Connection Story: Sam & Charlotte

Connection Story: Sam & Charlotte

Sam Austin and Charlotte Rotenberg have been best friends since freshman year, but it feels like forever.


As a shy freshman, Charlotte Rotenberg, walked into a Room 109 for American Sign Language (ASL). It was freezing. She ended up taking a seat next to Sam Austin — wrapped in a winter coat with his hood up and mask on. All you could see was his eyes and the tufts of his hair peeking out from under his massive jacket. Charlotte laughed at the amusing site of this stranger, who immediately proved himself to be full of humor and wit. It was then that Charlotte knew Sam would become her best friend.

“We were at the same table and I just remember him being a really big goofball,” Charlotte said. “He was just always focused on trying to make someone laugh.”

Since meeting their freshman year, the two have been inseparable. The two hang out so frequently that they’re almost always found togeth- er. When people ask, “Where’s Char- lotte,” the answer is “with Sam,” and vice versa.

A lot of her favorite memories with him are intertwined with the language they’re learning together: ASL.

Daniel Ging

During their very first ASL final, the project was to sign a story about a deaf tree. The pair had gone out- side to record and capture the ab- surd essence of the story they were assigned to recreate.

“I just remember we had to re- peat it so many times and it was like the exact same story prob- ably 100 times,” Charlotte said. When they went outside the cool spring morning made them chilly,

but as they returned to the building they were warm with memories and coated in sweat from the effort they had put into the project.

A testament to how their friend- ship brings energy into everything they do.

Even more than the laughs, what Charlotte values most about their friendship is their continuous em- pathy towards each other.

“I feel like we can be there for each other. Even when times are tough,” Charlotte said. “Even though there are a lot of things that one person has experienced that the other can’t relate to.”

Their relationship reminds her of a specific movie she loves dearly: “When Harry Met Sally.”

“There’s this scene from ‘When Harry Met Sally,’ about how guys cannot be friends with a girl,” Char- lotte said. “Don’t get me wrong. I love that movie. But that line is not true. I think our friendship has shown that.”

The pair continue to take ASL together and are growing as lan- guage learners and people. They are currently enrolled in ASL 3, still in Room 109, which thankfully has substantially better temperature con- trol and now a lot of memories.


When Sam Austin stood in front of a vending ma- chine as Charlotte Roten-

berg fished her money back out without an ounce of fear, he knew he had found a best friend.

“She just seemed so exciting and fun to be around and I would never have the guts to do that,” Sam said.

After meeting by chance in ASL, the pair became even closer through Mock Trial.

Sam has felt that Mock Trial fos- ters the development of close bonds with teammates and he felt there was where they started to become very close.

“We were both freshmen and we were both playing witnesses for the first time,” Sam said. “It was really hectic but it was good to have some- one else who was going through the same experience as me, who could relate to me. I think that kind of drew us together.”

The two continue to compete in Mock Trial and have been glued to- gether ever since.

They joined the Ecology Club to- gether and even participated in the annual up north trip this past win- ter, where they played cards, hiked outside and laughed nonstop. An- other extracurricular activity they joined is Forum Council. As they have continued to participate in

activities together they have even decided to attempt to run for lead- ership positions as a pair.

“Charlotte and I have become so close that we’ve actually decided to run for Forum Council co-presi- dents next year,” Sam said.

The two are excited to take on yet another challenge the only way they know how: together.

Charlotte is the person Sam spends the most time with inside and outside of school.

“I just know that Charlotte is that person that I can rely on when I need someone to do something for me, or when I’m having a tough time, or when I just want to talk to somebody that’s who I can go to,” Sam said.

Being friends with Charlotte has taught Sam how to be a better com- municator and has taught him that it’s the basis of any strong relation- ship.

“Communication is really im- portant, even when one of us is up- set,” Sam said. “We’re always open to talk about it and try to under- stand each other’s points of views. I think communication is the key to a friendship.”

Through the ups and downs Sam knows that the two will stay friends for a long time because he enjoys her presence more than anyone else’s.

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