Graduation Year: 2021
Middle School: Prospect Sierra
Hometown: El Cerrito
What's the biggest difference between middle school and high school? I was just as excited for my second day of school as I was for my first. Over the summer, the one day I look forward to the most is the day that my schedule comes out. Every year, I’m filled with giddy excitement when Kojan sends out the email with course descriptions for the next year.
Why are you glad that you chose College Prep? I pretty much lied to myself up until the decision day, telling myself that I wasn't sure what high school I wanted to go to. But as soon as I got my acceptance letter, I instantly knew that it was College Prep. When I shadowed Physics and English I, the students, of their own volition, invited me to participate in the Physics lab and the English discussion. I thought of that visit when the admissions committee told me I got in—the welcoming atmosphere of College Prep and the eagerness to learn—and knew immediately that it was the school for me.
What advice do you have for 8th graders applying to high school? Start writing those essays early! Don't underestimate the essay-writing part of high school applications. When I applied to high schools, I spent a number of days of my winter break stressed out about the essays because I hadn't completed them yet. I definitely don't want that for any eighth-graders out there. It doesn't have to be a drag—it can be fun and rewarding if you write an essay that is authentic to who you are. You just need to find something that you'll like writing about and apply your essay-writing knowledge to that topic and the prompt that goes with it. Try to get them done before winter break, so you can have time to relax. You'll have earned it!
What campus activities are you involved in?
Gender and Sexuality Awareness Club (GSA): GSA is the most important club to me, and it has been since my first day at College Prep. Through it, I have learned more about the queer community in two years than I did in my previous 13 years of life. For example: coming into College Prep, I had no idea that there were more than two genders and two sexualities. GSA is an important educational space, but it’s also somewhere I can have fun, be myself, and occasionally decorate cookies horribly.
Partners: I was an academic year mentor for two semesters at the Partners Program, which reaches out to students in Oakland middle schools and pairs them up with College Prep mentors to work one-on-one on their academic work. My favorite moment with my mentee was when he shook my hand in addition to goodbye. It may not seem like much, but in that moment, I knew I had formed a connection with him.
Latin Club: What's ironic about this is that I don't take Latin. I go to every meeting just because it’s fun and I learn cool facts about Rome, such as one of Apollo’s epithets being “of the mice.” I like to joke that I'm a "Latin Zero" student, but now, after three years of Latin Club, I'm more of a Latin One-half student.
Yearbook: After just one year of being on the Yearbook team, I knew I wanted to be a chief editor. It’s a lot of responsibility, but with that comes great joy: capturing the moment someone forges a new friendship or the gleeful expression on Dean Chabon’s face as the Advanced Vocal Ensemble sings to him, and being able to make sure those little moments that scream “College Prep” forever hold a place in the school’s history.
What is your favorite College Prep memory? When Mr. Tucker slayed “Seven Nation Army” at the Faculty Talent Show. The crowd went berserk, and for once, it wasn’t because of Dean Chabon throwing candy at people. It's early in the year, so the whole talent show came as a pretty big surprise. The College Prep faculty has amazing teachers who are the best at what they do, but they also have incredible talents outside of teaching. It's always a joy to witness the faculty showing off their skills, and having lots of fun doing so. Whether it's Johanna doing tricks with a volleyball, Dean Chabon’s jokes, or Magister Dooley and Amy dramatically reciting Latin poetry, each act is unique, impressive, fun, and awesome.
What is your favorite place on campus? The library. One reason for that is the vast knowledge the librarians possess: Need help finding an encyclopedia of influential figures from the 19th century? Ask a librarian! Is ProQuest down again for seemingly no reason? Ask a librarian! Wondering why the word "Lucumí" means so many different things? The librarians may not know the answer on the tip of their tongue, but they'll definitely help you figure it out. The library is my go-to location on campus both because and in spite of the fact that there are always about forty people there doing fifteen different things.
What has been your favorite class? US History with Dr. Wilson. I’ve always loved US History, and not just because I’m an American. However, Dr. Wilson takes it to a whole other level, carefully combining dry humor with useful information (“So if you’ve ever heard of the phrase ‘eat the rich,’ they were now literally doing it.”). He makes everything we learn about and do in class interesting—whether it’s vertical vs. horizontal integration, the vaguely-defined powers of the president, or just looking at a whole bunch of maps. To top it all off, he’s accomplished the rare feat of making an adult (my dad) want to take a high school class.
What has been the best thing about College Prep? The community. It's the one thing at College Prep that I think I know everything about, yet always continues to amaze me. Whether it’s a senior helping a freshman pick up scattered textbooks, sitting on the ground during a break and learning a new card game, or fourteen people crowded around a library table meant for six, practically anything at College Prep can be an example of how wonderful the community is.
Three unusual things about me:
1. I don't usually go for stories in the romance genre or with a sad ending, but my favorite book is a romance with a sad ending.
2. I consider myself a careful planner, yet I put pink hairspray in my hair during Spirit Week on a whim.
3. My favorite Disney character is Nani from Lilo and Stitch.