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Elise Van Leer

One of my main main takeaways from Oneness was developing a true curiosity about life and love for discovery. The Montessori approach taught me from an early age to be a hands-on learner and ask questions that matter.

I think it is what guided me toward science, which is an experimental field where new knowledge is always being created and old knowledge is being turned over. If I hadn't been encouraged by the environment at Oneness, I wouldn't have had such an intrinsic and sustaining desire to keep asking questions and to always remain a skeptic. I studied pharmacology at McGill University and feel fortunate that I can call on principles that were taught to me early on — compassion, creativity, and compromise — that are sometimes neglected in the hard sciences but are nonetheless so important.

As for my favorite OFS memory, the one that stands out is traveling to London for a class trip in the 8th grade and jumping on the beds in the townhouse where we stayed, while screaming along to "The Lion King." It was a truly gleeful moment.

— Elise Van Leer, Student 2002-2013, Grades PS to 8