Posts Tagged ‘duke’


  • “The workshop helped me to feel comfortable writing about myself and to work through my ideas to see what would work. It proved to be a crucial way for me to figure out what was most important to me and how to express that to the colleges I was applying to in the most articulate way. I highly recommend it as learning experience.”
  • Sophia Toles
  • Martha’s Vineyard Workshop Attendee
  • Class of 2012, Friends Academy
  • Class of 2016, Princeton University
  • “David Dent does a great job of helping students come up with revealing topics of their very own to consider for their college essays. He takes the time that is needed to transport your child beyond the routine parameters of his/her thinking to get there.”
  • Lisa Boldt, Mother
  • Alden Boldt
  • Class of 2014, Berkshire School
  • Class of 2018, Union College
  • “When Cameron came to Write for the Future, he was at the bottom of his class in writing and literature. In about 26 sessions, he has gone from a bottom to an A. It is so exhilarating to see this work-in-action. David and Write for the Future have proven that what they say, they do. Write for the Future is a testament to itself. … Now my son can analyze things, he can write things; there are not words to express the things he has done since he has been working with Write for the Future...I would recommend Write for the Future offers to anyone. You are investing in your child’s future,… and you will see the outcome of the product. Write for the Future has done wonders for my son. On Sundays, he always looks forward to his session…. I think it’s amazing.”
  • Lynn King,
  • Mother of Cameron King,
  • Class of 2016, Elisabeth Irwin High School

The Courtroom Comeback

The Courtroom Comeback

by Calvin Thompson

10525096_10152156810062413_940766063_nI had always been at home with a podium in my hands, the crowd hanging on my every word. I never feared speaking in front of people until one sobering moment last year. I waltzed into Newton North High School one winter day to deliver the opening statement against my rival high school’s mock trial team, and I choked. The sweat started to collect above my lips; I could almost taste fear. My face was glazed in a salt water sheen. For the life of me, I could not utter one sentence, except  “I’m sorry…I, I can’t do this…I, I uh, need to go.”  Not the best start for my first mock trial season.

My confidence hung around my ankles as I waddled out of the room. For two weeks, I questioned my answers on tests and I missed tackles in football. Even more difficult was facing my mock trial teammates. Failure was nothing new to me on the football field, but it confounded me in the courtroom because performance took on an entirely different form there. In football there is always another teammate on the field. Yet, I had to be almost entirely self-reliant in mock trial, which introduced the concept of team in a new and disorienting way.

In the past, no matter the context, a voice was never something I lacked. At eleven, I started my own Betty Crocker empire; baking then biking around the neighborhood using the gift of gab to sell my creations. Then in 8th grade, my history class faced a crisis: students completed less than 50% of the homework. At wits’ end, our teacher demanded to know why. I stood up and told her we felt disrespected. I suggested she encourage, not berate us. Immediately, she changed her teaching style. At graduation, she awarded me an Obama bobblehead as the “student most likely to occupy the White House.”

I was confounded and frustrated and it took two weeks for the sense of failure to begin to fade; only a conversation with my grandmother and the prospect of our next match roused me from my stupor. Grams reminded me that life is, in itself, a hail mary, and that feeling bad for myself and neglecting preparation would not help me score. She lost her house to a flood in 2002, and without hesitation my parents offered her a spot in our home. As a 6 year old, I could not possibly imagine what that would mean for my life, but as a 17 year old, I am beginning to understand. Inspired by her, I relentlessly prepared for my next trial. I incessantly read the witness affidavits about the murder case we were to try, and convened with my teammates to go over the most crucial information. After hours and hours of practicing and reviewing the case, I was ready to rectify my failure. Weeks after my collapse at the podium, I stepped backed into the courtroom prepared, though not overconfident as I had been before.

When called to open our case, I rose, and began to speak, knowing every contour of my address and our team’s case like the back of my hand. The words slid off my tongue effortlessly. I saw my coach in the back of the room pumping his fist in the air–a courtroom touchdown dance. I received the highest individual score of anyone in the whole match. Our team received the highest pointage in school history for a mock trial match.

My failure exposed weaknesses and my success demonstrated the necessity of preparation. I am grateful that Grams was there to witness them both. She passed on July 16, 2013, and while I wish I could ask her a million questions all over again, I will settle for the knowledge she bestowed unto me: rehearse tirelessly and adjust, since failure can strike the unprepared regardless of a strong past.

Calvin Thompson, a 2014 graduate of Brookline High School, will be a freshman at Duke in the fall.

The Answers Always Lead To New Questions

The Answers Always Lead To New Questions

by Justin Sapp

2014-05-30-IMG_0010“Justin, come down for breakfast.”

I hated my brother’s impersonation of Mom’s morning screech. He seemed to think he was the third parent. Moreover, I’ve never even liked breakfast and, no matter how fast I rushed downstairs, my baby sister would get the first plate.

Yet I loved my morning routine once I pushed my brother’s voice out of my mind, and a series of questions easily awakened me to the excitement of the day: Why am I never hungry in the morning? Why doesn’t my esophagus function early? Why could I barely pull myself out of bed with arms and legs that didn’t listen to me? Why did my date of birth determine my familial role? What made my parents behave differently towards each one of us? What goes on in the human brain to trigger parental preferences?

I am a student with a passion for finding answers tied to mysteries of the brain and body. Raising questions is never enough and merely ignites my journey to explore the complexity of different organs and tasks they fulfill. I am consumed with studying the breakdown of cells and organelles performing different functions. A simple question asked about breakfast or birth order stirs my curiosity in the factory we all have inside. As I learn different reasons for my biological processes, the explanations draw me in like a yo-yo–always wanting to come back to learn more.

The search for answers is challenging. In AP Biology this semester, I was assigned to take on what seemed like an easy question in a lab: How do temperatures impact cellular respiration? I recorded a lot of data during my lab period, but none of it made sense and my lab partners gave up at the end of the period. However I spent that night combing over books tied to the question and the ways we recorded data from the experiments. I was the first person at school the next day to get into the labs, waiting for the security guard to open the doors. “A little too early today!” he said.

After several experiments before class, I discovered how cold temperatures hinder the rate of cell respiration. From labs to my life, so many other questions send me on the mission to discover. I had signed up for the chemistry and psychology clubs as a freshman. Why did I not go initially? This answer was simple: None of my friends would go and I didn’t want to go alone. Again: Why? I would discover that the answer was entangled in a question that had been with me since elementary school and was becoming more pressing: How does the guy who was the short and scrawny kid prevent friends from manhandling him? I laughed off the friendly punches for years. By freshman year, I was tired of it. What could end it? I heard wrestling would make me “brawlic.” I tried wrestling for a year and fell in love with a new set of questions it raised: What was wrestling’s impact on my body? The soreness in my muscles was worse than breakfast calls. I raced to science journals online and books to learn how chemical irritants were interacting with my pain receptors.

I became more confident to stand up for myself and to join clubs without friends. During sophomore year, I gave up wrestling to devote more time for activities related to my interests in science, joining the psychology and chemistry clubs.

I now spring out of bed every morning ready for experiments in chemistry club meetings at 7:10. My mom has stopped making breakfast for me, yet there are still many questions stirring my mornings, making me feel like a yo-yo, always coming back for new discoveries. Except unlike a yo-yo, progress comes with entanglement, especially when I am wrapped up in a biological question.

Justin Sapp will be a freshman at Duke University in the Fall and is a member of the Class of 2014 at Oak Park and River Forest High School in Oak Park, Illinois