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Seniors of CPS: Gabriel R., Matthew J., Aaron B., Thea D., Max B.

Updated: Aug 27, 2022

(From left to right, top row to bottom) Lindsay Recker, Gabriel Rogow-Patt, Matthew Jeung, Aaron Bolonick, Thea DeSchepper, Max Billick (Seniors) - Interviews Conducted by Phoebe Shin, Rina Huang, Nora Wagner, Araddhya Tibrewall

This week, your Humans of CPS Team interviewed six lovely seniors— Lindsay, Gabriel, Matthew, Aaron B, Thea, and Max for the fourth week of Seniors of CPS interviews. These interviews were conducted all on different days of the week—after listening to Singing Valentines or before an advising session on Thursday— but they all held the same purpose: to share fun facts about our seniors and memories from their past four years at College Prep. We hope you enjoy!

Q: What is something unique about you/a fun fact that your classmates might not know?

Gabriel: Let me think about this for a minute… I should've looked at the questions and pre-thought out something—I read them every week and I never think about how I would answer the questions! Hm, I guess that I went to a Jewish day school for nine years before coming to College Prep. I think people don't necessarily know the religious side of me as much because I don't portray it very much.

Matthew: Let’s see…I have a black belt in Taekwondo, but I don’t think many people know that about me since I haven’t really done it since middle school.

Aaron: Let’s see…one thing…oh yes! I am extremely interested in cinematography. I don’t know if extremely is the right adverb. It’s something that I haven’t done much of, because…time and also cost. But it’s really interesting in terms of visual storytelling. At least when I watch movies, I also find cinematography to be the most interesting part.

Thea: Um…I don’t know. I feel like people know a lot of things about me because the things I am passionate about I don’t stop talking about. But I do bake a lot, and that’s something I don’t have as much in the forefront. I bake pretty much all of my family’s birthday cakes and stuff. So, yeah.

Max: Well, I talk a lot. There’s very little that people at CPS don’t know about me. I bring a lot of “me” to the floor. But something I do every day that I think a lot of people don’t know is that I take long walks. For hours, I go to Glen Canyon, and I’ll just do my circuit. It’s a great way to be in touch with my neighborhood. Also, of course, to connect with the nature that’s around me: notice the changes in what birds are there, the difference in vegetation around the year. It lets me feel more connected to the place I live in.

Q: Looking back at your experience at CPS, what is something you will never forget?

Gabriel: This is definitely a common answer––I’ve seen people answer this a lot, but it's just true that sophomore retreat was such an incredible experience. It was really like, I would even go as far to say that it was a life-changing experience for me. It really kind of opened up a new kind of perspective on how to see the world.

Matthew: Definitely my experience on the cross country and track teams. I’d say super great team experience. Getting introduced to the College Prep community during freshman and sophomore year—especially, to the upperclassmen—really helped me out. Later on, the team experience was just great…

Aaron: Probably some of the classes, especially when I was in freshman year. Coming in here, I didn’t really expect to have to think as much as I had to. It was an interesting shock. I’d thought, of course, in classes in middle school. I was privileged enough to go to a really good middle school, but at College Prep, I’ve had to think more than I’ve ever had to before. You have to understand things more completely. The initial shock and adjusting to CPS is something that I’ll never forget.

Thea: I think, in general, the warm spring days on a Friday or after finals and tests. Me and a bunch of my friends just go and get boba—and everything is really chaotic. We’re really giddy because it’s the end of the week. It’s so much fun. I feel like those afternoons are very much a moment in time, and I won’t forget those.

Max: For the vast majority of people, high school is such an institutional and impersonal experience. It’s a profound privilege to go to a school where that’s so far from the case. This is the sort of place where the principal knows your name and your math teacher will email you on a Saturday morning because you mentioned being overwhelmed. I think that the care and the closeness that characterizes CPS is something really special. It’s not one event, but it’s a theme that has colored every day that I’ve spent at this school. It’s something that I’m really grateful for.

Q: What is one word you would use to describe your four years at College Prep?

Gabriel: It's hard to find just one word, it's hard…changing. Again, I feel like I’m playing into all the things that everyone says, but changing for me is about changing my perspectives and also learning new things. I’m a very different person now than I was when I came into this school.

Matthew: Maybe, learning. Obviously, academic learning, but also learning about my interests, myself, what I like to do, what I’m interested in.

Aaron: I would say different. I didn’t expect to almost feel like—and again, this is a good thing—I was going to college. This isn’t specifically about CPS, but the whole pandemic thing. That really summed up my high school experience. It felt like an entire year just didn’t happen.

Thea: A rollercoaster. (laughs) I didn’t really know what to expect going in, but it definitely was not how high school turned out, which is both a great thing and like I really didn’t know what was coming. I feel that kind of encapsulates it.

Max: I think growth. The person that I was in freshman year is a very different person than who I am today. I think that everyone grows in high school. It’s not unique to CPS, but here…the rigor of the curriculum, being surrounded by such smart people, and having teachers that care so much has really changed the way I think and move about intellectually.

Q: What are you looking forward to in the future?

Gabriel: I’m looking forward to having the freedom in college to be, you know like, free in what I’m doing each day. School is a very structured environment—at least in high school where you come to school and kind of stay here. Lunch for the most part is an on-campus thing, and it's kind of a very day-to-day, 9-to-5 kind of life. I feel like college when you're living with all your classmates and you have a lot more control, a lot less time in actual classes, it's going to be very exciting.

Matthew: I guess for the rest of my time at College Prep, I’d say the track team, and spending more time with my friends this semester and into the summer. I’m looking forward to the summer vacation I’m going on with my family. And of course, there’s college, but I haven’t really started thinking about that.

Aaron: Meeting new people! Just, y’know, meeting new people from different areas. I am going to the east coast for college, so it’ll be interesting to experience a new kind of culture. In general, I’m looking forward to making new friends. Ones that I hopefully will keep in touch with. That’s probably what I’m most excited about. I find it really interesting to meet new people and find out more about myself in the process.

Thea: I think having fun with everyone at this school for the next few months and beyond that, moving away and seeing different places and getting to know different kinds of people and expanding how I see the world and interact with the things around me. Yeah. *laughs*

Max: My future. Well, I’m looking forward to being able to slow down. I think that the pandemic has compressed life to such a degree that you can feel a little like a robot. I’m going to take some time for myself as the world opens up a little more. I want to spend more time with the people I love, and read, and fill my vessel with more life.

Q: If you could say one thing to your grade as you begin to close out your CPS journey, what would it be?

Gabriel: Keep in touch! I mean, honestly, I feel like I've lost touch with a lot of the people I knew in middle school, and I don't want that to happen again. I feel like a lot of people kind of reflect in this part I think, but I want to look to the future. I want to continue to talk to people–– even people I guess aren't my closest friends right now, I feel like I still have a lot to talk about with many people in my grade.

Matthew: I think this is kind of a basic answer, but thank you. It’s a really great group of people; they really enhanced my experience at College Prep. So, yeah.

Aaron: I’m really proud of everyone for making it through. First of all, just surviving the intensity of College Prep. But also, I think it’s incredible that we still have a grade-wide sense of community despite the pandemic. The pandemic made it so that I couldn’t interact with people that I wasn’t in touch with over text. So…yeah! I’m really proud that we all made it through and kept our community together.

Thea: Thank you. It’s been a great four years, and you’re really cool people. I hope we all have a good rest of our lives after. *laughs* Yeah.

Max: I think I’d say thank you to everybody for being such a wonderful, close-knit group of people. Thank you for all the conversations I’ve had with people that have made me think differently, consider different perspectives, and grow. CPS can sometimes be an ego-crushing place. I hope that the people in my grade can recognize that each of them have brought something really wonderful to the table.


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