HPHS Newsletter Features College Scholar Lesley Rodriguez

October 24, 2016

In this week's Giants Weekly, Highland Park High School's newsletter, Principal Tom Koulentes caught up with College Scholar Lesley Rodriguez. Lesley is a first year at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa. In her meeting with Principal Koulentes, she shared some advice for current students at HPHS.

Lessons from an Alum: Lesley Rodriguez

This past weekend, HPHS Alum Lesley Rodriguez (class of 2016) came back to visit.   Lesley now attends Grinnell College in Iowa and had a great deal to share with us.

Lesley is the textbook example of how our school's academic enrichment and support programs transform the lives of talented 1st generation students.

Since middle school, Lesley was a member of Future Giants and Rising Stars.  In these programs, Lesley came to HPHS each Monday during the school year where she was mentored by high-achieving HPHS 1st generation students.   Lesley said that these programs helped her gain confidence that when she came to high school, she would "know how to play the game and be successful as a student."  Lesley said, "I learned a lot from my mentors, they talked to us about how to manage the pressures we would feel of being a minority student, how to talk to our parents about school stuff, and how not to get caught up in negative stuff."  

At the conclusion of her 8th grade year, Lesley was selected as a Schuler Scholar.  "The Schuler Program was really tough but it totally prepared me for college," said Lesley.  "Because of Schuler, I took some really tough classes in high school and they provided me support to develop the skills necessary to be successful in these classes."   Lesley also cites the Schuler Program's support of her college search, saying that, "this program helped me think about colleges like Grinnell, small liberal arts colleges were not something I would have considered without Schuler."  

Lesley believes she is really well prepared for college academics.  Lesley said, "HPHS & Schuler totally prepared me for college, I can handle all the work and responsibility and I feel my academic skills are equal to everyone else who is around me.  At Grinnell, we have to do a ton of reading and then our professors expect us to come to class ready to discuss it without their guiding us."   Lesley said that AP European History, with Mr. Brysiewicz was, "the most important class I took in high school.  In that class, he didn't just lecture, he would lead discussions with students where if a student said a random idea Mr. B would go down that path and make us all talk about it.  I think this class was the most like those that I am finding at Grinnell.  I would definitely tell everyone who is going to college to take AP Euro, no class prepared me more for college than that one."  

HPHS Principal Tom Koulentes and Lesley Rodriguez (Grinnell College '20)

HPHS Principal Tom Koulentes and Lesley Rodriguez (Grinnell College '20)

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