Since I started at Sonoma Academy, I've been very involved in a lot of things: Debate, basketball and lacrosse; I've been an All-Star, and I was class representative in the Student Leadership Council for freshman and sophomore year. I’ve tried a lot of activities and so far I haven’t committed to something I didn’t like. It’s been all good things for me. The student leadership in SLC or All-Stars is just fun, a good time, talking, presenting. Debate is interesting, educational, and I've been learning a new skill set. Exercise and sports are good for the mind, body, and soul--and I like the fun, competitive nature of team sports, where you have obtainable, real goals.
I started out in Debate in my freshman year. I've found that a lot of things about Debate are very applicable. You have to be on top of current events, you have to be able to come up with logical arguments. Debate teaches you that just taking the weakest point and arguing against it is not a good technique. I've used a lot of the same skills I learned in Debate in my Humanities papers--making sure my essays are progressing, having evidence to support claims. The language you use in debate is not poetic, but your sentences flow. You learn to speak in such a way that if your words were written down, it would still sound good.
Right now, my partner and I are ranked 3rd in North America. The whole team has really progressed a lot since I began. We've had really good coaches. They teach us 5 hours per week, so it's easy to get good. But it seems that people are getting better at a faster rate now. Last year, we had a great coach who really generated a debate culture. It’s cool to do well at tournaments, to get those bragging rights. It gets competitive, but it’s still a good time.
I've had a pretty rigorous course schedule so far, with a lot of math and science classes. I've already taken AB Physics, AP Calculus BC, AP statistics, Honors Chemistry. In my senior year, I plan to take more Humanities courses—Economics, International Relations, or Constitutional Law. It just happens that the classes I like are seen as hard.
My whole family is very into school. My sisters went to the local public school, but after I shadowed here, I thought this would be a good school to try. It's been a very good decision for me.
Sonoma Academy is very supportive—the class structure is such that you can be more confident in your academic ideas, or your abstract ideas. It's not a judgemental place. It seems like everyone is a good person and it’s easier to become better in that kind of environment.You aren’t going to get turned down if you have a question or comment.
I will probably pursue science and medicine after high school, maybe business or law. My parents are in medicine and science, and my sisters are studying that in college. There seems to be good meeting points between writing and science, so I'm excited to take those kind of classes next year.
I want to finish my senior year academically strong. I want to be able to choose the college I want to go to. That's why I’ve been working hard, trying different things. It’s good that we have a very good college counseling system. I’ve tried to set myself up so that can I choose, because I want to be able to choose a place I will enjoy.