Taylor Marks, Class of 2011 - Health and Wellness Expert and Entrepreneur

Our Clairbourn alums continue to impress us with their talent, eloquence, kindness, strong work ethic, beauty, intelligence, and wisdom. Taylor Marks, Class of 2011, is no exception. We caught up with her during a visit to the Clairbourn Families Association Tennis Social, and in between her stellar tennis shots, we asked her if she would be featured. <br /><br />She enthusiastically agreed to be featured, pointing out that Clairbourn has had a significant impact on her childhood. Although she has had a wide variety of experiences after high school, including attending university in San Francisco, and living in such a diverse and fast-paced city, she will always remember Clairbourn as the place where she had an "overwhelming sense of community and family." She learned important skills here, and she made lifelong friendships. Clairbourn was a place where she was nurtured and encouraged and loved. Her tight-knit family, including her mom, who is active as a Board Member at Clairbourn, continues to inspire her to work hard and pursue what she loves.&#160;<br /><br />Taylor is currently pursuing a career in health and wellness and plans on starting her own business in order to help others pursue a healthy and fulfilling life. Read more about her inspiring life and the invaluable advice she has for our students and alums.
When did you come to Clairbourn? What year did you graduate from Clairbourn? Where did you go after that?

I began at Clairbourn in Pre-school and I graduated from Clairbourn in 2011. After 8th grade, I went to La Salle High School.

What do you remember most about your time at Clairbourn?

When looking back at my time at Clairbourn, I remember the overwhelming sense of community and family. I made incredible friends while at the school, many of whom I still keep up with today. The teachers I had and faculty I interacted with were always so amazing and created a really familial environment.

What were your favorite classes here and why?

My favorite classes at Clairbourn were P.E., French with Mrs. Barker, and Computers with Mr. Barker.

Do you still keep in touch with your classmates from Clairbourn? How about teachers?

I’m so happy with the friendships I made at Clairbourn and still keep in touch with several classmates. With social media, it’s also really easy to keep up with what everyone is doing and it’s amazing to see all the fabulous things my former classmates are doing. I’m always happy to see my former teachers and love to catch up on what I’ve been up to with them.

Did Clairbourn shape you and prepare you for where you are today? How so?

Absolutely. Clairbourn instilled in me the importance of working hard, having strong morals/values, and cultivating lifelong friendships. I believe that my strong work ethic can be attributed to Clairbourn’s academic culture. More than that, seeing Clairbourn’s school motto ​“Vérité Sans Peur”, or truth without fear, everyday in the MPB at chapel helped me to cultivate good moral character and integrity.

What are you currently pursuing in your life (it could be career or project-related, or anything that is important to you)?

I am currently pursuing a career in health and wellness. I graduated from the University of San Francisco with a degree in Philosophy and then earned my certification in Holistic Nutrition. I hope to start my own business and help others pursue a healthy and fulfilling life through positive physical and emotional practices.

If you could go back in time to your Clairbourn days, what would you change about the school or do differently? What would you keep?

If I could go back in time to my days at Clairbourn I would make a point to enjoy every moment at the school, even the moments that didn’t seem all that special. From meeting my friends on the playground before class, to memorizing poems in Mrs. Wreede’s class, to studying for Mr. Guyer’s history test; I would go back and enjoy every moment. When I talk to my fellow alumni and reminisce about fond memories, we often say that we wish we could go back for just one day and experience campus again as a student. That feeling was nothing short of magical.

It takes courage to pursue what you love. What or who inspired you to be so courageous and pursue your passion?

My parents have always encouraged and still do encourage me to follow what I love. I’m very grateful that I have the opportunity to know what I love and to go out and work for it. I’m inspired by my parents’ hard work, my older brother’s passion for what he does, and my younger brother’s incredibly strong work ethic in school and sports. Luckily, I am surrounded by hardworking and passionate individuals so to me there was never another option other than to pursue my passion ferociously.

Where do you see yourself in five years? 10 years?

In five years I see myself still working hard, enjoying friends and family, and living a life that I am proud of. In ten years I see the same plus a lot more traveling and exploring.

Do you have any advice for our students or alums who would like to pursue the same field in which you are working?

My advice to students or alumni regardless of their field is to put yourself out there no matter what. I always remind myself that whether I succeed or fail, the worst case scenario is that I’m back where I started and not without some new life lessons and motivation to push me to try again until I do succeed.

Any other inspiring words you would like to share with our students, especially our 8th graders?

My little brother is about to be an 8th grader at Flintridge Prep and I like to remind him that it doesn’t matter if you don’t know where you want to go to college or exactly what you want to do for a career. What does matter is that at every step of the way you give maximum effort and the reward will follow. Prioritize working hard and building good moral character and everything else will fall into place.

What are some unique experiences (related to work, traveling, or personal growth) that you’ve had in the last few years that you’d like to share with the Clairbourn community? How did these experiences transform you?

There have been a lot of experiences that have helped to shape me in some way. The most obvious one that comes to mind is moving to San Francisco after high school. Living away from home, experiencing a new and diverse city, and meeting so many different types of people helped to broaden my mind and my world. I’m so happy that I was able to experience a city like San Francisco. It was a much different experience from the traditional college experience of living in a college town.

Dr. Amy Patzlaff, whom you may remember as Amy Beckstrom, is our current Head of School. Do you have any words for her?

My mom is the current Board of Trustees president so I’ve been able to see Dr. Patzlaff since she became current Head of School. I’m really happy that she was given this role and can continue to ensure that Clairbourn’s emphasis on community and friendship is prioritized. For me, that is the thing that I remember and cherish most from my time at the school and I hope that current students have that same feeling.
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