About Us

List of 51 items.

  • An Education Worth Pursuing: Irena V. ’16

    As promised in Athenian’s mission statement, Athenian has provided me with a rigorous academic program, interactive learning, multicultural exposure, and an understanding of the principles of democratic governance, but most of all, Athenian has taught me the joy of being uniquely me. My experiences at Athenian have instilled in me the value and power of compassion, inner strength, and knowledge. Athenian has given me a family and a home, where I have discovered my path to becoming the motivated, successful, and passionate person I have always dreamed of becoming. I am proud to tell people I am an Athenian because Athenian’s environment and teachings have taught me to excel, to see the strengths in my weaknesses, to appreciate the simple beauties of life, and to listen to my inner voice. The Athenian community is the gateway to global knowledge and personal fulfillment and discovery; this is why I am grateful to belong to such a unique school and family.
  • Public to Private: Brad A. ’17

    I had gone to public schools my entire life. I was comfortable with my friends and teachers and I never thought that I would ever leave the comfort of public school. I took tours at Athenian my freshman year and applied. But truthfully, I wasn't ready to step out of my bubble and leave the friends who I had known my entire life. But, my sophomore year at California High School I realized that 40 students to one teacher was not what I wanted for my education. I wanted a better chance of going to a college of my choice, and Cal High was not doing that for me. I went back to Athenian for another walk through with a totally different mindset and I completely loved it. I went to a class that completely changed my perspective of how classes are taught. I left Athenian that day and thought, “I must go to Athenian.” Now being at Athenian for a year, it has made me a more mature human being and helped me understand the effect I have on the world around me. I know that with AWE and exchange to come I can only learn more.
  • Infectious Chemistry: Hannah M. ’17

    Athenian has not only taught me to make meaningful contributions, it has also taught me what kind of person I want to become. When I walked into my chemistry classroom in 10th grade, I had no idea how much I would come to love chemistry. Throughout my childhood I was never the kid to enjoy science classes, it always felt like a chore and I never imagined myself ever loving a science class. However, throughout my sophomore year I came to love chemistry. My chemistry teacher showed so much enthusiasm for the subject that it was infectious. Throughout the year my teacher continued to encourage me and spend a vast amount of her time helping me whenever I was struggling. This my teacher showed me just how much fun a science class can be, and now I want to pursue science as a career. Athenian taught me to be open to anything, because sometimes the things we used hate, become the things we love most.
  • Choosing Athenian : Audrey A. ‘16

    I could have stayed home. I could have gone to the school that all of my friends went to, I could have never learned the true meaning of commuting, I could have made everything so much easier for myself. I’m not afraid to admit that when I chose Athenian, I chose the tougher path. I chose to spend over two hours commuting each day, I chose a tougher workload, and a school where I came to campus not knowing a single person. I gave up what, at the time, was my entire life, for this school. And, every day, I am so glad that I did. I came to campus not knowing a single face, and within a few months, felt like I was part of a family. Every class I’ve taken at Athenian has truly changed the way I see the world; every person I’ve met has affected me. I’ve been given opportunities that I never would have imagined in my “old” life: I’ve spent two months in India, 26 days making my way through the desert, three years getting to know amazing people that I, otherwise, never would have met. I’ve been able to try everything from entrepreneurship to sailing to drama to computer programming-- and all in one year. This school was not an easy choice for me: I’ve worked hard, I’ve invested myself in this community and in this life. But, because of the opportunities, the support, and the culture of Athenian, my work has taken me exponentially further than I could have imagined three years ago. I cannot imagine being happier anywhere else.
  • Becoming an Individual: Arman A. ‘16

    Going into high school, lists and combinations of activities would race through my mind about whom I could be. Could I be on Varsity soccer, robotics, and still be friends with all types of people? I would look to the upperclassmen see if anyone had fit this profile, and if not I would make a new list and then compare again. Through talking with both teachers and students about whom I wanted to be, I realized that I had a unique personality that could not be changed. At that time and ever since, I've realized that I should I discover who I am as opposed to just creating something that I'm not. It was through the intimate connections made at Athenian and the community's fostering of individuality that enabled me to discover this new outlook on my life. Ever since I've made this realization, I try as many new things, meet as many new people, and learn as much as possible so that I can learn more about myself.
  • Developing Citizens of the World: Anna B. ’16

    Athenian houses students of all backgrounds, interests and identities, but one thing our students are consistently given is the encouragement and power to find a passion and stand up for what they believe in. Athenian gave me a voice. My teachers arose the courage within me to not just sit and watch the world, but to act. These ideas, now these morals, are so ingrained into who I am today that they have led me to act. They have guided my path. The strength I learned empowered me to stand up for myself against the people who did not believe in me. I learned the strength of taking a dream, turning it into a goal, and fighting for it. If not for Athenian, I would never have had the courage to commit myself to serving for my country in the military. Athenian trains students to be aware, respectful and inclusive citizens of the world and I am confident that each one of my peers has successfully developed the skills and traits to thrive and serve our communities and societies.
  • Athenian, A Community Like No Other: Priya C. ’16

    Due to our small size, we all know each other, embrace our similarities, and respect our differences. It isn’t easy for new kids to get lost in the crowd of 320 students, especially because of the welcoming environment that Athenian has to offer. One factor that unites all Athenian students is AWE. Most students find that they are more bonded with their classmates after spending 26 days with a group of them, but that isn’t what unites all of us. Every senior runs in after AWE, it is a way to further bond with our past, present, and future Athenian students. It’s an amazing experience to run by signs with your name on them, see your friends drive by Blackhawk Road, screaming at you to “KEEP GOING”, and embrace all of Athenian as friends, family, and faculty wait for you at the finish line. Having these shared experiences doesn’t just make all Athenian students more aware and respecting of one another; it makes us a community.
  • Commuting, Actually a Tool: Faven B. ’17

    If commuting to and from Athenian has taught me anything, it is time management. Before Athenian, I only lived five minutes away from my school. I went from this to having to sprint to get to my first class on time. Although it was difficult for me to adjust to riding in a bus with 30 other people, the commute taught me some very valuable life lessons. When I was in middle school, I slacked off and took my time doing my homework because I knew that even if I did have to stay up late at some point, I wouldn’t be losing that much sleep. Now, I have learned the beauty of the bus ride. Although a lot of our work must be turned in online, there are some assignments, such as annotating an article or reading a chapter of our bio books before our lesson that day, that I can do on the bus. This not only helps me get a lot more sleep but it also forces me to take advantage of any free time I have. I will often try to work ahead so, once it is actually due, I have already done it and I can get even more sleep than I originally planned. This skill has been very helpful in everyday life for me throughout my high school experience.
  • Acceptance: Peni M. ’17

    In my perspective, the most amazing thing I have experienced in my time at Athenian is that we accept each individual. Since I am an international student, who has a multicultural identity, I was not confident about answering the most common questions for international students: where I am from? I noticed that insecurity about my multicultural identity was not that serious when I saw others accepting me. Spending a year to think about my identity, I could include my identity myself. Now I do not feel like I am strange or different from others at all. I became confident to answer that question and even talk about it eagerly to others, thanks to this unique community.
  • Athenian is Unique: Jordan G. ’17

    AWE, foreign exchange, and inclusive sports teams are the most apparent benefits from attending Athenian. But my favorite part of Athenian is how we are educated about very real parts of life that most other schools gloss over. Athenian has not only taught me critical lessons about how prevalent racism, sexism, and other injustices exists in society today, but also about how we can change them. I've become a lot more aware about white privilege and things like cultural appropriation that I didn't even know I was perpetuating just by being part of the homogenous American culture. Sometimes it's hard to have meaningful conversations with teenagers about how we can change a world that we have developed an advantage in, but at Athenian it is almost second nature. I truly appreciate that we have such a safe environment where we can have intellectual conversations that feature different perspectives of both marginalized groups and individuals. I have gained so much awareness and empathy from my Athenian education; now I am determined to change the injustices are pervasive throughout the world.
  • A Musical Journey: Eric S. ‘16

    Throughout my time here at Athenian, I have explored many different opportunities that this school has to offer. One of the most prominent and influential decisions that I have made during my time here has been joining the Advanced Choir, an a cappella student group that sings and travels, spreading the joy of music. Music has always been a huge part of my life ever since I was young, and it is wonderful for me to be able to take such an amazing opportunity that has been offered to me here by Athenian. Music and a cappella have both taught me many things, and have shaped my life and my self into the person who I am today. They have taught me how to manage my time, how to not stress and take life as more serious than it needs to be, and has provided me with strong friendships that I know will last years to come. I plan to take music with me throughout my life, and to always remember what Athenian has taught me throughout my years of education here at this great school.
  • My Second Home: Zoe K. ’17

    I can safely say that I would not be the person I am today without attending Athenian, and the campus has become somewhat of a second home for me. I first attended Athenian when I was in 6th grade, but upon entering high school, I went to my local public high school. In my sophomore year, I transferred back to Athenian because I could not stand the thought of missing out on all the amazing opportunities the upper school has to offer. Although Athenian has given me many noteworthy experiences, such as going on exchange to South Africa or volunteering at John Muir Hospital, there are certain aspects of daily life at Athenian that cannot be matched. Being a member of such a small community means that you build extremely close relationships. This does not only apply to my relationships with my peers, but to my relationships with the teachers at Athenian as well. I feel an ever-present sense of love and support from my school. Athenian understands its students as whole people and works hard to develop them into global citizens. Returning to Athenian was the best decision I have made, and I feel so lucky to have acsess to every opportunity offered here.
  • Finding Values and Pursuit in Me: Anna K. ’17

    When I first came to Athenian with my parents on registration day, we were all overwhelmed by the environment surrounding the school and how the community was ‘family-like’ right from the first day of school. Among many distinctive features of Athenian, one of the best parts is that the community allows us to find ourselves and elicits every single feature of ourselves through classses. I would have never imagined playing basketball as a team, being a part of the leadership programs, and actively participating in school events. For the first time, I realized that I do enjoy being a leader and a member of one community and taking part in physical activities that I had never experienced before. Athenian provides diverse opportunities to its students and it is not hard to grasp and continue them. Through not only academic courses, but also other unique courses, I could eventually develop myself as a better person and find myself as a self-confident, cooperative, and passionate person.
  • A School that Supports the Arts: Cade N. ’16

    In the winter of my Junior year, the Athenian Advanced Choir (aka “The Howlers”) had the chance to compete in the International Championship of A Cappella near Portland, Oregon. As members of this choir, my classmates and I were allowed to miss school briefly while singing in this prestigious competition. We sang, we danced, we learned new techniques, and of course had a fantastic time. All of my teachers were supportive of my desire to sing and helped me to stay on track in all my classes while away. I even relayed stories of my travels to many of them upon my return. This is one of many great examples of Athenian’s support for students to get involved in the arts. Without the support of the Arts department and my own teachers, I would not have had this fantastic experience!
  • Able to Lead: Courtney C. '16

    When I came to Athenian in my sophomore year, I knew I was going to miss the unique things that came with going to a big, public high school, such as pep rallies. However during my interview with the Athenian admissions office it hit me: why not bring what I love with me, instead of leaving a huge part of my life forever? Within my first week I found myself starting a club, the Spirit Club. A club that would focus on uniting the entire Athenian community through a sense of pride, in not only one another, but our school as a whole. 100 club members and the selling and making of several Athenian socks later we had our well anticipated Pep Rally.
  • Becoming a Part of the Family: Avery B. ‘16

    I have had many years at Athenian, but it is not until my sophomore year that I truly felt integrated into the community. Two years ago my family moved 30 miles away to Antioch. It was that same year that I had begun to seriously be involved with the robotics program. The problem was that in order to commit, I would be putting a huge strain on my parents by commuting at later hours in the day. When I contacted the school about temporarily boarding, they responded that the dorms were unfortunately full. When some of the faculty that live on campus heard about my request, they opened up their homes to me and allowed me to stay in their guest rooms throughout the six week build period. Now, as a senior, I have experienced what it is like to be an active member of the Athenian campus. Athenian is one of very few schools that offer the opportunities that I have found. I came here seeking an education, but ended up with a second family, and I would not change it for anything.
  • Unique Teaching Approaches: Dylan R. ’17

    Athenian is a school that engages students in unique ways. In middle school I, like many people, hated math class. I often found myself distracted and uninterested in the material and I never felt that what I was learning was going to be useful to me. Coming to Athenian, I did not have the expectation that my math classes would change that perspective. Still, upon entering my geometry class in freshman year, I was struck by how the classroom felt. The walls were covered in colorful student projects, math puns, and student artwork, and the students already sitting in their seats looked attentively towards the board. As it turned out, this focused atmosphere was indicative of how the class would feel throughout the year. The teacher used games and clever analogies to explain abstractions and at the end of the year, I felt that I had truly learned a lot.
  • Becoming an Athenian: Dina M. ’16

    Once in a lifetime experiences and everyday moments at Athenian enable students to learn about themselves and discover how best to contribute to the world around them. Athenian has not only encouraged me to explore who I am, but constantly challenged me to be a better person. Teachers become your mentors, upperclassmen become your inspiration, and your peers become your friends. As you make these irreplaceable connections – you become an Athenian. During my time at Athenian my teachers and peers have supported me to reach my highest aspirations and fulfill my dreams. Athenian has taught me, not only, to be myself, but also how to reach my fullest potential. To be the best you can be is to truly be an Athenian.
  • Blossoming Art: Amy D. '16

    Being part of the Athenian community has given me many opportunities to express myself artistically. The Athenian School offers excellent art programs, such as 2D art, 3D art, Choir, Band, and Drama arts. Enrolled in advanced art programs, I was able to create many beautiful art projects and I felt like I was able to understand myself more thoroughly. I also participated in the Fall play and the Winter musical. The enthusiastic attitude of the actors and the professional tech crew was more than a pleasure to work with. My experience concludes to this - Athenian is a great place to explore and express your artistic self.
  • Building Communities: Andrew K. '16

    My cross-country team, my chemistry class, the ambassador program, my close friends, my new friends. Since coming to Athenian, the supportive and closely-knit community has become something that I am endlessly grateful for. Not only do I give thanks for being able to know everyone in my junior class, instead of looking out at a sea of unfamiliar faces, I also have come to love the smaller communities within the school. Athenian fosters an environment where my six varsity cross-country teammates and I have become practically like brothers, where a calculus classmate and I set aside time during lunch to study together, or where a literature seminar chooses to go together to see a guest speaker one evening. There is so much care and support for each other at Athenian both on a grade-wide level and on this smaller level as well.
  • "Hands Up, Don't Shoot": Nia W. ’16

    While doing a yearlong research project on Diversity and Inclusion at Athenian in the Democracy in Action seminar of my junior year, my teacher offered us the incredible opportunity of going to the White Privilege Conference in Kentucky with two other classmates. There we learned about different backgrounds of a diverse group of students from all around the country and discussed the toll that supremacy and privilege have in our lives. The most powerful part of the conference was when all the participants of the conference filled an entire auditorium on the very last day. They announced about five demonstrators from the protest in Ferguson to the stage and the room was silent. Nobody in the room was prepared for what was going to happen next. Quiet words from the stage elevated to loud, heartfelt chants and charismatic body language. The energy resonated through the crowd, and before I could catch my breath, we all had our arms up in the air saying "Hands Up, Don't Shoot". As I watched the faces around me, I realized: no matter the color of the person standing next to me, if we all were working towards the same goal, we could change this world.
  • Constantly on AWE: Kari L. ’16

    You’ll never know how many stars there are until you see them in the desert sky. I dreaded the rigorous, 26-day backpacking trip known as the Athenian Wilderness Expereince for years. However, I soon learned why it was a graduation requirement at Athenian. The incredible self-discovery that I had undergone while out in the desert was eye-opening. I never thought that I, at 5 feet and 5 inches, would be able to carry a 55+ pound backpack and hike up a mountain with it. I never thought that I, a person who depends on her friends and family, would be able to withstand 26 days apart from all of them. This intense, yet remarkable backpacking trip in Death Valley has taught me that there is truly more in me than I thought.
  • Cultural Enlightenment: Kiana A. ‘17

    “Congratulations! If you are receiving this email, it means your application for the East Africa interim was accepted!” During my freshman year, I had the honor of being a part of a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Kenya and Tanzania along with Athenian students from various grade levels and backgrounds. Coming from a multicultural home, I was immediately attracted to the international and multicultural pillar of Athenian and instantaneously jumped at the opportunity to travel across the globe and connect with people so different from me. On this trip, we connected with other students in Tanzania, explored the breathtaking beauty of the country’s nature, and had the chance to teach elementary school students English. Not only did this trip open up my eyes to a beautiful, unknown world, but I also gained a deep appreciation for my school. After being exposed to a culture so different from mine here at Athenian, I realized how Athenian values making us students feel like we have a voice and an ability to make the changes we would like to see. This school is a truly unique place; it allows us to find our own paths with the support of an encouraging and understanding community to rely on.
  • Being Myself: Hunter B. ’17

    One quality that I love about Athenian is that you can always be yourself without being judged or looked at differently. From my experience at this school, the community as a whole is very inclusive and welcoming to both returning and new students. I love attending Athenian because I have had the opportunity to befriend an abundance of students in all grades. One experience that opened my eyes to the possibility of making friends in all grades was my interim trip to East Africa. Although I had friends in my grade who also went on the trip with me, some of the closest relationships I have made in my life was when I put myself out there and made friends with upperclassmen. It was very scary at first, but after learning how eager everyone was to meet and befriend new people it was so much easier for me to step out of my comfort zone. The message I am trying to get across is that our community that the students have built, is the place that allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and explore new horizons.
  • Discovering and Pursuing my Passions: Trevor G. '16

    Coming into high school, there were very few things that I was passionate about. However, through the wide range of experiences and opportunities that the Athenian School has provided me, I uncovered many newfound passions and hobbies. Programs such as the Round Square club have opened doors for me around the world and helped me discover my love for traveling the world as well as experiencing new cultures and atmospheres. In addition, I have also discovered my desire to improve the community around me through community service. Since my freshman year at Athenian, I have embraced my passion for improving the lives of others through service work both with and outside of Athenian.
  • Doing Good to Feel Good: Sajia B. '16

    Flashing back to my first year at Athenian, I am going to admit that community service was not the highest on my list of responsibilities. However, after spending most of my time here on campus and figuring out my way through Athenian, service work has become a significant part of my life. From the coastal cleanups to on-campus service, to spending countless hours at my local food bank during my junior year, I have come to realize that there is no greater satisfaction than using my time to give back to the community that has given so much to me, both intellectually and socially. After my sophomore year, community service became more than just a pillar and more than just completing my required hours, it became an outlet of stress and forgetting about my own problems as I worked with other volunteers and expanded my horizons. Community service has opened my eyes and my mind to leaving my mark in a different, more meaningful way.
  • Exchange, the most powerful experience: Fiona P. ‘17

    From the beginning of 10th grade, I knew I wanted to go on exchange—but I did not yet have an understanding of how important the experience would be in shaping my worldview. I found out in November that I was accepted and would be heading to India. As that moment approached and became more real, I became uncertain. I told myself that I should do something that scares me. I repeated that mantra to myself every time I felt uncertain in a world where school was different, teachers were less friendly, and everything was unfamiliar. I reinforced my love of stepping outside my comfort zone and doing new and exciting things. I traveled to the Himalayan foothills and the Taj Mahal, I attended an Indian wedding, and met amazing people with whom I still keep in touch with today. There are so many big ideas that I learned, such as independence and self-reliance, as well as little things, like how to introduce myself in Hindi. Exchange was the most incredible experience I have ever had at Athenian, and I feel so lucky that I was able to do this when I was only 15. There is truly nothing else like it.
  • Finding My Voice: Paula J. '16

    When I first came to Athenian I was not too keen on speaking up or standing out. I had the passion, the love, and the curiosity all other Athenian students had, but I did not have the same confidence. This was how it was until I joined choir. I first joined G period choir my freshman year and soon realized how much I loved singing. I then progressed to audition for the Howlers, an acapella group here at Athenian. As a freshman, the Howlers represented everything I wanted to be. They were confident, free spirited, and had a bond to one another that could not be replicated elsewhere. So, during my junior year when I got accepted into the group, my entire demeanor changed. Being a member of this group, my confidence in myself has grown immensely in and out of the academic setting. My fear of public speaking is quickly diminishing and I now realize that it's okay to be an individual who stands out. Here at Athenian, individuality is celebrated and through choir I have finally found my voice.
  • Friends with My Teachers: Boris K. ’17

    What attracted me to Athenian more than six years ago was the informal environment between the students and teachers. On my first day in sixth grade I called almost every teacher Mr. or Mrs. After a week or so of being uncomfortable with using a teacher’s first name, I realized how natural it felt. By calling teachers by their first names, students get to form a stronger and closer connection with the instructor that lasts long after graduation. Being close with my teachers gives me so many options for extra learning or help that I would not be able to get if I didn’t have that special connection. The marvelous teachers and more importantly, the teaching environment is what sets Athenian apart.
  • Growing in Confidence: Kelsey M. ’16

    When I came into the Upper School in freshman year, I was incredibly insecure. However, through Athenian, I’ve gained security in who I am and stopped being afraid to stand out. My first leap in confidence was going on exchange to Tasmania, Australia in the summer after my sophomore year. Going to a school in a different country, living with a family I met at the airport, and adjusting to different norms, taught me how to feel comfortable in uncomfortable situations. That next year, I took the class Democracy in Action and I had to learn how to accept failure and turn it into a strength by growing from it. In the process, it fostered a relationship of respect between my teacher and I. By the end of the year, I was comfortable enough to talk with him whenever I had any questions and even opened up to him at the most stressful time in the course. Through my time here, Athenian has given me the tools to cultivate my inner strength and advocate for myself. For that, I am eternally grateful.
  • Growing Up: Ephthalia M. ’17

    Athenian is not just a high school; it is a place where students can learn to believe in themselves as they grow. I have learned that I am always ‘growing up.’ As a student at Athenian, I have tried to experience as many of the opportunities that are offered to me. I have participated in team sports, taken honors classes, became an ambassador and have been on exchange. Throughout every new and eye-opening experience, I have made an immense amount of mistakes. With the support of my peers, the advice of my teachers, and the kindness from my friends I have learned to get past my mistakes and come to terms with my consciences. With every mistake, I gain more wisdom, strength and maturity. One example is my exchange, an amazing experience that has taught me so much about life, value, honesty and support. I had to learn from my mistakes and my experience on exchange as well as the outcome of my journey when I shared my experiences back home. However, I have grown so much from my experiences, good and bad, at the Athenian, and with my supporting community, I continue to grow more into the person I one day hope to be.
  • In the Moment: Trenton T. ‘16

    The biggest thing Athenian has taught me is how to appreciate the moment and not be too focused on the future or past. I used to always be worried about the future: where I would be when I grow up and how everything that happens is going to affect my life entirely. This made me dwell on the past as well because I thought that I would never live down. Thankfully, Athenian has helped me get over the anxiety of my future and, as a community, showed forgiveness and forgetfulness of the negative parts of all the students’ pasts. Athenian has taught me to live in the moment by allowing me to take things slowly and giving me the opportunity to stop and look around at all the views. Without Athenian I would still be killing myself trying to live up to the fast-paced lifestyle that our society is currently living in.
  • International Experiences and Connections: Julia v. ’17

    Before going on exchange, I thought of myself as relatively responsible and independent 16 year old who felt ready to encounter everything living in another country had to offer. I was wrong considering I was not comfortable with every new situation, but I was right in the way that I had every skill I needed to make the best of it. Everything that I had experienced up until that moment shaped me into who I was, but only flying across the world, living with a different family, and being a part of a completely different culture could have possibly taught me how to navigate new environments and create meaningful relationships with people who have backgrounds completely different from mine. I came back from Alice Springs, Australia with a newfound confidence in myself, new appreciation for the outdoors, more dedication and passion with everything I apply myself too, and the most amazing friends from all over the world.
  • International Service Opportunities: Natalie K. ’16

    During the summer after my sophomore year at Athenian, I was fortunate enough to spend an amazing summer in Mpumalanga, South Africa working at a primary school. While obviously I was excited to go to South Africa, I never in my wildest dreams could have imagined the experience I actually had: the people, the places, the culture, and the effect it has had one me. I had the opportunity to meet so many people from all around the world, learn about the history and culture of South Africa, and see so many beautiful things. Before the children arrived, we were able to build them a new classroom, paint a mural of the world, and plant a garden. To see their faces filled with excitement and enthusiasm for the new improvements we made will be something I will never forget. My trip to South Africa was so much more than a service trip, it was a life changing experience that opened my eyes to the broader world and helped me discover my passion for service work and travel. If I had not had the opportunity to travel to South Africa, I would be a completely different person and am so grateful to have had this experience at such a young age. I plan to continue my to travel and do service work in college, and am hoping to return to South Africa this summer.
  • It's a Beautiful World: Kenna V. ’17

    Before my international exchange I was a very different person. I did not know what I was getting myself into in the Northern Territories of Scotland. I ended up taking in all my exchange had to offer. Although we all came from different places in the world we bonded over our similarities. I discovered my ‘American’ accent even though I thought they were the ones with the different accent. The relationships I created with people from many countries such as Russia, Germany, and Australia, have fueled my interest to pursue traveling more in my future. This ineffable experience created through Athenian’s Round Square program has not only been my greatest growth to date, but has also taught me what it feels like to be alive.
  • Language and Education Through Peers: Dawson R. ’17

    The education that I have received in classes and seminars at Athenian has always been one that has opened my eyes to new perspectives in the world. However, I think that the most important lessons that I have experienced in my three years at the school have almost all been from my classmates. Athenian's population is unique, because so many students and faculty are from different countries. In my conversations with these people, I have come to realize my love of languages. All language teachers will tell you that the best way to learn a language is through speaking it, and I have found this to be very true. Through the boarders at Athenian, I have learned Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese, and have had the opportunity to practice my Spanish. But language isn't the only thing that the boarders have taught me. I have had the opportunity to go to San Francisco with someone who had never been to a big city before, host a boarder at my house over the Thanksgiving break, and even visit one of my friends in his native country. And despite not being able to visit places like Japan and Korea, I feel like I have been there before, because of the lessons on culture that my friends have instilled upon me. My interactions with the boarding community at Athenian will be something that I will never forget.
  • Learning to Escape My Comfort Zone: Isabel W. ‘17

    When technical theater was added to my schedule in sophomore year, I was less than excited. I had never had any interest in theater, and I was positive I was going to hate it. The first day of school I made the long walk up to the center of the arts, and I was immediately greeted into the theater by the organized chaos that is theater tech. Three months later, and I was in the middle of the dreaded tech week, where all members of theater tech stayed in the theater until 10 pm every night, and I found myself actually enjoying spending time with the cast and crew, and after that week was over, I actually missed it. Being assigned to theater tech and finding a new passion through it made me realize how many opportunities I was missing by staying in my comfort zone and not trying any of the various things Athenian has to offer. Theater Tech taught me to break out of my comfort zone and try new things, and for that, I will always be grateful.
  • Learning to Talk the Talk: Peyton F. ’17

    Starting at Athenian in sixth grade, the only involvement with other cultures I had came from watching movies or eating different foods. I had the opportunity to take Chinese as my foreign language course and quickly started to broaden my knowledge of Chinese culture. Whether it has been making lanterns, learning calligraphy or applying my new vocabulary when ordering at a Chinese food restaurant, I gained an entirely new appreciation for understanding different parts of the world. Athenian’s boarding program has also allowed me to gain first hand perspectives on a multitude of cultures, parts of the world and different ways of thinking. Through gaining a solid understanding of a language other than English a whole new set of possibilities for an expanded worldview and ability to connect with all different types of people opened up for me.
  • Life Oversees: William Y. ’17

    The Athenian School is a good place for the new international students who have never studied abroad before. As a Chinese student, I had plenty of concerns before I came to the US. How would life in the US be different with China? Would I get used to life overseas? What if I cannot make any friends? Or what if I get homesick? I was so nervous at that time. But when I finally came here, all my concerns disappeared. People here are understanding and friendly. The concerns just seemed useless. I made friends here, I made my home here. Beside of the living circumstance, another outstanding thing about Athenian is the academic study. I love the courses this school offers us. Each student can customize their own schedule based on their interests. You can also join some interesting clubs after school based on your interests. Like Robotics and the Airplane Project. I like building and creating so those two clubs offer me a good place to develop my interests. Athenian hads given me alot, I feel free to be myself here and have unforgettable high school memories.
  • Living through Adventure: Malcolm S. ’16

    Before I went to Athenian I had no idea how wonderful adventure could be. In my time at Athenian I have gone skiing, rock climbing, and backpacking all through school opportunities. My favorite Athenian club is the outdoor adventure club and I am honored to be leading it this year. Athenian’s location has also inspired me to start mountain biking during the summer when I cannot go skiing. I am so grateful for all of the outdoor opportunities that Athenian has given me that allowed me explore myself and enjoy the company of my peers. Athenian has instilled me with a lifelong passion for adventure and I am thankful for how it has changed my life for the better.
  • Making Bonds: Charlie R. ’17

    Being an Athenian student has impacted my life in so many different ways. Whether is was learning to scuba dive in the Bahamas, or simply just taking a hike around Athenian’s beautiful campus. Athenian has provided me with so many unique opportunities but amongst all of them, I would have to say that the best thing I will take from Athenian when I graduate in two short years, will be the bonds I have made within our small community. Athenian is more like a second family to me rather then just classmates and teachers. The experiences I have had with my fellow Athenians are some of my most fond memories. And I hope that even after we graduate we will all stay in touch. These people have helped me grow and have taught me things that I never would have learned without them.
  • Motivated Peer Group: Alex R. '17

    Athenian has taught me so much, and not just about history and math, but also about myself. I have always despised group work—being an introvert by nature, working in a group could be very difficult for me. But, by attending Athenian, I have grown to love group projects. I think the reason why I didn’t like group projects before coming to Athenian is because many of the kids I worked with were not invested—they didn’t seem to care about learning or doing well, or about the quality of their work. Here at Athenian, the students are the complete opposite. They completely care and are motivated. I love it.
  • Outdoor Adventure: Mackenzie H. ’17

    Kayaking through bioluminescence, scuba diving in the Bahamas, or even hiking up Mount Diablo are just some of the things I have experienced while attending Athenian. Being at Athenian has opened up my mind not only to the amazing adventures close to home, but also all around the world. Through clubs such as the outdoor adventure club and interims, I have developed not only a love of travel and adventure but also a love and respect for the outdoors. Trips such as my interim trip to the Bahamas where we lived on a boat for a week, scuba dived, and explored the islands is just one of the amazing trips Athenian has give me the opportunity to be apart of. These experiences have really shaped who I am today and my love and passion for travel which will stay with me for the rest of my life.
  • Passions & Opportunities: Eli P. '16

    For me, Athenian has always been about passions and opportunities. When I came to Athenian seven years ago the only thing I liked to do was play soccer. Seven years later I now am very passionate about many things from gender equity to acapella singing. These passions that I have developed have only been possible, because of the plethora of opportunities available at Athenian. Often my passions have come from a teacher sparking my interest in something. For example, I took a class called Democracy in Action my junior year, and was so intrigued in democratic systems that I decided to run for president. And currently I am one of two presidents trying to do what I can to improve the Athenian school for students, faculty, and staff
  • Rollercoaster Ride: Maddi T. ‘17

    My Athenian experience has been a magnificent roller coaster ride. But my favorite experience was during my freshman year in my World Cultures class. Over midway through the year my teacher decided that he wanted to do a weekly check-in with us, but he wanted to make it fun. He consulted with the students and asked for our ideas. In the end it was decided that we would do What’s Making Me Happy. The check-in consisted of everyone going around the room sharing what was making them happy that week. Strangely, by the end of the check-in everyone was somehow happier too. This check-in has spread around the school in the past two years, and multiple teachers are using it for their classes now too. And to me it’s these sharing and exchanging of ideas that sets Athenian a part and makes the school my second home.
  • Social Justice, Your Way: Ysabel M. ’17

    In my sophomore year at Athenian, I got the opportunity to stand up to gun violence and police brutality through one of the best ways I know how to express myself, dance. All year I worked with one of the most amazingly inspiring dance teachers and social justice activist I’ve ever met, Laura Ellis. Through her Performing Arts dance class at school, we as a group had the chance to create and learn multiple dances to songs like “Glory” from the movie, Selma, and Nico & Vince’s “Am I Wrong.” We discussed the issues going on in our world today, and then learned how to express ourselves through truly moving choreography that brought tears to people’s eyes. Dancing for me is a lot more then just preforming in front of your classmates, it’s a way to be heard in your community through movement and stand up, for what you believe in. This opportunity is just one of the many ways that student’s get to express themselves and make a difference in their community at Athenian.
  • The Power of Immersion: Maya D. '17

    Before coming to Athenian, I learned to speak Spanish fluently through a dual- immersion language program at my elementary school. After coming to Athenian, I also learned to speak French and continued to learn Spanish. Since then, I have travelled to France with Athenian and, this past summer, I was given the amazing opportunity to go on a six- week- long exchange to Peru through the Athenian Round Square Exchange program. Though I had multiple revelations about this vast new culture while I was there, I also realized a lot about my own life at home. Through these experiences, I have been able to further my communication skills in different languages and to connect with local cultures. I am so fortunate to have learned these two languages at Athenian and to have been given these extraordinary and memorable experiences during my time here.
  • The School Bus Experience: Maggy O. ’17

    In middle school I lived 8 minutes away from my school and woke up at 7:30 every day. When I started school at Athenian, I had to wake up at 5:50 each morning in order to pick up the other people in my carpool and make it to the bus stop by 7:05. At first this felt like the worst thing ever and I wished that I had gone to a school closer to my house so I could get more sleep. However, once the first couple weeks of school passed I began to not mind waking up early if it meant that I could attend a school like Athenian. In contrast to my previous school it was interesting and exciting to me and it was a place where I felt like I fit in. In addition, the bus rides themselves became something that I looked forward to. The bus rides were eventful and filled with food and games and laughter. The people who take the Oakland bus form a tight community, some of whom I know will be my lifelong friends.
  • Theatre at Athenian: Lindsay V. ’16

    Before I came to Athenian I had a narrow concept of what theatre was. In my freshman year I decided to join the Technical Theater Arts class and I have been a part of it ever since. The class, called Tech for short, has completely changed the way I think about Theatre and art. As a freshman I had never seen a musical before. But that year I ended up spending 68 hours outside of class time in the theater painting, building, and finally running spot light for Urinetown the Musical. The six tech weeks I’ve survived so far at Athenian have been some of the most rewarding and educational experiences in high school. I’ve learned about problem solving, efficiency, building, time management, and stress management. Tech even inspired me to intern with Livermore Shakespeare Festival last summer, which further enriched my study of Theatre. The tech and drama program at Athenian has truly expanded my horizons and I hope to pursue it later on.
  • Transformation through Exchange: Rebecca E. '16

    I was only on exchange for three months, but it felt as if I had aged three years. The amount of personal growth, independent responsibility, and crazy experiences I went through made me grow and transform more than I had ever expected. During my stay in Capetown, South Africa, I boarded at a local school and attended class, and additionally stayed in the home of a South African family. I even got the opportunity to travel within the country with my host family. We visited nearby towns and attended a world-renowned music festival. The most challenging and eye-opening part of my exchange was attending Bridgehouse, a Round Square school. I could not believe how different it was from Athenian. I wore a strict uniform, called my teachers Ma’am and Sir, and even played a little netball. My exchange gave me new friends, a new view of the world, and new view of myself.
  • Worth the Commute: Emily A. '17

    Athenian is a commuting school, with students from Millbrae to Modesto and everywhere in between. But what makes it so special that people are willing to commute daily, like I do with a 2+ hour commute each way? It is so many things and for every student, they each have a different reason and experience. For me, one of the most important characteristics of an Athenian education, is not just the education itself, but the supporting and outstanding community within the school. Our small class sizes, open athletics, and advisory program have allowed for me to establish strong connections and close relationships with not only my peers, but the faculty and staff. Becoming an Athenian means that you are becoming a part of this incredible community. I have found that many students have at least one staff member on campus that they can confide in not only about academics, but their daily lives. This is what makes Athenian such a special place: becoming friends with your faculty and confiding in them at no end. These relationships are so uniquely Athenian, that it is worth the commute every single day.