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Three students standing at a podium with a microphone.

This March, our One of 360 is junior boarder Bernice U. ’25! Read more to learn about Bernice’s role as a Proctor, the importance of learning to be a leader, the challenges of holding on to a native language, and the fun of Ring sibling traditions!

On home…

Home is the beautiful Rwanda, Africa! Growing up in Rwanda was an experience like no other, being surrounded by family and friends 24/7. My dad and mom currently live in Rwanda too with my younger sister, Briellah, who is only nine but is as outspoken as an adult. My older siblings, Brian (21) and Belinda (22) are currently in Michigan, wrapping up their last year in college. I’m actually going to their graduation in a few months and I could not be any more proud of them. 

I don’t have any pets as my mother is deathly afraid of cats and dogs but last I heard, my younger sister is working hard in convincing her to get a puppy to keep her company when she is home alone. 

Two parents and a little girl posing for photo.


On Emma…

I believe Emma is exactly where I should be and can not imagine myself anywhere else. The community here is welcoming and the environment is one where you are encouraged to grow into your own person. I first stumbled across Emma while looking at boarding schools with beautiful campuses, and Emma was first and center, with its Hogwarts-like architecture. My first impression of Emma when I first moved in, was that the pictures did not do this school justice. Additionally, I immediately came to see just how kindhearted everyone here is. Everywhere, students and faculty alike, were ready to help and offered me a warm smile every time they saw me. This made the transition from home to Emma so much easier. 

What makes Emma so special to me are the bonds I have made in my time as a student here. Ranging from lifelong friends to teachers who sincerely care about me, in and out of class. I truly believe that some of the people I have met here are ones that I can call friends past my time here. 


A group of students smiling and posing for the camera to take a selfie.


On being a leader…

I’m passionate about being a leader, in and out of Emma, I love taking up the role of leader and caring for my peers. As a freshman, my Proctor was a big part of my amazing experience and that is when I knew I wanted to do the same. This year as a Proctor and a head of the Emma Arch club [Emma Arch is a club that works to connect alum with current students], taking up these roles has pushed my boundaries and allowed me to flourish.

Being a proctor has allowed me to build connections with the people in my neighborhood and I’ve become someone who people seek out for help. This feeling of responsibility is heavy but one I welcome entirely, because it has taught me to think of others, to put not only myself first but my group of hall members first too. Everyday as a leader, not only this role but in life, it is as simple as making sure that I am in control of my actions. It is a learning experience where every step of the way I am learning something new not only about myself but about other people too. 

Two students sitting at a table at a plated dinner smiling at the camera.


On Kinyarwanda…

This is not quite a new hobby, more so a skill I would like to brush up on, and that is being proficient in my native language, Kinyarwanda. Even before coming here, I was mostly surrounded by English so there was not much space for learning my native language. But as the years go by, there are not many opportunities to speak in Kinyarwanda and so my native language has quickly dwindled off my tongue. It greatly saddens me every time I go home and I can barely string the words together to make a fully coherent sentence to my relatives. So not only is the distance creating a drift in my relationship with my family, but my inefficiency in the language that is commonly spoken in my family, has contributed to a bigger gap. 

Three students smiling at the camera with a holiday tree in the background.


On Ring Dinner and Ring Siblings…

Now as a junior, I can fully understand the excitement past seniors and juniors had the days leading up to Ring Dinner. The whole week before Ring Dinner, my two ring sisters, Hedy H. ’24 and Gabby C. ’24 dressed me up however they wanted. Costumes ranged from a praying mantis to a huge inflatable blue suit. I would be lying if I said that these costumes were very comfortable, but the anticipation of the newest wacky costume they would give me in the morning made everything worth it. 

Additionally, Ring Dinner was an experience I’ll never forget. Finally obtaining my class ring honestly made me slightly emotional and I have been wearing it everyday since I first got it. The pictures after the dinner and the fun I had with all of my friends made the night very memorable. Freshmen and sophomores should be really excited about Ring Dinner and the festivities surrounding it!


A student hugging another student and smiling huge.



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