Lisa Bateman Carroll

Walter Johnson class president

Lisa Bateman Carroll developed an interest in art while at Walter Johnson and at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va. Her love of drawing led her to a job drawing office layouts and selling space-saving office furniture. In 2004, she parlayed her interior design talent and office furniture sales experience into an independent office furniture dealership and furniture consultancy called Business Interiors & Design Inc. in Bethesda. The firm creates functional office space for companies.

“My father told me I could not afford to rely on anyone else,” Carroll says. “I took typing at WJ—not home economics—which enabled me to get a typing job when I was in college.”

That self-reliance was key when Carroll became a single parent to her two children after a 1994 divorce. She bought a home in Bethesda in 1999. “It was a goal of mine to come back to Bethesda,” she says. “…I loved my neighborhood and wanted to give my kids the best education possible.” Carroll is engaged to Montgomery County Police Officer Heath Berry, and her kids are students at WJ.

“I did think I would keep in touch with friends from high school, since I live in this area,” Carroll says. “I guess that’s one thing that didn’t work out the way I thought. I seem to have no time to cultivate friendships these days.”

Carroll remembers speaking to her graduating class at the Kennedy Center. She told them: This is only the beginning; the future is what you make of it. “I wonder if they were listening,” she says.

Writer Maria Leonard Olsen lives in Chevy Chase. She graduated in 1981 from The Academy of the Holy Cross, an all-girls Catholic school in Kensington, where she was captain of the cheerleading team. She also was homecoming queen for Holy Cross’ brother school, Our Lady of Good Counsel, then in Wheaton but now in Olney.