Talia Lara, a freshman at Liberty University, wishes that she had taken International Baccalaureate classes while she was at Mount Vernon High School.
Julissa Campbell, a student at the University of Virginia, is glad that she took IB courses, “The big course load [in high school] helped me to manage the course load in college. I’m used to writing a lot of papers,” Campbell said.
Lara advised students not to spend so much time with relationships. She said she wasted a year on the phone, talking to a boy she has lost track of.
Both Lara and Campbell spoke to Nina Gomez-Perez’s Spanish for Fluent Speakers class as part of the “Life After High School Program” that was held at MVHS last week.
Amy Hackett Ferguson, the Career Center specialist who put together the program, said that they have been doing a similar program at MVHS for years. This year, however, she expanded it from one period to the entire day. She had 28 speakers booked for the day to spend time in various classes.
Albert Lawrence and Lisa Tarpeh came back to share their insights with the students. Lawrence is a junior at Yale University majoring in film and theater studies. He had David Schmidt, who still teaches at MVHS, as his theater professor.
Lawrence works with students at a Pittsburgh high school as part of an outreach program and sees how much better prepared the students at MVHS are.
“You see where other kids are coming from, and we’re much better off,” Lawrence said.
Tarpeh, who is majoring in electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie-Mellon, said that she was somewhat at a disadvantage because of her lack of engineering courses. This was partly due to limited resources at MVHS but also because her full IB load kept her from taking additional course.
Jeffrey Brown, a freshman at Norfolk State, and Eboni Blake, a student at the University of North Carolina, both returned to talk to the MVHS students. Blake, Meredith Pilling and Mike Muir spent time speaking to Diane Ferguson’s English class.
One of Ferguson’s students, Jasamean Burroughs, told them she wants to become a lawyer and asked about what classes to take. Ferguson said that it doesn’t really matter what courses students bound for law and medical school take — the important thing is that they do well. She suggested that college students take advantage of the many electives that colleges offer. Muir said that he’s already taken an English course on King Arthur where they reviewed Monty Python films. He’s also taken a sex and gender class. Blake has taken a race and ethics relation class and said that it’s very different at UNC, which is predominantly a white college.
Kim Jeffries and Paul Tenorio both attend Northwestern University and offered advice to Alison Grace’s journalism class. Jeffries is a senior, majoring in journalism and English, while Tenorio is majoring in journalism and will graduate in two years.