Below are the full magazine profiles of seven seniors in Waterford’s Class of 2024, sharing meaningful thoughts on their experiences, excellence and what has shaped them most while at Waterford.
How has your time at Waterford shaped you?
Waterford has given me the opportunity to explore so many different disciplines. I’ve learned to appreciate a broad range of subjects from the sciences to the arts. Having passionate teachers makes learning enjoyable, and this has pushed me to try new and different classes.
Which faculty member(s) have had the most impact on your education and why?
Mr. Sayes’ honors precalculus class taught me to be organized and detail-oriented, which both proved to be valuable skills for the rest of my years at Waterford. He made learning math so fun with his passionate attitude and endless stories. My soccer coach Kimi Miyashima also has had a huge impact on my education. Her leadership has taught me the importance of hard work and communication in group work, which translates to my attitude in the classroom. I’ve also just really enjoyed playing for her over these past four years.
How has Waterford inspired you to pursue a life of meaning and purpose?
Waterford has inspired me to pursue a life of meaning and purpose because I am surrounded by peers who are doing precisely that. Everyone around me is working towards some kind of goal or purpose and this has encouraged me to do the same.
What advice do you have for younger students at Waterford?
Enjoy your time at Waterford and get out of your comfort zone to enjoy the extracurricular opportunities it offers. It might seem hard to not focus solely on academics, but it is so gratifying to be part of a team or club. These smaller organizations will give you an opportunity to meet people outside of your grade, make new connections, and to try new things.
What will you miss most after graduation?
I am going to miss the sense of community at Waterford and the phenomenal connections I’ve made with classmates and teammates.
How has your time at Waterford shaped you?
Within my academic interests, I have discovered that I value interdisciplinary study and connections immensely. Reflecting on my education, I know that my time and opportunities at Waterford have contributed largely to this. Waterford’s diverse curriculum and incredible opportunities, classes and clubs in a wide variety of fields have allowed me the academic freedom to explore. The curriculum inherently allows for interdisciplinary connections, like connecting literary movements in British Literature to their historical causes as explored in European History.
Over the 7 years that I have spent at Waterford, Mrs. Woller has been an integral part of my exploration of math. From working with the Lower and Middle School Math Clubs to teaching me calculus, I can’t imagine Math at Waterford without her.
In the Lower School, Mr. Johnson has been an incredible teacher and role model for me, instilling a love of learning in me from a young age.
How has Waterford inspired you to pursue a life of meaning and purpose?
Waterford’s unique and close-knit community inspires me. Being surrounded every day by enthusiastic, kind, and diverse students who are also dedicated to serving and creating community, it’s difficult to not feel hopeful for the future and feel driven to make a difference.
What advice do you have for younger students at Waterford?
The most important advice that I would have for younger students is to take the time to figure out what you truly enjoy and love to do. Explore, and don’t feel discouraged or scared to take difficult or advanced classes, or join new groups or clubs. Remember that the most difficult challenges are the most rewarding to overcome.
I know I will miss the quad, and all the beautiful outdoor spaces at Waterford. From just laying on the grass and eating lunch, to playing spikeball or throwing a frisbee, I love the beautiful greenery we have on campus.
Going to a Liberal Arts school such as Waterford has allowed me to fulfill and discover passions for a diverse pool of subjects. I discovered my passion for drawing and painting through our rigorous and rewarding art program. Art was something I didn’t think I was good at, until I was introduced to oil painting in Mr. Vest’s class. I was able to continue this journey for most of high school, and I will continue to paint for fun after I graduate. Waterford academics are all designed in a way that each student is able to find at least one thing in each subject that they find interesting. Interesting in a way that makes you want to learn more about it, and find joy in the learning journey. Waterford has allowed me to understand why taking a variety of disciplinary courses is so important. In order to provide a better understanding of the world, I believe that containing knowledge from art, math, literature, history, music, languages, and playing sports fulfills our minds and making us more aware of a changing and challenging world.Waterford has shaped this belief into a reality, as I am now a better person than I was four years ago, or a year ago, or yesterday. Everyday, I am learning something new, something that has a greater effect on me as an individual, something that will allow me to help apply this knowledge into a greater purpose someday.
I am currently taking AP Biology with Ms. Poppen. I initially took the class because I was interested in learning more about what makes us who we are (focusing more on the scientific aspect of this question, not the philosophical). In the first five minutes of our first class, I knew we wouldn’t just be learning terms on a textbook. We weren’t just learning the different cells and particles that make us human, but we were learning about their structures and functions of what it means to be human. Ms. Poppen has provided a class where I find joy in learning, because we are not just reading from the textbook, we are learning through labs, observing how amoebas move, tasting different carbohydrates, and touching potatoes with different molarities. All of this hands-on learning brings a new perspective into biology, allowing me to not only understand what makes living organisms, but to understand what makes each organism unique, having their own significant purpose on Earth.
The students at Waterford are all outstanding and different; getting to know a different student everyday means opening myself up to a wider view of the world. At Waterford, I feel safe sharing my own experiences, my culture, and my political views without feeling judged, while seeing other views on these ideas in my friends. Waterford has also provided activities such as Braver Angels––which I attended last year––that allow our students to interact with another school, sharing our beliefs in hopes of reaching some kind of mutual compromise on certain issues. Waterford not only has a rigorous academic curriculum, but it also provides students with outside activities that allow each one of us to find our own passion.Through the Waterford internships, I was also able to gain a different perspective on the world by joining the International Rescue Committee (IRC) last summer, gaining a unique experience and deeper understanding of all the background work that goes into immigration. For me, this meant further strengthening my path towards studying international relations. Learning about global issues in my classes, in interactions with my peers, in open discussions, and in my internship I have become inspired to pursue a life that is fulfilled by sharing my experiences and learning about others in order to find solutions to issues that are harming people today.
When I started my freshman year at Waterford, I had genuinely no idea what I was doing. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study, and my biggest worry was not failing my reading quiz for the next day. Something I would like younger students to understand is that these are normal things to worry about. We don’t need to know what we want to study, and yes, reading those chapters is definitely a good idea. Early on in high school, it is important to take a look at what is available for you. Try joining as many clubs as you can, not because you think they might look good in the future, but because maybe you will end up liking one or two of them, and might want to keep pursuing whatever that club has to offer. Don’t be afraid to take on hard classes; your teachers are there to help you, and just know that they also want you to succeed, so always ask for help when you need it.
There is not one specific thing I am going to miss most from Waterford, especially because every small aspect of the school has shaped me into who I am today. For starters, the faculty here are incredibly kind and passionate. They genuinely care about the students so much, and it is clear that they enjoy teaching. I will be missing them, and their willingness to take the time to go at a pace where everyone is able to learn and comprehend, never leaving anyone behind. I am also going to miss my classmates. All of my peers have always been very welcoming and easy to talk to. Every single one of them has a different perspective in the world, and I appreciate the safe environment we have created with each other. Lastly, I am also going to miss the lunchroom staff. Although we don’t spend much time with them, I have grown to appreciate the little things they do to make our days better. Everyday, I go to the lunchroom to get a breakfast burrito. It might seem simple enough and quite repetitive to some, but sometimes, life just gets too busy to eat breakfast at home. The lunchroom staff works hard to ensure we are healthy, and always interact with the students in a caring manner. I will miss all of these things that make Waterford such a special school, and much more.
Waterford has made me care so much more about everything that I do. I’ve developed a passion for a wide range of academic subjects while still finding meaning in every class that I take, no matter what it’s on. I’ve discovered a love for art and music through the band and photography programs, which is something that I never would’ve expected to care about before I tried it.
Ms. Ransom was my teacher in 6th grade when I first started Waterford and again in 10th grade for AP Euro. She also runs the Ethics Bowl Club, which I’ve been a part of for the past three years. Throughout my entire time at Waterford, she has been a wonderful teacher and mentor to me, helping me thrive in my academics and everything else.Mr. Patteson and Mr. Mickleson are both amazing people, and they’ve made me care very deeply about photography. They’ve helped me grow as an artist and as a person in how I see the world and interact with it.
Waterford has made me confident in the person I’ve become, and I know that no matter where I end up in life, I’ll do good. I trust that I have the skills to thrive in any environment, which has made me more willing to take risks in who I want to become. I want to do good in my life because I’m not afraid of what it will take to do it.
I think that I’d tell younger students not to be afraid of anything. Don’t be afraid to take a difficult class. Don’t be afraid to join too many clubs. Don’t be afraid to talk to your classmates or teachers about anything you want to.
The thing I’ll miss most after graduation will probably be my teachers. Even if it’s been years since I was in their class, there are so many teachers at Waterford who still remember me and whom I still love talking with. They care about the person I am outside of the classroom, and I’m happy to talk with them about anything.
Since second grade, Waterford has introduced me to so many things I never thought I’d be able to do. I’ve found myself pursuing volleyball, photography, robotics, incredible orchestras, Latin, and a level of academic excellence that has driven me to become a multifaceted, interested student.
Mrs. Morris, our orchestra director, has made a huge impact on my education. When I was a sixth grade violinist who didn’t practice or care that much, she pushed me to become the best I could be. With her constant energy and encouragement, I knew she truly cared about each one of us, and I was inspired to take my instrument to the next level. I’m now a section leader in the orchestra, chamber orchestra, and ensemble; leader of a sextet; and a competition violinist; all of which I attribute to Mrs. Morris’s encouragement and faith in me.
Waterford’s dedicated educators; values; and diverse, inspiring community of students have shaped the way I view the world. Waterford emphasizes the appreciation of knowledge, and we are challenged to push our boundaries, finding passion in activities we never expected to enjoy. Our close, multifaceted community is dedicated to helping others find these passions too. It has been so exciting to watch myself and my peers grow from mentees to mentors, providing support and wisdom to help others find their senses of meaning and purpose as well. From roboticist to captain and Lower School mentor, Latin student to Latin teacher, and violinist to violin teacher, I’ve found meaning in helping others, a value I found my purpose in at Waterford.
Have fun learning new things, and enjoy the time you have here. You have so much information around you and so many people to learn from, so take advantage of the opportunities you get. Also, try to get some sleep.
I’ll miss the communities I’ve found. In each activity, club, or class on campus, there is a distinct, vibrant community in which I have built friendships and memories that I’ll deeply miss. I’ll be sad to leave Waterford’s incredible faculty as well. Each of them clearly cares for the wellbeing and education of their students. I’ve known some teachers since 6th grade, and I’ll truly miss the meaningful connections I have with them.
At Waterford I have learned that I am capable of doing hard things and that by focusing and putting in work I can find success! What made it all possible was having teachers who really love the subjects they teach and genuinely care about how students are doing. I also have learned to engage with my teachers regularly and which has made a huge difference.
Mrs. Woller has always believed in me and has given me a lot of confidence academically all throughout high school. When I expressed an interest in jumping to Mr. Sayes’ class sophomore year, she encouraged me to push myself, and with a lot of hard work, I was able to be successful in his class. I have never considered myself a math person, but in her Calculus class my junior year she continued to give me confidence in my effort and ability. Through these difficult courses I have learned more about myself and my strengths which has trickled over into my other classes. Whether it be about one of my recent soccer games or an art piece I am working on, I feel that I can talk to her about anything and will miss her after graduation!
My Waterford education has established a foundation that I want to continue to build on. I want to find a similar experience in college and later where I can be surrounded by people who value education and want to contribute meaningfully to their community.
I would encourage younger students to get out of their comfort zone academically, socially and in their extracurricular commitments. The community here is especially welcoming and you can try new things without worrying about being a newbie!
After graduation I will definitely miss the connections I have made with all the people who make up Waterford! I have old friends I have known for 15 years since meeting them in nursery and new friends I have made on the soccer team just this year. I will miss the familiar faces of my teachers and coaches who always push me to be better yet also care for my wellbeing. I will also miss the people like John and Orly who work behind the scenes to make Waterford run, on top of finding time to be on the sidelines to cheer for us on the soccer field!
I came to Waterford in my junior year and my experience since then has been beyond amazing. When I first started, I was nervous about connecting with my peers. But to my surprise, I met a very inclusive and driven community that I immediately connected with. Throughout the past year, I have grown so much as a person, socially and academically, and my Waterford experience has shown me the importance of a diverse liberal arts education..
One of the best parts of Waterford for me has been the supportive and caring faculty. From administrators, to teachers, to counselors, I have been able to create meaningful connections with them. Ms. Orton has fostered my love for math through her dynamic, intriguing lessons and her very good humor. Especially in the stress of this year, Ms Brunken has been critical to my growth as a writer, specifically within the college writing process. She has helped me develop thoughtful and impactful essays. She has also been a great friend and I will forever be thankful for all her kindness towards me. There are so many more teachers and faculty that have shaped my growth, and I am so thankful to have had all of the amazing teachers throughout my Waterford experience.
Waterford has inspired me to think outside of the box. Through the liberal arts approach of education, I have been able to dive into my passions, looking at important world issues from multiple perspectives. Through the diverse selection of classes, I have been able to explore subjects that I never would have thought that I loved. The values of this school is something I hope to take with me onto my next step in life.
Make sure to challenge yourself academically and socially and try out new things. Explore your passions and don’t be too worried, high school flys, so make sure to have fun as well!
After graduation, I will most of all miss the collaborative community at Waterford that I have grown so close with. They have carried me through my Waterford experience. I will also miss the fun events Waterford hosts and all of the memories I have made here..
October 26, 2022
December 5, 2023
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