Christ Church Episcopal School experiences have prepared graduating seniors for whatever comes next and to make a positive difference in the world. Each week, we will put the spotlight on a graduating senior from the Class of 2020. We hope you enjoy getting to know these amazing CCES students!
A global view and a natural inclination towards curiosity and wonder have led Gabriella Torres to see the world with wondrous eyes.
For starters, she has a special fondness for languages. Gabriella grew up speaking Spanish and English as her native languages. She also developed an aptitude for French due to living in an international community where many of her close friends were French. She started learning Chinese in 6th grade, then began learning Japanese in 9th grade through the Global Online Academy (GOA) program in the Upper School. This past year she began volunteering and working for a German School, so she has slowly been learning German along the way. To top it off, she began learning Swedish this past year on her own! “My languages are really all over the places with varying levels of fluency,” she says, “but I have been able to use a lot of this time in quarantine to work on them.”
If dialogue and inquiry are cornerstones for the CCES classroom— rich in curiosity and critical thinking— then Gabriella is the model of inquiry, respect, and risk-taking. Her College Counselor Linda Schulz comments, “A curious scholar, Gabriella revels in the globally focused coursework and has a special penchant for language and culture studies. She truly desires to be a citizen of the world.”
Gabriella joined the CCES family in the 4th grade and stayed through her freshman year. After transferring to a boarding school for her sophomore year, she decided to come back in the 11th grade to pursue the rigorous IB diploma program at CCES. Part of her motivation behind pursing the IB Diploma is that Gabriella has wanted to attend a university abroad from a very young age. She applied to University of Tennessee, University of Colorado, New York University Shanghai campus, The University of Manchester, and the University of Tokyo. “When applying to international schools using the IB program,” she explains, “you are accepted into schools based on the score you receive with the IB diploma.” What varies during the application process, in comparison to US schools, is that one receives a conditional offer until scores for the IB diploma are released in July. Gabriella has currently been given conditional offers to the University of Manchester and the University of London SOAS. She chose both of these schools based on their programs in international studies and Asian language opportunities, as her degree objective is International Studies with a focus on East Asia. “Due to the uncertainty that comes with waiting for IB results to be released and receiving a final unconditional offer from a school in the UK, I also chose to place a deposit at The University of Denver as a back-up,” she says.
Her demanding studies have not prevented her from participation in the athletics and arts. She ran JV Cross Country and did JV Cheerleading. She has participated in several clubs, but her main focus is on Chinese Club which she co-leads. Prior to CCES transitioning to Digital Learning Days, she was working to establish a club to teach sign language and was volunteering with hearing-impaired events. A regular in Middle School musicals over the years, Gabriella was a key crew member for the Upper School musical, Cinderella, this past winter. She participated in Orchestra from 5th grade through her junior year.
Whether here or abroad, Gabriella is sure to make the most of her college experience, and we look for her to leave her indelible mark on the world.
JUST FOR FUN!
If you could travel back in time and visit your younger self, what grade would you go back to and why? 6th grade. It was a very difficult year for me, so I would want to reassure my younger self that everything will be ok.
If you knew you could not fail, what would you do? There are so many things that I really want to try, but I don’t really think that failure or fear should be an obstacle. I am not afraid of failure because it is how you learn.
What makes you unique? I think typically my outward appearance is what most people consider me unique for, whether it's my clothes, dyed hair, or piercings, but I would much rather consider myself unique for my inner qualities. I would hope that people see the uniqueness in my personality and values.
Favorite country you have travelled to and why? It is hard to pick just one because every place is so amazing in its own way, but I think my favorite country right now is China. I spent this past summer studying in Shanghai, and it was just a really amazing experience. I was able to learn more about the language and culture, but I also met great people and had a lot of fun. It helped me really grow as a person and become better prepared for college because I had the opportunity to travel and live by myself.
Name something this world could use a lot more of? We could use a lot more acceptance and understanding. In a society where we experience everything so rapidly and have access to so many things at our fingertips, I feel that it is important for us to slow down and think about other people and what we are saying.