Jeanpaul Sanchez-Moreno

Most of my life, I’ve always considered myself quite the introvert. When I was little, I always struggled to hold a conversation with my own cousins and aunts. I would slowly gain some confidence through school, and yet the pandemic robbed me of that. Going in person into sophomore year, with my mask and short hair, I found it troublesome to speak to anyone. I had this messed up idea that things would be simpler if I just kept to myself and focused on my own things. Had I stayed in my old school, I would probably be the same kid, who sat alone at lunch, minding his own business…

By some miracle, I was given a chance to restart. I had so little to leave behind, that when my friend from elementary told me he was transferring to SAS for 11th and 12th grade, I silently applied. I didn’t expect it to get in, but I did. Let me tell you, one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.

SAS didn’t just offer me an amazing curriculum and endless academic opportunities, but also such an active and supportive community. I suppose that the pandemic made me forget that people could care about class; at SAS, people genuinely want to learn. I’ve had so many insightful conversations about coding, calculus, writing, etc. that I never would have had at my old school.

Being in a graduating class of 135, you pretty much get to know everyone else. I find that I feel the most connected to people when I spend a lot of time around them, so going through the same program with the same small class really allowed me to get comfortable and open up. I could be myself and become popular to some extent. 

Another thing that was instrumental to my success was the amount of time we have in school to do school work, club work, and simply just explore. Whether that means exploring extracurricular opportunities with MDC, or maybe just extra time to eat lunch and have honest conversations with friends. Free time is something you learn to handle well at SAS, which is especially valuable going into college.

My teachers have been such an amazing influence on me. From Mrs. Verde’s cheerful and engaging teaching, to Mrs. Morales’s tough love and care for her students, each teacher brings so much flavor to the student experience. I wish I had done more to thank them because it’s easy to take for granted just how much you can tell they love their jobs.

The biggest takeaway I have from SAS is just all the memories. All the friends I’ve made and all the times we’ve hung out, or chatted, or I’ve helped them with homework, or they’ve invited me to a school event, or they’ve taken me somewhere new. It’s all given me a renewed perspective on life. One that opened my mind to trying new things and to be kinder. One that was more forgiving and gentle. One that opened me to trying new things, and one that I’m sure got me into places I never imagined.

Not everything is for everyone, but I am someone who values a solid ground to step up onto and reach for more than you realize you can hold, and SAS caters to that.

Jeanpaul Sanchez-Moreno
School for Advanced Studies Kendall Campus, Class of 2024
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Class of 2028