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My Transformative High School Experience

My Transformative High School Experience

Guest Blogger: Sam P., Class of '24

Over the past four years at Silicon Valley International School (INTL), my high school experience has been nothing short of transformative. Joining the school during COVID times, I was worried as to how I would recover from being apart from society and kids my age for so long. But, from those very first moments, I have had the opportunity to immerse myself in an array of clubs and activities, every second contributing to my personal and academic growth. Through founding the Upper School Drama Club at INTL, being a part of House Leadership, participating in life-changing service opportunities abroad, and learning through the rigorous IB Programme, I am proud of how far I’ve come.

One of the many highlights of my high school career has been the outcome of my Personal Project from the 10th Grade. I was told that the aim of this project was to investigate and create something related to a topic of profound interest. I created the Drama Club, to allow me the ability to heighten my love for acting, but also provide other students with the opportunity to explore their own creative interests; whether on stage in costume, behind the creation of wardrobe and scenery, or involvement with the technical aspects of theater. I have been able to watch as that club has grown in size and how its participants have flourished, many continuously coming back year after year.

As all experiences are filled with challenges and triumphs, the Drama Club had its own too. From organizing auditions to coordinating rehearsals, the experience taught me invaluable lessons in leadership, teamwork, time management, and creative problem solving. Watching the curtain rise on our inaugural performance was not only a culmination of hard work, but also a testament to the power of determination and collaboration that I constantly find ingrained within INTL students.

Sam P. at lunch with a classmate on their trip to Costa Rica.

Another impactful experience during my time at INTL was the 9th and 10th Grade service trip to Providencia, Costa Rica. As an Eagle Scout in the Scouts of America, I highly value service, both to our community and the broader world. This trip provided a unique opportunity to apply those principles on an international level. As we planted banana trees, fertilized coffee plants in the local coffee farm, and learned about Costa Rican culture - through making arepas, doing coffee tastings, and indulging in Costa Rican cuisine - my friends and I gained a new perspective on the importance of global citizenship and the positive impacts of community service. The memories of that week resonate as a reminder of the transformative power of travel and the significance of understanding and appreciating different cultures.

Sam P. working with a partner on a math problem at the white board.

Integral to my academic journey at INTL is the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme. The challenging curriculum and emphasis on holistic development have equipped me with the essential skills needed to succeed in university and beyond. I had previously been a part of the IB before I had joined INTL, however, the IB Programme at INTL, coupled with the supportive and dedicated teachers, has allowed me to become not only a well-rounded student, but an even more outstanding individual. The close connections and relationships that are developed allow for an even better learning environment, and has become a concept that I look for in the universities I am applying to. As I approach the end of my college applications, I don’t find myself nervous about the next steps in life, only excited at the prospect of going to university and being able to apply the knowledge and skills that I have acquired at INTL through the IB and from my teachers.

Sam P. studying quietly by herself.

Reflecting on my high school years at INTL, I am profoundly thankful for the support and opportunities that have shaped my academic and personal growth. The diverse range of experiences, from leading clubs to language acquisition and international service, has enriched my understanding of the world and prepared me for the challenges that lie ahead.

I am forever grateful for my time at INTL, and the encouragement from my peers and teachers has only strengthened my drive to push myself and become the best version of me. I am disheartened that my schooling at INTL is coming to an end, but I know that for the rest of my life I will carry with me the skills and traits that I have developed here.

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