The Hobart and William Smith Classes of 2019, who arrive for Orientation on Friday, Aug. 28, include high school class presidents and team captains, filmmakers and editors of school papers, volunteers for national nonprofits and an outdoor enthusiast who hiked the entire Appalachian Trail this summer. The 645 new Statesmen and Herons hail from 35 states and 18 countries – as far away Thailand, Lithuania, Rwanda, the Czech Republic and China – though they have already begun getting acquainted and building community through the HWS Classes of 2019 Facebook Page.
“Drawing students from even more states and countries than recent years, this is one of the most diverse Classes we have ever seen at the Colleges,” says Vice President of Enrollment and Dean of Admissions Bob Murphy, noting that nearly 45 percent enrolled Early Decision. “The collective enthusiasm we’ve seen from these Classes as they prepare to embark on their journey as HWS students has been unmatched in previous years, and even more impressive is the desire they’ve already expressed to advance the Colleges’ commitment to community service and involvement through a diverse array of organizations on campus.”
The Classes of 2019 are also a talented and high-achieving cohort, Murphy says, with 40 percent receiving merit awards. Dedicated to their scholarship, the incoming Classes have an average GPA of 3.43, an increase from last year.
A culturally diverse group – about 20 percent are multicultural, the Classes of 2019 represent 445 high schools: 63 and 37 percent from public and private high schools, respectively. The group includes 118 incoming “legacies,” one of the highest numbers of students in recent years who have a parent, sibling, aunt or uncle who is an alum or current student. There are also 23 transfer students this year.
From Ecuador and California to Minnesota and Massachusetts, here’s a snapshot of a few of the members of the Classes of 2019:
Alex Kerai ’19, of Marblehead, Mass., is already planning to seek out the opportunities that will further his passions for filmmaking and literature, specifically those afforded to him by the new Performing Arts Center scheduled to open in January 2016. During his senior year at Marblehead High School, Kerai wrote and produced a film that was screened at his local film festival, and then aired multiple times throughout the summer on a local television network.
Katherine Howard ’19, of Durham, N.H., says that although it was her brother, Evan ’17, who first sparked her interest in the Colleges, it was her campus visit that solidified her decision to join the HWS community.
“When visiting many other colleges, the vibe was that I, as a student, would be privileged to attend that school,” Howard says. “At HWS, the Colleges made me feel as though they would be privileged to have me as a student, and I knew right then that the Colleges were the place for me.”
A leader both academically and athletically, Howard was captain of her lacrosse team at Oyster River High School, president of her class from 2012-2015, as well as a member of the swimming and diving team, and the National Honor Society. She also participated in Relay for Life and the 5th Grade Mentoring program, and says she plans to fully immerse herself as an active member of the HWS community through programs like Rotoract and club lacrosse.
Davis Ryan ’19, of Saint Paul, Minn., also found that his visit to campus made a difference. Ryan, an avid Nordic skier and founder of the bass fishing team at his high school, Minehaha Academy, says he is looking forward to pursuing these activities in the Finger Lakes region. Joining the Colleges as a Hersh Scholar, Ryan plans to pursue economics and environmental studies, but is open to the possibility of discovering a different academic path through the interdisciplinary academic opportunities at HWS.
“I’m excited to get to campus and see what is in store for me,” Ryan says. “I look forward to finding new friends and becoming settled into where I’m going to be spending my next for years.”
Kim Armijos ’19, of Guayaquil, Ecuador, was active in her high school’s theatre program, having won a “tip of the hat” award within her school’s theatre department. Despite only spending her senior year of high school in the U.S., at Allendale Columbia School in Rochester, Armijos quickly became an involved member of the student body participating on the cheerleading team, soccer team, and a variety of different clubs. In deciding to remain in the U.S. after high school, Armijos says that “choosing the right college is very important,” adding, “HWS is my right choice.”
In addition to his filmmaking endeavors, Kerai has been an active member of his high school’s band and jazz band, Big Brother/Big Sister Program, theatre department, varsity sailing team, and also pioneered the school newspaper’s online presence in 2011 as well as serving as editor-in-chief his senior year. He’s already garnered an impressive list of accolades for his theatre and film work, including the sole student winner in the Writer’s World competition in the Marblehead Festival of Arts as well as an award for Excellence in Lighting Design from the Massachusetts Educational Theatre Guild.
For Karan Desai ’19, of San Francisco, Calif., “HWS represents an opportunity to further develop my passions but also a place to find my interests as well.”
An avid bicycle racer, Desai attended the Urban School of San Francisco and was involved with several clubs throughout high school such as student admissions committee, student government, students of color and Model U.N. With the Colleges’ strong commitment to service learning, Desai says he plans to continue pursuing his past service learning, particularly his involvement with early childhood education.
“With such awesome opportunities that Hobart and William Smith offer through the study abroad program and Career Service center, I can seek out the opportunities to help me grow as a student and a person,” he says.