In today’s busy world, teenagers are cramming in as much as possible. Meet two teens who are seamlessly navigating packed schedules of school, sports, family, friends and volunteer commitments, and learn why they wouldn’t have it any other way.
Senior at Tandem Friends School
Classes: AP literature, AP government and politics, AP environmental science, discrete mathematics and applications, African-American studies
Senior thesis: Recording her own EP
Extracurriculars: The school’s rock band; varsity cross county (fall), basketball (winter) and soccer (spring); Conservation Lobby Day participant; musical theater (Meg in current production of Little Women)
Dream job: Working for the United Nations’ World Health Organization
Typical daily schedule
7am: Wake up; hit snooze button once
8:30am-3:40pm: Attend morning meeting, classes and community time period
4-5pm: Play rehearsal or basketball
5:15-6:30pm: Basketball practice
6:45-8pm: Dinner, shower and time
8-10 or 11pm: Finish homework
11:30pm: Go to sleep
Whether she’s doing homework on the bus on the way back from a basketball game or running through her lines before a play rehearsal, Evelyn Brown says the most important part about being involved in so many things is focusing on what she’s passionate about.
“I really appreciate all the extracurriculars that I do because it gives me the opportunity to be on a team or be in a cast and work with different people than I would see every day in my classes,” she says.
And organization is key to making her life easier: She logs into Tandem’s student portal to keep track of all of her homework assignments and due dates, and she is constantly updating her online to-do list app. And just to make sure nothing is missed, she also writes everything down in her planner. Brown estimates how long each task will take to ensure she’s not rushing to get something done and creating more stress.
The hardest part about her hectic schedule is finding time to relax and reboot (she has to miss trips to the mall with friends after school to attend sports or theater practices). But one of her outlets—music—is also a main focus for her this year: She is recording her own EP, Edges, for her senior thesis project. Songwriting is cathartic for Brown, who sings and taught herself to play guitar, and she wrote most of the songs on the seven-track album (there might be one cover, she says). The songs are centered on the theme of Brown’s transition from a high school student who is dependent on her parents to being independent and finding herself.
After participating in Model UN at Johns Hopkins University two years ago, Brown discovered her passion for public health, which she wants to study in college. She’s applied to 10 colleges and is waiting to hear back from six. So far she’s been accepted to VCU, Florida State, Allegheny College and her top pick at the moment: University of Maryland.
And one of Brown’s favorite activities this year revolved around another of her passions: the health of the Chesapeake Bay (Brown is an avid sailor). She attended Conservation Lobby Day at the end of January in Richmond, and spoke to Delegate David Toscano and State Senator Creigh Deeds about offshore drilling in the state and preserving the Eastern oyster.
“I didn’t understand I could make any kind of impact on environmental issues, so having this opportunity and learning that I really can just talk to my representatives, that was really transformational for my ideas about how I can make a difference,” Brown says.
Senior at St. Anne’s-Belfield School
Classes: AP biology, BC calculus, honors Spanish 5, honors English 12, 21st-century citizenship
Senior capstone thesis: Studying refugee education in Charlottesville
Extracurriculars: President of the Honor Council, varsity field hockey captain (fall) and varsity lacrosse captain (spring)
Dream job: Something that helps improve the education system through public policy
Typical daily schedule
6:15am: Wake up; walk Banxi, her bluetick coonhound
7:15am: Arrive at school for Honor Council meeting (one day a week)
8:45am-3:15pm: Attend class
3:45pm-6pm: Attend sports practice/games
6:15pm-11pm: Eat dinner, shower and then start on homework
11:45pm: Go to sleep
Jackie Hartwig embodies the term leading by example. Which is why the career STAB student (she started school there in pre-kindergarten) made sure she chose a topic for her year-long independent study capstone that would require her to get out into the Charlottesville community.
Hartwig completed the majority of her reading and gathering of empirical data for her thesis project over the summer so that during the school year she could focus on conducting interviews (during free periods, no-school days and weekends) with members of Charlottesville’s refugee community (some STAB students and students at other high schools), as well as English as a second language teachers. Hartwig’s focus is on the gap between local policies and classroom curriculum and practices, and how effectively refugee students are supported and empowered. Hart-
wig chose her capstone topic based on her future goal of landing a job that looks at how the education system can be improved through public policy.
Organization is definitely key to Hartwig’s success, and she admits that she’s not a “huge” technology person. Instead, she relies on a written planner, plasters her window in sticky notes and keeps track of everything in color-coded binders.
Hartwig also understands the importance of a support system: She’s known most of her classmates and teammates since preschool, and says her teachers are like “second parents” who enable her to be involved so much. And Hartwig loves being in the leader role as well: Being a team captain means making sure there’s camaraderie both on and off the field, she says. She meets once a week with her lacrosse coach to talk about “behind the scenes stuff,” such as which service projects the team wants to complete.
And her involvement in Honor Council since freshman year has inspired her to be involved in her college’s honor council as well. She’s applied to six schools and is waiting to hear back from four; she has been accepted to Rhodes College and UVA.
The busy Hartwig says “getting to do everything I love is a great blessing,” but her advice to other teens is to not try to do it all.
“I just honed in on what I did feel like was fulfilling in my day-to-day life and I really pursued it,” she says. “You really have to follow through and not give up when you hit roadblocks.”