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Graduating seniors muse on high school

Their experiences and future plans are as diverse as they are, but one thing a group of graduating Albany High School seniors has in common: fondness for the people at their soon-to-be alma mater.

 

“The sense of community we have here is awesome,” said Ravi Brenner, who, after taking a gap year in Israel, will head to the University of Pennsylvania. “Everyone gets along.”

 

Brenner and six others recently talked about their years at Albany High.

 

“Being at Albany High has shaped who I am a lot,” said Lianne Parmalee, who will head to the University of Vermont in September. “I’m exposed to a lot more diversity, a lot of people with a lot of different stories. I don’t think you find that in a lot of other schools.”

 

For Isaac Young, who will attend Yale University, Albany High has made him more open to new experiences.

 

“I think by going to Albany High School and being around so many different people, I don’t have that rich-kid perspective that you don’t venture outside because you’re afraid,” he said.

 

All the students said they believe Albany High prepared them well for the academic rigor of college.

 

“Our AP and IB teachers really pushed us and challenged us,” said Olivia Parker, who will attend UCLA in September. “I feel really ready.”

 

Most confessed to a touch of nerves about starting afresh with new and different expectations – but not Cornell University-bound Isabel Pottinger, a U.S. Presidential Scholarship semifinalist.

 

“I’m ready for anything,” she said.

 

All the students agreed they will miss the relationships they’ve formed as Albany High students.

 

“I enjoyed making the friends I have and the connections I’ve made with the teachers but I definitely plan to keep in touch,” said Curtis Osborne-Caesar, who will study at Sage College of Albany.

 

Darenne Contreras Sanchez, who heads to Siena College this fall, agreed and said she will miss her English-as-a-second language teachers as well.

 

Added Pottinger: “The teachers, the classes I’ve taken, the people I’ve met – they’ve all really empowered me.”

 

The students were silent for a moment when they were asked what they wouldn’t miss about Albany High.

 

“I won’t miss the chaotic parts of the day, the noise and the crowded halls,” Brenner said eventually. Osborne-Caeser agreed, and added school lunches to the list. Parker mentioned standardized tests and was seconded with a collective groan.

 

Pottinger said she’d miss the school but not the building itself.

 

“Something is always broken,” she said to a chorus of agreement. “The heat, the pool, the air conditioning. It would be nice if everything actually worked.”

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