Alumni Spotlight: Gabby S.

Gabby S. is an alumna from the Ward 4 Achievement Center and high school senior at Sidwell Friends School. She is also a midfielder on the Girls Lacrosse team, and has been admitted to Cornell University. She credits Higher Achievement with helping her gain confidence in her skills in English and poetry.  Read on to find out why Gabby believes in Higher Achievement:

“I most definitely believe in Higher Achievement because I am an example of what Higher Achievement does for its scholars.

Throughout my four years at Higher Achievement, I became more confident, which forced me to take on challenges and succeed at them.

I was very reserved and timid before entering the program because I was very afraid of what my peers and mentors would think of me if I were to speak my mind. The mentors I had at Higher Achievement encouraged me to express myself by pushing me to share my ideas in Community Meeting. I always like doing my schoolwork and I was good at it, but I didn’t feel comfortable sharing my thoughts with others because I was afraid of their criticism. I had never considered myself to be a great English student, so I was reluctant to write a poem for the annual Love Poetry Competition, but after much encouragement from my mentor, Ms. Sally, I submitted a poem.

When I was presenting the poem during the competition, I was able to speak confidently and eloquently, but still was not confident that I would win because everyone else had shared such beautiful poetry. I was surprised to win the competition and have the opportunity to represent my ward at the Kennedy Center showcase. Without the support from Ms. Sally and Ward 4 staff, I would not have had the self-assurance to enter the competition.

This same support that I received during the Love Poetry Competition translated to high school applications. Private schools were not on my or my mother’s radar because of the financial cost, but Ms. Christie encouraged me to apply to a few because they do have financial aid. Although I applied, I had no idea that I would have gotten into any of them. Because of the support I had gotten from Ms. Christie, I was admitted to Sidwell Friends School, one of the area’s most prestigious high schools.

When I graduated from Higher Achievement, I carried the confidence and drive that Higher Achievement instilled in me into high school. I put my full self into any commitment I had and I owe that to Higher Achievement.

Without Higher Achievement, I wouldn’t have been able to get into Cornell University. I want to give a big thank you to all the mentors and staff for pushing me and other scholars to be the best scholar they could be. Without my four years at Higher Achievement, I would not have been as confident or successful as I am today.” – Gabby S.

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