Senior Spotlights: Esther Apedo, Armaan Dugar, Ariana Jones, Harjap Singh

This spring, we recognize and applaud our seniors for their courage, resilience, vision and spirit of camaraderie as they reflect on their time at PDS and share words of wisdom for those who will follow in their footsteps.

Here are more senior spotlights from our Class of 2020:

Esther Apedo, Panther for 4 years

A turning point at PDS:

Freshman year in Mr. McKinley's English class when he pushed me to start contributing more in class; it helped me be more successful in every class, especially because of the discussion-based learning that is so often used in PDS classrooms. Also, Dr. Distefano's class sophomore year, because she really makes learning Chemistry genuinely fun and engaging, which partially motivated me to continue in three science classes during the next two years. The sophomore year class-led petition helped me gain independence and I started to learn the meaning of taking initiative even though it wasn't perfect.

A favorite PDS memory:

Being in Darling's office, especially when we would pin memories on the memory board; Q's Journey in Lit's entire semester. Going to the photo studio freshman year every free with Joe and Julia; we probably annoyed Mrs. H-L, but she didn't let on.  

A message for future PDS seniors:

If you're not stressed about college, don't worry about the fact that you're not stressed.  It'll probably happen over time, but also, make sure to spend a good amount of time with the people you're closest to since you'll have less time afterward. Do not apply places you don't want to go just to compete with classmates or please parents, if you can avoid it. If someone has a solid reason for you to apply somewhere, listen. Talk to your college counselor about things besides college, say "thank you" to Darling, say thank you to the Flik staff every time, say thank you to the Custodial staff, and B&G. Get your license ASAP, and don't leave campus every three seconds, and if you do sign out, be nice to Ms. Mayo. Get out of the building sometimes. Prioritize your mental health when considering academics, even if it means not taking an AP, asking for extensions or explaining a special circumstance, or taking a nap during C&C. Lastly, we're all growing, but there happen to be over 400 teenagers, there's bound to be some levels of conflict, but most of it won't matter in three weeks. If you can, invest in AirPods.

Grateful for:

  • English
  • GSB program
  • Parent network going out of their way to support students 
  • Plantains during Afemeku advisory breakfast
  • A dynamic, sometimes student-led way of doing things

Armaan Dugar, Panther for 4 years

A turning point at PDS:

A turning point at PDS was joining the squash and tennis teams in my freshman year. I became friends with kids from other grades and found sports that I hope to play for my entire life.

A favorite PDS memory:

A favorite PDS memory is winning the Halloween Parade every year. It also brings the entire school together.

A message for future PDS seniors:

In addition to joining clubs, I think that joining a team(s) is an even better way to meet people since you are spending a lot more time with your teammates.

Grateful for:

  • My amazing teachers
  • My advisor
  • My coaches
  • Interesting courses
  • A variety of activities to do

Ariana Jones, Panther for 4 years

A turning point at PDS:

A turning point for me was probably when I decided to take fine art instead of photography during junior year. It allowed me to realize that I really love photography and that it's something that I will be doing in college.

A favorite PDS memory:

Winning the Girls Soccer Prep B Championship all four years, especially senior year

A message for future PDS seniors:

Don't be too stressed about things that you can't control. I know it seems like high school is everything right now, but it really isn't. Have fun and make memories with your friends.

Grateful for:

  • The lifelong friends that I've made
  • The teacher bonds that I've created that I definitely wouldn't have had in public school
  • All of my coaches throughout my time at PDS for supporting me in my journey to commit to college

Harjap Singh, Panther for 4 years

A turning point at PDS:

When I helped out organizing the NextGen Climate Summit; I learned so many life skills and it was great to see the impact my actions could have in educating others about Climate Change.

A favorite PDS memory:

Singing "Feliz Navidad" in the Campus Center before going on winter break!

A message for future PDS seniors:

Try not to get too caught up with work senior year and remember to have fun!

Grateful for:

  • The amazing faculty who are always there to help me out with stuff and who continue to inspire me through their life stories.
  • My friends who always have my back and who I can always count on.

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