Fate has played a funny role in the lives of Hali Hanley and Pierce Ellert.
They were born on the same day in the same hospital. They spent nine years in Culver Summer Schools & Camps (10 if you include working in Woodcraft this summer), and they spent four years together at Culver Academies before graduating this spring.
You might say they have been joined at the hip since they were nine years old. But, then again, they haven’t.
“We’ve always done our own thing,” Pierce explained, “so we never really were that close.”
They played different sports, had different interests, and are pursuing different avenues for college. She left camp early to attend boot camp at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Prep School. He is heading off to Indiana University.
But, then again, maybe they are.
“If I hadn’t been accepted at the Coast Guard Academy,” Hali said, “I would have gone to IU. How weird would that have been.”
Neither one really thought about it until they started at Culver in the fall of 2014.
“Freshman year, we had the same Humanities class,” Pierce said. “That’s when we started to put the pieces together.”
That was before the Hanleys moved into a new home – across the street from the Ellerts.
But it wasn’t until the spring semester of their junior year, the families realized how much history they did share. That is because Hali and Pierce had same class schedule that semester. It was during Spring Parents Weekend when their mothers, Susan Ellert and Lyn Hanley, connected all the dots during the class day.
During summer camp, he was in Naval Band and she was in Deck 5, which are brother-sister units so they were always cheering for each other during competitions. Their first-class year, Hali and Pierce found out they were the only two 2017 Upper Schools graduates to have attended all nine years of camp (six at Woodcraft and three at Upper Schools).
That discovery did bring them closer together, Pierce said. “We bonded over that.”
They also shared leadership responsibilities last summer. She was the regimental commander for one trimester. He was the regimental adjutant for final make and also served a week as boys deputy during second make, which are the two posts just below regimental commander. Hali laughed, since Pierce held two of the top three posts, “I don’t know if that means he outranked me or not.”
“No, she still outranked me,” Pierce said.
This year, Hali served as an assistant military officer and Pierce worked with the Indian Lore and Indian Dance classes, so they were still bumping into each other. That was until July 14, when she left for boot camp.
Now Hali Hanley and Pierce Ellert have reached the fork in the road and are following their own paths. However, don’t bet on it being the last time their lives intersect.
“We’ve always done our own thing,” Hali said, “but we’ve always ended up seeing each other.
“Fate has a funny way of working itself out.”