For Bella Leggett '22, being a multi-sport athlete played a significant role in shaping her Lausanne experience. During her time in Upper School, Bella gained invaluable experiences while assisting in multiple Lynx victories as a member of Varsity Basketball, swimming, cross-country, volleyball and leading the lacrosse team as captain.
"My greatest contribution to Lausanne has been my athletic presence in various sports throughout my highschool career," Bella said. "Being a member of five different teams across four school years, I have had the unique opportunity to connect and gain comradery with a multitude of new friends and classmates that I wouldn't have been able to meet otherwise. I have enjoyed working hard at practice and in the gym to push myself and my teammates to become the best versions of ourselves."
The lacrosse team, in particular, has become life family for the senior. Bella played for the team all four years in Upper School, during which she earned her status as captain and gained All-West recognition.
"Freshman year, I made one of my favorite memories playing in arguably the best game Lausanne Athletics has ever had: beating our rivals Briarcrest in triple overtime," Bella said. Playing in such a high-intensity game on a team full of inspiring veteran players was truly the foundation for becoming the captain I was last season and am today. My two seasons as a captain have been so exciting, being a mentor to underclassmen and a leader on the field."
Along with being known for her athleticism, Bella's intellectual abilities in the classroom have given the senior a well-deserved place in the spotlight. Bella has received multiple honor society inductions, including the Spanish Honor Society, Quill and Scroll, National Art Honor Society and Rho Kappa. Although Bella takes pride in the awards she's earned, the academic accomplishment that makes her most proud comes from a project that connected her to her personal life and grandparents.
"Born in Cuba, my mother's parents (my grandparents) have spoken Spanish their entire lives," Bella said. "Although they now live in Miami, Florida, they still both speak little to no English. Because my dad speaks no Spanish, my mom never made a point to speak a lot of Spanish in our home growing up, giving me a basic but not fluent proficiency in the Spanish language. This created a language barrier between myself and my grandparents. After moving to Memphis from Miami away from my grandparents for the beginning of middle school, my primary form of communication with them became phone calls and video chats, dependent on my minimal proficiency in the Spanish language."
As a requirement for the IB Diploma Programme, Bella had to write a 4,000-word extended essay on a subject of her choosing. From the start, Bella knew she would write it in Spanish.
"I knew it would be challenging since I had never read Spanish literature before or written any work as long as 4000 words in English, let alone in Spanish," Bella said. "Given nearly my entire junior year to complete the essay, I strategically planned my work across the year instead of cramming it all until the final deadline, given that language fluency must be learned over time. This project impacted me academically and was a game changer with my character."
At the end of this project, Bella felt confident about her accomplishment of becoming fluent in Spanish while simultaneously learning to plan and sequence competing priorities throughout the year.
"I have used my new language skills to communicate with my grandparents, which was my ultimate goal with this project," Bella said. "Besides enjoying my newly acquired knowledge, I am also using my strategic planning skills with other school and personal goals. Most importantly, in the future, I look forward to building a stronger relationship with my grandparents."
Bella's eagerness to challenge herself at Lausanne offered much success, and she channeled that same mindset when preparing for her future. After graduation, the senior plans to become a pilot while pursuing a STEM major and is currently deciding between William and Mary, Northeastern and the highly competitive Naval Academy. As part of the service academy application process, applicants must obtain a nomination from either a congressional representative, senator or vice president. Bella was interviewed by both Senator Bill Hagerty and Representative David Kustoff and received a nomination to both West Point and the Naval Academy.
As Bella gears up for college and looks back on her time as a student, team captain, and club member of various organizations at Lausanne, the soon-to-be graduate says she feels lucky to have gone to a school in a multicultural and diverse environment.
"Having gone to Lausanne since 2014, I have been able to learn, collaborate, and grow up around students of different races, genders, ethnicities and religions," Bella said. "Discussion-based courses where class collaboration is frequent have given me incredible insight into the unique perspectives of my classmates that are different from myself. I don't only practice my collaboration skills with diverse individuals at school and family, but rather I carry my knowledge to be applicable in my everyday life to be a globally-minded citizen, always eager to learn and collaborate with the world around me. Proudly, I say as a student, friend, teammate, babysitter, and granddaughter that I can be successful working with all kinds of people."