Emma Scornavacchi ’15
Currently Attending: Harvard
Years at Shipley: 9
Activities, Positions, Awards: Beacon Co-Editor, Admissions Ambassador Co-Head, Volleyball Co-Captain, Crew Co-Captain; Anne Garrett Buck Memorial Award, Esther Forbes Russell Award, June Avery Snyder Prize, Williams-Garthwaite English Award, Diana Russell Deacon Award
Make Yourself at Home Here
Over the past nine years, nothing has had a greater impact on me than Shipley, and for that I am so grateful. For me, Shipley has blended together amazing people and friendships, academic rigor and exploration, opportunities to take risks, failures and successes, and an overwhelming sense that I am at home when I go to school. From the moment I walked into Mrs. Van Horn’s class as a scared fourth grader, I was enveloped by the warm, enthusiastic, accepting community that quickly became as much a part of me as I did of it. In short, and at risk of sounding cliché, Shipley has made me who I am.
Academically, Shipley engaged me again and again with classes that taught me how to challenge myself and think analytically. Especially in interdisciplinary classes, where I was expected to use multiple perspectives, I grew exponentially as a student as different viewpoints changed my ways of thinking. Classes like American Studies where we looked at US History through lenses of literature, art, and primary source documents made me realize the importance of holistic learning and hard work. My classes as a whole prepared me for college not only in that I can confidently write a te10-page research paper or study for a Calculus exam, but also that I feel ready to go out into the world and make things happen.
A World of Opportunity
Extracurricularly, Shipley opened up a wide variety of opportunities that I wouldn’t have even attempted without an environment that encourages risk. I was able to be involved in writing and editing for The Beacon, where I could combine my love of writing and news and learn how to manage a team. As a freshman, I joined the crew team, something I never would have been able to risk without the supporting backbone of the Shipley community. I joined a team with people I barely knew to start a sport I knew nothing about, and four years later at the end of my final season, I can say with pride that joining the crew team turned me into an athlete and taught me more about physical and mental toughness than I could have ever imagined. Shipley gave me the confidence to take a risk, and I thrived. This is a situation I was in again and again – thriving because of the supportive encouragement Shipley gave me to try something new.
Learning to Ask Why
I was lucky enough to learn from many teachers whose classes combined to create my academic experience, but my single most influential teacher was Mrs. Pickering. Throughout Modern European History, American Studies, and finally The Great War, Mrs. Pickering changed the way I thought, wrote, read, asked questions, and learned. She challenged me far more than I initially thought I could handle, always asking “why?” and pushing me to dig deeper. She taught me about the intricacies of medieval lineages, the facts behind American exceptionalism, and the harsh realities of World War I trench warfare, but more importantly, throughout it all she taught me how to view both history and current events. As it turns out, the modern world requires a healthy dose of skepticism to understand, and this is something we can learn by studying history. For me, the result of being forced to answer challenging, pressing questions for Mrs. Pickering is a constant state of learning. I’ll read a magazine article or a historical novel and will instantly wonder: what is the author’s background? How did the author research this? What is this in response to? What is the historical context? And most importantly, why?
Plans for Fall 2015: I will be attending Harvard, where I’ll be rowing and hopefully getting as involved as I can in the community while exploring a new environment and meeting new people.
Above all, my future ambition is to do something that makes me happy. I’ve thought for a while now that I want to go into Publications and work at a newspaper or a magazine, possibly as a journalist or Editor. I believe there are three things I’m looking for in a career. I want to write; writing has always been a passion of mine and something I feel I could turn into a career that I love. I want to work with some element of design; I love aesthetic, color, and style so I thought layout could fit into this. I want to be able to positively impact the lives of others. That’s something very important to me, as I feel like my job would not be worthwhile if it doesn’t create this impact. Overall, I hope to be excited to go to work every day, to be able to travel the world, and to be surrounded by people I love. If Shipley is anything like a microcosm for the rest of my life, I’m thrilled to look forward to what’s to come.