Name: Talia
Graduation Year: 2024
Middle School: Yu Ming
Hometown: Oakland
Biggest difference between middle school and high school? More freedom and a fresh start! I was the only one from my middle school coming into CPS, so it gave me the chance to explore new interests and make tons of new friends.  I’m free to go down to College Ave during free-blocks, join clubs, and choose electives and cool English seminars, all new and exciting things that definitely pushed me to grow!
What advice would you give to 8th graders applying to high school? I would say talk to as many people as possible at the schools you apply to. The unique conversations I had with other students gave me a better sense of the different people I would be surrounding myself with at each school. A lot of more nuanced aspects of the school come up in conversations depending on who you talk to, and it helps to hear about the specific details students appreciate (like certain school trips, parts of the curriculum, or a specific teacher), which really add up when making your high school decision.
Why did you choose College Prep? The kind people, academic rigor, beautiful campus, cool catalogs and ArtsMag, charismatic teachers... I think all of it together is why I chose College Prep. It was really hard for me when it came down to my final decision for high school, but College Prep offers everything that is important to me. I really wanted to continue with advanced Mandarin classes since my middle school was Mandarin immersion, and it was also important to have a track and cross country team. Touring the campus and going on shadow visits showed me that CPS offers me the chance to continue nurturing these core parts of my identity, while also giving me a supportive community to help me grow and push myself in new directions.
What is your favorite place on campus (and why)? I love the main courtyard because it’s the heart of our campus, always bustling with life. I usually hang out there during free blocks to chat with friends and do homework. It's where I go to eat lunch, buy food from bake sales, and talk to people during passing periods. It's also where we have assembly and gather for all kinds of community events, and I've spent many hours there after school with our track team, doing all kinds of goofy stuff while we waited to go to practice.
What is your best College Prep memory? My best College Prep memory so far is going to Cross Country State Championships with my team my sophomore year! Getting there was such an amazing journey and my teammates became like family to me in the process, getting me through tough days of training and schoolwork alike. The actual trip was just as special, including the bus ride there, chatting, listening to music, watching The Spy Who Dumped Me in our hotel room, and just nerding out about running with my friends is something I'll never forget. I’m still in touch with all of my teammates who’ve graduated and gone off to college!
Campus Involvement: Attending club meetings was especially nice freshman year because it allowed me to meet new people who shared the same interests in origami, the environment, Chinese culture, and lots of other things. Now, I'm a JSU co-leader, and get to celebrate being Jewish with my peers! Cross Country and Track and Field is also a huge part of my CPS experience, and my team is like family to me. They’re all so kind, supportive, and share the same relentless love for running!
What has been your favorite class so far (and why)? My favorite class so far was ninth grade history class, Asian Worlds, with Johanna. I was surprised by how much I liked the class because I don't usually love history. Johanna managed to make everything interesting, from the class discussions to readings, and even the lectures! I really appreciated how connected everything was and how well thought out the assignments were. It really made it a super enjoyable class (although my AP Environmental Science class I’m taking this year is definitely challenging that top spot on my list)!
What is your favorite thing about College Prep? One of my favorite CPS things is Common Classroom. It's so fun to see the classes that people come up with to share with the community (anything from philosophy to random podcasts about Russian nesting dolls) or share my own love for race walking by hosting my own Common Classroom! I also love how I get to spend time getting to know different people in every Common Classroom. I feel like it really brings out the love of learning and the kindness that everyone shares at CPS.
Three unusual things about you:
1. I racewalk competitively
2. I can remember my dreams really well (and I've had some crazy ones)
3. I planted an Avocado tree in my yard, next to the one my grandpa planted 45 years ago