When photographer Lynn Christoffers looks at a photograph she took of a group of kids selling pumpkins 10 years ago, she can’t help but smile.
The original photo, which ran on the front page of The Times on Sept. 27, 2007, depicts a group of four kids (Ruby and Sadie Dix, Juniper Ezanno, and Kendra Mills) hefting a large pumpkin into a wheelbarrow while two others (Avery Miner and Tully McDonough) watch in the background. The photo was taken at a pumpkin sale organized by Kendra, Sadie, and Ruby, with the help of Kendra’s father, Donald Mills, as a service component of their homeschool studies. Kendra was in fourth grade, Sadie in fifth, and Ruby in second.
The girls grew and harvested 88 pumpkins for the event. They sold 42 of them on that Saturday in September, and raised $250 for Denjong Padma Choling Academy in Sikkim, India. With the money they raised, they bought art supplies for the orphanage and school in Northern India.
“[I] couldn’t resist sending this on as my favorite shoot of all time,” the photographer wrote to The Times in an email last week. “[Wouldn’t it be] fun to note where are they now? Most [are] in colleges in disparate parts of the states and afar.”
With this question in mind, Ms. Christoffers and The Times caught up with the original crew of kids, who have remained a close-knit group of friends to this day.
Sadie and Ruby’s mom, Rebecca Miller, was thrilled to see the old photo, as both of her girls are now off-Island at college. Sadie is in her senior year at the University of Rochester studying brain and cognitive science. She is currently studying abroad in New Zealand, and spends her time traveling and taking pictures. Ruby is in her freshman year at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y., studying liberal arts. She worked full-time on her family’s farm, North Tabor Farm, last summer, and plans to return home and manage the farm crew next summer.
“It seems like a lifetime ago, and so often I wish those days were here again,” Ms. Miller wrote in an email. “I miss the girls so much. The girls are both busy learning about themselves and how they fit in the world.”
Kendra Mills has been pursuing her education for the past few years, attending Bard College at Simon’s Rock, interning in New York City with the Global Justice Center, and attending international studies classes through Bard’s Globalization and International Affairs program. Kendra graduated magna cum laude from the American University of Paris in May of this year. Over the summer, she returned to the Vineyard and ran her father’s farm with Moses Sukin. Kendra is pursuing a master’s degree in human rights law, and currently applying to schools in the U.S., England, and France.
Avery Miner recently started his freshman year at MassArt in Boston. Avery and Tully McDonough, who studied at Cape Cod Community College and is currently living on-Island, are still best friends, according to Avery’s mom, Michelle Brescia.
Juniper Ezanno is currently a freshman at the University of Colorado Boulder, where she is studying business and communication. Maddy Ezanno, Juniper’s mom, says Juniper is thriving and loves living in Boulder, where she enjoys hiking, biking, and cliff jumping.
Juniper says she is still close friends with Sadie, Ruby, Kendra, and Avery. Although she vaguely remembers the day, when she saw the photo she was amused. “It’s so funny how we forget things. That picture is so funny; that is a huge pumpkin,” she said.