Gathering for Gratitude, Gobbling, and Guidance from Post Oak Alumni
You know it is going to be a first-class feast when the dessert table is twice as long as the table with the entrees! The annual Thanksgiving luncheon held at the Post Oak High School makes up for the fact that we seem to be in the only school in Houston in session on Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving break. Each student contributes by bringing a traditional Thanksgiving dish and is joined by faculty, family, and alumni to lick their plates in this potluck tradition. After everyone is bloated and on the verge of nausea, we gather around to further indulge ourselves in the wise words of our alumni panel.
You may be thinking, “Past high schoolers return to Post Oak after they graduate?” Why yes, they do. They come not only so that they can be first in line to eat the delicious food and reconnect with their Post Oak family, but also to share words of wisdom with future Post Oak graduates.
The panel of the 20 visiting alums, monitored by current senior student, Elliot Conely, introduced themselves and discussed how Post Oak had impacted their college and, later, career choices. Amber Meghani (class of 2017) currently a student at the University of Texas, became interested in the business world through the IB Economy class. Internships also played a large role in sparking students’ interests and when the time came to discuss them, former students had rave reviews.
While some students' internships aligned with their passions, others appreciated their internship experience but were not interested in following through with that particular career. Charlie Yates’ internship in computer science gave him hands on experience building computers and now he “can sleep more during his college computer science classes” (because he has literally been there, done that). In summary, the panel agreed that the IB curriculum paired with internships helped with college admissions and in choosing a major.
Another aspect of Post Oak that broadened students' perspectives are A and J term opportunities, two-week course intensives during which students partake in international travel or focus on a specific topic or skill set within Houston. Claire Thompson (Class of 2019, attending Ithaca College New York) chose to visit Jamaica several times, ultimately becoming a facilitator rather than simply a participant. She shared, “Having the opportunity to facilitate this trip was valuable in that I had the chance to be creative and include my own ideas.” From personal finance courses, to paleontology digs, the panel shared their unforgettable memories.
Next, Elliot asked how the alumni found themselves different compared to their college peers who had attended traditional schools. Karen Cheng (Class of 2019, attending Columbia University) stated that her peers in college “are driven by the need to compete and receive a grade more than an interest in or fully understanding the material. I’m here to learn, not to compete.”
In addition, alumni discussed their appreciation for their unique connection to their high school teachers. Post Oak faculty members are constantly available for questions and concerns, care about the success of their students, and are treated with respect by students. According to the panel, these are factors that are not as prominent in college life. “Knowing how to talk with adults and how to offer feedback is something other young adults my age simply don’t know,” says Claire Thompson.
The open work time provided by the Post Oak curriculum prepares students to responsibly manage their free time. Tommy Johnson (2019 graduate attending Wake Forest) emphasized that the extensive amount of open work time is great practice for the loose structure and lack of supervision of college life. Free time in college calls for responsibility and integrity.
Despite the fact that they got to cut in line for the potluck, we are so thankful for the Post Oak Alumni who came back to visit and share their advice. Their comments are helpful to the students who are looking ahead to college. Post Oak Alumni will always return to and be welcomed by their Post Oak family!
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