Ashna Paudel

Throughout my life, I was always asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” My answers varied, from an astronaut to a journalist, a mathematician, and a doctor. I imagined scenarios before bed where I would become a famous leader dedicated to helping humanity. SAS not only nurtured this imagination but also provided the foundation for shaping my future with an interdisciplinary perspective. It served as a beacon of optimism, inspiring me to become the leader I aspired to be. At SAS, I found an accepting, close-knit community where I felt heard and valued, something I had missed attending nine different schools.

You’ve probably heard the rumors that “SAS doesn’t offer a good high school experience.” I was told that exact phrase multiple times. The truth is SAS provided me with an unparalleled high school experience filled with unique traditions and opportunities. From drum solos by the principal to juniors vs. seniors basketball games, intercampus picnics, college tours, prom, Alzheimer’s walks, two talent shows, and field trips to Busch Gardens or Universal, the vibrant White Tiger spirit truly shaped our school culture. The supportive staff, including teachers who offered free morning tutoring, helped me overcome academic challenges and thrive. Mrs. Cabanez guided me through complex integration, Mrs. Soria patiently explained foreign exchange graphs to me after attending 3 back to back tutoring sessions, and Mrs. Canovaca’s help with my college essays led to my acceptance into top universities, including the University of Pennsylvania. Also, Mr. Lindsay saw my quiet potential, nominating me for Silver Knight in Speech and encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone into the unknown.

SAS taught me the beauty of self-expression. As a shy girl who feared to express herself and speak up, I ended up embarking on various leadership roles such as junior SGA President, MDCPS District Student Government Association President (representing 377,000 students), and Board Director of The Children’s Trust (helping to fund 140+ organizations and supporting 50,000 families across Miami). I was also selected as a civic ambassador to speak on legislation at the White House through the Close Up Program. Through SAS’ strong alumni network, you also get to meet former graduates who are pursuing careers in various fields. Who knows, maybe you’ll become the next President of the USA, a famous entrepreneur, or even a social justice leader with the help of networking through SAS. I was an imaginative child just like you and SAS empowered me to dream big and pursue an interdisciplinary career in healthcare policy and medicine. As a once-poor immigrant from Nepal, SAS transformed my life and made my dreams a reality. It is called a “dream factory” and is the top 3rd school in the US for a reason! Not only did SAS help me form everlasting friendships, strong relationships with my teachers, embark on many leadership endeavors, earn my AA degree in an interdisciplinary path, shape my high school experience, but it also helped me realize that the world is full of possibilities. You are capable of anything and I assure you that if you come to SAS, your dreams will become a reality. Throughout your journey, you will not be alone! Thank you SAS for changing my life 🙂

Ashna Paudel
School for Advanced Studies Kendall, Class of 2024
University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2028