(From left to right, top row to bottom) Sophie Garfunkle, Talia Rotman, Petra Biddle-Gottesman, Avi Bhandari, Kayla Long, Celia Lehmann Duke (Seniors) - Interviews Conducted by Phoebe Shin, Rina Huang, Nora Wagner, Araddhya Tibrewall
This week, your Humans of CPS Team interviewed six lovely seniors—Sophie, Talia R, Petra, Avi B, Kayla, and Celia for our fifth week of Seniors of CPS interviews. These interviews were conducted throughout the week, looking forward to Intraterm—some after a Math midterm and some before the Book Fair—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?
Sophie: Um….I guess something really random is that I don’t like foods that taste like nothing. So I don’t like cucumbers or jicama or celery. And I’ve tried to like them—I want to like them—but I can’t like them.
Talia: Um, I really like rock climbing. I guess it’s something I do that's not really like, with a team or for competing or anything like that, so it's very relaxing for me. I really enjoy bouldering and working on a project, and thinking about different ways to get to the top.
Petra: Oh, this is funny. I was born on the driveway! My mom went into labor earlier that day. It was on my due date actually, but she’d gone to the doctor earlier, and they’d told her that she wouldn’t be giving birth on her due date. She went on this long hike in Tilden…she went on some errands…she was even going to take my sister to the doctor’s office. But when they get back to the house, she’s like, “Oh, I’m going to have the baby now! My dad’s like, “Let’s go to the hospital,” but then she was like, “No, right now!” She was having contractions all day, but she just thought it was a stomach bug. Anyway, she laid down on the driveway and gave birth to me. My dad delivered me. The first responders showed up, like, ten minutes later. I have a half sister who was twenty when I was born, and they let her cut the umbilical cord. It’s cool, because my driveway is made of rock, and my name—Petra—means rock in Greek. They were on the edge of a few names. It pushed them over the edge!
Avi: I talk so much, so there’s very little that my classmates don’t know about me. Can we come back to this?
*end of interview* Let’s see. One thing that’s interesting about me that people might not know…I spent all of middle school and a fair amount of high school convinced that I wanted to be a doctor. I was so sure about it, until I actually thought about it for the first time. I was like, actually…this is not the thing for me! I’ll do something very, very adjacent instead! But yeah, I used to wear a fake doctor’s jacket in middle school. I had one of those play doctor’s kits, and it was my favorite toy.
Kayla: One thing that I actually think people don’t know about me is that I organize and run a debate tournament for middle schoolers! Some of my close friends know this, but I think it’s something really cool that I don’t talk about much. Another thing might be that…I will probably go and try any activity, as long as someone gives me a date/time that I’m free.
Celia: I think I share a lot—people know my main interests, like running—but I really like nature photography. I find something really peaceful about going out with an actual camera, usually alone, and just taking pictures of trees and trails.
Q: Looking back at your experience at CPS, what is something you will never forget?
Sophie: Probably one of my most memorable experiences is just working on the shows, being part of drama tech. I think staying at school late is something that’s always really fun. Just the community bonding and all those experiences are really positive.
Talia: I’d say one of my most memorable moments was qualifying for State Championships in cross country this year. It was just really fun, and I haven't been able to do that at all yet at College Prep. I just bonded a lot with the team this year, so it was a really fun moment for us.
Petra: Okay, this is pretty easy. I would say Ryan Dooley, the Latin teacher. Honestly, just Latin classes in general. I really like the new teacher also. But his classes were so funny! You’d go in, and you’d kind of expect to learn Latin, but he’d go on these tangents sometimes. It seriously was so funny. He’d lecture us about Cicero really passionately. I’ve never met people who cared so much about things that have been, like, completely dead and buried for thousands of years. But he was like, “Cicero is better than Catullus!” Still, Latin classes have such a funny vibe. It’s always such a small class—my class especially, AP Latin—so we make people do late dances when they come in late. It’s kind of a cult. It’s great.
Avi: That’s a tough question! There've been a lot of really exciting experiences for me at CPS and so much that I’ve enjoyed. But this year, I was one of the seniors who went on freshman retreat, and I got to talk to a lot of seniors that I hadn’t really talked to during my time at CPS. It was really wonderful to get to bond with people that I usually wouldn’t interact with very often. I got to know people a lot better. It was a great time! That, and also the fall play this year. Easily one of the most exciting and memorable things I’ve done at CPS.
Kayla: I think one of the best memories I’ve had here—maybe not one of the best, actually, but something I’ll remember—was the day we had a swim meet, and one of the seniors—I don’t remember who—was cheering for her own relay that she was supposed to be in, from the other side of the pool. *laughs* And I remember she had to run over because she realized she was in that relay!
Celia: There are so many things, but definitely the cross country and track team—I have so many close friends that aren’t necessarily in my grade because of that, and all the endless meets and practices have been so much fun, and spending so much time with those people has opened up a new community. There are definitely a lot of inside jokes. At Clovis, at Invitational my freshman year, there was a pool at the hotel we were staying in, but none of us realized except for one person. So none of us had bathing suits, but we had our running clothes, you know, since we’re runners, so we all jumped into the pool in our running clothes! It was really cold and it was dark out, but it was so much fun.
Q: What is one word you would use to describe your four years at College Prep?
Sophie: That’s a tough one…A lot of things come to mind, but I guess growth or change. I’ve gone through so much and I’m definitely not the same person I was when I came to CPS.
Petra: I would say…high school. *laughs* Okay, I don’t know! I really did not think that this was going to be a school that worked for me. I had to learn how to appreciate this school. There’s a lot of good things here, and it took me a while to see that. There’s definitely also things that just don’t work for me, and they’re not going to change. That’s okay. There are things that need to and can be changed. But I’d say it was a learning journey. Not just academically, but learning how to appreciate what something has to offer.
Avi: I’ve heard of a lot of the same words in circulation, so I think I want to be a little different. *pauses* Okay, I don’t think I’m going to be very different. I’m going to say unexpected. I had a lot of expectations of what CPS would be like, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Things are different, but in a really great way. I expected it to be far more stressful and difficult than it ended up being. I also expected to be a lot more isolated than I am. As the four years have gone on, I’ve gotten to know more and more people. Generally, it’s been very lovely.
Kayla: Chaotic. We are a chaotic school, and you wouldn’t know that until you are a part of it.
Celia: It’s so hard to sum it up in one word. Probably growth—I think CPS has challenged me in so many ways, in almost every aspect of my life, especially academically. But I’ve just grown a lot, intellectually and socially, and I think I’ve figured out who I am more, and discovered myself more.
Q: What are you looking forward to in the future?
Sophie: Yeah, I’m looking forward to going back to normal hopefully. I know that’s high hopes but I want a normal college experience. I’m definitely looking forward to college and getting more freedom and meeting new people.
Talia: I’d say in the future I’m really looking forward to spending my time on a job that I’m genuinely passionate about, and um, not feeling like I have to spend time doing or learning things that I didn't choose to learn.
Petra: I’m looking forward to seeing my niece and nephew over spring break. They’re the cutest little kids, I love them. My nephew is seven, and my niece is eight.
Avi: I’m definitely looking forward to going off to college. Y’know, meeting new people, taking new classes. Finally getting to focus on a subject is really exciting to me. But also, I’m really excited to take the rest of the semester to relax a little. I’ve been very uptight these past three and a half years, and I’m finally learning how to relax. It would’ve been nice to know earlier in my CPS career! This semester, I’m learning for the love of learning. I’m looking forward to spending the rest of this semester with my friends.
Kayla: I know this may be a bit of a generic answer, you know, from reading everyone else’s responses, but I’m looking forward to hanging out with friends. But also, I feel like I’m doing a lot more this semester than I’ve ever done in the past, so just getting to do that and spending time with people, and having the last couple weeks of school off for free time before graduation—I think I’m really looking forward to that.
Celia: I’m looking forward to the end of this semester—being back in person is so much fun, and I’m looking forward to having a kinda normal-ish end of the year, and graduation. And this summer, I’m going to go on a vacation with my family, and so I’ll get to see my brother who’s in college and spend time with him in person.
Q: If you could say one thing to your grade as you begin to close out your CPS journey, what would it be?
Sophie: Probably that I don’t know everyone, but I just know that we’re all a really cool bunch of people, and I’m glad I got to know everyone—even if just a little bit—these four years.
Talia: Um, I guess just thank you. I feel like I've learned a lot from the people around me here— they’ve made me a better person.
Petra: Continue on your journey of self discovery and exploration. People say that it ends when you become an adult, but it doesn’t have to. Especially if you don’t like yourself. And who really, truly loves themselves? At least not in high school. Also, adults—you see these people who hate themselves, and it’s just sad. It doesn’t have to be that way. I think that starts with self discovery and exploration.
Avi: It would probably be keep in touch. I don’t want to lose touch with people, and I don’t want to lose the friendships I’ve made. Even if we don’t talk all that much, and we’re more so passive acquaintances, I want to keep in touch with as many people as I possibly can.
Kayla: I regret not getting to know all of you, but this last semester that I get to spend with you all will be really really fun. And I think a lot of us will be able to keep these connections in the future, and I’m both really excited about college, but I’m also a little sad that it’ll be without some of you.
Celia: Thank you. It’s been a rough time, but we’ve really gone through it together, and always been there for each other, and I have so many good memories with you guys that I’ll remember forever.