (VI) is currently reading Dragonwings by Laurence Yep for her Humanities class. She enjoys reading it because she empathizes with the challenges the characters face. Besides that, her favorite book series is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

4. Crystal Magic

While some students turn to chemistry to learn about energy, others harness it through crystals. Isabel Vallentine (I), who always carries crystals with her, says,“Each of them have meanings and I’ll remind myself throughout the day with them [that] this is my purpose for today.” Her collection comes from local businesses in Salem, and every once in a while, she and her mom will go on a day trip to find crystals. Vallentine’s favorite crystals are unakite for balance, carnelian for confidence and fluorite for positivity.

5. Ballin’ at Clemente

Many students at BLS are sports enthusiasts. There is serious commitment from students like Rezart Comeau (II), who is always seen with a basketball on hand. He explains, “When I’m carrying it around, it’s usually preparing for a game or practice or whatever it is. Even before I started playing with BLS, I went to Clemente [Field] with my friend almost every day.”

6. Sol, A Needle Pulling Thread

BLS students can also embrace their creativity by joining the BLS Fiber Arts club. Greta Gorman (V) explains, “I carry crochet stuff in my bag for when I get bored.” She is currently in the process of making a cardigan, but has previously crocheted scarves, hats and even stuffed animals. Gorman says her go-to teacher for crocheting is YouTube.

7. MBTA? More Like Skateboard

While most students walk, get driven or take the MBTA, one particular student brings an electric longboard, because he “doesn’t want to walk to school.” For some time, Albert Lin (I) toted his longboard, which he equipped with LED lights for safety, around the hallways of the School. The longboard now resides in his homeroom throughout the day before he hops on it to get back to his neighborhood in West Roxbury.

8. Headphones On, World Off

As headphones around the neck are quickly becoming a 2023 fashion trend, music enjoyers at BLS often don these wondrous noise machines to listen to their favorite tunes. Lin wears his Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones everywhere, “not because [he] liked Bose, but because [he] just wanted headphones and these were 100 dollars off.” To him, “it was an Asian-level deal.” His current favorite song is “Shelter” by Porter Robinson.

9. Chains That Are Key

The universal souvenirs: keychains. Students carry all kinds of keychains on their bags, some with tourist places like “Florida” printed on them and others with a stuffed animal or Among Us plushie. Their significance often undermined, they can serve as reminders of the places one has been and the memories that accompany them.

10. Most Important Of All…

Beyond physical items, intangible connections like friendship are valued by students. BLS English teacher Mr. Richard Beyer notices this common thread among his students’ assignments: “The camaraderie, the friendships that they do make, [and the] support amongst each other is always something. […] That kind of vibe echoes throughout [the student responses].”