We’re so excited to introduce you to Kelly Andrew for this month’s Alumni spotlight. The 22-year-old is currently an Environmental Policy and Advocacy Intern at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida and is on her way to a bright future. We’re so honored to have been a part of her story and academic foundation.
When did you attend Summit School?
I attended Summit from Kindergarten (started August 2002) through eighth grade (graduated May 2011) and I even came back for a brief stint to coach the middle school girls volleyball team during my senior year of high school in the fall of 2014!
Tell us about what you did after you left Summit.
After I left Summit I attended high school at Xavier College Preparatory and then college at Wake Forest University in Winston Salem, NC, where I just earned my Bachelor of Science in Chemistry with a concentration in Biochemistry. I am just starting an internship with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida and beginning to work on applications to graduate school.
How did Summit School prepare you for your advanced education and current career?
I think one of the greatest things Summit did was teach me not to be intimidated by academic spaces. I never felt like I had to be afraid to share my ideas in a classroom or to try and to fail. The learning process was made collaborative from the very beginning. I always had constant guidance and feedback from my teachers and my classmates pushed me to grow as an independent thinker. The relationships I had with my teachers at Summit helped me to value my teachers and professors in high school and college as mentors and as valuable resources in my learning process. Some of the harshest graders and most difficult test-givers I’ve ever had turned out to be the most priceless learning tools because I wasn’t afraid to ask for help and be open to their feedback. Also, from a very early age Summit encouraged me to effectively communicate my ideas in discussions and on paper. I still use the basic structure of a persuasive essay that I learned from Mrs. Christianson to write papers in college. You would be SHOCKED how many people undervalue a strong counterargument! The basic public speaking confidence I learned in morning meeting presentations set me up for success in many leadership roles in high school and college.
What’s your best memory of your time at Summit?
How could I pick just one!? Fused glass with Mrs. Kupper in the art studio? Guitar lessons and rocking out to Van Halen with Mr. Dorsey? Dissecting cow eyeballs with Mrs. Yocum? Salsa dance parties with Señor Córdova? The possibilities are endless! I think my greatest memory of Summit is that learning always felt fun and I loved seeing my classmates and my teachers every day.
What would you say to parents who are considering Summit as an option for their student(s)?
I don’t know if I was fully able to appreciate how Summit succeeds in educating children until I took Developmental Psychology in college. It is a complex art to show a child how to absorb information, process problems, and access their own knowledge to produce novel thoughts and solutions. Summit gives its students a unique blend of challenge and support and the small class sizes allow teachers to tailor to each students’ needs. It’s an optimal environment to explore new tasks without fear and discover independent ways to succeed in a collaborative forum. Summit teaches kids how to learn, not how to pass tests, regurgitate facts, or get A’s. That will serve its students for life. I really don’t think anyone could ever convince me that there is a better place or better people to trust with your child’s future.