Rachel Shapiro ’15
Currently Attending: Duke University
Years at Shipley: 13
Activities, Positions, Awards: Basketball; Soccer Co-Captain, Lacrosse Co-Captain, Yearbook Co-Editor, Admissions Ambassador; The Worden Prize
A Great Journey
I’m a Shipley Lifer and it’s been a great journey. There isn’t one specific moment that made the difference. It’s been the many experiences over a lot of years with a strong process that helped shape the person I am today and has set the foundation for the person I want to be in the future.
Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone
Shipley has been the equivalent of an extended family to me throughout the years – encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone and learn to be my best self. Throughout every division (Lower, Middle, and Upper), I was provided with opportunities to mature, explore, be creative, and assume leadership roles in many different ways – in academic classes, sports, and other activities as well. I remember a challenging unit during Mr. Jennings’ eighth grade honors math class, when I was starting to think I might never master that topic. Mr. Jennings kept encouraging me until the concepts finally sunk in. I still laugh when I face a tough task, thinking of Mr. Jennings and his “you have the skills to pay the bills” motto, as I press forward. Shipley’s environment allows students to have a lot of opportunity to take on significant roles they might not find in many other schools – and the environment is safe – so it's okay to take risks, regardless of the outcome.
Lasting Teacher Relationships
Another distinctive characteristic of my Shipley education has been the ability to get to know teachers and administrators really well – and have them remain a part of your life. I often went down to both Lower and Middle schools to visit my teachers, who have had a significant influence on my life. I also continued to have contact with some former teachers and administrators in Upper School even when not taking a class or activity with them in ensuing years. They not only know your name, who you are, including your struggles and accomplishments, but deep down there are many here that truly care about you as a person.
Always Have a Business Plan
My most memorable experience at Shipley was my senior Macroeconomics Honors class with Mrs. Weigel. The class was divided into teams and each group created a new business and developed a business plan for the launch on that business. My team’s business, Bussurance, provided online tracking for school buses. As part of the project, we were required to conduct market research, create focus groups, and develop a financial model. The culmination of the project was to present to a panel of teachers and outside experts in order to secure funding.
This intense exercise created an environment where everyone learned so much at each stage of their own project and from the presentations of other groups. The close student-teacher relationship and ability to contact our teacher, Mrs. Weigel, (sometimes late at night) provided the foundation for the type of learning one might expect in the outside world when working in a real job.
Plans for Fall 2015
This fall I will attend Duke University.
I hope to one day focus my efforts in either medicine or business, or maybe some interdisciplinary combination of the two. I have not yet made a firm decision on my college major(s), but I found my classes in Biology, Comparative Anatomy/Neuroscience, and Macroeconomics really interesting. Along with some of the summer experiences I explored while at Shipley, I’m eager to delve further into many topics during my years at Duke and likely gravitate toward what inspires me the most.