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Carnegie Vanguard High School

Top 10 High School in the U.S.

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Full Name:
Stephen Miranda

High School Graduation Year: 2012
College: University of Oklahoma
Major: BFA in Drama w/ a Dramaturgical Emphasis
Minor: Non-Profit Organizational Studies

Why did you choose to attend The University of Oklahoma? 
When I began the whole process, I applied to schools that I knew would offer me the very best education suited to my professional goals. After interviewing at eight universities and receiving acceptances and scholarship offers, it really came down to the one that gave me the most comprehensive financial aid package. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of graduating from college with little to no debt. I left OU owing $0 and have started my professional life much easier than if I would have gone to study drama in New York at the Lincoln Center, just to be “on the scene.” My education was first rate by EVERY standard and I am free from the shackles of debt. I have so many more options because of that decision and I hope you will really consider the financial aspect when choosing where to attend. 

Can you share your thoughts on how to best prepare for college?
I remember panicking in the closing weeks of summer before my first semester at OU. Was I ready? Would it be too hard? Would I be able to achieve on day one, or would I have to struggle along to find solid footing? The apprehension nearly killed me. Then I arrived. I met my roommate (and if you want some good roommate stories, ask sometime - I can go on for days). Classes began. I quickly realized that, 1) I was not alone in this angst. Everyone was nervous. Nobody had the exact idea of what to expect. And 2), I was in the wrong classroom. Great way to start a new chapter in my life. 

Carnegie prepared me in ways that I didn’t anticipate or even know how to articulate at the time. In taking a difficult class load at CVHS (with drama rehearsals, etc.), I knew how to work intelligently and vigorously to excel, no matter how grueling my classes were at OU. And you do too. Your study habits are sharpened and you have been training for this in ways you do not realize. Unfortunately, not all incoming freshmen have this advantage. Be willing to help, because you are bound to have a swath of people begging you for it. 

In your experience, what are some attributes of individuals who are most successful in your major?
To be a successful Drama major, you must have three traits: tenacity, strong work ethic, and a sense of humor. First, your schedule will be more difficult to manage than many other majors on your campus. PARENTS: BEING A DRAMA STUDENT IS NOT FOUR YEARS OF PLAYTIME! You will have to read extensively (plays, textbooks, etc). You will have long rehearsal hours on top of your class/work schedule. You will have dedicated “shop” and “crew” hours for the various technical classes you will likely take, you will want to take extra workshops and classes outside of your regular hours, you will have film shoots, etc. You must have a strong work ethic and high standards of excellence. Your professional reputation begins today. The beauty of this industry (and the trap) is that your career building starts now; not when you graduate. Your resume begins now. The jobs you get upon graduation will depend upon the internships and casting you have had at theatre companies and casting agencies starting now. Be your best now, work hard, and you will find success. That’s a guarantee. You also must be able to laugh at yourself and the many struggles around you.

What Words of Wisdom would you like to tell your fellow CVHS students?
In life, you have to create your own definition for “success.” If you try to walk in someone else’s shoes in hopes to match their accomplishments, you will find yourself sorely disappointed  No teacher, parent, or mentor can truly guide you to meeting your full potential until you decide what exactly it is you are reaching for. So many people will try to lead you in the same direction they have worked toward or push you to follow in their stead. Be the best at whatever it is you want to be. Give it your all and you will achieve it. Success does not equal boatloads of money or fancy cars; it is the fulfillment of your dreams. 


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Name:
Chelsea Monae Linwood
High School Graduation Year: 2012
College: The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA)
Major: Civil Engineering

Why did you choose to attend The University of Texas at San Antonio?
I decided to attend UTSA because the university has a great civil engineering program. The location was not too far and not too close to home, and they gave me the most financial aid. 

In your experience, what are some attributes of individuals who are most successful in your major?
Within the engineering department, I have noticed that the most successful students are invested in learning the material for long-term application and not just to pass a test. Engineering students are team oriented and sometimes work in small groups on homework or to study. Students may work alone, but gather questions to discuss with classmates and friends later. Also, getting involved in at least one engineering organization is also important.  

What Words of Wisdom would you like to tell your fellow CVHS students?
Enjoy college while it last and use the leisure time that you may have during your freshman and sophomore year to partake in professional development activities. For example, attend workshops offered by the school that will help you in your professional field.

Did Carnegie prepare you to become a college-ready student?
Yes, because attending Carnegie taught me how to manage my time wisely and prioritize, and these skills have proven very useful in college. Also, I was informed about tasks that I needed to take care of and was able to access the counselors if I had any questions. 


 

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Full Name: Ian Christie
High School Graduation Year: 2012
College: Brandeis University
Major: Computer Science and Neuroscience

Why did you choose to attend Brandeis University?
I wanted to diversify my life experiences. Having spent my entire childhood in Houston, TX, I was looking to expand my horizons in a different environment. I chose Brandeis because of its academics and more importantly its location in Boston, MA.

Can you share your thoughts on how to best prepare for college?
I think you already know the answer to this question, you just need to understand the reality of it. Preparing for college is preparing to be a more independent person, and a person is nothing but their habits, so develop good ones. Hit the books, allocate time well, understand the material, do not be afraid to ask for help, be kind and courteous and empathetic to everybody including your least favorite teacher, and follow your passions. Establishing these habits early on can set you up for great things later. 

What Words of Wisdom would you like to share with your fellow CVHS students?
Be unusual! Carnegie did a great job in fostering that creative aspect of each student through its unconventional culture. Embrace it and own it. It will influence you to be more interesting as a person, and it has the added benefit of helping you get into college. I serve on scholarship committees and, without a doubt, most of the students who are likely to win the scholarships are the most unusual ones. 

Did Carnegie prepare you to become a college-ready student?
Of course! I owe a lot to my Carnegie education. I worked hard at developing those productive habits and fostering my unique personality. Perhaps, what Carnegie did best was to give me an open mind. Carnegie can't prepare you for everything because you are going to be exposed to new ideas & personalities in college, but the worst thing you can do is to have a closed-mind.

 

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