Spotlight on Maya Nelson (I)


It’s been over ten years since we became frenemies. I’m grateful for every argument we’ve had, every passive-aggressive eye roll we’ve shot at each other and every day we’ve spent together at camp, utterly annoyed with each other.

What I’m most grateful for, though, is that we got to co-lead YouthCAN together. Every day I stare in complete awe as you work your butt off. It’s a mystery to me how you survive running two major clubs, YouthCAN and debate, doing capstone, being a Topol Fellow and babysitting at crazy hours of the night.

I’m not here to list your resume, though. During the entire time I’ve known you, you have always been determined to do the right thing at every turn and treat your loved ones and Cannies with kindness.

YouthCAN brought us closer together in a way that I didn’t think was possible. Thank you for the long meetings in Ms. Arnold’s room, the emergency summit phone banking, the daily check-ins, the continuously contaminated compost and the infinite email sending we did side by side. It was you who encouraged me to join YouthCAN back in eighth grade, and it’s been by far my favorite part of BLS. I’ve loved fighting with you for a cause we’re both so passionate about.

Watching you find your place as a leader in our community has made me so proud to know you. You are an amazing speaker, debater and activist. You express so clearly what you want to say and are so knowledgeable on political and climate change issues. You have never once shied away from being exactly who you are. I love your loud personality, your confidence and your thoughtfulness. You always listen to my ideas and we’re almost always on the same page, as if we could read each other’s minds.

Throughout the past few years, you have taught me so much about what it means to make a difference in the world, whether you’re complimenting my outfit, checking in with a Cannie or creating a social justice curriculum for elementary schools.

Now that we’re done with high school, I’ll be supporting you from a different state as you take on Connecticut. No matter where we are, though, you’ll always be my brand-new best friend. Goodbye, other half! I love you and I’ll miss you!

— Maia Frost (Maia-i-a)