In 2013, as senior year at Ware Junior Senior High School was coming to an end, I got asked multiple times, “What are your plans after school?” At the time it seemed black and white. I would go to college, get a job, get married, and start a family. What I didn’t realize were the experiences that I had to look forward to and how my life up until then had prepared me for them.
Growing up on the same land my father and grandmother grew up on and graduating from a class of 62 students, I would have thought you were unrealistic if you told me I would be 20 years old and have already worked for two different engineering firms, manage a 1.2 million dollar account, and been to six different countries. Yet here I am.
Currently, I am a junior at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) studying Environmental Engineering and Business. I have always enjoyed my studies; however, academics have never come easy for me. While in middle and high school, I would be envious of my peers who got respectable grades with average effort while I stayed after school to work extra with my teachers. However, after talking with peers from other school districts and looking back at my time in Ware, I am thankful for those afternoons I spent with my teachers. The persistent encouragement, individual attention, and mastered patience from teachers inspired me to want to push myself. Together they helped me master the effective study and academic skills that help me to continue to get good marks at WPI and successfully utilize my education.
Amongst academics at school, I was also involved with different groups including Student Council and the National Honor Society. Through these groups I started to become a positive, confident, approachable, and inspiring leader. Being a part of a small school, you have more opportunities to become a member of a group like Student Council and move up to hold leadership roles. Becoming the treasurer of Ware’s Student Council taught me countless valuable lessons, including how to work with administration, teachers, students and the community, to prioritize, to be organized and to motivate others. These lessons gave me the foundation I needed to be elected the treasurer of WPI’s Undergraduate Student Government where I manage a 1.2 million dollar account, direct over 200 clubs in all fiscal matters and chair a weekly board meeting that decides allocation of funds.
On top of academics and extracurricular groups in school, I was encouraged to participate in community service. I enjoyed giving back as I felt a strong sense of belonging at Ware. As a member of the Ware community, it was great to see the positive difference the work that I, and so many others, made through community service. This passion to make a difference stayed with me when I left Ware. Just recently, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Cape Town, South Africa to complete my Junior Year Interactive Qualifying Project, a required interdisciplinary project under WPI’s curriculum, on a team with three other WPI students. Our team worked with a Cape Town soup kitchen, Service Dining Rooms (SDR), to create a space that celebrates human dignity for its homeless clientele through establishing art and music programs, collecting personal stories, and connecting SDR guests to other services through resource mapping.
I did not get to where I am today on my own, as I had a lot of guidance and support from my family, friends, teachers and community. I would not trade my time in Ware for anything. From cheering on the sidelines with my family and friends at Friday night football games, to getting up early on a Saturday with my peers to go study for AP tests because we didn’t want all the donuts our teacher bought to go to waste, to working with local business to plan prom and graduation; it all shaped my life to get me to “Ware” I am today!