Honoring Abbe Shanley-Roberts ‘21


Photo by Photo Courtesy of Rachel Johns

Rachel Johns ‘21 (left) and Abbe Shanley-Roberts ‘21 (right) participate in a House Cup Competition to see who can wear the most layers of LFA-themed clothing.

Rachel Johns, Managing Editor of News

What do aloe plants, naval architecture, knitting, and pugs in t-shirts have in common? The only answer is the 9th annual February Frog Hunt held in the honor of the late Abigail Shanley-Roberts ‘21.

This year, the Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Residential Life Jonathan Freeman held the beloved Frog Hunt in honor of Shanley-Roberts, asking her friends and family for event ideas revolving around things she did, said, or loved. The idea to honor her legacy in this unique way came to Freeman naturally.

“It just seemed like the right thing to do for someone who made a name for herself during her time at LFA with extraordinary contributions to the House Cup in general, but really specifically the Frog Hunt,” Freeman said.

The theme was well-received among students and faculty. Shanley-Roberts’ best friend Emily Hawkins ‘21 said, “The theme and all of the challenges for the Frog Hunt were incredible for honoring Abbe’s memory. Mr. Freeman coming together with several of Abbe’s friends and family members to put together a very special house cup event is something that myself and a lot of students are very grateful for in a year where it is very hard to come together to celebrate someone’s life. I’m happy to see that the faculty and students have found a way to pay tribute to her legacy in the most Abbe way possible.”

Shanley-Roberts made many contributions as to the Frog Hunt over her three years at LFA as an enthusiastic participant. Last year alone she initiated busking in the upper Corbin hallway, completed a frog themed cross-stitch, and wore 42 layers of LFA-themed clothing during morning meeting, which is perhaps her most iconic House Cup memory.

Her enthusiasm for friendly competition was nothing short of astonishing. Freeman noted, “She just embodied everything that we want the house cup to be. That craziness, the willingness to participate. She was the kind of person you could ask her ‘Abbe, would you?’, and she’d say yes before you could say the rest of the question. It didn’t matter what you were asking her to do. It was just all about the spirit, which is something that we need this year more than ever.”

As a result of her genuine passion for the House Cup, Shanley-Roberts was named Lewis House captain at the end of the last school year. 

“Abbe was probably one of the easiest choices for house captain that we’ve ever had in the history of the House Cup. I remember that Zoom with last year’s Master of the House (Giselle Anan ‘20). The conversation about who would be Lewis House caption was really short because it had to be Abbe,” Freeman said. 

The Frog Hunt is not the first event on campus to celebrate the life of Abigail Shanley-Roberts. On October 13th, family and friends put on a Celebration of Life in the formal gardens. The well-attended celebration of life featured speeches given by her loved ones, photographs of her life, and lanterns. Some of her aloe plants and fun socks were passed out to visitors as objects of remembrance.

On Friday March 5th, the girls hockey team unveiled a banner in the ice rink featuring her jersey number, 11. Head coach Tyler Madeley gave a brief speech about how Abbe was an integral part of the team. Shanley-Roberts’ family attended, and her sister Emily Shanely-Roberts ‘14 pulled the cord to release and display Shanley-Roberts jersey banner, whose number 11 is being retired for LFA Hockey. 

Abigail Shanley-Roberts is missed terribly by the LFA community, but her spirit lives on in all of us through these acts of memoriam.