Senior Spotlights: Aaron Chu, Sophia Miranda, Alex Nowakoski, Saahith Potluri, Jules Romano

Culminating our series of Senior Spotlights designed to celebrate each graduate, here are the final five seniors who participated from the Princeton Day School Class of 2021.

Please note that Senior Spotlights appear in alphabetical order and are based on voluntary submissions that our seniors are completing and providing to the Communications Office.

Aaron Chu, Panther for 4 years

A turning point/meaningful experience:

Coming into my sophomore year at PDS, I had a mindset of making sure I left at the end of that year a better person. So I wrote an attainable list of personal goals and resolutions. Adhering as best as I could to these goals helped push me to become more confident and outspoken, study more effectively and become kinder.

Favorite PDS memory:

During my junior year, through my AP Bio class with Dr. Bethoney, I found an amazing group of guys that made a seemingly impossible subject enjoyable to learn. I also learned that there is so much more to a class than just studying and homework. I remember during 25 minute frees before a test, my friends and I would take over an empty classroom and attempt to cram the material (*usually without much success). Yet, these moments of arguing over gap junctions in adjacent animal cells, mere minutes before our assessment, have become my favorite memories from PDS.

"If I could do it again, "

I would make sure to cherish every moment knowing that I would only get it once.

Senior Project insights:

Conducting an independent case study of a piece of architecture designed by Steven Holl; The Lewis Center for the Arts. Analyzing and creating models of this iconic piece of local Princeton University architecture allows me to explore and understand the Lewis Center through found plans and in-person walks through this architectural monument.

Message for future PDS seniors:

Count down from five [and be intentional]. You only get high school once so make calculated sacrifices to experience as much as you can. My best moments in high school are those that I counted down from five and stepped out of my comfort zone. Take these opportunities because they will help you grow.

Sophia Miranda, Panther for 4 years

A turning point/meaningful experience:

I feel like only during my senior year, I finally decided to actually go out of my comfort zone and apply/try different extracurriculars. I was definitely unsure at first, but then it made me realize how passionate I am about certain things. Now, I am going to continue trying new things in the future and being more involved.

Favorite PDS memory:

Blue and White Day freshman year

"If I could do it again, "

I would try to be less afraid to be myself and become closer with more people.

Senior Project insights:

I am crocheting baby blankets for families and children in need.

Message for future PDS seniors:

Make connections! The friendships and relationships you make along the way are what are going to make your high school career so much more memorable and enjoyable.

Alex Nowakoski, Panther for 6 years

A turning point/meaningful experience:

Being a Peer Group leader was one of the most meaningful experiences I've had in my time at PDS. The program offers a unique chance to develop leadership skills and forge relationships with underclassmen.

Favorite PDS memory:

Winning the PDS-Lawrenceville hockey game in overtime my junior year.

"If I could do it again, "

I would've taken photography classes all four years of high school.

Senior Project insights:

I made a photography portfolio with the goal of documenting the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on local communities and the world at large.

Message for future PDS seniors:

Try to spend the short time you have here doing the things that make you happy. It's very easy to give in to external pressures like trying to please your parents or improving your resumé for college. Instead, make the most of your time by taking classes that interest you, trying out any of the clubs or sports teams at PDS that interest you and branching out to make new friends.

Saahith Potluri, Panther for 7 years

A turning point/meaningful experience:

A meaningful experience for me at PDS was participating in the REx program, which really deepened my fascination with science and expanded my interest in science research. Not only was the program itself an incredible journey, but getting to go through it alongside friends and an awesome teacher made it even better!

Favorite PDS memory:

A favorite PDS memory is Blue and White day in freshman year, when we played spike ball outside on Krueger Field and ate Italian ice! It was truly one of the best days ever, and a fantastic way to celebrate the end of our first year of high school.

"If I could do it again, "

If I could do it again, I would try participating in new clubs and new sports!

Message for future PDS seniors:

To future Panthers: Always stay curious and focused! Remember to enjoy these next few years, because you won't ever be in high school again! Keep your friends close, and don't forget to take breaks from schoolwork and stress by hanging out and relaxing. Also, don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it, and remember that your teachers are here to help you always!! Good luck!!

Jules Romano, Panther for 4 years

Favorite PDS memory:

When people would drop their phones during gathering.

"If I could do it again, "

If I could do it again I would take both my arts credits freshman year to get them out of the way.

Senior Project insights:

Making an English curriculum focusing on looking at country music through a poetic lens.

Message for future PDS seniors:

Don’t fight for relationships others don’t want. Know your worth and be true to you.

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