Bucknell University, 2021

I remember the exact words that David had said to me when we first met: “My goal for you is not to be the smartest person in the room but the most interesting.” In this moment, I knew that I had found someone who had finally cared about my future and my wants.

As a student who was invested in my future education, I had just thought that a high GPA and a long list of generic clubs were enough to ensure an acceptance from top universities and Ivy Leagues.

Santa Clarita parents and school counselors had perpetuated this false statement that “All the colleges want are high achieving, well-rounded students with a long list of extracurriculars and high GPAs.”I was so used to cultivating a false image of a perfect student that I had really lost sight of what I liked doing and what I was good at. I was a shell of a student who was just looking for a career choice that would make the highest earning salary.

After a whole semester of struggling with AP European History, I had finally realized that there was no way for me to be successful without outside help. A group of my friends and I had found David through a mutual friend and had nothing to lose-- at this point we were helpless and wanted any help we could get. What I received in return was much more than just AP European help. What had started out as something nonchalant had become something that would change the trajectory of my future. I began to become engaged more and more everyday. A subject that I had once despised had become one that I couldn’t stop thinking about. With each session, I began to learn more about the world and about current issues. David taught with vigor, emotion and excitement that had made me want to reciprocate his energy. I had never seen a teacher so invested into my future. David did not care about how many hours we spent learning something, he cared about whether we understood the concepts-- and he wouldn’t give up until he did.

With that, I was fed up with our high school education system. I had wanted to care, but our schools gave us packets of work that had no meaning and lacked any depth. None of the work challenged me to think in a critical way about the world-- or even about the subjects that we were learning.  I wanted to become exactly what David had said. I no longer cared about being the smartest person in the room but I wanted to become the most engaged, and the most interesting.

I began taking more and more courses at GPA, including SAT, numerous other AP classes, and college apps. Throughout it all, David and Myra were there to help me with each and every step. In addition to AP and SAT classes, I began to learn about the world. Attending Global Leadership, Take Action and SAT camp (yes, even SAT camp) had begun to help me contextualize issues that were taking place within our global community. Every time I stepped foot into GPA, I had stepped out of my Santa Clarita mindset and had begun to become involved interested in my global community. With the help of David and Myra, I’ve been able to attend multiple festivals as a environmental volunteer, engage with global leaders, attend marches and protests and (most importantly) become an engaged global citizen.

Due to my experiences at GPA, I am now a Markets, Innovations and Design major at Bucknell University, and I could not be happier.


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