New England

Anne Berquist (’23) For the latest installment in our ongoing series about prefects for the 2022 High School Summer Program, we meet Anne Berquist, a rising senior on the New England campus.

“Whenever someone asks me where I’m from, I don’t know what to say,” says Anne. “I was born in Texas, but coming from a military family, I’ve moved something like seven times, and finally ended up in Virginia.” The second of nine “curious and boisterous” children, Anne is also the granddaughter of Duane Berquist, who was the brother of Thomas Aquinas College founder Marc Berquist, a longtime friend of the College and a mentor to many of its faculty.

“Since I’m related to a founder, people naturally assumed I would enjoy the fully integrated philosophical wealth of knowledge that is TAC,” Anne laughs. “But being more practical — and also quite rebellious — I was inclined to be somewhat skeptical” about the prospect of coming to the College as a student. Despite that skepticism, however, Anne decided to give TAC a shot … in the form of the 2017 High School Summer Program.

The first crack in the wall of resistance came as she met the prefects and her fellow attendees. “The small glimpse of the beautiful community at TAC that I saw on the Summer Program shocked me, and I instantly wanted to be a part of it,” Anne says. “In all the places I’d lived, I had never seen so many good Catholics my own age who really cared about the Faith, but who were also super-talented and just plain fun to be around!” Soon after, the intellectual life of the program leveled the brittle remains of her skepticism. “The Great Books hit me like a brick,” she jokes. “I loved that we read the real authors, and not some rando’s textbook interpretation. The packed discussions we had in class trailed into great conversations at meals about deep real-life questions. I was totally hooked!”

Anne’s Summer Program was in California, as the College had not yet acquired the New England campus in 2017. But when it came time to apply, the College had offerings on both coasts, and she was intrigued by the prospect of being at the vanguard of a new era in TAC’s history. “Having moved around a lot growing up, I’m well-acquainted with having to make yet another house into a home,” she explains. “Helping start a new campus naturally appealed to me; I really wanted to be part of fostering that vibrant TAC community life that I had loved so much on the West Coast campus.”

As Anne herself discovered, the Summer Program plays a key role in exposing prospective students to the vibrant spiritual, intellectual, and social life. The very desire that led her East, therefore, makes her an ideal prefect for the Summer Program. “I’m looking forward to all the great conversations we are bound to have, considering the Summer Program readings,” she reflects. “And I can’t wait for the kayak day, too — the Connecticut River is so much fun to explore!”

Whether it’s exploring Western Massachusetts or the beautiful rigors of philosophy, Anne is thrilled to take part in the 2022 Summer Program in New England.