Diane Bookrookas is Repeating High school
February 20, 2019
You’re walking around MA and notice a student who looks a bit older than the rest. Confidently striding from admissions event to admissions event, this friendly face is actually not a current student but rather an alum. Sporting a simple outfit with a touch of color on each of her several large rings, Diane Bookrookas, Senior Associate Director of Admissions, is living out every student’s dream: coming back to work at MA.
Seamlessly blending in with whatever crowd she occupies, whether it’s students or fellow teachers, Diane brings a certain calm, confident and witty energy into the room. As she commands the attention of students while leading an admissions meeting, she listens to everyone patiently and really makes them feel heard. She knows how to make everyone feel as though they are her equal, almost as if she is a student herself. Just like a student she exhibits a certain curiosity about the world around her and is eager to learn.
Like any good MA student, Diane is extremely welcoming as she always has her door open. Besides this, daily she puts up with the tons of students roaming through her office in search of candy and greets each one with a warm smile. When the heating was broken in the BBLC over winter break, Diane was blessed to have a plug-in heater in her room. She was quick to invite fellow faculty members into her warm den and even offered to give her luxury away to Alex, assistant to the head of school. This kindness is rare and is what every MA student should strive for.
As she smoothly shifts from talking about Marin Academy today to nostalgically talking about Marin Academy when she went here, she proudly makes it apparent she is an alum.
When the opportunity hit to talk with an MA alum, I just had to ask about what it’s like being back. When asked, Diane cheerfully said, “being back here felt like achieving one of my less lame 17-year-old dreams.”
A self-described “theater kid,” Diane was heavily involved in the theater program during her time at MA: “I was a theater kid kind of the majority of the time I was here. So my first three years more than my senior year. And therefore I hung out in those years with a lot of theater kids and music kids so I sort of crossed the bridge here.” She talks about the playful rivalry between theater and music kids and asks me if that still exists today to which I reply that I have no clue because I’m in visual arts. Despite the apparent rivalry, she remembers music concerts fondly: “Everybody would go to concerts. Actually Taylor Tan and I were just talking about it, that in the concerts before there used to be these, not in the wings, but in those weird sort of alleyways between the stage entrance and the audience, that was all just two giant little dance parties.” This is the best idea I’ve heard in a while. “Any students that want to get on board? We are in full support of bringing back the dance parties cause it’s just so fun. “
After MA, Diane attending Clark University in Western Massachusetts where she got an experience far different than that of MA: “[Clark University was] sort of popping a little bit of the bubble that I lived in completely my entire life.” Some 80 percent of the students there were on some sort of financial aid, and were of a completely different socioeconomic status than the students she previously went to high school with: “I was exposed to a very different sort of world and people then what the bubble that I had grown up in was and that may be a way better person.” Humble, to say the least, and extremely aware of her surroundings, Diane never passes up an opportunity to learn and grow in and out of the classroom. She was quick to thank her MA education saying that when she went to college, “I felt more prepared than most of my peers which was hard for me freshman year actually. It felt like I was going from being a small fish in a big intellectual college to be a big fish in a small college.” Even back when Diane attended MA, academic excellence was a staple of the education it provided. This stuck out to me as a constant over the years, but I was also curious about how MA has changed.
I was surprised by what I found out. For one, when she went to MA, there were only thank you’s in senior speeches and not shoutouts. Digging a little deeper she profoundly said, “I think that the world around us and the world that students inhabit has changed a lot and that has impacted, in ways that I’m sure I’m not even aware of, the student experience about going here.” With this simple yet thoughtful response, Diane further proved to me that she was a student of Marin Academy. You see, being a student at Marin Academy means being conscious about the world and Diane has taken these important aspects of an MA student and passes her wisdom onto the younger generations.