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ARWEN, Class of 2021
Elementary/Middle School: St. Therese School North
Activities/Interests: Theatre, Choir, GSA, and Campus Ministry
Why did you choose to attend St. Teresa's Academy?
St. Teresa's Academy seemed like a school that would just fit me as a person really well. I wanted to be challenged academically, but also in an environment that's supportive, and STA really fit the bill. It had so many courses, extracurriculars, and activities that I was (and still am) extremely interested in, and I could see myself spending a lot of time being happy and having fun. Having been at STA for three years, every day I know that I definitely made the right choice.
What has been your favorite class at STA?
AP Music Theory: it was challenging, but fun, and everyone in the small group who registered definitely wanted to be there. All of our collective attitudes towards both the content (despite the difficulty) and one another made it all the more enjoyable (as well as the wonderful instructor, Mr. Perry). The little sense of community and understanding that we had throughout the entire year was something that I've not really experienced in any other class, and when it ended, I genuinely missed being with every person there.
What is your favorite part of the STA community?
I love the general bond that we all have, and the fact that we can all be so different, know so many different people, and yet have so many similar, but unique, experiences through STA. Every student there comes to know different little pieces of STA that make it special, like the strange (but familiar) smells when you walk into M&A, the feeling of hurrying through the Quad from 3rd floor to 3rd floor, or the quick smiles when you see a senior dressed up particularly silly in the hallways for Friday themes. These little quirks and experiences are the kinds of things that link us all together and make STA just a little bit more special.
What has been your most memorable experience at STA?
Probably last year's play, Men on Boats. I know it sounds sappy, but it was such a wonderful (and hilarious) show and I really felt proud and happy with myself, what I'd accomplished, and the experiences that I was able to go through with people I love on the way. The STA Shooting Stars Theatre community as a whole is very supportive, and full of some of my favorite people in the entire world. I'm not entirely sure if it was just the people, the show itself, the newfound confidence that I had in my own role, or some unholy raucous fusion of the above, but something special happened in the theatre department during that show that has me missing Men on Boats every single day.
Looking back at your year(s) at STA, what would you tell yourself on the first day of school?
Don't be afraid of the upperclassman! They're almost all very sweet, and if you're spending too much time cowering, being nervous, or putting them on some sort of pedestal, you're going to end up spending a lot less time actually being friends with them. And don't be afraid to ask them for help either! They've been around the school for quite a bit longer than you, and there are insights you can get from fellow, more experienced students that are hard to find elsewhere. Also, if they're spending time around you, it probably means that they like you, and remember that they almost definitely know what it was like to be scared around upperclassmen too.
What advice would you give to prospective students who are considering STA?
Regardless of where you end up going for high school, try to find a balance in planning your classes, so that you're both working hard and having fun taking classes about things you like. And then, once you find those things that you're interested in and love to do, be sure to actually do those things! Try not to stretch yourself too terribly thin trying to juggle everything. Once you find your core interests that you love and genuinely enjoy, do them as much as you can (or want to), because chances are they will continue to shape your character.
What is the one thing you have learned most about yourself? How has STA helped you discover that?
Through STA, I've learned to have a lot more self confidence than I ever thought I could when I was younger. There's a certain level of independence and advocating for yourself that STA really cultivates, and through that, I've become unafraid to unabashedly be myself. The person who walked on campus the first day as a scared and somewhat timid freshman has changed almost completely. I feel a lot more satisfied and fulfilled with myself as a person, confidently walking through the halls, happy with who I've started to become. Through STA, I was encouraged to speak up for myself, sharing my thoughts and opinions, and I can't imagine that I would be quite the same person I am without that confidence.