It’s been four years since the class of 2011 took that walk across the stage. We caught up with some valedictorians from local schools to see what they’ve been up to and what they’ve learned.
High School: Parish Episcopal
College: University of Texas
Major: Black Studies, History and Plan II
What have you been up to in college? Walking, learning, exploring, playing, discovering, studying, shifting, sharing, wondering. Two of my most meaningful experiences in university have been directing a production of “The Zoo Story” in my sophomore year and playing Caliban in “The Tempest” as part of the Shakespeare at Winedale program the summer after my sophomore year.
What’s next? I’ll be graduating in May 2016. After that, I plan to keep following the path.
What did you learn from high school that carried you through college? Don’t worry.
What advice do you have for graduating high school seniors? Have an open mind and, more importantly, an open heart. Never fear. Trust your gut, it’s smarter than your head. Faith is vital. The world is much bigger than you think.
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High School: Yavneh Academy
College: Barnard College (N.Y.)
What have you been up to in college? I’m a speaking fellow, so I help people with public speaking. Sometimes I’m attached to course, other times I help one-on-one for job interviews or for presentations. I’m in the Social Action Committee, organizing events during the year, as well.
What’s next? I took a gap year after high school and went to Israel for year, so I’ll be a senior in the fall.
What did you learn from high school that carried you through college? Time management. You had to get to school at 6 a.m. and weren’t done until 5. In college you have a lot more free time but you have to use it in the most efficient way.
What advice do you have for graduating high school seniors? Be more interested in what you’re learning instead of what grades you’re getting. Some people came in and getting A’s is their only prerogative. You learn so much more in college than you do in high school and just because you aren’t getting A+’s doesn’t mean you aren’t doing well. You’re just learning something on a different level.
High School: St. Mark’s
College: University of Pennsylvania
Major: Biophysics and Bioengineering
What have you been up to in college? I have enjoyed being a lab instructor for the physics department for the past 2.5 years. One aspect of on-campus involvement that has meant a lot to me is Access Engineering, an organization in which each Saturday, we teach engineering concepts and skills such as 3D printing and SolidWorks CAD modeling to local Philadelphia high school students.
What’s next? This fall, I am planning to begin my pursuit of a Ph.D. in electrical engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology as a Presidential Fellow.
What did you learn from high school that carried you through college? High school taught me how to express ideas eloquently and lucidly, no matter what the discipline. This skill translated quite well into college, considering that professors expect you to already be adept at expressing your thoughts, both orally and in writing.
What advice do you have for graduating high school seniors? My best advice would be to focus on studying a discipline that you will enjoy.
High School: Episcopal School of Dallas
College: Johns Hopkins University
Major: Biomedical engineering
What have you been up to in college? I play on the lacrosse team and we’re in the playoffs.
What’s next? I’ll be graduating in December and from there I plan to apply to a JD/MBA program. I’m looking to head to the University of Southern California to meet up with my brother who will be a freshman next year.
What did you learn from high school that carried you through college? College is an evolution of the necessary time management skills I got in high school. Playing lacrosse cut into my time in high school, and college has been just a more time-consuming version of the same things. You find yourself at a loss for time more than you’d think.
What advice do you have for graduating high school seniors? Keep a decent schedule. Don’t allow yourself to get too out of whack. There’s always something going on where you can stay up until 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. and miss your morning classes, so you need to set limits for yourself.
High School: Jesuit
College: Texas A&M University
Major: Math and Philosophy
What have you been up to in college? I’ve been really involved in my church in College Station, St. Mary’s. I’ve been working and putting on retreats called Aggie Awakening.
What’s next? After I graduate, I’m going to Houston to do software consulting at a company called Quorom.
What did you learn from high school that carried you through college? Jesuit really focused on forming us into being men for others and being kind to other people. That’s been key for my college career, especially with all the volunteering.
What advice do you have for graduating high school seniors? Always give it your best, in everything. Freshman year, people think grades don’t really matter and it bites them later. This applies to organizations too. Give all you have.
High School: Greenhill
College: Vassar College
Major: Urban Studies
What have you been up to in college? I am in an a cappella group, Homebrewed, on campus and am the academic intern for the Urban Studies department.
What’s next? I am going to be moving to New York City and working with an architecture partnership that helps architects run the public spaces they design, Biederman Redevelopment Ventures.
What did you learn from high school that carried you through college? I always think about how going to Greenhill, I learned to write a critical essay. Having that baseline was so helpful in my college experience.
What advice do you have for graduating high school seniors? Your experience at college is never going to be how you expect, for better or for worse. You have to go into everything with an open mind, because nothing is going to match up exactly with your expectations.
High School: The Covenant School
College: Texas Christian University
What have you been up to in college? I’ve been a resident assistant. I’ve been involved in my fraternity, Beta Theta Pi. I was also a research assistant in the political science department.
What’s next? After graduation, I’ll be working in Fort Worth for a CPA firm called JTaylor, working in consulting.
What did you learn from high school that carried you through college? I learned that getting to know your professors and teachers could be really beneficial to your learning experience. That’s been very helpful for me.
What advice do you have for graduating high school seniors? Work hard but also try to have some fun along the way. Make a lot of friends and always go on road trips.