Ten Ransom Everglades seniors reflected on their years at Ransom Everglades and offered advice to RE parents during the first in-person Senior Panel in three years. The event at the Posner Lecture Hall in the Fernandez STEM Center featured Luca Campiani ’22, Nicolas Falero ’22, Chrissy Francis ’22, Ella di Gasbarro ’22, Nikhil Kumar ’22, Victoria Porto ’22, Isabella Virtue ’22, Jessica Weinstein ’22, Kerryn Xu ’22 and Lauren Zanarini ’22.
The seniors talked about managing their workload, participating in school clubs and activities and seeking academic help. They discussed their favorite courses and teachers at RE – physics teacher Paul Natland ’02 won the most shout-outs – and also described a spirit of cooperation, not competition, that characterized their time at Ransom Everglades.
The Senior Panel was moderated by Head of the Upper School Patricia C.A. Sasser, and the students were introduced by Ransom Everglades Parents' Association President Allison Holly. Their most-repeated advice to parents: encourage your children to get involved at Ransom Everglades. Campiani and Zanarini, di Gasbarro shared that some of the most fun they had at RE was when they tried out for various sports teams.
Weinstein is president of Rock 4 RElief, Francis is president of the Black Student Association, Xu is the editor-and-chief of the art club PEEL, Zanarini is vice president of the Student Government Association, and several of the students are on the school’s Diversity Council and participate in speech and debate.
A few notable comments:
Porto on the atmosphere at RE: “One would think it would be very cutthroat and competitive, and everyone would not want to help each other out, you know: Get the best grades! Do this club! Get this award! Get into the best college! But we really do have an environment – I honestly don’t know how it was created, but I am so grateful that it was – where we all want to help each other. If you are struggling in math, someone will offer to help you … I don’t know if it’s unique but it’s rare, and it’s nurtured here.”
Weinstein on respect for her peers: “I can look at every single person on this panel right now, and also every person on the [senior] deck, and I know they’re going somewhere. I know each person is going to do something really special with their lives … Everyone is really so driven, and people have really come into their own, and I think that’s what makes our grade special. Every single person around me is extremely brilliant in many different ways.”
Xu on the work ethic of the Class of 2022: “I noticed something really special about our class, coming out of December and college application season and testing and everything we had gone through. I expected to look around and see everyone tired, losing motivation…. [but] I would not believe senioritis was real, just because of how hard everyone was working at everything they were interested in, and how hard they are still working, even as senior year is closing. I do admire how hard everyone works.”
Francis and her experience with the Black Student Association: “Coming into high school, I didn’t really have a sense of identity … When I experienced BSA for the first time, they just grabbed me and made me sign up … It was the first time I felt really wanted by a group of people I didn’t know. Having that community gave me a safe space at this school … It’s always nice to have that extra sense of comfort, that extra sense of family and union … That was the most impactful thing for me.”
Zanarini on managing activities and homework: “I have always thought it’s fun to be busy … when you find what you really like to do, it doesn’t feel like an obligation any more. I make sure I’m doing things I want to do, not that I feel like I have to do … My best [school] work is not when I’m working on it hours upon hours … Not doing homework every single second on a school night is not a bad thing.”
Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.