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James Browning '11

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

At Waterford Since: 2nd Grade

The last gift he received: Something his mom brought him from the grocery store

What he does when he’s alone in his car: Speaks Russian to himself

What would he do if he won $10 million dollars: Keep a modest sum for himself and give the rest away

James Browning says that spending time with Kathy Morris, Waterford Strings teacher and Orchestra Director, was the best kind of homecoming. James played the viola in the Orchestra while he was at Waterford and he reconnected with Kathy after the Orchestra’s winter concert.

“I enjoy coming back to Waterford for the Orchestra concerts, but I don’t usually say hello to Mrs. Morris since I know how busy she is preparing for the performance. But, at the winter concert, the Orchestra played several Russian pieces, and I couldn’t help but ask Mrs. Morris why she chose to include them. That’s when I learned about the Orchestra’s upcoming trip to Russia, Estonia, and Finland.”

James graduated from Waterford in 2011 and then from Carleton College in 2015 with a degree in History and Russian. He then spent ten months in Russia on a Fulbright Fellowship teaching English. After reconnecting this winter, Kathy began meeting with James weekly in preparation for the Orchestra’s upcoming trip. The meetings focused on Russian language and culture. It also gave James an opportunity to advise Kathy on the Orchestra’s itinerary.

“Mrs. Morris used to say ‘go big or go home’ during Orchestra rehearsals. And, as I was helping her prepare for the Orchestra’s trip, she showed me that she truly lives this mantra. She put so much energy and passion into learning Russian language and culture, and I was like a proud mother when she stood up in the Orchestra’s spring concert and spoke in Russian to the audience.”

But despite his pride in Kathy’s work, James was quick to revert back to the role of student when reflecting on his time helping prepare Kathy for the trip.

“Although I was here to teach Mrs. Morris, it’s hard not to continually learn from her. She is such an excellent teacher, and the opportunity to reconnect with her and Waterford was invaluable.”

This fall, James will begin a Master’s program in Regional Studies: Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia at Harvard and then hopes to pursue a PhD in History at Cambridge. Ultimately, James would like to teach.