Gaelle Valmir

I first learned about SAS in my freshman year at my previous school. A teacher assigned a project on SAS, including a presentation. It’s uncommon for schools to promote others, SAS piqued my interest and my teacher encouraged me to apply. I craved a more challenging environment, a place that would push me to grow. Inspired and with a desire to step out of my shell, I applied to SAS during my sophomore year.

Coming to SAS as a junior, some of my shyness lingered. Fortunately, the welcoming atmosphere at SAS, fostered by both students and faculty, helped me break out of my shell. The amiable and passionate students showcase what makes SAS special. They’re incredibly busy, yet they make time to have fun and develop genuine relationships with their peers. It won’t take long for you to make friends with people who have quirky interests ranging from fungi to yes, even pimple popping! These people encouraged me to value my individuality and not be shy about sharing a piece of myself with others.

SAS evolved into a second home. I felt free to be who I am and hang out with friends there. Let me be clear, though: SAS isn’t easy. Its prestigious ranking is matched by the demanding coursework. SAS is demanding; late nights are spent studying, hours are spent working on AP Classroom problems, and mountains of vocabulary are involved.

But its secret weapons are the counselors and teachers. You are welcome to visit them at any time during office hours if you need help. Over time, you and your teachers become a team, honing your time management and study skills to survive the semester’s challenges. In my case, my counselor, with their constant reminders to “bring Q-tips”, became not just a cheerleader but a friend. English class was a hilarious mix of serious learning and humor. Calculus became a Star Wars-themed adventure, while APUSH, Gov, and Macro transformed into lively debates fueled by your teacher’s theatric impersonations of historical figures and after-class debates over the Kennedy Clan. SAS is brimming with individuals who directly influence your aspirations both academic and personal.

Without SAS and the amazing people within its walls, I wouldn’t be on my way to Dartmouth on a full-ride majoring in Computer Science. Entering my junior year, I wanted to study biology, unsure of where I would go. The mentorship and guidance at SAS empowered me to apply and get into Dartmouth. A school with a small, close-knit community like SAS, reminds me of the personalized attention I received here.

SAS, combined with my own determination, has allowed me, a first-generation, low-income student, to achieve so much. I’ve been recognized as an Amazon Future Engineer and a Ron Brown Scholar. SAS molded me from a shy student into a “Quiet Storm” —still a bit reserved, but now able to confidently present in front of judges or other peers. SAS has shown me that sometimes all you need is a little encouragement to realize your greatest potential.

Gaelle Valmir
School for Advanced Studies Wolfson Campus, Class of 2024
Dartmouth College, Class of 2028