From Scholar to Scholar Coach

By Karina Quintana, 1st year SC at George Westinghouse College Prep

Seven years ago I became part of the Schuler Scholar Program. As rising sophomore at Highland Park High School I did not know what I was getting myself into, and I was not the only one without a clue. Nine rising freshmen and nine rising sophomores were part of this inducted class—the first group of Highland Park Schuler Scholars. (This was the time Schuler was transitioning to inducting only 8th graders.) I graduated with four other Schuler Scholars. While in college I kept in touch with a few Scholars and each year I tried to go back to Highland Park High School to visit School Director Julie Levine and the new Scholars.

I saw the development of Schuler at Highland Park High School throughout the years. The first year we had a small room—a size of a storage room—then we moved to a larger room across the hall. It was easy to miss if you weren’t looking for the Schuler room since it was at the end of a hidden hallway. These were the Schuler spaces I knew of during my time in high school. When I returned from my sophomore year of college—I was speechless. Walking into the building on the hallway to the right I saw a large Schuler banner. Schuler was in the most central space in the entire school. Schuler was loud and proud in its presence in Highland Park High School. The banner was the indication of the new Schuler room; a room I once remembered as a large classroom with a room divider was now a large spacious resource room. The way I think of it, Schuler was moving up at Highland Park High School. Coincidentally, since then Schuler relocated to the floor above.

As a Scholar Coach, I think a lot of the development of Schuler at Highland Park High School. Now, I work at George Westinghouse College Prep where Schuler just started its partnership. We have 19 wonderful freshmen. I see their curiosity of the program in their eyes—the same curiosity I once had. Of course the difference is that I already went through the program and know what the future will hold for them with Schuler. Things have changed but a lot is still the same.

I spend most of my day in a secret room; a room that is hidden in the library; behind the librarian’s desk. Not that many people know about this room and what it holds. Those who do know are our Scholars and faculty. This room that is out of sight is our Schuler room. The room bigger is than Highland Park’s first Schuler room yet we share the space with the librarian.

While the Westinghouse Schuler Scholars, Class of 2020, does not know what will come during their time in high school and beyond—I have a slight idea (better yet, I am a slight idea of the outcome from Schuler). Westinghouse Schuler Scholars, Class of 2020, are the building blocks for the future of Schuler at Westinghouse. Hopefully, one day they will see their Schuler flag wave loud and proud in the hall of Westinghouse College Prep and know they were the start of something great. I am fortunate to join this journey with the Scholars and Schuler. 

Karina as a Scholar at her Etiquette Dinner (2009)
Karina as a Scholar at her Senior Dinner (2012)
Karina as a Scholar at her Senior Dinner (2012)
Karina as a Scholar Coach with her Westinghouse Scholars at the musical Hamilton (2016)


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