I wanted to get into Boston Latin School really, really badly. Throughout the first months of sixth grade, before I took the entrance test known as the ISEE, I would carry around a test prep book that was several inches thick and study it the whole time I was in school. In my mind, BLS was the key to everything I wanted. Of course, at that point I hadn’t the faintest idea of what exactly I wanted, but knew that opportunities like this one, in going to such a high caliber high school, didn’t come along every day. The day that I received the letter saying I had gotten in, the Saturday of the Saint Patrick’s Day weekend, I breathed a sigh of relief. The years of work and change, however, were just beginning.
The most important thing, by far, that BLS has given me is a chance to realize and refine my passions. I joined the Yellow Submarine Improv Troupe in seventh grade; three years later I was a cocaptain. That has been my main love and catalyst for personal growth, as I have learned to think quickly, be clever, and work together with other members to create something together. I have participated in theater and band, most recently playing the obese mother in this year’s production of Hairspray. I have always loved music, playing guitar, piano and ukulele, and next year will be my first year with the Wolftones, our school’s a cappella group.
In the past few years, I have acquired an affinity for writing and journalism. Starting out as a regular contributing writer to the school newspaper, The Argo, I became News Section Editor last year and will be Editor-in-chief this coming year. I have participated in numerous journalism camps and classes, and I see it as a very likely career path. What draws me to newspapers and writing is the chance to get to investigate, uncover the truth and tell stories that might not be told otherwise. The business as a whole is changing quite a lot with the advent of digital multimedia and online news sources, and I cannot wait to see what journalism will look like in 20 years. Speaking with Hilary Krieger, an editor at The Washington Post, and hearing her emotional stories about her experiences as a reporter overseas solidified my interest in becoming a reporter.
I applied for this fellowship because I wanted the chance to do something meaningful with my summer. Working in the office of Mayor Menino certainly gives me the opportunity to do just that. My time here is just beginning, but I have already gotten the chance to see all the systems put in place to help people in the city: from the New Urban Mechanics, who create mobile apps that allow Bostonians to report potholes around the city that need fixing, to the Mayor’s Hotline, a number anyone can call if they wish to speak to a real person and find information about the city. Since I have only been in the office for five days total so far, I can only imagine what else is in store for the rest of the summer.
As I gear up for one of the most decisive years of my life so far, I feel the same sense of anticipation and thankfulness I felt as I studied to get into BLS. I know that I’ve been given so much and helped by so many, and that every tool necessary to succeed has been given to me. As college applications loom near, there’s no book I can study. All that work is up to me now, and I plan on working as hard as I can to reach my goals and make the world a better place.