Following the first installment of this two-part interview, Patch takes a close look at local Eagle Alejandro Jimenez-Jaramillo, and his flight to success (and Harvard).
PATCH: Was there ever a time when you felt overwhelmed at school? How do you deal with the stress of a demanding school load?
Jimenez-Jaramillo: Since first semester of junior year, I have felt overwhelmed in high school. I have flown cross-country more times than I can count for the past two years, often during school. I have balanced captainship of three sports, multiple AP classes, instrumental practice and performance, and involvement in student government.
The only reason I didn’t completely break down was because I genuinely care about the things I do. This ties in to the previous question [see the last question in Part I of this interview]. I don’t give up on the things I’ve put so much effort into, especially if it involves other people, as sports, music, and student government all do. In a strange way, I do things for others for myself; I couldn’t live with myself knowing I had bailed on someone who had trusted me to take care of something.
PATCH: How do people describe your character? Any advice for children who want to develop academically, creatively and socially?
Jimenez-Jaramillo: I’m sure people I spend time with have a number of different adjectives for me. I know how I need to act when the occasion calls for it, but I’m remarkably immature with my friends. I think that’s a type of stress relief. I think I’d also be called focused, reliable, and honest. I’m positive I’ve been called cocky or conceited by at least a few people, but I hope they mistook my confidence for those less desirable attributes.
PATCH: Which activities helped you develop character, intellect and responsibility the most?
Jimenez-Jaramillo: My intellect has always been developed by schoolwork. My intelligence is based on my ability to perceive, understand and apply patterns to new situations, no matter what subject it is. Obviously, this is more easily understood when considering math and science, but it works for humanities and social studies as well. New classes and disciplines give me opportunities to test my logic and pattern-recognition capabilities.
My character and responsibility have been most clearly fostered by sports. All sports I participate in are team-oriented; we succeed as one, we fail as one. There is no way I could appreciably contribute to any such team, let alone hold a leadership position, if I didn’t value the good of the team over my own personal welfare.
Batman has been the greatest inspiration in development of good character for me. He never gives in, no matter how dark the situation, because he knows there is always a way out. People think I joke about this, but next to my parents, he has been the most serious role model I have ever had in my life.
PATCH: Which teachers and counselors influenced you the most and how?
Mr. Drew Lord: He helped me to understand the future consequences, both good and bad, of my immediate decisions. His teaching method elucidates the elegance of science. He breaks down problems into simpler, more basic parts that can be solved with logic and past information. He is the single greatest educator I know.
Mr. Chris Oswald: His commitment to his responsibilities and his students is nothing short of inspirational. Mr. Oswald is respected and revered by ASB, and anyone who has met him respects him for his unwavering principles and tremendous work ethic.
Mr. Brent Beaty: Like Mr. Oswald and Mr. Lord, Mr. Beaty truly cares about his students, not just because he wants good scores to reflect his effective teaching methods, but also because he wants us to succeed. In almost every class period I can remember, Mr. Beaty has spent at least 10 minutes talking about things we do in class that will or won’t work in college. He demands plenty from his students, but with the expectation that they will continue to work this hard in college. Also, he’s one of the funniest teachers on campus.
Mr. Stephen Williams: Mr. Williams has provided me with opportunities I never would have heard about, including applying to the U.S. House Page Program. Like the previously mentioned faculty teachers, he works tirelessly, especially during Fall and Winter (college application time). He was one of the individuals who helped me to look at my collegiate decision objectively (it was mainly between MIT and Harvard and he always reminded me to “wait until I had seen everything they had to offer.”)
Mr. Dorsey: He was my math teacher at the Page School in Washington D.C. He was the only teacher I’ve ever had who let the pace of our course (individual study) match my intellectual abilities. I learned Calculus BC in a little under 25 hours, when all was said and done. He gave me an opportunity to truly understand what intellectual exploration means, and for that, I am eternally grateful.
Ms. Laurie Bollman-Little: I had Ms. Bollman-Little for 8th-grade English and 12th-grade AP English Literature. Both times, Ms. Bollman-Little taught me more than I had ever learned in any previous English class. She does so with a sense of humor, which helps to lighten the mood of the class and encourage participation. She was instrumental in the refinement of my college application essays and I am grateful to her for that.
Ms. Carrie Morita: My kindergarten teacher taught me to “do my own homework and do it every day.” I have followed her advice ever since and it has served me well.
PATCH: What advice do you have for good students who want to be stellar students, who want to stand out and achieve at the highest levels?
Find things you care about and run with them until you no longer can. People don’t change the world because they wanted to stand out in high school—they stand out in high school because they wanted to change the world. Experience as much as you can, learn about the things you love, and then pursue the goals connected to those studies or disciplines with unrelenting vigor.
PATCH: In which ways has Eagle Rock offered you an environment in which to thrive?
Jimenez-Jaramillo: Eagle Rock has one of the most socio-economically and ethnically diverse student bodies I have ever seen. Learning to appreciate and work with so many different types of people has allowed me to be comfortable in new situations with people I don’t know or institutions I might not understand. I feel more ready to tackle the unknown because that’s what I’ve been doing since freshman year with most of the people I know.
PATCH:What will you miss most about Eagle Rock?
Jimenez-Jaramillo: The people. No question. My friends, my peers, my teachers. These individuals are the reason Eagle Rock is what it is. Together, they create and maintain the culture that defines our school and our community.