Anne-Sophie Frederick

For some people, coming to SAS must have felt like crossing the street. A couple of steps, and there they are. For others, it might have just been a why not?- a simple shift, and done. Well, for me, it was a dream come true (not even exaggerating); it was the right opportunity at the right time.

I immigrated to the United States in late 2019. Going to school for a couple of months and then getting locked down due to the pandemic for over a year was probably not the best way to help me adapt to the U.S. school system.

Staying home with Zoom classes for the rest of my 9th & 10th grade year was not quite what frustrated me the most, however. Rather, it was the generic, depersonalized curriculum that all ESL students, including myself, had to follow regardless of their strengths and weaknesses. During that time, I did not have a specific goal in mind, but I wanted to challenge myself and get all the opportunities that were available to me. The problem was that few were. 

It was either that the application deadlines had already passed (8th or early 9th grade), or that I was simply not qualified because I was an ESL student. As if that was not enough, in 10th grade, many of my teachers, including my English teacher (whom I probably needed the most), had either quit or taken leave. Thankfully, however, she came back one week before the SAS’s application deadline and informed me about one of the best opportunities I had ever come across: The School For Advanced Studies program.

Just by looking at the website, I realized SAS was not just what I had wished for; it was so much more. Taking only AP/Dual Enrollment courses sparked me, as I would finally fulfill my desire of challenging myself. Being able to graduate with an Associates degree while graduating high school was an appealing bonus, and the research class along with independent study times were almost too good to be true. I was overwhelmed with joy, and could not believe that such an opportunity existed.

You might wonder if that was too big of a jump, or if I was sure I would be able to handle it. Well, in the process of going from ESL English to AP English Literature, or Geometry Honors to AP Calculus AB in one year (I was able to take all the in-between required math classes though), I have heard many of these doubts. SAS, however, has allowed me to transition so smoothly. The opportunities I have found at SAS are tremendous. This school has allowed me to prove that the language barrier is not a disability and has supported me throughout every single moment of my journey, successes and failures included. SAS has taught me to continue to believe in myself, pursue my passions, and give back to my community, while also taking the time to rest.

However, if I do not speak about the people, then it’s like I have not said anything. Indeed, the SAS community is honestly what I have loved the most. Students cannot learn efficiently without the proper surroundings. School For Advanced Studies has that and much more. Teachers and staff speak with genuine kindness and truly care for us students, and scholars are filled with a mesmerizing combination of intellect and humility that pushes us to strive for success while learning from and supporting each other.

SAS has taught me countless academic and interpersonal skills that have helped me grow intellectually and as a person.

For me, SAS is not just a school, it is a family. We will forever be bound.

Anne-Sophie Frederick
School for Advanced Studies North Campus, Class of 2023
Williams College, Class of 2027