Defining Community

From left to right: Ainsley (right) during her senior year tennis season, Ainsley and friends on the June 2019 Peru Service Trip, Ainsley and a fellow senior on Gold Rush Spirit Day

Ainsley, a member of the Pinewood Class of 2020, wrote this short essay response when applying for the University of Michigan, where she will attend next year. The prompt was to describe a community to which she belongs and her place within it.

My Pinewood School community has changed me in more ways than I ever thought possible. When I entered high school from a much larger public middle school, I was ambitious and driven yet insecure and painfully unsure of who I was. Looking back, all the different and wonderful ways that I define myself now-a teammate, a scholar, an athlete, and, above all, a leader-are descriptions that I never would have applied to myself back then. Throughout the years, I’ve found the most supportive and uplifting friends as well as teachers, coaches, and advisors that believed in me through my best and worst days. Because Pinewood is such a close-knit community, I’ve been able to develop the confidence to put myself out there and take risks, knowing that even the slightest chance at success is better than not putting myself out there at all. I’m the captain of two sports and a member of the student council; I write for the student newspaper and am in the choir. I’m in academic societies and the community service club, and this spring I will audition for the school musical. I’ve been a part of almost every aspect of Pinewood, and because of this I’ve learned responsibility, teamwork, and the power of having a whole community at your back; I’ve also learned the importance of supporting others, whether in person or from a passionate, screaming student section at the California girls basketball state championship game. My high school experience represents what I am most looking forward to in college: trying new things, putting myself out there, and, most of all, finding a place where I can involve myself in everything it has to offer.

Pinewood Class of 2020

Pinewood's Class of 2020 on March 13, 2020 – their last day on campus before remote learning began.

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