LASA Roadshow Takes Off

Ahnsa Campbell, Staffer

In recent years, LASA administration has made a commitment to improve diversity in the student body. Administrators, student ambassadors and teachers travel to middle schools around Austin for roadshows in an effort to recruit applicants from a wide variety of zip codes and spread information about a LASA education.

Roadshows helps provide information to students who are thinking about or planning on applying. Ambassadors and teachers speak with students and their parents about LASA. Staff and students provide information about what LASA is, tips for application and field questions from prospective applicants and parents.

Academy Director Andy Paulson is one of the many people involved in the roadshows. He and other administrators are in charge of the roadshow from start to finish.

“We do recruiting events for LASA, we go to a lot of middle schools, we go to a lot of private schools, parochial schools, just to share information about LASA,” Paulson said. “My involvement in the roadshow is to start it, to introduce everybody, to welcome them, explain a little bit of an overview of what LASA’s about and how we’re an advanced academic institute.”
Paulson says that although many students attend LASA roadshows, the event caters to parents. Teachers and administrators go over the more statistical aspects of the application process with them.

“It’s really more for parents,” Paulson said. “It gives them a chance to see an administrator and to hear about the application process. The best part is for them to hear from students.”

Student ambassadors speak during the second part of the presentations. They play a large role in giving the parents and students an idea of the student experience. Senior Vaughn McInerny enjoys being able to share his experience with others as an ambassador.

“My favorite part about the roadshow is the fact that I get to talk about my own experiences and my classes and reassure people that the homework is not as bad as it sounds, and that there’s a place here for everyone,” McInerny said.

According to Paulson, roadshows are designed to present a realistic perspective on the school. He is careful, though, to emphasize that LASA isn’t the place for everyone and that the school focuses more on learning and growing as a student than strictly grades.

“We’re are a school of ‘nerds’, we’re a school where kids love academics, and if you have a kid who may be smart but they don’t love school, don’t come to LASA,” Paulson said. “If you want your kid to get into Texas, and you want them to be top six percent in their class, don’t come to LASA because it’s so competitive and that’s not what we’re about. We’re not about the grades, we’re not about the ranking, we’re about challenges and making it appropriate, and making sure kids learn from it.”

LASA Ambassadors senior officer Anaya Mehta believes middle school recruiting is beneficial because it allows students to get an early glimpse into the culture of LASA. She encourages people to attend if they are interested in the school.

“The interaction that potential students have with LASA Ambassadors gives them the chance to get to know what their first couple years at LASA would look like and the type of people that attend LASA,” Mehta said. “Potential students are able to get information about the application process. If they do become LASA students, then they have the opportunity to give back by joining LASA Ambassadors and attending recruiting events, and continue to inspire kids like them.”