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Justin Appel

Flash Programmer – San Diego

BY BEING INDEPENDENT and exploring many options, the internship at High Tech High helped a lot. Specifically, it helped with the many technological skills I learned. SOMETHING THAT SURPRISED ME about the real world would have to be doing taxes, but it was mostly a matter of getting stuff in order. Then, later down the road, it was thinking about the long run rather than the short run and preparing for the future. I USED TO WORK for D.O.D. as a contractor, but then I was referred by ManTech International. Everyone has time to come back and offer you a job.You have to treat everyone nicely because that’s how I was referred; if they like you, they’ll refer you. Currently, at ManTech, I’m a Flash Programmer. I also do some graphic design, photography, and create programs for the military MY DREAMS ARE to have the same job but a higher position. I would like to have the option to retire. I’d like to be leading ManTech as the best programmer on the team. I would also like to travel more. I would love it if I had my own photography business. MY INTERNSHIP training at SPAWAR was fun. I ATTENDED the Art Institute of California. I wanted to be a Tech Illustrator. I found my passion in the arts. It’s pretty hard to get into the institute; I had already done most of the classes. It was pretty pricey. MOSTLY, I MISS most all of the friends I made at High Tech High. I also played a lot of magic cards and hacky sack during lunch time. I DIDN’T LIKE the first year of unorganized chaos at High Tech High when everyone was finding how to work things out. YES, IT WAS CHALLENGING at High Tech High. Everyone was struggling since new technology was coming out, so the first year of high school was the hardest challenge. My internship at SPAWAR was a super challenge. The teachers always pushed us to the limit for our work; they always got the best out of us. BE PREPARED FOR ANYTHING. Always keep your options and mind open. Treat everyone nicely. Make sure you research 110% of the time. It will help you down the road. There might be days where nothing is happening and others where everything is happening.

Art Institute of California – Graphic Designer Interviewed by Jesus A. Rubalcaba and Alan R. Kharel


Rory Ball

Player Behavior Lead – Los Angeles

MY FAVORITE MEMORIES FROM HIGH TECH HIGH always involved the time I spent with my friends. It was probably because the school was pretty new, and we were the first senior class they had. The rules were pretty lax for us. I really enjoyed my senior year because they gave us a lot of free time to pursue our own projects, and the only real classes we had were a few community college courses we were able to take. Although I'd like to say that we spent a lot of that free time on our senior projects, we probably wasted a lot of it on more fun things. Thankfully, we still found a way to complete our projects on time. I WAS ALWAYS KIND OF A SHY PERSON prior to high school. But High Tech High forced us into a lot of group situations for school work and projects. I found that I really enjoyed these and was able to open up a lot more. Also, High Tech High really instilled the idea in me that whatever job I took in the future should be something I really enjoy rather than something I do for a paycheck. Although I had no idea what I would end up doing after school, I knew I wouldn't settle for something that I hated. DON’T TAKE THINGS TOO SERIOUSLY. LIFE SHOULD BE FUN. If you're feeling stressed, angry, or sad all the time, something is wrong. I try to isolate the things that really bother me and try to figure out how to change them or remove them from my life. We have a lot of power to change our situations. Unfortunately, for some of us, it will be harder than others, but with enough time, you can get out of most bad situations you find yourself in. I DON’T REALLY STRESS TOO MUCH about the big questions anymore. To be honest, I used to wonder what my career would end up being. When would I land a stable job? When would I earn enough to live on my own? When would I get a dog? When would I be an adult? A lot of these kinds of questions just sort of answered themselves as I went along. Some didn't. But I'm pretty confident they'll get sorted out eventually too. I'd just rather be focusing on stuff I know right now rather than worrying on stuff I can't help right now. MY ROLE MODEL WOULD PROBABLY BE MY GRANDFATHER. After graduating from college in San Diego, I moved to Los Angeles and spent the next two years living with my grandparents. I knew them well enough before, but the time I spent there I got to learn even more. While I was working various jobs and figuring out my career, I got free rent and food and, in turn, helped them out around the house and with errands. It was a pretty good deal. The time really helped me understand how my grandfather grew up and why he made the choices he did. He set out from Indiana to California in his 20s. Over time, he started his own business and family. He's been a determined man who works hard to get what he wants, but he also never forgot where he came from and is very kind to those around him. I WORK AT RIOT GAMES as their Player Behavior Lead for League of Legends. I pretty much monitor our banning/moderating systems to get players who are jerks out of the game. It's a lot of fun. Something I'm most proud of is that I didn't give up on it. I previously worked at Disney Interactive doing much the same thing, but in 2011, my department was cut (and outsourced to Canada). It sort of put my life on hold while I was looking for a new job. The cool thing was that I was able to apply all that previous experience to getting a job at Riot. Riot is such an awesome company that treats us incredibly well and has one of the most popular online video games out there. I honestly think just breaking into the company is one of my proudest achievements. THERE ARE SOME REAL PRACTICAL WAYS HIGH TECH HIGH HAS BENEFITED ME. Rather directly, it helped me get into University of San Diego, which led to all sorts of experiences and opportunities. But the thing I enjoy most is that I don't regret or dislike high school at all. A lot of my non-High Tech High friends tell me about how awful high school was and about how they would never go back, and I feel quite the opposite. High school was fun. Sure, there are things that were awkward or perhaps terrible at the time, but looking back it's pretty hilarious. I'm just really glad I don't harbor these terrible scars from high school. It seems like a lot less baggage to carry around.

University of San Diego – Communication Studies and History Interviewed by Jessica Sloan and Jazmine Brown


Reed Bernet

Attorney – San Diego

MY FONDEST MEMORY of HTH is a tie between building a boat in physics class and investing far too much emotional energy in attending and not attending High Tech High dances. HTH PREPARED ME for the future through project based learning. You are going to work in groups to accomplish tasks your whole life. Most of the people in those groups will behave very much like high school students. THE ADVICE I HAVE FOR GRADUATING SENIORS IS THIS: if you are really motivated to accomplish a particular goal or to achieve a particular task then by all means, set your sights and strive. If, like most 17-18 year old high school students, you have no idea who you are, what you are doing, or where you ought to be heading, then you might want to focus on practical skills and education. Inspiration can strike at any moment, and you had best be equipped to catch it. THE SINGLE EXPERIENCE THAT TRANSFORMED ME MOST was my first year of law school. It really reinforced the idea that there is always someone smarter than you and you are always better off being nice to people. MY PHILOSOPHY ON LIFE is described in the following quote by Kurt Vonnegut - “I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.” Stop and smell the roses, to phrase it more conventionally. GEORGE ORWELL is my role model. He said what he meant and he meant what he said. We should all aspire to that. WHAT SURPRISED ME most about life after high school was how similar it is to life during high school. People don't change overnight. FRIENDS, FAMILY, AND BASTKETBALL are my passions. I AM AN ATTORNEY by vocation. I'm proud that to date I've maintained a modicum of work/life balance. IF I WERE TO GIVE A PIECE OF ADVICE to current HTH students, it would be to take the most challenging classes you are able to. WISECRACKS AND SARCASM were my biggest contributions to the students and community life at HTH. EXCITING, CHALLENGING, AND ACCEPTING describe HTH. PAUL MILLAGE was the faculty member in HTH that influenced me the most. He was my adviser and later physics teacher. Paul always treated his students as equals and also made it clear to us that he was trying to figure things out, just as we were.

University of California, Irvine – law Interviewed by Dylan Keezell and Jesus Pineda


Amanda Cole

ICU Nurse at Sharp Memorial – San Diego

HELPING OTHERS is my philosophy. Helping others keeps you grounded and keeps you thankful for the things you have. HIGH TECH HIGH’S STEREOTYPE WAS ABOUT NERDS AND BOYS. People would be like, “Wait, you go to High Tech High? Oh, I didn’t think girls went to that school. I thought that was a boy’s school.” I ALWAYS WANTED TO GO INTO MEDICINE. That was pretty much a definite. My dad is a doctor. I’ve always had a passion for just helping people and helping them in a medical way. My dad had a heart attack when I was in 5th grade, and from then on, I pretty much knew I belonged in medicine. I NEVER STOPPED GOING TO SCHOOL. I went to college at Westmont College, and I was a pre-med and fine arts major. After that, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do. I went to grad school at San Diego State, and I got a master’s in public health because I knew, whether I went into nursing or med school, having a master’s under my belt would help. WORKING IN THE ER, essentially as a clerk or a nursing aid, was where I really discovered that nursing was kind of the better option for me. I like to interact with people and to really get to know patients, and doctors don’t really have time for that. They just see the patient and move on to the next, so I knew I wanted to be more involved. I DO MISSION TRIPS to Guatemala. We go into the jungle and set up a full-on hospital. There’s no technology. We bring surgeons, nurses, and extra helper people, and we run an autoclave and four operating tables. We usually do about 130 surgeries over a five-day period, and we see about twelve hundred patients in a clinic. Our last team pulled 600 teeth through a dentist’s office. We do cleft palates and hernia repairs too. It’s really fun. ANYTHING YOU SEE ON THE NEWS, with a gunshot or a car, is probably my patient. I work in surgical ICU at Sharp Memorial so we take care of all the trauma patients – open heart surgeries, spinal surgeries, any type of neural injury. Basically anything that goes wrong anywhere in the hospital is my patient. If people have a regular knee surgery, for example, and their heart stops on the table - that’s my patient. I never see any regular people. I see the one in a thousand that had something strange happen. IT’S FUN TO PUT PEOPLE BACK TOGETHER. ICU is also really tech-heavy, and that’s why I picked working on that unit because we get all the coolest newest devices. I’D LIKE TO go to Rango Roa, which is an island in Tahiti that’s a big circle and in the middle are whale sharks, manta rays, and hammerheads. I really want to dive there. I’d like to go back to school, maybe med school, and I’d like to be a great mom someday. I JUST LOVE LEARNING, SO I JUST KEEP DOING IT. AS A WOMAN, ESPECIALLY, it’s difficult to look at a career like engineering or medicine and know that you’ll probably have to give up kids or having someone else raise your kids. When I met my husband, I was deciding if I wanted to go into med school, and I was like, I guess if I was single I would go to med school, but now that I have him, I don’t want to work that much. I want to be around him. With nursing, you work three days a week, which is awesome, and so I have four days off to do whatever I want and be with him, and someday when I have a family I can take care of them. YOU JUST GOT TO PUSH FOR WHAT YOU WANT. No dream is too big. College is going to be difficult in different ways for everyone, but you just kind of have to make it your own.

Westmont College – premed & fine arts; San Diego State - public health Interviewed by Allison Ho & Justin Lee


Anthony Conwright

Humanities Teacher – San Diego

ONE PIECE OF ADVICE I have for graduating seniors is to not feel as if they have to instant message. THE TOP THREE THINGS ON MY BUCKET LIST are to have kids, write a novel, and own an ES-335. MY BIGGEST ROLE MODEL is Christopher Hitchens because of his writing voice and because he fought for the causes he believed in, even when his views were unpopular. GOING TO HIGH TECH HIGH I was taught how to self-reflect and critique, work in a professional environment, and to learn in a way that works for me. MY PASSIONS are reading, writing and current events. I TEACH SIX GRADE HUMANITIES and I am proud of inspiring students to enjoy writing. SOMETHING I KNOW I DO DIFFERENTLY THAT MOST PEOPLE is challenge popular opinion. MY SOUL IS DRAINED BY CLICHE' AND PARTISAN BELIEFS. I am recharged by debate and being a contrarian. IF I COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT the world I live in, there would be no religion. ONLY LIVE LIFE IF IT IS GOING TO BE CHALLENGING. THREE QUESTIONS I hate not having the answer to are: Who created God? What would the world be like without religion? And how did the universe begin? THE SINGLE MOST EXPERIENCE THAT TRANSFORMED ME was hearing Larry Rosenstock tell me, "I'm smart. Very smart." MY FONDEST MEMORY FROM HIGH TECH HIGH is giving Bill Gates a tour of the school.

San Diego State University – Interdisciplinary Studies Interviewed by Genevieve de Kervor


Pierre Cruz

Entrepreneur– New Jersey

HTH PREPARED ME TO BE ADAPTIVE because everything was always changing. I think it really helped me adapt when I went to college. In college, I shuffled my schedule around a couple of times. I also moved a couple times. HTH helped me prepare for anything that was going to get thrown at me. MY ADVICE IS TO FIGURE OUT YOUR FINANCIAL SITUATION. Get as much free money as possible and if you have to pay for school out of pocket or if you’re going to take out a loan, try to take out a minimal amount as possible. Get a part time job and try to pay for some of your school out-of-pocket. MY MOST LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCE IS WHEN I WENT TO CHAMINADE, because the school was in Hawaii and their major program was forensic science. Those were two things that drew me to the school. I WAS IN FORENSIC SCIENCE, but I didn’t do really well. When I went to declare my major, the head of the forensic science department told me to reconsider and so I ended up switching to sociology, and graduated with my degree in general sociology. MY PHILOSOPHY ON LIFE IS TO BE POSITIVE AND TO ALWAYS SEEK HAPPINESS in everything you do. If you’re truly happy with what you’re doing, it doesn’t matter how much money you make or where you live, just try to surround yourself with people who think positively. I try to remove negativity in my life. I REALLY LOOK UP TO PHARRELL WILLIAMS. HE’S AWESOME. I think he is the best music producer. My mom is another one of my role models. She is just the strongest woman I know and she raised me and my sister without a lot of help. My uncles, and all my mom’s brothers, also inspire me because they are doing really well in life. They have a strong work ethic and they are all very successful. I WANTED TO BE A NAVY SEAL because I have an uncle who is a Navy Seal and I just thought he was the coolest guy on earth. I thought he was a superhero who went all over the earth and did crazy stuff and came back with cool stuff. I wanted to be just like him. WHEN YOU’RE IN HIGHSCHOOL, YOU DON’T NEED TO WORRY. I had a job when I went to HTH but I spent all the money on food and the arcade. Even if your parents give you money, once you get to your junior and senior year of college the bills pile up. The value of a dollar became more real for me once I left high school. I WOULD LIKE TO OWN THE SAN DIEGO CHARGERS. I’d also like to travel to every continent. And I’d like to have children. Children are awesome people who make a mark on the world. I CURRENTLY RUN SURF COAST APPAREL WITH MY FIANCE and that’s a part of a bigger brand we have in Costa Rica. But I think the thing I’m most proud of is the clothing line. We are launching a bathing suit line. THE MEASURE OF SUCCESS is the pure ability to earn and create the life that you want. You don’t have to own your own business. I think people that are successful are able to do the things they want to do and also work hard I SEE MYSELF LIVING PART TIME IN COSTA RICA AND HAWAII, running my business and expanding my brand. I want to open a couple of stores that just sell my brand and I want to see surf shops selling my brand.

Chaminade University of Honolulu [Sociology] Interviewed by Akon Thon and Brandon Toh


Julian Gunder

Media Advertising Sales – New York

I FIRST THINK OF THE GOOD TIMES I had connecting with friends in the great room when I think of High Tech High. I also loved the great room because it was a fun place where I learned how to use Dreamweaver and Photoshop. Even today, I still use web development skills I learned from classmates and teachers in the great room. MY FONDEST MEMORIES from High Tech High revolve around playing basketball during lunch time. We had a great time playing against each other and habitually went to the class after lunch tired and sweaty. I LIVE IN NEW YORK CITY and have been here for over five years. There are more media opportunities in NYC than SD, but the weather and people in SD are so much nicer. New Yorkers hate The Lakers and have no respect for The Chargers, so that took some getting used to. THE WEB DEVELOPMENT SKILLS I LEARNED at High Tech High have impacted my future in a multitude of ways. I have used those skills to build websites for friends who are small business owners. APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIPS LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT! Trust me, paying off student loans is the exact opposite of fun and can really eat into your finances after college. TURN DREAMS INTO REALITY is my life motto. NEGATIVE AND PESSIMISTIC PEOPLE DRAIN MY SOUL, and I avoid them as much as possible. Seeing students from underprivileged communities defy the odds by reaching their full potential recharges my soul. I AM PASSIONATE ABOUT INSPIRING KIDS from low income communities to attend and graduate from college. MY CAREER IS IN MEDIA ADVERTISING SALES. It’s fun and requires a great deal of digital, print, and broadcast media knowledge and creativity. I really enjoy seeing businesses reach their sales and awareness goals as a result of my efforts.

Howard University – Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.), Business Marketing Interviewed by Nicolas Dante Dilliott and Raul Higareda


Jenny Kam

GetInsured Integration Manager - Seattle

MY FONDEST MEMORY IS the first day of school, the grand opening. What better way to start a new year than at a new school with my girlfriends. I’m very blessed to have 5 amazing girlfriends to share this experience with. The first day at High Tech High was really nice, just being in a different environment was very refreshing. A fresh start. MY PHILOSOPHY IS to be honest, positive and trustworthy. I OVER WORK MYSELF I also travel a lot for work and I love being challenged and busy. Learning something new is an everyday goal for me. I try to push myself to do more and learn more from as many people as I can. I LOVE TRAVELING and I love spending time with my family and friends. I work extremely hard in order to travel and spend quality time with my friends and family. GROWING UP I HATED WHEN PEOPLE ASKED ME what do your parents do? My mom doesn’t work and my dad is not around, so I really hate answering that question and you get that a lot from adults. Now it doesn’t really bother me because I think I have matured and I have really accepted the fact that I come from a humble background. It made me who I am today. GROWING UP we lived in a two bedroom one bathroom apartment with eight brothers and sisters and my mom. One of the funniest questions anyone has ever asked me was “How do you coordinate who uses the bathroom?” Coming from a less fortunate background taught me a lot of value about life in general and being very thankful for the things I’ve been blessed with. NEVER ASK A WOMAN HER AGE when she gets older. I mean before it was like yeah I’m 16, 17, and 18, but as you get older you don’t want to reveal your age and you tend not to celebrate it as much. I’m almost 30 and I’m already cringing at the thought of being in a different age bracket. THE ONE THING I MISS IS being very care free. When you’re young you are very care free and the only thing you have to worry about is homework and hanging out with your friends. Now, as an adult you’re responsible for so many things, especially bills! Oh to be a kid again. THERE IS A TEACHER I have known since 7th grade named Ray Trinidad and he has been my mentor. His philosophy was “Love your mom, make your dad proud, and obey God”. I really made sure that I performed well, not for him but for my brothers and sisters. I had very high expectations to perform well in school and in life. Ray has really instilled in me the confidence and motivation to do well in life and that I can do anything I set my mind to. I’m very blessed to be where I am at today. I consider myself successful and still looking for the next best challenge. THREE THINGS ON MY BUCKET LIST ARE to go back and get my masters in computer engineering, bring my ideas to the fruition, and build a family in the next couple of years.

University of California San Diego - Economics Interviewed by Marea Shanks & Joshua Klein


David Madrid

Baker – San Francisco

HIGH TECH HIGH, MORE THAN ANY EXPERIENCE I received in college, taught me what it means to work as a team. The High Tech High philosophy of project based, team oriented work is how the real world runs, and I am so grateful that I learned that in high school. NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK while in school. In a few years, these people will be your future workspace peers. College is much more than classes. Take advantage of the social activities that are happening on your campus. WHAT SURPRISED ME MOST about life after high school was how incredibly prepared we were as high school graduates. We had tools that my college peers didn’t have such as working in groups and giving presentations amongst other things. While I didn’t necessarily have the “traditional” high school experience, I learned a tremendous amount about working with others. IF I WERE ABLE TO HAVE ANY SUPERPOWER, I would have the ability to function without sleep. I AM PASSIONATE ABOUT HELPING OTHERS. We have a responsibility to our community to give back. If you have something to offer your community and you are not, then you are doing a disservice to your community. It does not matter what industry you work in. There is always an opportunity to help others. I AM PASSIONATE ABOUT FOOD and how it brings people together through the simple act of sharing a meal with others. CURRENTLY, I WORK AS A BAKER for a local French boulangerie. I am proud that we can bring a piece of France to the Bay Area and brighten peoples’ days with a warm pastry.

University of California, Santa Barbara – business economics and Chinese Interviewed by Connor Worley, Alex Esquivel, and Eddie Ahumada


Eddie Moreno

Freelance Animator – North Hollywood

I DECLARE MYSELF A SUCCESSFUL HUMAN BEING WHO DOES ART. Art is one expression of my being. It has provided a lifestyle, which I greatly appreciate.   I AM WORKING FREELANCE. I work from home, and yes, it is awesome, if you can handle the freedom. IN FIVE YEARS, I HOPE TO BE WORKING AS A SUPERVISOR on a big animation project, either a feature film or a TV special. I also have talents in toy making and sculpting. With the creation of 3D printing, personal manufacturing could be my next step in the real world of toy making. FIND A PASSION AND HONE SKILLS AROUND THAT PASSION.  For instance, I loved animation, and during school, I would make flash shorts in the great room. After school, I took life drawing, flash courses, and story writing classes. Little things add to the greater whole and your passion can find expression through multiple outlets.  HIGH TECH HIGH TAUGHT ME THE SKILLS of networking,  digital media, and presentation. I also learned how to play things by ear. THE SINGLE MOST EXPERIENCE THAT CHANGED ME WAS WHEN I MADE A COMIC  called "Beat Necks." It was a satirical illustration of a school policy. I have no copies left. High Tech High stopped me in the middle of my 2nd issue. The faculty saw the copies I put on the walls and found out I made them. Students had loose lips. I met with the entire faculty and said that their great room policy was a discriminatory disservice to students in class that didn't help us improve and tore apart student moral. They agreed to let the students back into the great room as long as I stopped making the comic. It was a deal made to end the policy. It was a sacrifice for the greater good. I also didn’t get into trouble. I DON'T HAVE MANY FOND MEMORIES OF HIGH TECH HIGH. The lack of females and the abundance of males angered me. My fondest moment is when I fought against that school policy with my satirical comic. MY THREE PASSIONS ARE animation, social justice, and storytelling. MY PASSION FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE APPEALED TO ME AS A CHILD. Sure,  relatively speaking, our poor could be seen as a middle class in the rest of the world, but there are segments in the US that resemble the 3rd world whose economic and political muscle is weakened to the point of disenfranchisement, which I feel represents my mom’s side of the family. They are strong people who survive. I see policies and laws that affect my family negatively. My aunt can't get a check sooner and has to wait for the food card to clear. I, who am not in that world, suffer just witnessing the environment my family has to function in. I suppose if I was just a poor kid or just a rich kid I would be different. That isn't the case. I live through both worlds thus I can never truly feel like I fit within those cultures.    AFTER HIGH SCHOOL, I WAS SURPRISED BY HOW OFTEN THE WORLD says one thing and does another. I thought more people would be more honest with themselves. I was stunned to see people are more motivated by fear than personal growth. FAKE PEOPLE DRAIN MY SOUL. What recharges my energy is being alone with my thoughts and drawing.  MY MAIN GOAL IS TO END POLICE BIAS AND BRUTALITY  in the urban and suburban ghettos. I want to see an end to fractional reserve banking and a central bank. I also want land rights to natives to be allowed to flourish in more healthy land. Also, I want to end the war on drugs, terror, and information. These three wars are infinite and attack the very foundation of a free society.  BEFORE I DIE, I want to drive a Dodge Challenger, take martial arts lessons in Tibet, and fly in a helicopter. IF I WON THE LOTTERY, I WOULD PAY OFF MY FAMILY’S LOANS,  my loans, and get a new wardrobe. I would also pay my rent for two years. I would then buy land somewhere and make an “off the grid” house. That house would have a bunker so I can animate, have moments of intimacy, and play music in peace. I would have a room that is only a bed. That’s it. With the leftover money, I would buy land from businessmen and make community farms. Then I’d buy a nice bow and set of arrows. Then a Dodge Challenger with a plum midnight blue chameleon paint job. It would also have a 6 speed manual transmission. Then if I had any money left over I would buy debts and then clear them. I HATE NOT HAVING THE ANSWER TO A HOT GIRL asking me, "Does this dress make me look fat?" And, “What is the ETA of that animation?” HAVE FUN, MAKE MISTAKES, learn from them, make more mistakes, and smile.

Calarts – Character Animation Interviewed by Mauro Chavez and Ryan Khong


Francis Ring

Engineer – San Diego

I HAVE A LOT OF FOND MEMORIES from High Tech High. I had friends that I have silly memories with. Actually, when I moved just a little while ago, I found the old thank you cards I got from my internship my junior year. It was fun to go back and read through that. I also liked my teachers. They were all very good, and I loved them all. I WORK AS AN ENGINEER at a biotech company in Carlsbad. I am proud of the poster presentations I’ve given at industry conferences about the work I’ve done. I WAS SURPRISED with how much free time I had at High Tech High. I didn’t have to worry about homework and stuff like that after high school. I ENJOYED HIGH SCHOOL. I had a lot of independence to either use or abuse as I so choose. I enjoyed having the freedom that High Tech High allowed. MY ADVICE TO THE SENIORS is to take advantage of the time management skills that you should have been learning with all that free time at High Tech High and using that in college. I think one of my biggest advantages, particularly my freshman year in college, was that I was used to doing work in that environment. Most of my peers were not and so it was an advantage I was happy to make use of. MY FIRST BUCKET LIST ITEM would be, this is going to sounds really nerdy, to design a board game. I also want to make an iPhone app someday. This isn't guaranteed to happen, but I will someday spend a month or two in Europe. I’M PRETTY HAPPY with how things turned out for me in high school. I mean, I went to Stanford. THE BIGGEST CHANGE IN MYSELF from High Tech High was improving basic social skills. I arrived at High Tech High, which had about 100 students, from a 1,200 person middle school. When I was trying to find a group of friends in the larger school, I encountered a less diverse group of people all together. Going to a smaller school, I saw how a diverse group of people could interact and be friends. This really helped me have a broader sense of people in general and opened me up in that way. I WOULD BE SPIDERMAN if I could be any superhero simply because he gets to be funny. MY ROLE MODEL WOULD BE my grandfather. He was a successful aeronautical engineer that did a lot of really cool stuff, so I definitely have a lot of respect for what he did in his lifetime. I LOVE MY WIFE and enjoy being married. I also enjoy doing my work. I actually really love my work. I get to solve lots of interesting problems and hopefully help people. Outside of work, I love to ski. I actually helped organize a couple ski trips while I was at High Tech High. I went backcountry skiing in the middle of nowhere in Canada a couple of years ago, which was an incredible experience. Those are my passions. I’M AN ENGINEER in a biotech company, and when I started college, I had no idea that was something I wanted to do. I vividly remember walking into a class called Introduction to Chemical Engineering, which was just a class that happened to fit into my schedule and filled a couple of requirements. I liked math and I liked chemistry so I thought it shouldn't be too bad. The professor was a hilarious, crazy man who had been there for 30 years and done so many weird and random things. He was super excited about all the things you can do with chemical engineering. By the end of the class, he asked how many of us wanted to become chemical engineers. I was like, “YES, you’ve got me. This is what I want to do.”

Stanford University Interviewed by Shannon Fischer-Kendro and Aubrey Niegocki


Evan Robinson

Medical Student - Pasadena, CA

MY FONDEST MEMORY from High Tech High was senior year. I did practically nothing, somehow managed to get into a good college, and had a lot of fun spending time with my friends. HIGH TECH HIGH TAUGHT ME ABOUT adaptation and independent work. When we first started, we had a roller coaster experience with multiple major curriculum changes and many inexperienced teachers. I don't know if that was the best thing for us, but those are two positive things I got out of the experience. AS A GRADUATING SENIOR, YOU SHOULD take advantage of every single opportunity that comes to you. Don't ever pass an opportunity up and think that you'll do it another time. In college, opportunities for success, advancement, and knowledge are everywhere and usually free (beyond the ridiculous tuition costs). In many cases, you can actually get paid for some opportunities via scholarships. I believe those that were most successful in college and afterwards are the ones that didn't let opportunities pass them by. Also, take full advantage of the free time you have in college. Work your ass off but also party hard. You will most likely never have that amount of free time again, at least not until you retire. At High Tech High, you're already at an advantage by being statistically more likely to enter college than your peers, so use that advantage. Get excellent grades (from day one, don't slack and think you can make it up later) and learn great study habits. Join clubs that interest you, and do your best to step outside your comfort zone. Some of the best opportunities in life come by meeting people and doing things that are outside of our "norm". MOVING TO BROOKLYN and living in the community of Crown Heights for two years in a tiny fourth floor walk-up changed me. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, having been born and raised in San Diego. There was a lot of crime in that area, my neighbors were abusive to their children, all the stores had bulletproof glass, and riding the subway each day... well, it was a culture shock. I feel it changed me in a significant way and in a good way. I highly recommend that everyone lives somewhere far different than where they grow up for a few years, and college is a great time to do so. WHAT DRAINS ME MOST is doing something that I feel is not worthwhile and/or not satisfying. I require a sense of accomplishment, a sense that what I'm doing is meaningful. I remember many times during high school I felt the work I was doing was nonsense, was busywork, and would not benefit me in the future. I hated history in school, and now I fully regret not learning to enjoy that subject. The same with learning Spanish (you need to learn Spanish). Busywork and unsatisfying work will stay with you for the rest of your life, long past high school, so it's best to learn to deal with it early. I also don't like not having the answers to questions. I am the type that needs to know the answer to everything, so when a car part, equation, or computer program doesn't work and I can't figure out why, it frustrates me. While working, I also get frustrated when I can't diagnose a patient, and if I can, when I can't figure out why they have their ailment. WHAT RECHARGES ME is doing anything that I love. I enjoy hanging out with my girlfriend or my dogs. I own a 1998 BMW M3 and now a 2003 BMW M3 and absolutely love taking them for drives up the coastline. Growing up fixing cars with my dad and my grandpa, I also found a passion for working on my cars, and it's stuck with me for my whole life. I also love the ocean. I've been scuba diving for 14 years now, and I love going to La Jolla to swim or snorkel. I allow myself to forget the things that drain me in these moments. I'VE NEVER REALLY HAD A PERSON THAT HAS SERVED AS A ROLE MODEL for me. Maybe I'm weird. Instead, I just try to see traits in people that I would like to emulate in myself. So, my "role model" is a conglomerate of features from hundreds of people -- my family, my friends, and my peers. AFTER HIGH SCHOOL, I was surprised by how smart everyone was in the college I went to and how little I knew about how to study. If you are the type of person that up to this point in your life has only needed to study for exams the night before in order to get A's, you are in for a rude awakening in college if you go into a demanding major (i.e. a hard science). I was a mechanical engineering major at UCSD, and I had never had to work so hard just to pass. Then came medical school, but that's another story. I'M CURRENTLY IN MY THIRD YEAR OF MEDICAL SCHOOL. I feel incredibly privileged to be here and helping people in their time of need. Before that I was a paramedic in New York City (mostly working in bad areas of the Bronx and Brooklyn), and I was very passionate about that job. I was proud of my ability to remain calm in difficult situations and of using my skills to help people in distress. University of California: San Diego - B.S. Mechanical Engineering Western University of Health Sciences - D.O., Expected Graduation: 2015 Interviewed by Weston Bruffey, Julian Ensworth, and Paloma Honan


Sheena Terrell

Electric GIS Technician- San Diego

MY FIRST DAY FELT LIKE A ONCE IN A LIFETIME ADVENTURE. I met a lot of lifelong friends. I will never forget that feeling of walking into HTH and seeing all the beautiful buildings and the diverse people. THROUGH MY INTERNSHIP WITH FOX 6 NEWS I learned about work environments and public relations. MY PLANS were to graduate from college, get a good job and make some money. I was naïve, I had no idea what I wanted to do. My life actually worked out a lot better than expected. I am so blessed, grateful and thankful to have a family. Remember for every bad choice you make today, you will have to pay for it tomorrow. Watch out for loans, [take advantage] of work programs, grants and scholarships to guarantee school is paid for by the time you graduate. SURVIVING financially was not as easy as I thought after high school. I looked forward to going to college but I did not think about living broke as a college student or living without my parents. COLLEGE IN HAWAII TRANSFORMED MY LIFE. It exposed me to other cultures and opportunities that I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere else. I learned a lot about people and choice making. I met my husband there and he motivated me to move back to San Diego and take risks that eventually paid off. ENJOY YOUR LIFE. BE SMART. TAKE RISKS. HELP OTHERS. Remember for every bad choice you make today, you will have to pay for it tomorrow. Watch out for loans, [take advantage] of work programs, grants and scholarships to guarantee school is paid for by the time you graduate. I WORK FOR SAN DIEGO GAS & ELECTRIC as a Technician drawing electrical maps and schematics of electric facilities. After six years of working for SDG&E I am most proud of the fact that I stepped out of my comfort zone into a career that I had no experience or education in. I now have a specialized skill set and career that I enjoy. WHAT DRAINS MY SOUL is the everyday routine of my life and responsibilities. I do not think the human body can naturally wake up everyday at 4:30am but the thought of my family recharges me. I am also very fortunate to have an ocean view from my office so whenever I feel drained or stressed I take a second to watch the waves. DO NOT HARP ON THE THINGS THAT ARE OUT OF YOUR CONTROL. Live your life a quarter mile at a time and enjoy the now. Good things happen to those who do good. I AM INSPIRED by people who dedicate their lives to helping others and to society as a whole. MY PASSION IS MY FAMILY, they always come first and I enjoy doing anything that involves them. I love going to parks, gardening, and doing kiddy type stuff with my two-year-old. We also enjoy hanging out in the garage working on our cars, or taking them to car shows on the weekend. My husband and I are also passionate about nerdy things like Comic Con. MY FAMILY HAS ALWAYS BEEN SUPPORTIVE OF MY GOALS AND ASPIRATIONS, because of them I am where I am today and I have the motivation to do the things I love. I have a wonderful husband, a busy two-yearold and one on the way. I’D LIKE TO finish a Master’s Program suited more towards my passions and not my profession. Build two track cars with my husband and race him on an actual track. And go with my family on a trip of a lifetime, wherever that maybe. I HATE NOT HAVING THE ANSWERS TO: What will I be doing in 20 years? Where can I buy the next winning Lotto ticket? Is anything in our lives predestined? BORA BORA. I love the island life.

Chaminade University of Honolulu – criminology and criminal justice Interviewed by Tessa Evans & Camille Gloster


Ker Thao

Director of Operations and Finances – San Francisco

OUR SCHEDULES WERE VERY LOOSE and in our classes we were allowed to be really independent and self motivated, which helped me to adjust to the real world. [In the real world,] you have to be self-motivated, [independent] and take initiative on things. [You can’t] just wait to be told what to do and how to do it. Also, doing Presentations of Learning (POL’s) taught me a lot for my current job. Basic presentation skills was[n’t] something I learn[ed] in college; I actually learned at High Tech High what I use on a weekly basis now. MY ADVICE would be to not stress out so much about a major for college. Have fun in college, enjoy your time, but take a whole bunch of different classes. Don’t feel pressured to know exactly what you want to do because once you get out in the real world, there [are] so many different options that you probably never thought about when you were in high school or college. It’s almost too soon to be thinking, “This is exactly what I want to do.” There are a lot of things that you may not know even exist that you could be doing. Just [take] your time and explore a lot of different classes and majors before you make a final decision on one. WHEN I WAS IN COLLEGE I did a study abroad program in India. [That] was the first time I was super far away from home [and] completely by myself. It was really a scary, out of the box experience for me but it made me so much stronger. It was amazing to see a whole different culture and realize how fortunate we are. I feel so appreciative of everything that I have here and [the experience] opened my eyes to a really amazing culture and a whole new group of people. MY PHILOSOPHY ON LIFE is to work hard and earn everything that you get. I don’t take anything for granted. Nothing’s going to fall in my lap and if I want something, I just have to work hard for it. Don’t just wait for things to happen; you have to take initiative and do the work. MANAGING DIFFERENT PERSONALITIES at work, meeting people you don’t always agree with or people that are just difficult [drains my soul]. To recharge, I just surround myself with people that I like and try to deal with the difficult people as best as I can without getting picky or [taking] anything personally. WHAT IS YOUR ULTIMATE PASSION? That’s something I’m still trying to figure out. MY OLDER SISTER IS MY BIGGEST ROLE MODEL. She just had her third child, but while she was pregnant and had two other kids, she finished nursing school and worked full time. She’s worked [so hard] to provide for her family. I’ve always looked up to her. THE BIGGEST SURPRISE FOR ME actually came after college. That was when I felt like I was actually in the real world where I didn’t have classes [or] school. I was like, “Now, what do I do?” That’s the moment where you have to decide what you’re going to [and] being hit with that moment of not feeling 100% prepared. I DON’T JUST HAVE ONE PASSION but I love spending time with my family, food [and] helping people. TRAVEL. I definitely just want to do a lot of traveling. I’ve been to a lot of different places, but Southeast Asia is one place I haven’t been that I want to [visit] before I die. [I want to] visit the place where I was born in Thailand. I WORK FOR AN ONLINE MEDIA COMPANY [that] provides resources to the public safety industry. I’m really proud that we help police officers, firefighters, and EMS workers stay safe. We give them the tools and resources they need to protect the general public and go home safely every day to their families. SUCCESS IS BEING HAPPY. No matter what you’re doing, as long as you’re happy I think that’s success. I definitely think I’ve reached that. WHEN I WAS A SENIOR, I didn’t have any idea of what I would be doing. I didn’t have anything in my mind. WORK HARD for everything that [you] have. Don’t take anything for granted; [know] the value of hard work.

UC Santa Barbara– business economics and communication Interviewed by Jose Hernandez and Sara Bawale


David Walters

Whole Foods Market - Portland, OR

MY BIGGEST ROLE MODELS are my father and mother. They both struggled to be happy for a long time, and I now see that they have found that for themselves. HIGH TECH HIGH taught me people skills so that in any setting I would be able to succeed. They did a wonderful job of teaching soft skills that can be so hard to pick up. I HAVE SO MANY FOND MEMORIES of going to High Tech High like signing ourselves out at lunch and going out into the world with David Madrid and friends. TO GRADUATING SENIORS, always figure out what resources you have to succeed. High Tech High does such a good job of supporting its students. When you enter the larger world, you have to look for this support yourself. IF I KNEW THEN WHAT I KNOW NOW, I would have repaired my torn ACL before my senior year at High Tech High. I would have asked for more help from family and friends. I WAS SURPRISED at how much homework there was in college! I thought college was supposed to be about tests. I was not prepared for that. AFTER HIGH SCHOOL, I attended UC Berkeley, worked for an independent bookstore in the Bay Area, and finished my degree in mathematics at Portland State University. I am married and have a 15 month old son. I have now worked for Whole Foods for three years. MY PASSIONS ARE my family and our future, my education, and my bicycle. MY HIGH SCHOOL CRUSH AND LOVE was Erin Borunda. MY NEXT STEPS are to finish my damn degree; see my son grow into a thoughtful, intelligent, hard working man; and ride my bicycle across this country with my son. MEETING MY SON after three days in labor with my wife was my single most transformational experience. I LIKE Abe Lincoln's idea of religion: "I do good and I feel good, I do bad and I feel bad, that is my religion." LISTENING TO PEOPLE tell the same story is one of the most draining things I experience. Anytime I'm able to focus and lose myself with my son, be on my bicycle, or engage in anything I am able to recharge.

Berkeley University, Portland State University – Mathematics Interviewed by Cherlynn Mason & Katie Gavares


Ryan Willson

Bumbleride Baby Strollers – San Diego

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF EVERY OPPORTUNITY AND CHALLENGE at High Tech High. They will pay off down the line. The easy route exists. Don’t take it. Your high school grades can come back to haunt you, so study for that test. Everything you are learning now will be helpful for the future, except Calculus. HIGH TECH HIGH INTRODUCED THE SKILLS I WOULD NEED in the real world before I knew I needed them. This allowed me to have a huge heads up on my peers in regards to the workforce and college. High Tech High allowed me to get some college credits, learn in a fashion that mirrored college, and taught me to take responsibility for my own learning as a teenager. I think these experiences made me mature a little quicker than I would have otherwise while also allowing me to learn skills that would have been hard to find elsewhere. THE SINGLE MOST EXPERIENCE THAT TRANSFORMED ME was my off-site internship with the Padres Ballpark Advanced Technologies Lab (BAT Lab), which assisted in testing and selecting technology for the new Petco ballpark. For those few hours a couple times a week, I felt like a mini-adult in a “larger-than-life world” cautiously driving myself through downtown San Diego’s maze of one-way streets, grabbing coffee from coffee carts, and being partially responsible for a functioning computer network with real life consequences and challenges. I also happened to have a great mentor named Caleb who made it a lot more fun. NOTHING DRAINS MY SOUL. Negativity and those who don’t care about others or the environment sure try to drain it. Being in nature and the ocean or being around caring, positive people recharges it. PRACTICING YOGA as an elective on the great room floor carpet, off campus surf club, playing music during school in a band elective, reporting about the history of surfing, off campus internships, Art class with Jeff Robbin, Math with Rod Buenviaje, doughnuts/burnouts around an empty NTC, and playing basketball at lunch with friends are all memories I’m fond of from High Tech High. I LOVE surfing, motorsports (car racing, autocross, road racing, drifting, rally, time attack and F1), marketing, giving back to the community, and saving the environment. I AM THE MARKETING MANAGER for Bumbleride baby strollers. We were the first juvenile products company to use social media. Bumbleride is able to offer a more eco-conscious baby stroller than the majority of our competition through use of recycled plastics and bamboo charcoal fiber thus reducing landfill space and the impact on the environment. I’m also proud of Project Bumbleride, a green initiative where the company gives back to the community through events like the SeaWorld Shamu & You Family Walk and beach cleanups for kids teaching them the importance of conservation and keeping our beaches clean. BE LIKE WATER AND GO WITH THE FLOW. Balance in everything. Don’t worry about the small stuff. It’s all small stuff. There are no unanswered questions I’m worried about.

Chaminade University of Honolulu - Marketing Interviewed by Yoletci Lopez & Anahi Zarate


Alumni magazine 2003