Amanda’s Story: Student Reflection on Seattle Alumni Trip

Amanda Mozea, PBHA’s Alumni and History Coordinator for the Spring of 2016, travelled with PBHA officers and staff for an alumni trip to Seattle in June. This is her story:

From June 9th to June 12th, PBHA journeyed across the country to connect with alumni from years gone by. The people I met, the stories I was able to hear, and the reflection I was able to take part in were truly remarkable.

screen-shot-2016-10-18-at-17-52-26

After breakfast on June 10th, we had our first alumni meeting of our trip. Chris Bayley had graduated from Harvard in 1960. He had never done PBHA during his undergraduate years at Harvard, but in the following years he found himself more and more tied to the organization.

Honestly, I was pretty intimidated by Mr. Bayley. He was unimposing in stature and possessed a delighted eagerness to hear about the work that we, current undergraduates, were doing at PBHA and at Harvard in general, but a simple Google search – “Chris Bayley Seattle” – had revealed an impressive resume of accomplishments.

You see, Chris Bayley had been the Prosecuting Attorney for King County from 1971 to 1978. Mr. Bayley played an essential role in breaking organized crime in the city of Seattle. (And, he’s even got a book about it!) He was the first prosecutor to charge a White police officer with the killing of an unarmed Black man. Needless to say, I was proud to have PBHA blood pumping through my veins.

We continued on our day with a meeting with Emily Lin ‘02. We met Emily at Chiang’s Gourmet, across the city from our hotel. More food was ordered and more food was consumed. We ordered off of the menu for the clientele who know and appreciate the cuisine they are imbibing. And, boy, was the food delicious. (The candied shrimp was my favorite.)

We talked about finding place and finding purpose. At some point in our conversation, Emily had the current students (myself and my fellow officer, Connie Cheng, one of PBHA’s Resource Development Chairs) think about what we want to get out of our Harvard experience. Before we left, she had kind words of wise encouragement to give to each of us. To me she said: “You have good discipline and a strong sense of purpose.” With those words, it felt like I was leaving the restaurant and facing the world with Emily’s blessing.

Next, we rambled over to the picturesque house of Peter Crane ‘68. Peter taught photography to low-income youth in his time at PBHA. One of his students ended up pursuing photography later in life because of Peter’s work. (He gives PBHA a shoutout on his website!) Peter showed us into his home, let us eat raspberries – fresh off of the bush! – and showed us some of the black-and-white pictures his photography students took more than 40 years ago.

Peter showed us around the city. First, we were treated to a view of Puget Sound. Next, we went to the docks and saw salmon attempt to swim their way upstream. Finally, we went to the ocean (really Puget Sound) where I planted my feet in the freezing water and called my sister to tell her of the wonder that had been my birthday thus far.

Next, with Peter Crane still serving as our tour guide, we traveled back into the city for dinner. We stopped at a bar where I ordered my first legal drink: caipirinha. We discussed how our parents met or how we – those of us who were married at the table – met our significant others. Stories were passed and traded like cards. We popped chili-spiced popcorn and laughed. All too soon, it was time for our party to depart. Peter left us for dinner with his wife. We marched on to a sushi restaurant, the birthday girl’s food of choice.

The restaurant was full of merry folk. Game 4 of the NBA finals – the Golden State Warriors versus the Cleveland Cavaliers – was airing in the background. The fusion sushi was delicious and, to top it all off, I was greeted with a birthday dessert of fried ice cream. It was the cherry on top of a wonderful birthday!

Saturday, June 11th

This day is dedicated to the stories of the alumni who were so good as to share the stories of their PBHA experience with us. We toured the city during the day and rode The Great Wheel – a monstrosity of a ferris wheel that lifts its occupants over the waters of Puget Sound – by night, but these experiences – while utterly magnificent – pale in comparison to the stories that we encountered.

One such story was that of Dr. Henry Kuharic ‘50. (Funnily, Dr. Kuharic was physician of Chris Bayley who talked of him as one would an older mentor.)

Dr. Kuharic tutored youth in the South End Settlement House. What began as a program to engage children in the sciences, specifically chemistry, ended dramatically when Kuharic’s students poured alcohol out onto a lab table, turned the lights off, and set it ablaze to admire the blue of the flame. “No more chemistry!” Kuharic told his kids. The chemistry program then transitioned – overnight – to a photography program.

screen-shot-2016-10-18-at-17-54-01

After undergrad, Dr. Kuharic went on to medical school. Since becoming a physician, Dr. Kuharic has crafted a resume, quite telling of his passion for caring for the sick. He fought tuberculosis in Latin America, met the president of Liberia – twice – and played a crucial role in fighting the onslaught of the AIDS epidemic in Seattle in the 80s. Dr. Kuharic’s humor and wit were only outshone by his humility with regards to his accomplishments.

Sunday, June 12th

Goodbye Seattle, you were a wonderful host!