Sienna Lallemand 

A flood of nerves washed through me upon entering the metal doors. One early Saturday morning, I decided to attend the School for Advanced Studies Open House. Hearing the Principal of SAS, Dr. Omar Monteguado, discuss the expectation for students to thrive in both Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment courses made me begin to question if I could handle the course load. I was comfortable at my current school, why should I take a leap when there was no guarantee that I would fly? I am happy to say that that one leap made all the difference. When I first began SAS, I expected the exceptional caliber of my courses. I expected the incredible opportunity to take college courses that transcended beyond what is typically offered at the high school level. But what I didn’t expect was the School for Advanced Studies’ unwavering emphasis on their students. 

When delving into numerous calculus problems with Ms. Daire, she encouraged me to be confident and dismissed my claims that math was not my strong suit. I still wear the Pi bracelet she gifted me on my birthday, reminding me that all challenges can be overcome. Conferencing with Ms. Cabrera to dissect rhetorical analysis essays, dismantle societal hierarchies in Pride and Prejudice, and even discuss my personal thoughts and feelings when I felt unsure of myself, Ms. Cabrera has been my bedrock and tireless supporter throughout these past two years. 

From discussing how to best prepare for the college admissions process to navigating the complexities of financial aid, Ms. Martinez has been my crucial ally and source of unwavering encouragement throughout my time at SAS. Whenever I walked into her office with fresh anxieties about my personal statement, she greeted me with a smile and was always ready to offer her guidance and support. 

Mr. P attended countless Model UN Trips, Mock Trial competitions, and Civics Bowl Competitions so his students would have the ability to improve their public speaking capabilities and critical thinking skills. But his dedication surpassed merely attending these events, his commitment to our growth and success has inspired me to reach beyond my comfort zone and embrace my passions with full force. 

The students, teachers, and administration have become an extension of my own family, and it is these lifelong relationships and friendships that make SAS a pillar of resilience, support, and love. At SAS, both teachers and students are always willing to lend a helping hand, and it is this close-knit community that has given me the strength, day after day, to persevere and thrive. At SAS, the impossible can become possible. When I first met Mr. Lindsay to discuss my service project’s nomination for Silver Knight, I could have never imagined winning the Silver Knight Award in the Journalism Category. I could have never imagined getting into my dream school, Harvard University. I could have never imagined winning the Scholastic Writing Gold Key Regional Award or even placing at an international Model UN Competition. With the constant support of my teachers, peers, and the SAS administration, I no longer viewed my goals as impossible. 

If SAS has taught me anything at all, I have learned the importance of supporting and mentoring others. When we uplift each other’s voices, our community blooms. This is why SAS has the most beautiful, dynamic, and collaborative community of all. Whether you plan to be a brilliant scientist, analytical historian, passionate author, or a curious mathematician, you will find a home at SAS. It is a home you will never want to leave. As I prepare to embark on this next chapter in my life, I feel excited for all that is to come. Thank you SAS for the journey of a lifetime, and thank you for preparing me for my next one. 

Sienna Lallemand 
School for Advanced Studies Wolfson Campus, Class of 2024 
Harvard University Class of 2028