“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” goes the proverbial saying that is meant to encourage optimism in the face of adversity or misfortune.
Liam Tasker felt that life had handed him a lemon when he did not get into the schools to which he applied while in eighth grade. The saying, however, “tells us to be problem solvers, to learn how to deal with curveballs,” Liam said at the start of his Senior Reflection. So when he was encouraged by his classmates and teachers to stay at Fenn for ninth grade, Liam resolved to make the best of it, he said. And what he made was lemonade.
What surprised Liam is that a few months into the first term he realized he was enjoying himself. He was being given leadership opportunities, such as serving as a Big Brother to a younger student, and he even led All School Meeting one Friday when the president and vice president were unavailable. “My Little Brother said it was cool to see me up there. It felt really good to know someone was looking up to me.” Liam was recently elected to serve as a School Senator for the second term, is the vice president of the Diversity Committee, has been a Peer Mediator, and was a member of the Youth in Philanthropy group this year.
At the end of his reflection Liam exhorted his fellow students to “realize that with hard work, determination, and perseverance you can turn lemons into lemonade.”
Liam has grown close to his ninth grade classmates—“I know and talk to everyone in my grade,” he said during an interview following his reflection, adding that he will miss this camaraderie when he graduates in the spring and heads to Middlesex School, where his brother Gavin ’13 is a senior bound for Tufts. Friendship is very important to Liam: “I was just telling my Dad the other day that I can be in a situation that is boring or not fun, but as long as I have a friend sitting next to me, I enjoy it.”
One of his favorite Fenn experiences is his fourth grade class with Kristen FitzGerald, during which the boys set up an economy on their own, in their free time. Eventually they were minting what they called “Pizzo Bucks” (Kristin’s last name at the time), with a competing currency called “Paul Dollars,” after Paul Emello. They launched businesses, including a casino. Sam Farley, another class member, eventually sold ad space to his classmates on a back bulletin board that Kristin allowed him to control. Liam and James Bernene (who graduated last year) became “tycoons,” Liam recalled with a grin.
Liam plays varsity soccer, varsity lacrosse, and basketball, and he just finished a season with the Fenn Flames. He hopes to play on a club lacrosse team this summer, a break during which he has attended arts and lacrosse camps and spends time in the Canadian wilderness with his family. There, it’s “like a detox,” he jokes, explaining that there is no TV, no cell reception, and no Wi-Fi, and that he spends time hiking and exploring the area.
At Fenn one of Liam’s favorite subjects is biology. That day of his reflection he had just learned a fascinating fact in class: that mammals have a type of circulatory system in which the blood passes through the heart twice before completing a full circuit of the body; blood is pumped from the heart to the lungs and returns to the heart before being distributed to the other organs and tissues of the body. “I like finding out how life works,” Liam declared.