Prep Alumni Panels Offer Insight for Preparatory Component Families

Students and parents/guardians had the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the Prep experience.
Prep for Prep alumni from a variety of contingents returned to Trinity School this month for our annual Preparatory Component alumni panels.  Students and their parents/guardians had the opportunity to hear words of wisdom about school placement, time management, professional development, and more. 
One student from Prep for Prep Contingent XLVI inquired about independent day school placement decisions, to which Travis Hutchinson (XXVIII/Poly Prep ’11, Yale ’17) shared:
“When I got to Poly Prep I felt at home. It was beautiful. There was a larger distribution of minorities, and it felt very real to me. I think it’s going to be different for everybody, but my advice would be when you’re there, try to get the feeling of not only your classmates but your teachers and their teaching style. It’s going to change to a degree, but I think the culture that the administration sets is one of the really important things.”
Striking a balance between academia, social life, and family responsibilities was also highlighted during the conversation. Taylor Correa White (XXXIII/Poly Prep ’17, Duke ’21) spoke to this: 
“There is an opportunity for you to advocate for yourselves, advocate for your communities. Use the resources you have access to create safe spaces to celebrate yourself and celebrate your culture.”
Queenette Karikari (P9 XIV/Choate ’05, Tufts ’09) offered the following advice about being in an predominantly white environment:
“You’re going to go through life and you’re going to be in spaces where a lot of people don’t look like you…. Having gone to Choate and Tufts and places like that, when I got into the corporate world…I felt like less of an outsider. So while I look different from everyone around me, I could speak to the experiences that they had and the places that they had been because of the things I had been exposed to. And so, the fantastic preparation you're going to get from Prep aside, it absolutely positions you in a way to see the world as it is.”
PREP 9 alums addressed students concerns about acclimating to boarding school. Eric Rodriguez (P9 XIV/Choate ’05, Harvard ’09) MA, Alliant International Univ. ’11 shared:
“You’re going to be prepared academically. Socially, you will need to enter a new place. And you’re going to have to navigate and find a place where you still feel comfortable. You have to continuously push yourself outside of ‘I’m going to stick with my people because that’s where I feel comfortable.’ If you do that, you're not actually going to take advantage of a massive opportunity in front of you.”
Several alums stressed  the importance of community and the ongoing support that is provided by the program. Kennedi Williams-Libert (XXIX/Marymount ’13, Cornell ’17) JD, Harvard ’20, reminded students to look out for the next generation of students:
“Be there for the first-timers. They’re going to be really nervous, with a stack of books in their backpack. It fills you up to start encouraging them because you’re realizing that you’re getting closer to the finish line and they’re looking to you for inspiration.”

To close the panel, alums shared key advice for students as they continue their journey. Diahann Billings (VI/Grace Church ’86/Poly Prep ’90, Yale ’94) JD Columbia ’02 spoke to the value of the Preparatory Component:
“This is preparation. I wish my twelve-year-old self knew to buckle up. You guys are going to have academic challenges, social challenges, and life challenges, from now until forever. This is a preparatory moment in your life, throughout these fourteen months, to prepare you for all of those challenges.” 
We are so grateful for the following alums who gave their time to speak to our growing community:
Prep for Prep Student and Parent Panels
*Diahann Billings (VI/Grace Church ’86/Poly Prep ’90, Yale ’94) JD Columbia ’02
*Jerry Bright (IX/Collegiate ’93, UNC Chapel Hill ’97) MBA, NYU ’04
+Matthew Blackburn (XXVI/Collegiate ’10, Princeton ’14)
+Muniyat Choudhury (XXXVI/Nightingale ’20, CUNY City College)
*Miguel Guadalupe (X/Town ’90, Calhoun ’94, Wesleyan ’98)
Travis Hutchinson (XXVIII/Poly Prep ’11, Yale ’17)
*Ramon Javier (XI/Hackley ’95, Williams College ’99) MEd, Teachers College ’07)
Julie Novick Lederer (XXXI/ Chapin ’14, Princeton ’18) Harvard
Kennedi Williams-Libert (XXIX/Marymount ’13, Cornell ’17) JD, Harvard ’20
Jared Lindo (XXXIII/Poly Prep ’17, Davidson ’21)
+Mujidat Shotonwa (XX/Nightingale ’04, Penn ’08) MA, CUNY Brooklyn College ’12
Taylor Correa White (XXXIII/Poly Prep ’17, Duke ’21)
* Attended the in-person and virtual panels
+ Attended the virtual panel only
PREP 9 Student and Parent Panels
Erick Espin (P9 VI/Andover ’97, Penn ’01) MS, Penn ’02
Queenette Karikari (P9 XIV/Choate ’05, Tufts ’09) 
Jade Moses (P9 XXV/Exeter ’16, Middlebury ’20)
Eric Rodriguez (P9 XIV/Choate ’05, Harvard ’09) MA, Alliant International Univ. ’11
Tarmla Small (P9 II/St. Andrew's ’93, Wesleyan ’98)
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