Scripps Welcomes 243 New Faces

Our first-year class numbers 224 strong, the largest class Scripps has seen in seven years and is joined by 19 additional outstanding students who come to know Scripps later in their educational careers.

The National Merit Corporation recognized 49 of our incoming first years for their outstanding performance on the National Merit Qualifying Test; this group includes 20 National Merit Scholars, a new record for Scripps College, and more than any other women’s college in the country—including those Big Girls Back East.

Our new students sport GPAs and standardized test results that made them the most competitive in the country, and for the sixth year in a row, we watched students say no to the Ivy League,and the little Ivies, and outstanding public institutions so that they could experience the intimacy and intensity of a Scripps education.

They are, however, so much more than simple academicians. Building a community isn’t about lining up a series of test scores and admitting from top to bottom. Our challenge in the Office of Admission each year is to sculpt a class so bright, so diverse, so engaged, so energetic, so curious, that on any given day they will learn as much simply by connecting with each other as they will from all the traditional venues of education Scripps College offers.

And I promise that this year’s class won’t disappoint.

The class speaks 18 languages including Cantonese, Farsi, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Mandarin, Polish, Spanish, Swedish, Taiwanese, Thai, Turkish, and Vietnamese.

While 41 percent attended high school in California, the remaining 59 percent come from high schools in 34 states and 10 foreign countries.

This group is comprised of gritty hard workers, inspired performers, and fearless risk takers.

In their midst are a junior Olympic water polo player, an artist commissioned by the Minneapolis Center to create a poster, five actors who have starred in commercials and one in a music video, several published authors, an American student who co-hosted a radio show—in Japanese, and several students who raise puppies for Guide Dogs of America.

We have a member of the Swiss National Unihockey Team, the U.S. Open Swing Dance team competition, the 2001-2002 national acrobatic champion, a student who sang at Carnegie Hall, and another who opened a Mariners game with the National Anthem. We have a ranked tennis player, several clothing designers, a Girls State delegate, and a student ambassador to Australia.

One young women works in her dad’s machine shop and helps her grandfather herd cattle. Did I mention we have an oxen trainer?

The class includes dancers of all kinds: tap, jazz, ballet, modern, ballroom, hula, Irish, Tahitian, traditional Korean, swing, and my personal favorite, tribal belly.

We have a multitude of musicians playing all kinds of instruments: flute, French horn, guitar, marimbas, oboe, piano, pipe, organ, recorder, saxophone, ukulele, violin, xylophone, and last but certainly not least, the Chinese harp, or zither.

We have many fine athletes who run and swim fast, and jump high, and throw hard; they participate in everything from acrobatics to yoga, with 34 sports in between, including snow boarding, netball, and fencing.

And lest you think beauty and brains don’t mix, I must point out that the group includes a number of professional models as well.

This group is good of heart, and has given freely of their time and their compassion. IN their desire to extend beyond the boundaries of their high school lives, they have given endlessly of their energy to hospitals, schools, Special Olympics, Sunday schools, soup kitchens, and AIDS education groups. One young woman donates the entire stipend she earns from singing with a professional choir to charity. Several students understand the concept of charity begins at home, and spend countless hours helping siblings with disabilities become productive human beings. Another young woman rides her bike through LA each day just to visit her lonely grandma. These are not the things one does to pad a high school resume.

It is true we have much to teach these young women, and I for one am humbled that they’ve entrusted their continued development to our guidance.

We also have much to learn from them. With tremendous pride, I present our new students to you, and to the Scripps community.