LASA’s showcase creates interest for middle school students

Hanif Amanullah, Staff Writer

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On Nov. 14, LASA’s annual showcase brought hundreds of middle school students and their families to its campus. The showcase gives prospective students the opportunity to see and participate in LASA academics and culture. It features multiple fine arts performances and dozens of class booths. Junior Aspen Kissinger worked on a sketch in the art room during the showcase, while talking to middle schoolers who passed through.

“It really is important for prospective students, because I think the impression people get from LASA, at least from an outsiders look, is totally different from the one they get when they come visit,” Kissinger said. “This is more reflective of what we do everyday here at LASA.”

Kissinger said misconceptions about the manageability of the LASA workload have become prevalent among interested middle school students and parents.

“I hope [the students] see it’s a lot different than what they might assume, in that you have a lot more of a grasp on your own life when you’re here,” Kissinger said.

Junior Ella Thompson said the showcase is a great way for prospective students to understand the school’s atmosphere. When Thompson was considering her high school option, she said the showcase was a deciding factor.

“When I was applying to LASA, I went to the showcase and it was super helpful to me,” Thompson said. “It gave me an idea about what the layout of the school was like and helped me acclimate to the setting I was going to possibly be in.”

Like Thompson, Kissinger visited LASA through the showcase program. However, she visited multiple times.

“I came during 7th and 8th grade because my mom was like ‘you should go’,” Kissinger said. “Going to the showcase really helped me grasp the experience LASA has delivered to me, and grasp how the students get around their daily life rather than being stressed all the time.”

Many participants are the prospective middle schoolers themselves. Lucie Young, an eighth grader from the Girls School of Austin, visited the school with positive expectations.

“I’ve heard about LASA from every brochure, pamphlet, teacher… every person who’s ever known an alumni here,” Young said. “It’s kind of the school I’ve been told about, the school you get all these opportunities at, with every kind of class you can think of, and there’s great teachers.”

Young, who first learned about LASA in sixth grade, said she was first attracted to the proposed course options. Through the showcase, she has realized many of those opportunities were real.

“I’ve gotten to know LASA better through friends and programs,” Young said. “And it is one of those schools that actually has amazing opportunities.”

Young, who was interested in class variety, also came to the showcase to find out about the different courses she could take. She said that what she saw at the showcase confirmed her thoughts.

“I liked being in Mr. Harry’s classroom,” Young said. “Philosophy is very cool to look at and study. The SciTech class and the Ezine class are kind of two opposite sides of one thing, and that’s very cool.”

Young also said that the academic culture can be understood by attending the showcase. When she first came to the LASA showcase, Thompson’s perception of the school was shaped by the experience.

“[The showcase] helped me get an understanding of the culture of all the classes,” Thompson said. “And this helped me get an understanding of where I was going to be spending the next four years of my life. As well as what sort of classes I wanted to take once I got here.”

When it comes to forming an opinion about that culture, the participating high school students said the showcase was one of the best ways to expose others to the LASA environment.

“It’s an amazing culture, an amazing academic environment,” Thompson said. “Honestly, going here was one of the better decisions I’ve ever made in my life. And I definitely recommend going.”