AJ Edwards, ASB Class of 2008
Roosevelt High School, Class of 2012, Student-Athlete at Yale University
My ASB years were great! I met a ton of my closest friends, and had many supportive and encouraging teachers. Mrs. Myers, Mr. & Mrs. Pouley, Mrs. Kane, and the Dougherty brothers were just a few of the outstanding teachers who influenced me. They motivated me to be my best, fostered my creative thinking, and saw the world through the eyes of a middle school kid…something that’s definitely much easier said than done!
How did your ASB education prepare you for the pressures of being a student-athlete at a top-level university like Yale?
ASB taught me to organize my time so that I could balance my studies with my busy athletic schedule and still maintain a high GPA. I also learned about the value of sportsmanship and how to work well with others. Both skills are essential to succeeding as a student-athlete in the Yale community.
What was the driving force behind you attending Yale?
Growing up, it was my dream to play Division 1 basketball at one of the best schools in the country. The second I stepped on the Yale campus, I knew this was where I belonged. My experience being a student-athlete has been tough, but nothing short of amazing. Tough because I am expected to excel academically with some of the brightest young adults in America while still spending 40+ hours a week practicing, lifting, watching film, and traveling to and from games. Amazing because I have traveled the world (both studying abroad and competing athletically), met friends from all walks of life, and have been blessed with incredible opportunities.
What is your anticipated your career path? How did ASB prepare you?
I just accepted an Investment Banking job at Credit Suisse in New York. After graduation, I will begin working full-time. Eventually, I’d love to work with startups at a venture capital firm. Learning about and contributing to great ideas that will shape our future is exciting. ASB has helped prepare me for my career by teaching me the value of hard work, how to set goals and proactively work towards them, and that I have the power to make my dreams a reality.
Do you have any advice for young students, specifically those hoping to play college-level sports?
My advice for young students is to a) do what you are passionate about and b) surround yourself with others who have similar aspirations. If basketball is what you love, then work as hard as can to become the best player you can be. The same advice can be applied to any number of passions or hobbies. Finding a group of friends who have similar goals will help you push yourself. Regardless of your aspirations, never forget the importance of your education. Whether your passion is athletics, music, religion, computers or something else, if you take your education seriously, you will always have something to fall back on.
Describe your experience at ASB. What or who made impressions on you?
ASB’s strong sense of community has always made a positive impression on me. What I appreciated most about my class was our variety of different people and interests – kids interested in sports, drama, art, getting good grades or being funny in class, but we supported each other in the things we loved to do. I always appreciated the emphasis placed on the arts, along with academics, faith, and sports. To me, that made ASB different. My teachers had a knack for drawing out our strengths. For instance, I had teachers who really tapped into my love for books, others who encouraged my interest in history, and of course, those who opened doors for me in drama.
How did your ASB education prepare you for your future?
After graduating from ASB, I was well-prepared for high school, and had the skills needed to balance my academic load and extra-curricular activities. So far, my experience at Fordham University at Lincoln Center has been great! I enjoy living in Manhattan and pursuing my studies in acting. The Fordham program is rigorous, with a full load of liberal arts classes – including theology! The high standards and excellent educational foundation I received at ASB prepared me well for Fordham.
Do you have any advice for young students, specifically those interested in pursuing creative studies or career?
Work hard, stay focused, and do what you love! Lay the foundation for your career while you are young. If you are serious, learn your craft and seek opportunities to grow your skills. And, don’t forget your education. The effort you put forth in all your studies will pay off and help you pursue your dreams.
Sophie Hirst, ASB Class of 2014
Seattle Preparatory High School, Class of 2018, State Champion Student-Athlete
I loved every minute of my nine years at ASB because I made a lot of lasting relationships and was challenged each year. I enjoyed participating in extra-curricular activities like band and choir, and playing CYO soccer and basketball. All of my teachers greatly influenced my time at ASB but especially Mrs. Caballero (my Kindergarten and 2nd grade aid), Mrs. Eusebio (my third grade teacher and confirmation sponsor last year), and Ms. Protz (my 7th grade Biology teacher).
How did ASB prepare you for the rigorous demands of being a student-athlete at Prep?
I am so grateful for my teachers pushing me throughout my middle school years because it prepared me for the challenging academics at Prep. I placed into honors classes at Prep and am able to manage my work load because of my experience at ASB. I sometimes missed school for soccer, and my ASB teachers taught me how to be responsible and manage my time I could make up the work. That preparation made high school a smooth transition.
What was the driving force behind you attending Seattle Prep?
I chose Seattle Prep because I knew it would be a challenge, and I know that the only way I can improve in anything is to seek that challenge. As a student-athlete at Prep, I’ve had to learn how to constantly deal with being behind and being accountable for my academics. It’s been a balancing act but I’ve managed because I felt prepared after graduating from ASB.
Where do you anticipate going to college? How did ASB prepare you?
Last December, during my sophmore year, I verbally committed to play soccer at Boston College. (Women soccer players often commit early.) Thanks to my experience at ASB, I was prepared to make independent decisions. I am very excited and feel very prepared to begin my college career.
Do you have any advice for young students, specifically those working and preparing to play high school-level sports?
Be fearless and optimistic! Playing with upperclassmen might seem intimidating, but remember your teammates want to see you succeed. Have fun, but take your sport seriously; your experience will be even better if you work hard. You’ll get out of it what you put into it.