Life Beyond TCS: Catching Up With TCS Graduates

Research shows that children who are allowed to be children longer are not only healthier, happier, socially stronger, and more resilient, but they also develop better critical core competencies that lay the groundwork for academic success. TCS graduates exemplify this as they thrive in high school and college as innovative, collaborative problem-solvers who are adept at standing up for their beliefs.

One TCS graduate, Emily Harrold (‘13), a rising sophomore at the United States Naval Academy,  embodies many of the traits TCS graduates are known for. 

“TCS helped me branch out as a person and become very independent, giving me a good sense of community, and helping me know what I want,” Emily said. “In elementary, middle and high school, you’re with your family at all times, and then in college, you’re by yourself, so you need to have a real sense of self and not be as dependent on other people.”

When Emily graduates, she’ll pursue her dream of serving our country, either as an Ensign in the Navy or a 2nd Lieutenant in the Marine Corps.

“I’ll serve at least five years and maybe longer. I really want to serve and give back to my country,” Emily added. “Being a queer woman of color, you’re behind a lot, and so I wanted to be that person who makes a difference. I want to be a spearhead for change.”

Gio D’Alesio (‘19) felt ready as he headed for his freshman year at The New School to take on new challenges with the academic, social, and emotional skills he learned at TCS.

“TCS taught me real-life lessons. I learned how to treat people, how to keep a good relationship or friendship, how to respect people, and to always do the right thing,” Gio said.

Justin Clopton, another 2019 graduate, reflected on his transition from TCS to high school at Woodward Academy:

“TCS taught me to care about the subjects I’m learning about. Building Character & Community (BCC) and basic character traits go a long way in high school: talking to and empathizing with people, people appreciate that. I’ve gotten compliments [about that] and from the number of people I’ve dealt with so far, they say it’s refreshing.” 

TCS graduates are known for being grounded, generous and compassionate. William Gore (‘14) continues to make an impact on the world around him as a senior at Woodward Academy this year. 

“TCS helped me find my interest in serving Atlanta’s refugee community. I went on a series of field trips to the Refugee Family Services headquarters with my class,” said William. “I wanted to keep volunteering, so in high school I started tutoring at Clarkston High School through the International Rescue Committee’s (IRC) Youth Futures program.”

“TCS also really nurtured my love of learning about other cultures and languages. I loved my Spanish classes, and I was in the Chinese Club since I knew I wanted to learn Chinese as well. I remain passionate about these subjects today; I took French and Chinese throughout high school at Woodward and I spent summers studying Chinese in China and French and Arabic in Morocco. I am even going to study languages in college; next year I plan to attend the Columbia University to study East Asian Studies,” shared William.

“TCS’s preparation helped me succeed academically once I went to Woodward. Because the (TCS) math curriculum included pre-algebra in sixth grade, I was able to move into Woodward’s highest level math track and take two years of calculus by the end of high school. The cooperative approach to learning that TCS taught me served me well in all of my subjects in middle and high school; I was able to help my classmates and learn from them so we could all learn more effectively.”

William continued, “TCS is such an open, tolerant and positive place; my time there taught me to be comfortable in unfamiliar situations and appreciate the difference between me and people around me. During my study abroad experiences, the things I learned at TCS really helped me communicate in culturally unfamiliar situations. Since I hope to spend time in the future in other parts of the world, I will continue to use the open outlook on the world around me that I learned at TCS.”

Christina Aaron, who graduated from TCS in 2014, reflected on her years at TCS and the lessons she learned in and out of the classroom, as she readies to graduate from The Paideia School this year.   

“I am so grateful that TCS promoted and fostered growth through play time. I remember playing dodgeball every recess in second grade with Lucius and a group of almost all boys. Lucius showed me that I belonged in those games. He cheered me on whether I lost or won the game and when he took time off that school year, I had the confidence to advocate for myself and the other girls in those games during recess. As an 18 year-old female, I see the pressure girls face to be perfect. We are so frequently taught that we should either be perfect or not try because any imperfect work is not good enough. Lucius and every teacher, male or female, at TCS instilled in me that my work and effort was worth it and that I belong in any group I work to be a part of,” Christina shared. 

“TCS gave me a great foundational understanding of the main subjects in school. Most importantly, however, TCS taught me how to learn.  Every teacher at TCS answered and encouraged my constant ‘why’s,’ fostering my curiosity and teaching me to ask questions.  I learned that my teachers are approachable human beings who want the best for me, which has evolved into a confidence to seek out opportunities or extra help from teachers in high school.  Through BCC learning intertwined in academics, I acquired a high emotional intelligence and learned the importance of combining head and heart strength both in and outside of the classroom.” 

“I have also learned inclusivity and the value of diversity from TCS. I have learned that to lead, one must listen and learn from those around them. I have learned the value of letting people be themselves without judgement. I see a male friend I used to play princess dress-up with in pre-K now dancing and pursuing dance, marketing, and digital media studies at a top dance university in the country.  I see how easily his dreams of dancing could’ve been squashed by a teacher or peer that told him boys don’t dance or play dress-up. At TCS, he was able to be himself and grow into a ballet king. I have learned the importance of making room for others to be themselves and using my privilege as a platform for those less privileged than me to speak from.” 

“I feel very grateful for my education and, as I plan my gap year, I want to give others a similar experience. I plan to either work in Atlanta implementing a farming program into a local public elementary school and use the produce as a source of food for the community or work for an organization in Utah that counsels low-income, first generation students through high school and college.”

Whether planning ways to give back to others over their summer vacations, or graduating from college and heading into a life of service, our graduates lead lives of empathy and purpose in an interconnected world  and continue to build upon the academic and social-emotional  skills they’ve learned  at TCS.