Stratford Reflection from Alumnus Vardhaan Ambati

While I may not have known it at the time, my time at Stratford helped shape the person I am today. The life lessons and passions that I learned and discovered have been invaluable throughout my high school career, and I am sure they will continue to be applicable as I pursue higher education.

Academically, Stratford’s preparation was second to none. My fellow Stratford graduates and I started freshman year at Archbishop Mitty High School enrolled in the most advanced classes possible for freshmen because Stratford’s rigorous academic curriculum helped us to test out of the introductory college prep courses. When I spoke with my former classmates at different high schools, I found that their experience was much the same: Stratford prepared them so well for high school that they had free time to explore their extra-curricular interests and passions.

Stratford was where I cultivated my passion for the sciences, particularly biology. I was first introduced to science fairs at Stratford. I still remember working with Mrs. Makhijani, my science teacher at the time, on improving my projects for Synopsys Silicon Valley Science and Engineering Fair and the California State Science fair. I started competing at the regional science fair in sixth grade, and with the guidance of Mrs. Makhijani and the support of Mrs. Schwartz, I developed a fervor for science that I have been able to build upon throughout high school.

The support provided to me at Stratford wasn’t limited to academics and science fairs. Mrs. Schwartz was one of my biggest supporters in all my pursuits. It was Mrs. Schwartz who encouraged me to run for Student Council Vice President in eighth grade. Through this program, I developed a sense of self-confidence that served me well throughout high school. While I did not pursue student government at Archbishop Mitty, this self-confidence instilled in me by Stratford’s supportive environment allowed me to try new things and activities like water polo.

In the future, I plan to major in biomedical engineering at either Stanford University, Yale University, or Columbia University (I have until May 1st to decide where to attend). As I finish up my last semester of high school and prepare for college, I am able to reflect back and appreciate the monumental impact Stratford had on my growth as a student and as a productive member of society.