Joshua Borja ’22 Speaks at Open House
We often ask our students to share their experiences at MICDS with prospective families. Who better to talk about what’s it’s really like to learn here? This year, at Open House, Joshua Borja ’22 spoke about his MICDS experience.
I started at this school in 2014 and now I have just started my senior year here at the Upper School. I came to MICDS in fifth grade because I was looking for a more challenging academic environment than my previous school provided. One of my favorite memories from Middle School was a Mock Trial in eighth grade where we studied the inner workings of a court and learned about different roles, culminating in a final mock trial where we acted as defendants, prosecutors, and witnesses. I also loved participating in the plays and musicals in Middle School because they helped me step outside of my comfort zone and try new things. Middle School at MICDS taught me so many important study and time management skills that I still use today. In grades 5 through 8, I slowly gained more independence as the years progressed and by eighth grade, I had learned how to balance my workload and after-school activities and sports by really utilizing study halls and meeting with teachers. These skills proved crucial as I moved into high school and was faced with harder classes and longer practices.
Freshman year was exciting for me because not only was I able to have more freedom (and a soft-serve machine in the cafeteria), but I was also able to participate on varsity sports teams in the amazing facilities we have here. I decided to take up a new sport: swimming, which was one of the most rewarding experiences I had in high school. The team not only helped me establish new friendships, but also encouraged a new work ethic and purpose after school each day. Besides sports, I really became interested in video editing and filming, so I decided to join robotics where not only could I work and help with the robot, but I could also film the competitions and make videos for social media and submit edits for judging which gave me a way to work on this skill.
If I could describe MICDS in one word, it would be “opportunity.” When I talk to friends, family, and even potential colleges, one thing that impresses them the most is the exposure to a variety of classes and experiences at this school. One of my favorite parts of this school academically, and one of the reasons I, personally, chose this school in the first place, is the extensive class choices you get in high school. Apart from freshman year, I was able to choose from a 64-page book filled with different courses for the upcoming semesters and was able to adjust my schedule to reflect my personal interests.
Some of my favorite classes I have taken include Forensic Science, where we studied fingerprints, hair fibers, methods of crime scene investigation including analyzing fake crimes set up with dummies, and evidence in locations across campus. Human Rights and Genocide was a history class in which we spent a semester learning about different human rights violations and what constitutes genocide, and researched various United Nations interventions and procedures. For an aspiring political science and history major like myself, this class was especially meaningful because it allowed me to look at the world from a different perspective and gain powerful research skills about a topic that I would normally not face until later in college.
Outside of the classroom and the athletic fields, students get freedom at this school. I like that. It’s not that students are left to their own devices because there are so many resources available to them, but an MICDS student learns over their time here to become responsible and is encouraged to express initiative to reach out to teachers for help. And the teachers are incredibly willing to work with students to make sure they understand the material.
One location in the school that I think is a valuable resource for students is the Academic Center. Located a floor below the Upper School office, this is one of my favorite locations on campus because of the access to a quiet workspace filled with whiteboards, study rooms, and access to learning resources and specialists to assist you. After school, one teacher from every department comes to the center in order to help anyone with projects and homework from any class if they need some extra help. Personally, I believe that my time at MICDS has put me in an amazing spot for my future, and I am so grateful for the experiences and resources that I have had at MICDS. I hope that you all are as impressed with this school as I have been and I hope you have an amazing rest of your time here at the open house. Thank You!