Heading into Reality

Jun 6, 2019 | Features, Profiles


t 11:29 am every day, all of the third graders anxiously wait, seconds away from their favorite part of the day: recess. Recess is special for the lower schoolers; they get all sorts of options, from playing at the lawns, playgrounds, library, garden, or forts. This memorable part of our school sticks with them, even a decade later, as one of the best parts of Nueva. From sliding down mulch hill to wandering in the forts, senior lifers Audrey Chin and Toby Frank will cherish this memorable routine that was ingrained into their lower school lives, along with other experiences that have shaped their time at Nueva.

Chin and Frank have spent their lives since kindergarten in the Nueva community, and they can’t imagine receiving an education from anywhere else. From the countless recesses trading pottery for “crystals” in the fluctuating elementary-school economy and creating songs for the fourth-grade play, to writing STARPAP essays, and embarking on the unforgettable trips to places around the world, these memories are markers of their time at Nueva as they prepare to move on to college.

“Nueva is a place that fosters discussion and discourse, you have to learn how to be vocal and stand up for your points,” Chin said. She used to identify as an introvert, but because of the help that Nueva offered her, she was able to gain confidence in herself. 

“Nueva teachers see potential in you that you may not even see in yourself and stand by you every step of the way.”

With new skills that both Chin and Frank had learned and gained confidence on, they are heartbroken to not be attending school with their fellow classmates in the future.

“Nueva teachers see potential in you that you may not even see in yourself and stand by you every step of the way. They are committed, compassionate, and inspiring—their support and mentorship has been instrumental in allowing me to work towards becoming the person I aspire to be,” Chin added.

“I’ve been able to spend this last semester spending time with my friends,” Frank said, “and I hope to stay in touch with people that I’ve known since I was five years old.”

Chin looks forward to being a part of a new community, with all the benefits that come with it—more possible friendships and learning experiences, in particular.

“I am perhaps most excited to meet my new cohort, a truly diverse group with lived experiences and backgrounds very different from mine,” Chin said.

“I think it is time to move on for a new experience in the world, to have new experience in a world that I’ve only had one perspective on,” Frank said, but there are parts of Nueva he’s going to miss. “I am definitely going to miss the freedom and openness Nueva allows the students and the completely unique way we learn.”

“I’m simply trying to enjoy the last few months I have with people so special to me.

“Nueva has taught me how to approach homework and readings, talk in class, and be intellectually curious,” he added. These skills will help him in college and beyond, and he’s excited to bring them with him as he continues to grow.

Chin, too, has learned to be “more vulnerable,” to invest in her relationships, and to assume that people have good intentions.

“It took me a little while to be okay with the fact that so much is ending, but now I’m simply trying to enjoy the last few months I have with people so special to me,” she said.


For both Chin and Frank, graduating from Nueva is bittersweet. Being a part of the Nueva community for so long, leaving is a huge step for them—both toward independence, which is a positive, and away from Nueva, which is more mixed.

Both feel nostalgic during their last semester as they reflect back on the memories they have made, but they are looking forward to seeing what adventure comes next.