Seven seniors commit to Ivy League schools

Harshita Avirneni, Spotlight Editor

Applying for colleges can be one of the most stressful times in a student’s high school career. Applications. Essays. Interviews. All of this while trying to figure out where the next four years are going to take you. But for some, this process turns out exactly as planned. 

Seniors Anthony Monte, Daria Fontani, Jordan Mathis, Alfonso Velasco, Sherry Wang, Rena Liang and Ethan Williams will be attending Ivy League schools this fall. The students will be going to Princeton University, Columbia University, Yale University and Cornell University. 

“Columbia really offered the best combination of athletics and academics,” Mathis said. “I will be able to compete at a high level on a [cross country and track] team that’s qualifying for nationals every year while getting an Ivy League education. So it is a really good opportunity.”

Mathis will be studying business management and finance. Along with Mathis, Velasco will be attending Columbia University. He will be studying computer science and hopes to minor in business management or economics. 

“I’m very excited to interact with a community of highly driven peers that come from across the country and the world, and listen to the perspectives they bring,” Velasco said.

Monte and Fontani will be attending Princeton University in the fall. Fontani plans to major in either civil engineering or physics and Monte will be running cross country and track, studying operations research and financial engineering. Monte originally verbally committed to Columbia University before changing his commitment to Princeton at the end of January.

“It didn’t really settle in that I was going into an Ivy League until recently,” Monte said. “When you’re there it doesn’t really feel like you’re in that caliber of a school. I just felt at home with the people that were there, especially the people on the [cross country] team.”

Wang, who has been a competitive gymnast for 12 years, will be competing in gymnastics and majoring in molecular and cellular biology at Yale. Wang is one of two students at Vandegrift who was accepted into the university, and is the only one from Vandegrift going. 

“I was originally committed to NC State,” Wang said. “[I chose Yale because] I really liked the coaching staff there and the team felt really close. And I loved the architecture at Yale and how the school felt so safe.”

Williams and Liang will be attending Cornell University. Liang will be majoring in computer science and Williams will be majoring in physics and minoring in computer science. Williams was the only student at Vandegrift who got into Cornell through the early decision application. 

“I opened my [acceptance letter] by accident,” Williams said. “I clicked on a link and didn’t realize that was the page it was going to show me. I was extremely shocked.”

According to Naviance, only a total 30 Vandegrift students have ever been accepted to these four schools and seven of those 30 came from this year’s senior class. 

“I’m looking forward to meeting new people, getting to branch out in terms of my interests and classes, and getting involved in a variety of new clubs, activities, events, etc.,” Fontani said.  “These next four years are about expanding one’s horizons, and I can’t wait to do just that.”