Class of 2002 include hypnotist, aerobics video star

by Dara Lee | 10/27/98 6:00am

It's Freshman Orientation. The campus is abuzz with the typical conversation:

"Where are you from? What do you do?"

"Massachusetts. I was valedictorian of my class."

But some of the responses are out of the ordinary:

"I was a star in an aerobics video," or "I hypnotize people."

One of this year's freshmen did indeed star in an aerobics video, and another is an amateur hypnotist.

Among the members of the Class of 2002 are also a cross-country skier training for the 2002 Olympics, a recruited football player who also plays five instruments, someone who had to milk cows everyday at his high school and still another whose pom squad was featured on ESPN.

Bryon Friedman

Bryon Friedman '02, who ran up Mount Moosilauke with the cross country ski team in under an hour Sunday, has been featured in Ski Racer Magazine.

Friedman said he hopes to make the ski racing team for the 2002 Olympics, but he has to compete well in the World Junior Championships this February to do so.

He will be taking Winter term off this year to ski with the National Development Team, a team of eight junior ski racers from around the nation.

Friedman said he views skiing as a very important part of his life. "I want to ski as long as I can, until I am too old to ski."

Friedman, who is originally from Atlanta, Ga., traveled with the National Development Team around the world. He said he made some very good friends along the way. "It felt like I was competing against the entire world," he said.

Friedman also competed last year in the World Junior Championships, and said he felt overwhelmed by the competition.

Friedman has also been teaching himself to play guitar for three years. He and his roommate Gordy Quist '02 play together often, along with their Undergraduate Advisor Gretchen Mather '00, who sometimes sings harmony for them.

His roommate Gordy Quist '02 said Friedman knows how to have fun, but also knows when to get work done.

Gordy Quist

Quist is one of the Big Green's linebackers. Yale and Cornell Universities and the College of the Holy Cross recruited him for football.

"Everyone seems excited to be here," he said of Dartmouth. "I think I made the right choice by coming here."

Although Quist is on the football team, he said he does not identify himself only as a football player. He is also a musician.

Quist, who was lying on the floor strumming the guitar throughout the interview, also plays the trombone, harmonica, bass, drums and piano.

Quist does love football. "The fact that you can hit somebody and try to kill them -- and not get into trouble for it -- is great."

Quist has no definite plans for the future. He said he is enjoying his classes, although the academics here are challenging, and he never had to study or read so much in high school.

Friedman said Quist is a friendly and very patient person. Quist sustained an injury earlier this fall, and could not play football in the peak of the season, but Friedman said Quist handled it very well.

"My roommate Quist is a cool guy, good athlete, plays guitar and the ladies are always here because of him -- what more can you ask for?" Friedman said.

Scott Given

Scott Given '02 started learning hypnosis two years ago. He saw a hypnotist show and he decided to try it out on his friends. He said it worked, but the problem was he did not how to take them out of the hypnotized state.

Since then, Given has been developing his technique through classes. He said he uses voice and music in the background to perform the hypnosis.

Given held an informal performance at the College, and he said many people come to him to get hypnotized.

His friend Lee Birchall '02, who plays golf, often becomes nervous before a competition, so he goes to Given to be hypnotized. Given said he tries to get Birchall to associate relaxing thoughts while he is hypnotized, and it really works.

Given said he is self-conscious of the fact that lots of people know him. "It's weird because sometimes people will point at me and go, 'that's the hypnotist,'" he said.

When he is not hypnotizing his classmates, Given balances his academics with his duties as treasurer of the Freshman Council and as a big brother in the Tucker Foundation Big Brother Big Sister Program.

Given said he loves children, and hopes to teach inner-city schools in New York City or Boston after graduating. He would also like to become the superintendent of a large city school district.

Given ran track and played golf in his high school in Reading, Mass. He was also the president of his class, as well as captain of the track team. Sports Illustrated featured a story on the team because it was 265-0 in the last 27 years.

Given spent two weeks during the summer traveling by himself in Ireland and Scotland. He said he learned much about himself during the trip and about his own culture since his family is from Ireland. He kept a journal during the trip, and now he is attempting to write a book about his experience and feelings.

Heather McLetchie-Leader

Heather McLetchie-Leader '02, who grew up in Trinidad, posed for a West Indian painter this summer, sitting a few hours every day.

The painter mainly does portraits of fragments of West Indies life. McLetchie-Leader said she worked as a curator at an art exhibition of a German artist, and met him there.

McLetchie-Leader said the painter did a number of paintings of her, and he gave a show of just her portraits in Tobago. McLetchie-Leader said she learned how to pose for artists and also how to incorporate the ideas of the artist into her pose.

Also over the summer, she appeared in an aerobics video broadcast over a European network. The video aimed to increase awareness of Caribbean music, especially the Soca type of Calypso.

McLetchie-Leader said she plans to return to Trinidad after graduation and join her boyfriend's furniture design business, which is one of the reasons she is taking Studio Art 10.

McLetchie-Leader said she is enjoying her freshman year so far. She enjoys music and singing, and she is a member of the Gospel choir.

McLetchie-Leader, who is 21, spent three years before college teaching, working at a telephone company and instructing at a gym.

McLetchie-Leader said she misses Trinidad, especially since its pace is much slower and laid-back.

Jeff Dwyer

Jeff Dwyer '02, from Dublin, N.H., attended the Putney School on a large farm with 35 cows.

Putney is a very small school of only 180 students founded on principles of trying to provide a wholesome education.

Dwyer described Putney as an expensive boarding school where all the students are expected to get involved.

Dwyer was on the work committee, in charge of giving jobs to the students who cooked, cleaned and did other chores. Dwyer said all through senior winter he had to wake up at five in the morning to milk cows.

Students purified the milk themselves. They took out some to make yogurt and cheese, and sold the extra milk.

Dwyer, who wore a sweater knitted from Putney sheep's wool at the interview, said Putney had a very liberal atmosphere, and the people were incredible. There were a lot of hippies, brilliant artists and good musicians, he said.

Dwyer said he learned how to paint, draw and knit at Putney and also made his own computer game with graphics and the web page for Putney.

Dwyer is on the lightweight crew team and plays intramural soccer at the College.

He said he loves singing, but he is not a good singer. He said he wants to start a lightweight crew a cappella group.

"Lightweight crew sounds awesome. We know all the songs from 'Top Gun,' and our theme song is 'You've Lost That Loving Feeling,'" he said.

Dwyer said he is an outdoorsy person and enjoys hiking and rock-climbing.

Nicki Leiser

Nicki Leiser '02 was captain of the pom squad at Cherry Creek High School in Englewood, Colo. Her squad won the national championships twice in two consecutive years.

ESPN televises the top five squads at the championships, so her team was on TV for two consecutive years. She said winning the championships and being interviewed by ESPN were two of her most memorable experiences.

Leiser said a pom squad is like a dance team. Many of the moves involve dancing, kicking and leaping.

Leiser cheers on the Dartmouth cheerleading team, which she said is different from pom, but just as fun.

She has been a gymnast for 11 years, and she said pom involves more gymnastics than cheerleading. Leiser said she is planning a start a dance team as club sport here, and she has already written a constitution for it, so all she needs is enough interested people.

Leiser said she loves dancing, and she is taking ballroom dancing lessons here. She also knows tap dancing, jazz, ballet and hip-hop.

Leiser is involved the Ledyard Canoe Club, the Women in Science Program and Hillel Jewish student organization. She is also a figure skater. She is planning to be pre-med, and wants to go into pediatric psychiatry.

Leiser also coached children in gymnastics. She said she loves to work with children, and will be joining some of the Tucker Foundation projects involving them next term.