Michael Allen joined our Cape Henry Collegiate community in his sixth grade year, when I had the pleasure of meeting him through English class. He has been a quiet, dependable force on campus ever since; but now it is almost time for him to move on. And where will he take his next steps educationally? He is looking forward to joining the student body at Washington and Lee University, set in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, where he applied early. Having only considered two colleges, why did he feel this is the best fit?
“I would rather be in a small school and generally like the rural setting. The rigor you had to go through to be accepted showed that the intent of those attending is serious scholarship; this attracted me. They also have a high graduation rate, which I feel is important.”
The importance of the setting may be connected to Michael’s experience at Camp Timberlake in North Carolina. He has been attending this camp for the past six years, as a camper and then as staff last summer, which he will do this summer as well. Michael particularly likes the way this camp is outdoor centric and hands on; they feature not only a multitude of activities but, importantly, take campers off their own property for additional experiences through trips. He is looking forward to being able to enjoy kayaking and mountain biking in the Shenandoah area during his down time.
And while he is on campus? He is looking forward to “genuine intellectual independence; the ability to truly develop my own thoughts.” The small setting will be reminiscent of CHC, where several classes and teachers have played an important role. Michael credits Mr. McGraw for “supporting me along my journey throughout the past two years.” Scott McGraw reflects, “While Mike is an extraordinarily intelligent young man, one of his most impressive attributes is that he is constantly working to better himself. For Mike, learning is about more than just memorizing facts. He works hard to make sure that he truly understands the material."
He notes that, throughout Upper School, the following classes had a great impact on him: Geometry with Mr. Kerbin was “important,” AP US History with Mr. Palmer and AP US Government, both Physics classes, Economics, and AP Lang in his junior year with Mrs. Self, which “taught me how to argue and not just say what I think, but say it in a certain way so that I could get people to agree with me.” An essential skill, especially because he is considering a major in either Political Science/History or Math/Science.
What advice does Michael have for current CHC students? “Don’t wait. Take advantage of everything you can, while you can.” He only regrets that he did not do this . . . until recently. Currently he is a member of the Trivia Club, and this year has joined the Jazz Band as well as the Young Musicians Club; he has also participated in the Cape Henry Mock Supreme Court program. We will await updates about what he does with this advice in the next portion of his journey, as he hits the trail towards Washington & Lee.