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Seniors of CPS: Zac S, Phoebe S, Alexis T, Isa C, Sophia B, Zoe B, Liam J, Julia M, Chiara M

(From left to right, top row to bottom) Zac Singer, Phoebe Shin, Alexis Truta, Isa Collins, Sophia Burnett, Zoe Brickley, Liam Jenny, Julia Mastracci, Chiara Mapp (Seniors) - Interviews Conducted by Phoebe Shin, Rina Huang, Nora Wagner, Araddhya Tibrewall

This week, your Humans of CPS Team interviewed nine lovely seniors— Zac, Phoebe, Alexis, Isa, Sophia, Zoe, Liam, Julia M, and Chiara for our eighth week of Seniors of CPS interviews. These interviews were conducted on different days throughout the week, some after class meetings, and as some prepared for Mamma Mia, 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?

Zac: Fun fact about me…I don't know—I built my own longboard and I longboard a lot, so like longboard skateboarding? Yeah, very fun. It’s just a hobby I picked up because I became friends with a lot of skaters—my first board was a longboard because it's easy to learn on, and I kind of just went from there. I skate a lot, because it's a good way to relax and stuff.

Phoebe: I think something that maybe not every person knows is that I've moved around a lot, and I think that’s why I’m a pretty independent person. I was born in Texas, actually, which a lot of people don't know, and I lived there for five years. And then I moved to New York and lived there for around two years, moved to the Bay Area, lived here around three years, moved back to Texas for two years, and then came back here at the start of middle school—and I’ve been here ever since!

Alexis: I don’t think a lot of people know that my parents are from Romania. And so my first language that I grew up speaking in our household was Romanian, and my grandma and grandpa—both on my mom’s side, they live with us—don’t speak English, so it’s like, constant exposure to the language, to all the food they cook for us, all the holidays—they’re just very traditionally Romanian, so it's just really special to live that way. And then I go out into school and it's a different environment, but I like to have both.

Isa: Oh my gosh! Some people probably know this about me, but I have a lot of cousins. Like twenty-four cousins. I guess that’s kind of crazy. It’s interesting, because a lot of people that I know at CPS don’t have that many cousins or siblings. It’s something that’s a little different about me. I see my cousins all the time—they’re everywhere!

Sophia: I’ve climbed Half Dome twice, and I can’t wink!

Zoe: A lot of people don’t know that I have two older brothers—I also have one younger brother who goes here—but yeah, two older ones. This kind of more of a fun fact about one of them than me, but he works at The White House. He’s in the press corps. It’s something that I definitely brag about whenever I get the chance.

Liam: Ok, this is something that some people may already know but I haven’t brought to the CPS community as much as I wish I had in the last four years. (Revelation: wait for it, wait for it…) I’m a master balloon animal maker slash craftsman. Yeah. Yeah. I know how to make balloon animals and I haven’t shared that with a lot of people. But I can make a lot. I can make 18 different things. A dog. A flower. A bee. A dragon. That was hard to learn. Balloon animals.

Julia: I guess junior year I really got into watching more movies and stuff, so that’s something that’s been a hobby of mine for the past two years. But I think a lot of people know that about me… I guess something else would be that I really like corn, just not in salads. It’s kinda sweet, and offsets the flavors…I don’t know!

Chiara: A fun fact about me is that I used to collect Archie (Riverdale) comics. And then at one point I gave them away, which was a mistake. I don’t know why, I was just like, I’m done with this.

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

Zac: Um, let's see…the end of junior year. We just spent a lot of time after school just hanging out and playing cards and going on little adventures and that was kind of like, a very picturesque high school moment for me. Yeah, we did that for a couple weeks before finals because none of us wanted to do anything else. Made a lot of friends then!

Phoebe: I know a lot of people in my grade have said this, but sophomore retreat was really really fun. I feel like it was one of the first moments where like, everyone really opened up and hung out collectively as a grade, no matter who you were friends with—so that was really fun. And, I remember coming back after distance learning—junior year second semester was so much fun. My friends and I talk about that time a lot, just because I feel like everyone was really happy to be back in person, and everyone was really putting in effort to make up for the time that was lost. The last one I would say is a little more recent—I think the boat prom that we had was really really fun! *laughs* We missed our junior prom! It was really really fun to see everyone dressed up, and we were all just dancing on the boat together and it was really really pretty.

Alexis: I’ll never forget being in dance. I remember when I went to an open house in eighth grade, and I stepped inside the dance studio and it was a foreign place for me, because I had grown up with my dance studio from home. Now, I go there every time I have a free period, any time I just wanna be alone, or be with other people I trust to dance with, and it's so cool! I think it's really incredible that this space that used to mean nothing to me has transformed to something that's like, super special to walk into—every nook and cranny of it is so familiar and welcoming.

Isa: Honestly, I just remember knowing that I was actually good at classes. Like, realizing that you’re getting smarter and growing in school. In freshman physics, we learned about nuclear stuff and fission and fusion. I remember getting so excited about it, so excited that I was actually understanding it. The classes are hard—everybody knows that—but I liked actually being able to do them! *laughs* It helped me realize what I can do with my education.

Sophia: Definitely when the girls volleyball team beat Head-Royce this year. That was such a glorious moment, and I will never forget it.

Zoe: I won’t forget the friendships I’ve created here. I feel like they are friendships that will last long beyond the time that I graduate. I’ve learned a lot from those friendships, and they’ve allowed me to grow to the extent that I have. My friendships have also been so instrumental and important in giving me the highschool experience that I had.

Liam: I mean I could go on and on about how I made so many friends, and how the education was astounding, and how I’ll never find anything to replace that, which is all very true. But the most startling and awesome moment of my CPS career was sophomore year dodgeball finals. D Song was playing on the faculty team against the then juniors. He was the last one left against 5 of them. They started playing “Eye of the Tiger” and he just froze, took off his tie — you know D Song, he’s always fully dressed up in his suit and tie—and wrapped it around his forehead and got in his zone. He got 2 kids out before he got out, but it was so hyped. It was the highlight of spirit week.

Julia: I think the retreats and Spirit Weeks have been super fun, and then also Science Olympiad.

Chiara: I think, because it just happened, I’m going to say seeing the full show of Mamma Mia for the first time. It was so cool watching it after working on it for a long time, and I had never worked on a musical before (I worked on the costume design), so that was really magical. The big thing is the disco outfits—look out for those.

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

Zac: Alright…I should've thought of this one in advance, because I can see all the questions! Hmm—is there a single word for something that changes me? Influential? That doesn’t feel right though. I'll just say influential and hope people know what I mean. I don't know, I've grown a lot and I've changed a lot, and I feel like that's a big part of high school and CPS.

Phoebe: I've thought about this so much because I ask this question to people every week, and I feel like I should have a really really great word, but I don’t! But, I think the word that comes to mind is becoming. Just going into CPS, I had an idea of the kind of person I would be at the end—when I’m going to college or something—and I think in some ways I have become that person, and grown into that person that I aspired to be, but also at the same time I’ve become more of myself that I didn't expect to be. That was worded weirdly, but um, I don't know! I guess I’ve grown into the person that I am.

Alexis: I’m gonna use self-actualization, because my time at CPS was about me learning who I wanted to be and then going after that—so learning what tools I needed to be someone who could ask better questions, someone who could just be more perceptive and analytical, and see other people’s needs and try to fulfill them. It was a lot about speaking to my classmates and friends…I don’t know what I'm trying to say here! But observing and learning from those around me, and taking other people's values that I think are really important, and other people's character traits that I think make them good people to be around and to trust, and trying to internalize that and be a better person in how I interact in the classroom space, in the courtyard, and outside of school too.

Isa: Rollercoaster is very cliché, but the past four years really have been kind of crazy! Especially with COVID and quarantine. There’s been a lot of good moments and a lot of bad moments. Classic highschool!

Sophia: Educational. In terms of school stuff, academics, and the world, but also myself. I feel like that’s a kind of basic answer, but still solid.

Zoe: I would definitely say growth. I’ve grown in a lot of ways here: as a student, as a friend, as a person going through life. There are so many lessons that I’ve learned here that have allowed me to start growing into the person that I want to be later on. The lessons I’ve learned have also prepared me for the challenges I know I’ll encounter in the future.

Liam: That’s a hard one. (Finally, something stumped him…) Inspiring, I guess. I have high aspirations for myself in what I want to do later in life, but more than that, I’m just so impressed by everyone in my grade. Not only did I get a great education from CPS, but I feel like CPS is going to be my connection in 20 years when I get to go online and see all these famous people and say, “I went to high school with that person. I know that person. I know the Chair of the UN Security Council. I know the President. Or I know the CEO of this amazing tech conglomerate.” But yeah, I’ll know all of them through CPS—and that’s one of the things that’s so awesome.

Julia: Maybe fulfilling? There’s been some challenging parts, academics-wise, but I think it was still a really fulfilling experience.

Chiara: Change.

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

Zac: I’m really excited to study photography more, because I’ve studied it for the past two years here but obviously have not dedicated so much time to it. But, I’m going to be studying it in college and doing a lot more with it, so that's fun.

Phoebe: Future…future! Um, I'm really excited for the rest of the semester—we actually realized today in English class that we have seven weeks total, and six weeks after spring break for seniors, which is crazy to think about, and honestly kind of sad and bittersweet. But, I'm really excited to see what happens in those six weeks—I know there are so many senior activities and things planned so I'm excited for that. I'm also really excited for summer—you know, just spending time with my friends, and doing a lot of things I want to do before I go to college. I’m also excited for college, and to just go and figure out what I want to do and be in a very new environment.

Alexis: I’m looking forward to being in college and living the way an adult would, and taking care of myself in all the ways I've been taken care of in high school and before. So not only the basic things like feeding myself and taking myself to where I need to be, but also building a curriculum that really interests me, finding people who I can trust and make a second family with, and digging deeper into my passions because I'm going to have the free time to do that. And like, connecting with people from all over, from all different perspectives, and I don't know—just branching out from everything that's always been determined for me by other people, or by a high school institution that I've been a part of.

Isa: I’m just looking forward to meeting new people. I’m excited to make friends with people from lots of different backgrounds. Generally, I’m looking forward to going to college and expanding my interests in every direction.

Sophia: Seeing more of the world. I’m taking a gap year, and I’m going to travel a lot during that. I want to try living in new places, experiencing new kinds of life…getting a job, that kind of thing. I think everyone should do it! I mean, I haven’t done it yet, so maybe my endorsement will change. But still, I think it’d be a good idea for everyone to give it a go at least one point in their life.

Zoe: Ooh! Definitely graduation. *laughs* And college. I feel like I’m ready to have those new experiences and that independence. In the short term, I want to cherish everything I have here before it’s gone. Cherishing my friendships, living with my family, things like that. Just enjoying it before everything changes. Nothing is permanent.

Liam: I’ve got big hopes in terms of the science I want to do later on in life. But right now, I’m really looking forward to the next two months with my friends. I’m on StuCo, so we’re planning Senior Ditch Day, and all these lunches and all this fun stuff we’re going to do. (Get hyped up, seniors…..) I’m really looking forward to that, prom, all the fun stuff that’s lined up—it’s going to be super chill and relaxed, and I’ll get to make some great memories with my friends. (So, when’s Senior Ditch Day?) I don’t know. (But he most likely doesn’t want to tell us….)

Julia: I’m looking forward to enjoying the rest of the semester with my classmates, and also college as well.

Chira: I’m looking forward to summer, I’m looking forward to spending time with people before I leave, and spending time with people I haven’t seen in a while.

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

Zac: Um…probably that I'll never forget the times I’ve had here.

Phoebe: I had an answer prepared! I wrote it down, but I kind of forgot it. Is it bad if I look…? Okay so, it sounds a little cliché—no I swear I’m not reading, I'm paraphrasing! *laughs* It's a little cliché, but our grade is really really unique, and I don’t know—I love that our grade is super connected, and I’m not sure if that's because we’re the grade that had the most time before COVID and stuff, but I think also—like I mentioned before—coming back junior year, everyone was so open to connect, and I’ve made really strong connections in my grade. I don't know—my friends and I talk a lot about how we've all changed as individuals, and I'm always so proud and surprised at how much people have changed, and I think that goes for the rest of my grade too. Kind of like how I was saying for myself, I think everyone has really grown into the person that they are, which is really cool! I guess something else is that I've gotten to know a lot more of my grade this year than any other year—and I’m a little regretful that it happened later, but I'm still really glad I made those connections, and I really hope I continue those connections and relationships in the future, even after I graduate.

Alexis: I would say I felt very honored to be a part of this class, and I've so appreciated that the small size of our grade has allowed me to have special moments with different people—I’ve felt safe to express myself in a lot of different spaces. I think if we're just talking about in the classroom, it's just so interesting hearing everyone’s minds work, and everyone is so—what's it called? Like, not afraid to share their opinions, but also never shutting others down. So yeah, I’ve just grown a lot from how you all think and act and what you believe in, and I've enjoyed all our grade-wide moments that we’ve shared—I really feel like I'm part of this grade!

Isa: Thank you is the number one thing. It’s been a really fun four years. I enjoyed all the conversations I had with everyone. I really like our grade. I just think we’re super cool. We need to finish strong and have a fun, spirited last quarter.

Sophia: I think it’s important for everyone to—okay, this is going to sound kind of cheesy—enjoy the journey and not just seek out a destination. A lot of people at CPS are really goal-oriented and driven. That’s really amazing, but I think a lot of people here struggle to be content with just existing and not always being productive. I think life is about being content with simply existing. Just don’t rush through college if you can! Have fun in each of the stages of your life.

Zoe: I would say thank you, for sure. Not only to the people that I was very close with, but to everyone that helped foster this incredible class dynamic. Even to the people that challenged me in certain ways…I feel like it was all necessary. Thank you to every person in our grade.

Liam: I love you guys. My grade has been such a source of joy and happiness over the four years and I think I’ve tried to reflect that as best I could. They mean so much to me—every single one of them.

Julia: Thank you for an amazing four years, and I hope you have an amazing summer and college years!

Chira: Everybody is going to be fine. And I hope everybody has a chance to relax, especially after CPS.


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