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Samantha Kaufman, a rising senior at BLS, was born and raised in Jamaica Plain, though neither of her parents are originally from Massachusetts. Her mother, Barrie Keller, hails from San Francisco, while Samantha’s father was born in New York City. But don’t worry: he hates the New York Yankees and has been a true Red Sox fan for over twenty years. Following in the footsteps of their parents, who both attended premier public exam schools in their own hometowns, Samantha and her elder sister Rebecca (Class of 2003) both attended Boston Latin School.
Samantha’s interest in public service was fostered early during her elementary school education at the Rashi School in Newton, where much focus was put on social justice whose middle school volunteered yearly at The Food Project in Lincoln, MA. Coming from her tiny elementary school, with a sixth grade class of twenty-nine, to Boston Latin School for seventh grade was definitely a huge change. Luckily, Samantha’s older sister, Rebecca, a senior that year, was able to help her along during her terrifying sixie year. While Boston Latin School has definitely been a challenging experience, she feels that each year she has improved, learning the importance of being proactive and taking responsibility for one’s own studies. BLS has definitely afforded her many opportunities, such as the Ward Fellowship, that she would not have experienced at any other school.
At Boston Latin School, Samantha has kept busy over the years. Since eighth grade she has been an active member of both the Mock Trial Team and the Girl’s Crew Team. In 2006, Samantha helped bring the Mock Trial Team to win the State Championship. Testifying as a mock-witness in front of Supreme Justice Ireland was one of Samantha’s most nerve-racking and proudest moments. Selected Captain for this coming 2007-2008 season, Samantha hopes to lead her team far in the championship rounds, perhaps even to States again. Participating in the team has taught Samantha the importance of expression and extemporaneous speech, and the enthusiasm of her coaches, Lauren McDonough, Michael Tumposky and Sean Cronin has incited her passion for law and the judiciary system.
Within her community, Samantha has become deeply involved in the Samaritans organization, working on the Samariteens Teen Suicide Prevention Hotline since November of 2006. While the experience has been difficult at times, she feels that the hours she spends staffing the hotline and helping suicidal or depressed callers are among the most important and rewarding. Recently, she started the Social Committee for the teens, which she co-chairs with fellow BLS Senior Greer McCormick. They hope to organize fun events for the teens who give up their free time to volunteer at Samaritans.
A large part of Samantha’s life is based in Becket, Massachusetts. The 01223 zip code is home to Chimney Corners Camp for Girls, the summer camp that Samantha had attended every summer since 1999 as a camper for six years, on a bike trip for one summer and as an Aide in 2006. It was at this amazing camp that she volunteered at a soup kitchen for the first time and learned to rock climb. The fantastic support system of close friends that Samantha gained there has been an integral part of her life; always supporting her through difficult times, especially her challenging junior year at BLS.
As a Ward Fellow this summer, Samantha will be working in the Cambridge Middlesex District Court House, under the sponsorship of the Honorable Judge Sragow. There she will be working within the Victim Witness Services, an advocacy group within the District Attorney’s office. She is certainly excited to get a close up view of the Massachusett’s judiciary system.