James Laird and Mary Escherich became friends after they ended up in several classes together during their first three years at New Canaan High School. As juniors, James took Physics with Mary, and sat behind her in AP Calculus with Jennifer Lee. The NCHS ’09 classmates would engage in intellectually stimulating conversations. “We just ‘got’ each other,” James Laird recalled on a recent afternoon. A “best friend” after three years, James soon started to see Mary as more.