Alumni Spotlight: Noelle Iati
Noelle Iati is a Class of 2014 alumna. After Willow, she attended Mendham High School for two years. She then dropped out, got her high school equivalency, and went to college at Bard College at Simon’s Rock. After getting her AA Degree, Noelle transferred to Sarah Lawrence College. This year, she’s a college senior, and she’s starting a joint graduate program at Sarah Lawrence College in Women’s History, which she is very excited to be doing. Outside of school, Noelle has been focusing on her music. In her time since Willow, she has been in two a cappella groups, three extracurricular choirs, and two duos with some of her guitarist friends. Additionally, she enjoys to crochet and bake. We decided to interview Noelle, our most recent past Alumni Society Coordinator, to get further insight into her life and how Willow has affected it.
What are the three things you are most proud of that you have done since you left Willow?
I’m very proud of the leap of faith I made in dropping out of high school and going away to college early. It took so much courage, but like I think most leaps of faith, I couldn’t be happier I took it. I’m very, very proud of that accomplishment. I’m also proud of the work I did my sophomore year of college to make the attendance policy at my school more understanding of physical and psychological disabilities which sometimes prevent people from attending class even when they’re not “sick.” Lastly I’m proud I went abroad. I was terrified of taking that solo trip and being isolated in a foreign country. I went for it anyway, and I ended up having a great time and, more importantly, learning a lot.
How have the things you learned at Willow helped you on your journey and influenced you as a person?
I don’t think I’d have the courage to break the mold if I hadn’t gone to Willow. For a lot of these big decisions I’ve made, my internal conflict has been between what my gut tells me to do and what I feel is expected of me. Being at Willow from grades K through 8 made it clear that not fitting the status quo is okay, and sometimes doing those unexpected or unusual things can be the most rewarding to our growth as human beings.
Which virtue do you find the most useful in your day to day life?
Respect! Respect 100%. Respecting others is the key to the kingdom, folks.
What do you miss the most about Willow?
I miss the community. I also had a similar small community at Simon’s Rock before I transferred to Sarah Lawrence, and having that community twice in my life has really meant a lot to me. While I’m really introverted, knowing that I’m surrounded by people who know and (for the most part) support me is incredibly valuable.
Thanks for being our first alumni spotlight of the 2019-20 school year, Noelle! Nominate a friend, or submit yourself, for the next spotlight! Email Madie Schulte.