We are very much looking forward to our highly-anticipated Meet The Alumni Event on March 13 at 11 AM. Families are invited to join school leadership as well as nearly a dozen BASIS alumni from around the country as we reflect on their years at BASIS. Though BASIS Independent McLean is new to Northern Virginia, the BASIS name carries with it a legacy of preparing students to attend some of the world's best colleges and universities. The alumni who will be in attendance at the event are no exception. Currently attending Virginia Tech, Cornell, Brown, Duke, MIT, College of William & Mary, Yale, and Princeton, these former BASIS students embody the preparation for great things that a BASIS education affords. Leading up to March 13, we want to give you a sneak peek of some of the alumni that you will meet.

Will Kelly shares what it was like to transition to BASIS in the 9th grade at the newly formed BASIS Oro Valley. Keep reading for more and be sure to register for the Meet The Alumni Event on March 13 at 11 AM!

Will.jpgWill Kelly - BASIS Oro Valley Class of 2014
 Princeton University

When did you start at BASIS? Tell us about transitioning to the program.

WK: I was in the second graduating class at BASIS Oro Valley, and I started there in 9th grade right as the school opened.  As a new school, they knew their students came from many different educational backgrounds and made the utmost effort to get everyone up to speed with the BASIS curriculum, without pushing us past our limits.  I had never taken STEM courses nearly as rigorously before, but the teachers did an absolutely wonderful job turning me into a science lover within months.

How would you describe the culture of BASIS?

WK: BASIS culture is incredibly supportive when it comes to pursuing an academic passion.  I always felt that both teachers and my classmates recognized my passion for learning, especially in chemistry, economics, and engineering.  I was always recognized as a peer and I felt that the teachers and administration respected me and viewed me as an academic, and that helped me celebrate, rather than hide, my love of learning.

Did you do a Senior Project? If so, what was it about?

WK: I worked at an Aerospace R&D shop during my Senior Project.  I wanted to explore chemical and mechanical engineering (which were my two previous majors before changing to economics).  I designed and built a small scale hybrid rocket motor for my Senior Project and was able to explore the industry side of engineering, which really excited me and steered me towards that course of study in college.

When you think of your BASIS teachers what comes to mind?

WK: My teachers did an incredible job of fostering me as a student.  Throughout my four years at BASIS not a day went by where I felt that they didn't make an effort to help me develop, learn, and apply my skills.  Their respect for their students and love of teaching showed through in how much effort they put into our success.  Having a group of teachers that are equally caring, intelligent, and adept at their job was absolutely what made the BASIS experience worth it for me.

What advice do you have for kids considering BASIS?

WK: Attending a school like BASIS is certainly a different world than a typical large public school.  My advice for you is to have a little faith.  At times it is very difficult and you will push yourself like you haven't before.  For me, getting into senior year and delving into real research was incredibly fun, and the experience was the best I could ask for.  However, what really made me put it in perspective were the people at other schools whom I was great friends with.  I always heard something along the lines of "I wish I had gone there instead," and that verified my sense of pride in BASIS. 

Don't miss our Meet The Alumni Event on March 13 at 11 AM!

Do you have any questions for Will? Leave them in the comments section, below: