Class of 2020 Profiles: Deven Kinney ’20 & Makayla Boxley ’20

Deven Kinney ’20 did not expect his daily morning routine at Yale to consist of waking up, getting dressed, and sitting down at his desk to open up Zoom.

Deven Kinney ’20 did not expect his daily morning routine at Yale to consist of waking up, getting dressed, and sitting down at his desk to open up Zoom. Regardless of the fact that his freshman year is unusual on multiple accounts, Kinney said that “there is just so much to love about Yale.” He particularly adores the collaborative, laid-back campus culture as well as hearing about the incredible stories that brought his peers to Yale.

Thus far, Kinney has noticed that his teachers and a schedule play less of a role in structuring his academic pursuits than they did at Lawrenceville. For example, instead of having to read a designated number of pages per night in his English class at Yale, Kinney simply knows the final objective of his assignment—to finish a novel by the end of the week—and can take individual liberties in determining how he wishes to accomplish the task. Kinney has also had to adjust to new class sizes, such as his economics lecture, which he said is upwards of 400 students, while still advocating for his learning when needed. While he aims to keep an open mind, he plans to pursue one or two majors at Yale and is currently deciding between economics, history, or global affairs.

Kinney naturally dived right into Yale’s campus life and currently holds multiple roles in different clubs. He joined the Model United Nations team at Yale, noting that it is more competitive and active compared to the team at Lawrenceville. He also sings for the Yale Glee Club, tutors with Bridges ESL, and is the Secretary of the First Year Class Council. As a leader in his class, Kinney has, nevertheless, met his fair share of challenges this past couple of months; for example, he has had to plan multiple social events that still unite his peers in a virtual setting.

While he has enjoyed his time at Yale so far, Kinney misses his Lawrenceville career from time to time, particularly the intimacy of the community: “I took [it] for granted that I would see my teachers walking their dogs, or my coach eating dinner in Irwin.” Kinney also commented that Lawrenceville’s social media platforms provoke a lot of nostalgia for him. He follows all of the accounts and cannot help but reminisce about his time in the Periwig Club after seeing posts about Clue: On Stage, this year’s production of the fall play. He also misses Club Stan, Spring Dance Concert, Hill Weekend, and sporting events at Lawrenceville, but there’s one thing he certainly does not miss: Saturday classes.

Reflecting on his last year at Lawrenceville, specifically the college admissions process, Kinney offers some beneficial advice to current V Formers. “The college process is really stressful—we have all been there—and as cheesy as it sounds, you will end up where you belong. It might not work out the way you thought it would, it will be challenging, and it will be stressful, so trust the process and lean on relationships that you have built for years at Lawrenceville.” He particularly advises those who stress easily to not let the process get to their heads and instead to present their true authentic selves to the schools that they are applying to.

Makayla Boxley ’20, who many remember as the face of L10 or as the Vice President of Honor and Discipline on Student Council, is now a freshman at Amherst College and has enjoyed her experience on campus thus far.

As a V Former, Boxley contemplated attending either Amherst College or the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. She planned on pursuing political science at either college, but her decision came down to which institution satisfied her present interests as well as her prospects for a future career path. While Georgetown emphasizes a liberal arts foundation and allows internal transfers between its four undergraduate colleges, Amherst’s more traditional liberal arts education gave her “the peace of mind to always change [directions].”

Boxley plans to utilize Amherst’s open curriculum to pursue a double major in political science and either economics or Law, Jurisprudence, & Social Thought (LJST), Amherst’s version of a pre-law curriculum. To Boxley, LJST provokes “thinking and learning about law in the context of breaking down the moral questions” that our legal systems do not necessarily ask. Ultimately, Boxley views law school enthusiastically as a possibility for her graduate degree.

Boxley’s Lawrenceville education, particularly two of her classes, played an instrumental role in shaping her interest in the law. She praised History Teacher Lawrence Filippone’s Honors U.S. History class, in which he focused his students’ learning on the long-term significances of historical decisions, allowing her to focus on “analyzing what can be fixed in the future.” Secondly, she found her favorite senior elective—African American Literature with English Teacher Wilburn Williams H’02 ’06—to be particularly moving, as the texts “shaped [her] own experience as a black person in America.” Her experience in this course served as the primary impetus for her consideration of law as a potential career.

Pursuing her passion for broadcasting and reporting, which she did for four years with L10, Boxley claims her “most exciting” pastime at Amherst yet is the Radio News Show. She interviews guests, offers advice per request, and even performs music for her audience. What’s even more special is that the show shares the station with New England Public Media, meaning that Boxley isn’t merely participating in a school-only channel but one that is publicly accessible. After participating in the Northwestern Medill School of Journalism Summer Program prior to her V Form year, Boxley realized that while she’s deeply passionate about journalism and media, she felt she could have a more meaningful impact in the world through another career, such as law.

While Boxley sometimes misses the activities and packed schedule of her Lawrenceville life, she can confirm that Amherst has treated her well in regard to providing “more time to breathe and the possibility of taking a nap” every once in a while. With that said, Boxley also finds comfort in the multiple similarities that Amherst and Lawrenceville share—including, but not limited to, the window frames of her dorm room, which are shockingly similar to those of Dawes House, the community feeling of a smaller student body, and Mammoth Day, Amherst’s rendition of Head of School Day.

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