Congratulations to Janic Aguirre of Bard Early College High School, one of Newark Public School District’s admissions-based magnet schools. Janic has been accepted to 7 of the 8 Ivy Leagues and wait-listed for the remaining one. These acceptances include: Harvard, Princeton, Yale, University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, Cornell, and Columbia – with Brown as a possibility. When asked what considerations he made when applying to every school, he replied “ I kind of took the YOLO [You Only Live Once] approach, I thought this will be the only time I apply to college so why not?”
When asked what words he would use to describe himself, Janic replied “some of my classmates call me quirky, and helpful, and curious.” At 17 years old, Aguirre’s curiosity has lead him to learn more about the world around him than most kids his age. He recognizes that he has a strong sense of intellectual curiosity and loves to pursue subjects and spend his time reading more about them. It is due to this, that he’s gone from wanting a career in astrophysics, computer science, law and, currently, Mayan epigraphy which he intends to pursue after studying Anthropology & Linguistics at the Ivy League college of his choosing.
The word “curious” came about twice when the same question was asked of his professor, Dr. Joanne Baron and Principal of Bard Early College High School, Dr. Carla Stephens. Dr. Joanne Baron stated “Janic is one of those people who just really seems to excel at everything he does. My colleagues and I actually had a bit of a competition to see who could get Janic interested in their specialty – and I feel like I won that competition.” It is thanks to Dr. Baron and her course on Ancient Mayan writing that Janic has landed at his current interest of Mayan epigraphy. Through Bard’s Early College program, students are encouraged to explore their curiosities and take electives and classes of their interests with hopes to steer them in the direction of their future career goals, if not at least assist in deciding their major in college. The objective, is to offer collegiate services and experiences without putting kids into the debt that typically correlates to going to college.
Being a first-generation college student who typically would have to navigate the stress of figuring out tuition, Aguirre feels his future at an Ivy League is secure because of the assistance he’s been offered in Financial Aid. This serves as yet another nod to Bard’s assistance in prepping future scholars for their own greatness.
Coming from a family of Japanese and Nicaraguan descent, Aguirre, who speaks fluent Japanese, is currently constructing his own language – with up to 300 words done so far. Dr. Carla Stephens, who serves as Principal to Aguirre notes, “Janic is always in pursuit of ways to feed his passion for knowledge. I am proud and excited for him to arrive at his next “place to think” and to continue nourishing his greatness. I can hardly wait to see the mark that he leaves on this world.” The phrase “place to think” is the motto for Bard Early College High School, serving as a reminder and reinforcing the notion that students have the freedom to explore their interests and build knowledge within their schools walls.
With educators like Dr. Baron who are invested in and encourage the advancement of their students, along with Principals like Dr. Carla Stephens, Aguirre is one of a few in this generation of Newark Public School graduates headed to the Ivy Leagues. Joining Science Park High School’s Azeez Richardson, who got accepted to Harvard, and Temitayo Ojo of Central High School who got accepted to Dartmouth, the Newark Board of Education is celebratingJanic Aguirre and his peers who join the ranks as game-changers and future leaders within our society.