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Megumi Kirby

Megumi Kirby
Elementary School: Shady Hill School
College: Harvard College
Major: Biology 
Career Aspiration: Biologist (Primatologist? Doctor? Computational Biologist?)

Extra Curricula
Charles River Clean Up Project, A cappella (Sassafras), Track Team, Freshman Mentoring, Dance (ballet), iCanShine (volunteer), Club 4

Favorite Class at CRLS
Math classes are where I gained confidence in my ability to measure up to my classmates, solidified bonds with teachers, and created some of my closest friendships. I like math because answers can be defined as right or wrong, and there are carefully calculated steps to get to the solution. At the same time, there is still room to be creative in how you approach a problem, and math classes at CRLS gave me the opportunity to develop my own skills as well as learn from my classmates in a collaborative environment.

Favorite Teacher
Steve Jordan. Mr. Jordan has been one of my CM teachers for the past four years, and consistently made those fifteen minutes entertaining and thought-provoking. For the trivia, philosophical discussions, and donuts in CM alone, he is my favorite staff member at CRLS, but this year, finally having him as a teacher for one of my classes, I have gained even more appreciation for his presence during my high school career. Mr. Jordan encourages me to follow my passions (typically involving some pitch to catapult me into a career in English) and reminds me not to belittle my accomplishments. Every day I look forward to the rambling, tangential nature of our class discussions, knowing that his classroom is a place where I can and am urged to interject with my opinions. His class is where I rediscovered my love for writing and reading, and for that, I am incredibly grateful. Needless to say, his semester abroad felt like an eternity, and I am looking forward to coming back and visiting him even after I graduate.

I would also like to give a shout-out to two other teachers who made my high school experience memorable: Ms. Hansel, for answering my every question down to the last minute before a quiz both freshman and senior years; and Mr. Nicholson, for pushing me to take on challenges, make mistakes, and advocate for myself; thank you both so much.

What are some of the out-of-school time (OST) programs that you participated in between grades 6 - 12?

How did being enrolled in any OST program(s) contribute to your success in and out of high school?

What did you like most about CRLS? Why?
Some of my most memorable moments at CRLS have been the time I spent with my a cappella group. Being in the group for all four years of high school I have watched it evolve as the seniors leave each year and new freshmen join, both stylistically in our song choices and in our sound. Comparing my first and last a cappella jams it’s incredible how much more confident I am in my singing now than I was four years ago. I encourage anyone (especially freshmen) interested in singing to try out for a cappella and just see what happens because you could end up making friends with your freshmen peers, sophomores, and mentors out of juniors and seniors.

What is something people unfamiliar with CRLS should know about the school? Why? 
Something that intimidated me when I first got to CRLS was how socially conscious the school is. While I've grown to appreciate this aspect of our school, at times the pressure to be hyper-aware and politically correct can feel like a method to exclude in and of itself. My advice to anyone new to the school is to come in with an open mind, and to current Rindge students, have patience with people who don't share your point of view. I know this may seem like common sense, considering how diverse the student body is, but to some extent, we all represent part of the Cambridge community, and while that should be something that unites us, we can't let it unify us against new or different ideas.

Advice to Incoming Freshmen
I wish I could tell you not to worry about taking APs and only sign up for classes that interest you. To join every club and try out for every sport you can. But that would be incredibly hypocritical of me, considering the path I took to get here. If your goal is to get into your dream college--and I only speak to this specifically because it's what I worked towards, but I am not suggesting everyone should follow this path--you’re going to have to work hard. At the same time, remember that high school isn’t JUST a stepping stone to college, just like middle school wasn’t JUST a stepping stone to high school.

I know it’s easy for me to say, “Take a break from studying and make some memories,” now that the pressure of getting into college is off, but that's beside the point. If there is one thing I could change about my high school experience I would have spent more time strengthening my friendships in freshmen and sophomore years. The happiness you gain from spending time with your friends is invaluable; take advantage of the next four years together, they go by fast.

Oh, and join Charles River Clean Up Project! You won’t regret it.

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