Eight students share insights and stories during the annual Senior Panel

Eight members of the Class of 2024 reflected on their years at Ransom Everglades, answering questions and sharing stories with RE parents during the annual Senior Panel on April 24 at the Posner Lecture Hall. The students, Eden Harris '24, Eliza Arnold '24, Noa Abboud '24, Lauren Scott '24, Matias Cardenas '24, Siona Dua '24, Alex Jones '24 and Michael Kaye '24, talked about the many opportunities for students at RE, the support offered by teachers, and the risks they took that paid off. COO and Interim Head of the Upper School David Clark '86 served as panel moderator.
The event serves as the annual highlight of the Ransom Everglades Parents' Association's General Membership Meeting, during which REPA introduces its new slate of officers and adopts bylaw changes. Head of School Rachel Rodriguez thanked the parents in attendance and welcomed the panel. 

"We are four weeks away from commencement and really excited for all of the things happening this year," Rodriguez said. "Thank you for doing your part and always leaning in."

Clark queried the students about their experiences at RE and inquired what they would do differently if could start over. As each student shared personal stories on a variety of topics, a few general themes emerged: all agreed that the strong community and seemingly limitless opportunities made their time at RE special.

"Everyone here has looked out for your best interests since day one," Arnold said. ".... The opportunities are endless."

"The piece of advice I would give is taking advantage of the quality of education and the opportunities you have," Abboud said. "The most special thing about RE [is] just the support that you constantly have ... really, anything you can think of, you will be supported by your friends and your teachers."

"If you're passionate about something, Ransom Everglades is most likely going to have it," Kaye said. "I don't know another school that offers sailing during PE. To me that's just awesome."

Clark invited the students to talk about a time they had taken a risk at RE, and grown from the experience. Some talked about academic experiences, others pointed to endeavors outside the classroom.

"In 10th grade I switched sports from soccer to crew," Jones said. "I ended up loving it. I found my group of people, very tight-knit people that I'm sure I will have for the rest of my life ... We were the leaders of the team; we have been for the last three years, so being part of that group has really taught me leadership skills ... It's been a great experience."

Each of the students revealed the name of their elementary school, the year they arrived to RE, and their college destination. Parents applauded each college announcement: Fordham University, The Ohio State University, Yale University (two students), Purdue University, Virginia Tech and Tulane. 

"Ransom Everglades is a very supportive place," Scott said. "They have so many resources and support systems ... that it's hard to not succeed."
The value of Ransom Everglades, Cardenas and Harris said, extends far beyond the transcript.

"I'm still friends with a lot of the same people that I was friends with in sixth grade," Cardenas said. "The thing about Ransom Everglades is, you're always making new friends. I started cross country in the 10th grade ... and now a lot of those guys are my best friends."

Said Harris: "As much as I appreciate everything that Ransom Everglades has given me as a school, the main thing I'm lucky to have are the friends that I have. The people that surround me are really great people. They are so motivated and so driven, and the people who surround me have really fueled me to be the best version of myself."

Dua agreed.

"I was really nervous about how I was going to make friends and integrate into the community, especially with Covid happening in eighth grade, but I just found it so easy," said Dua, who arrived to RE as an eighth grader. "Literally everywhere I turned, I could join something and meet this new community of people, and now I have friends I know will be my lifelong friends."
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.