Last weekend, BASIS Independent McLean was honored to host an Alumni Weekend with three BASIS.ed graduates from the Washington Post's number one ranked high school in the country, BASIS Oro Valley.
Sydney, Anthony, and Charles, joined us for a panel discussion led by Head of School, Mr. Sean Aiken. These three graduates shared their experience about attending a BASIS.ed school and answered questions from prospective parents. Read more below about each graduate, and a snapshot of Mr. Aiken's question and answer session.
Anthony DeFilippis, currently attending Virginia Tech, majoring in Aerospace Engineering with minors in Computer Science and Japanese.
Click here for more information on Anthony.
Charles Huang, currently attending Duke University, majoring in Biology with minors in Global Health & Computational Biology and Bioinformatics.
Click here for more information on Charles.
Sydney Dorman, currently attending Haverford College, majoring in Astrophysics and minoring in Physics.
Click here for more information on Sydney.
Mr. Aiken: Tell me about how your BASIS.ed experience was different than your prior school.
Charles: At BASIS Oro Valley, there were 30 kids in my grade, compared to over 100 at my previous school. I became close with those 30 kids and was able to develop deeper, more collaborative relationships than I was at a bigger school.
Tony: One of the biggest things I enjoyed was the freedom to create our own clubs. We created a Board Game Club where we played board games on Friday afternoons. We also started an Astronomy Club where we took out an old telescope and used it to look at the stars. All we needed was a faculty sponsor.
Sydney: I learned to be collaborative not competitive, like I was in an AAP program in the public school I attended prior to BASIS. I studied with my peers.
Mr. Aiken: How was your homework load at BASIS Oro Valley and how did you adjust?
Tony: My homework increased, but homework was meaningful whereas it was busy work before. The homework made me think and I enjoyed the reading assignments for English even though I'm not an English person.
Charles: The homework pushed me to improve my organizational and time management skills. I did competitive swimming in high school and had practice every day, so I learned how to manage my time.
Mr. Aiken: How did you get involved in the school community?
Charles: We created a club called United of BASIS and we planned spirit weeks, dances, proms and other high school activities. It was fun and rewarding and we were able to shape the events.
Sydney: I participated in French Club, Drama, Keyboarding Club, and Student Government.
Audience Question: How did the teachers and administration support kindness and integrity?
Sydney: I miss my teachers a lot! They are like family. I made 30 best friends and I'm so thankful. Everyone at BASIS Oro Valley wanted me to be the best I could be and the teachers were always willing to support me to succeed. It's the most compassionate, kind, inclusive place you can imagine.
Tony: Even when they were busy, my teachers always found time. They cared about us as students and people as well. The teachers helped us academically and personally.
Charles: At the end of each trimester, colored balloons were given for academic achievement. The gold and silver balloons were awarded for top grades, but the purple balloon, awarded for the most improvement, was the most coveted award.
Mr. Aiken: What about BASIS.ed for non-STEM kids?
Sydney: I loved literature, drama and philosophy and only became interested in physics my senior year. You don't have to be a STEM person to go to a BASIS.ed school.
Tony: Colleges today are interested in holistic, well-rounded students. BASIS.ed schools are very helpful in creating balanced individuals with a focus.
Mr. Aiken: Tell me abot your College Counseling experience.
Sydney: I am a first generation college student. My dad told me he didn't have enough money to send me to college. My counselor made me apply to 23 colleges and I was accepted into my first choice, Haverford College, through Early Decision.
Tony: Our literature teacher was there to review our essays. She knew us personally and offered suggestions to better communicate our stories because she understood what we were wanting to articulate. The class was a fun, rewarding experience and it helped me express myself better in writing which is a nice accomplishment for an engineer.
Charles: We wrote our college essays. The College Counselor gave us recommendations on edits. Having the class enabled us to get our applications done quickly and receive immediate feedback. My friends at other schools didn't have dedicated time to focus on their applications and essays and they had to cram at the last minute.
BASIS Independent McLean is a preschool-12th grade private school located in Tysons. To learn more about our acclaimed liberal arts and science program, please register for an upcoming informational event. We are currently accepting applications for the 2017-18 school year on a rolling basis (Rolling Admissions).