Julia High attended Windermere Preparatory School from 5th grade until she graduated high school in 2022 and noted, “I absolutely loved Windemere Prep!” She is currently attending Harvard University and is expected to graduate in 2026.
She became involved in student government in 5th grade, which she participated in throughout her time at Windermere Prep, culminating in her senior year serving as President of the Executive Board. This experience provided the basis for many of the clubs and activities she is part of at Harvard, as well as her potential major. Her teachers also encouraged her activism endeavors, which she has carried through to her time at Harvard. In fact, she had such close relationships with her teachers, they were the first to know she was accepted to Harvard.
Despite being worried about the rigorous academic standards at Harvard, she was very well prepared because of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program and rigorous courses and homework she had at Windermere Prep.
What was the best part of attending Windermere Preparatory?
The best part of attending Windermere Prep was the opportunities that I was able to access, and how faculty and administrators encouraged me in my activism endeavors. For example, I was heavily involved in student government, and I served as class president for three years. With this platform, I was able to organize an annual voter registration drive and host high school-wide assemblies about voting.
I even remember receiving support in my pursuits as early as middle school. In middle school student government, I organized an assembly and moment of silence ceremony in honor of the Parkland school shooting victims. With student government, we also did an Earth Day campaign and partnered with a local Publix to give out free reusable shopping bags to encourage reuse and recycling. I would not have been able to engage in any of these activities without support from my teachers and administrators. From the start, Windermere Prep nurtured me to become the civically minded adult that I am today.
What is your favorite memory from Windermere Preparatory?
I had a great experience at Windermere Prep. I started the school in 5th grade and attended through high school graduation. The Windermere Prep crest of Virtus, Veritas, and Unitas undoubtedly shaped the person I am today.
It’s difficult to pick just one favorite memory from Windermere Prep, because I had so many. Some of my favorites include the Seedfolks festival in 7th grade, Global Games in middle school, and choreographing the lip sync dance for Homecoming Week during high school.
What activities or programs did you participate in while attending Windermere Preparatory?
I was president of Key Club, the president and founder of Book Club, and the vice president of the Spanish Honor Society. Outside of academics, I was a member of the varsity weightlifting and track teams.
I was very involved in student government during my entire time at Windermere Prep which culminated with my tenure as class president for three years in high school.
When I transferred to Windermere Prep in fifth grade, I decided to run for student government because my previous elementary school did not have a student government. I liked the idea of a leadership position. I think I'm good at connecting with my peers and I wanted to encourage people. I'm good at being a voice for students who want to be represented. And I feel like that discovery started in 5th grade was running for student government.
I continued in government throughout middle school, and I found organizing events and giving speeches was fun. I love inspiring students to get involved in causes not only that I was passionate about, but to help them find their own passions. Student government translated to voter registration initiatives and stuff like that at school. I'm definitely involved in numerous political groups at Harvard. So that political science activist aspect is always going to be, I think, an important part of my experience here at Harvard.
I always loved my history teachers and had such a great connection with them, even when we didn't have history in 5th grade. I always found myself drawn to social studies and I began thinking about studying history in college when I took Advanced Placement (AP) US History in the 9th grade. I think the various classes and opportunities Windermere Prep offers, provided me the opportunity to explore my interest in government, but also academically explore my interests as they align with my future career.
How did Windermere Preparatory prepare you for college and/or your career? I was really prepared when I came to Harvard and that was something I have heard from other Windermere Prep alumni. I was worried about going to Harvard and the level of academic standards, but the environment at Windermere Prep and the IB program certainly prepared me for the academic standards that are expected here. In college there could be a lot of free time on your hands, but there's also always an event going on or a club to join, so it fills up your time.
I found the workload pretty manageable and I felt prepared because of certain classes like my IB English class, AP European History and AP US History. Those improved my critical writing skills, because I use it every day, writing essays, responses, and papers. The analysis skills that I gained from my IB HL English class (and earlier, my AP US History class) have helped me with every academic paper I have written so far. Also, the amount of homework in junior and senior year of high school prepared me for the level of work I now receive in college.
There were so many opportunities like clubs and extracurriculars, and I was always heavily involved in those which directly translated to my college experience. At Harvard, I'm involved in a bunch of the same things like working with a couple of civic engagement groups on campus. For example, there's a group called Harvard Post Challenge, which is to increase voting, and civic participation on campus. My appetite for these groups was fostered by the many years of being involved in student government at Windermere Prep.
If a potential parent or incoming student were to ask you for advice for being successful at Windermere Preparatory, what would you tell them?
You should expect a very safe and family environment. I personally always felt the family environment and I remember how the community shows up for theater performances or sports games. Because it’s a small school, my teachers always knew me and my sister. So, if she needed help with something I always felt comfortable speaking with her teachers to find out the best ways we could help her succeed.
I would always go back and visit my previous teachers just to have a conversation. When I got into Harvard, some of the first people I told were some of my middle school teachers.
To students, I would say that Windermere Prep is what you make of it. You can either choose to take advantage of the many academics, clubs, sports, fine arts, and other resources that the school has, or you can choose not to. I would suggest the former. Don’t be afraid to take risks or to be challenged. Windermere Prep is a very safe and nurturing community, so this is the best time of your life to figure out your interests and to even make mistakes. Windermere Prep is truly its own bubble secluded from the rest of the world, so this is probably the safest environment you will ever encounter in your life. Take advantage of this safe environment to try new things and to challenge yourself to learn more than you ever thought possible.
To parents, I would say that if you would like to see a change in the school, then get involved! Parents have a large presence on campus and in school policy, especially through the Windermere Prep Volunteer Association (WPVA). Join the WPVA, come to school events, and support your children in their endeavors. Parents are an essential part of the Windermere Preparatory School community, and to be a part of the community you must get involved.