Flintridge Prep Unveils Speaker Series Slate

Photo courtesy Flintridge Prep Flintridge Prep Community Speaker Series coordinators Jeanne Case, Laura Campobasso and Kirsten Harbers presented Gloria Diaz Ventura.
Photo courtesy Flintridge Prep
Flintridge Prep Community Speaker Series coordinators Jeanne Case, Laura Campobasso and Kirsten Harbers presented Gloria Diaz Ventura.

Now in its third year, the Prep Community Speaker Series has expanded to include a total of four education events designed for parents and the community.
The Flintridge Prep Parents Association, coordinating with the Prep Community Speaker Series, hosted an evening with Gloria Díaz Ventura, Prep’s director of college counseling. Ventura, who has worked on both sides of college admission in her 15-year career, walked more than 220 parents through the college admissions landscape, guiding them through a host of factors that influence highly selective colleges to encourage as many applications as possible, as well as giving an insider’s view of admissions committee discussions.
Ventura pointed out that less than 1% of high school students attend schools that accept fewer than 10% of applicants (examples include Harvard and Yale). This fact “highlights the tension that exists between an institution’s bottom line and the lives of 17-year-old teens,” she said.
“We have identified some of the finest scholars, mathematicians, historians and linguists we could find to educate and inspire our students. We have crafted a mission statement, a strategic plan and an honor code that outlines our values, our intentions and our hopes in shaping young lives. Peter Bachmann started the school year inviting the student body to sign the honor code. This is a community where academic views are challenged, where faculty members empathize with their students, where parents come together to support each other and where the administration thoughtfully implements new initiatives, preserving the culture,” she told the parents.
True to the school’s mission, Prep’s College Counseling office strives for authenticity when working with students. In addition, and perhaps more importantly, college counseling staff encourage students to seek qualities in a college community that reflect their interests and goals — regardless of other factors such as rankings.
In order to demonstrate the alignment between parents and the college counseling office, Ventura asked families to identify the characteristics of successful students. Audience members called out adjectives such as happy, competent, self-confident, motivated, curious, balanced, resilient and enthusiastic. They also recognized service to others, knowing themselves and being fulfilled as traits of successful students.
None of the terms identified had to do with academic achievement or financial reward, and ultimately, Ventura connected these ideals with the transformational process students undertake in the 15 months during the application process. She credited Prep families for ignoring media attention and pressure by seeking best fit over college rankings.
The Prep Community Speaker Series will continue in November with a screening of “Screenagers.” In the second semester, the series will host a panel discussion on the school’s STEAM, Leadership and Global Studies programs, as well as welcoming marriage and family therapist Susan Stiffelman.
The Prep Community Speaker Series is designed to educate, entertain and inform our school community, supporting the school’s goal to encourage life-long learning. The program is helmed by Laura Campobasso, in coordination with the Parents Association, whose president is Jeanne Case.

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