You’ve got a friend

Chronicle Staff

Suzi Shapira’s ’07 mother was offering swim lessons to her 5-year-old daughter and Shapira’s friend Natalie Mason ’07. Mason needed to wear floaties because she was not yet water safe. 

“I outright refused to wear them because Suzi wasn’t,” recalls Mason.

She and Shapira laugh while remembering the amount of time it took to convince her to put the floaties on, a story which has become a classic in the Shapira household. 

Twelve years later, Mason and Shapira are  still inseparable.

They met through parent-arranged playdates in preschool, which then evolved into a close friendship. The girls continued on to Steven S. Wise Elementary School before attending Harvard-Westlake.

After their 10th grade history class turned out to be such a “disaster” because they were constantly talking, they do not have classes together. Yet the girls hardly go a day without speaking to each other.

“We’re like sisters, minus the fighting,” Mason said; “We got over that in third grade,” finishes Shapira.

Students who stick with their close friends from elementary school are very uncommon, according to  school pyschologist Luba Bek, although several of these rare friendships exist on campus. 

Alex Bilger ’05, Nick Warshaw ’05, Jordan Moelis ’05, Adam Krepack ’05 and Zachary Kozberg ’05, all went to the same elementary school as well.  By second grade in the Center for Early Education, the five boys had formed a close group of friends that lasted throughout Harvard-Westlake and now into their sophomore year of college. 

“I talk to at least one of them every day,” Warshaw said. 
“Once they have established their own interests, students then start to reach out from their old school and friends,” Bek said.

Most are like Izzy Shill ’08, who scarcely stays in contact with friends from her elementary schools.  Living in London until she was 10 years old, Shill also had a close group of five friends.  She moved with her family to Brooklyn, N.Y. for three years.

From there she came to Harvard-Westlake in the eighth grade. 

“It was really hard to fit in the beginning,” she said. As for her old school friends, Shill says with a small shrug, “We keep in touch through Facebook, and stuff.”

For Shapira and Mason, it seems there was no need to branch out.

Mason says, “She’ll be the bridesmaid at my wedding.”