The year was 1998 when I was first introduced to Harrisburg Academy. Although I only knew one person at school before my first day of class, the one thing I had going for me was my natural talent with a soccer ball. I was entering 8th grade; this was my fresh start, and I really owned it. I quickly made an impression on the members of the Upper School soccer team, who would ask to play one-on-one with me during practice — which was intimidating but always worth the experience. As much as I was instantly embraced athletically and socially, I was welcomed, nurtured, and challenged beyond anything I could have ever imagined academically. This was the trend of academics at the Academy.
As I turned 16, I actually found myself driving to school at 7 a.m. to work with Mme. Brown on my French or talk with Mr. Elder about physics. The Academy was encouraging me to think analytically, respectfully challenge and question everything, and to explore different perspectives. The blend of acceptance and guidance helped prepare me for my upcoming pursuits, after I graduated from the Academy in 2002.
Nearly 12 years later I have returned to the Academy working as the Assistant Director of Alumni Relations. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and most of all I did not want to be under-prepared. Walking the hallways I notice cosmetic and technological improvements from when I was a student (smart boards = so awesome!), but what has made me smile the most are the students and the faculty. Even though curricula has been expanded to include the IB Diploma program, the philosophies, approach, and care that teachers give to the students are what I remember from my time at the Academy.
It is my goal to add value to our students’ educations in the form of our alumni network. I’ve already successfully guided a student into an internship opportunity with an alumnus, and it is my hope that with time and effort, these types of connections will happen organically, without my introduction.
I find myself to be so envious of our students and thrilled to be interacting with them on a daily basis. Their approach to their studies is truly remarkable, along with their focus and personable attitudes. I am excited to watch them grow from students, to graduates and alumni. I’ve always thought of myself as staying on trend, but our students are forcing me to think outside of the box and be creative in the way I approach my job.
It’s great to be back in school.