Name: Stephanie
Graduation Year: 2020
Middle School: Athenian
Hometown: Danville
What's the biggest difference between middle school and high school?As grim as it sounds, the greatest transition for me was understanding that my actions and decisions in high school would matter a lot more in the long run than the ones from middle school. In middle school, you’ve still got time before you have to face ~the future~ and all it entails, so coming to high school meant I was losing that safety net.
Why are you glad that you chose College Prep? While this might feel like the textbook answer to this question, I was really drawn to Prep for its community. It’s a really unique environment where everyone’s united in their desire to learn. And, miraculously, the school balances those rigorous academics with a supportive school community! I really felt like Prep gave me the holistic experience of highschool that I wanted.
What advice do you have for 8th graders applying to high school? Ultimately, you’re going to want to go for a place that you can see yourself at. Everyone wants to end up at that prestigious school, but you want to spend the next four years at a place that fits you and what you’re looking for.
What campus activities are you involved in? I’m currently a leader of Korean Club. Our goal is to teach our community about different aspects of Korean culture, whether it be through food, movies/tv shows, or discussions about important cultural or political issues. It’s been a great opportunity for me to share my cultural heritage with my larger community! I’ve done debate for the past three years now; it’s a really unique activity that challenges how I think. I'm also part of the school's most recent batch of STOak students! STOak (Social Transformation in Oakland) is a class focusing on the history and development of Oakland and how they influence the social justice issues we see today.
What is your favorite College Prep memory? Not to flex, but one of my favorite moments is probably the time my grade won the dodgeball tournament during Spirit Week. We were sophomores then, and after two past spirit weeks of frustrating results (we were always second, losing to the seniors), we finally achieved something that no other sophomore class had done before. My grade is a diverse mix of kids, so that winning moment was not only satisfying but a great grade-bonding moment too. I remember how angry the seniors were!
What is your favorite place on campus? Near the music lawn, there’s a beautiful Japanese maple tree with a bench under it. If you sit there and stare up at the leaves, the sunlight illuminates the edges of the leaves and makes the little canopy above golden and green. I’ve spent quite a lot of time under that tree, since it’s really beautiful and just makes me feel at peace. It’s a good spot for chatting with friends, doing homework, or just listening to music and zoning out!
What has been your favorite class? It’s got to be Atlantic Worlds. Maybe I’m biased because I’ve always been more into the humanities, but the history/english classes have always appealed to me more. What makes me love the history classes in particular at College Prep is the holistic approach the curriculum reflects. While maybe traditional history classes look to dates or memorize-able events, Prep history delves into the narrative of history (how one event flows to another, how the overall picture of history transforms as time passes) and utilizes themes like identity, capitalism, and ideology to ground large ideas. Atlantic Worlds focused on a particularly transformative era of history that included the transatlantic slave trade, the creation of new nations, and revolutions across the globe. The curriculum wove together a fascinating picture of the world at that time; specifically, I was intrigued by how the ideas pouring out of France before and during the French Revolution impacted nations around the world.
What has been the best thing about College Prep? While there are a lot of things competing for my favorite thing (the campus! intraterm!), I have to say it all comes down to the people. From the faculty to my fellow students, everyone attributes to the community that I’ve loved from the beginning. No matter what, I’ve found people that I can collaborate with and discuss whatever ideas I have in mind.
Who is your favorite character from a movie/book/television series? I’ve always loved Prince Ashitaka from Princess Mononoke (my favorite Ghibli movie!); maybe it’s because it almost feels like I’ve grown up with him, since I’ve seen the movie more than 20 times, but I truly admire the balance of his character. I won’t spoil the movie (please please watch it if you haven’t), but he chooses to “see with eyes unclouded” and act as the mediator between humans and the gods of nature. Despite all the trials he faces, he sticks with his mission till the very end and does what he can to find peace for both sides. I’ve always loved how his solid character reflects the central, moral ambiguity of the movie.
1. I’m really good at identifying and describing smells (examples include the math rooms smelling like a self-cleaning oven).
2. I absolutely adore opossums (their mouths are so satisfyingly angular, like :V)
3. I really like making lists of anything, anytime. I probably have too many.