Hlavka‘s journey from K to college

PERFORMING From the hawaiian play hlavka is dressed up.
PERFORMING From the hawaiian play hlavka is dressed up.

Senior Annie Hlavka’s journey through SPA has taken her from the kindergarten A room to the dorms of Wash U. Her time at the school was full of memories, challenges, and personal growth, and as she concludes her senior year, Annie shares her experiences, friendships, and advice.

Hlavka recalls kindergarten fondly: “I knew people from preschool. I remember I had friends right away, which was really great.” Her favorite memories were the kindergarten Hawaiian play and the medieval feast. These experiences were full of creativity and joy, laying a strong foundation for her social and academic journey.

Transitioning to middle school, she continued to enjoy school but less than the previous years: “It was okay… the teachers were all super nice,” she said. She thought that the classes “built up [her] confidence and like [she] felt really comfortable going into high school,” and that the social studies classes with teachers like Mr. Razavi and Mr. Roy were very engaging. But middle school also posed challenges for Hlavka, who did not have a phone, which was another complication during the COVID years.

Hlavka’s high school years began with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Starting during COVID…I was only super close with like, four or five other kids,” Hlavka said.

SENIOR ADVICE. “Become friends with people you wouldn’t normally talk to. Go to all the events and sports games,” Annie Hlavka said. (Submitted by Annie Hlavka)

Despite the initial hurdles, Hlavka was able to branch out once she came back in person.

As her senior year concludes, Annie appreciates how the upper school creates a supportive environment for seniors. Senior pumpkin carving was nostalgic: “When we got there, they gave us the drawings that we made of ourselves in kindergarten. It was just the cutest thing ever,” she said.

Hlavka has decided to attend Washington University in St. Louis next year. She is excited about a bigger school environment: “Wash U was the perfect fit,” she said.

She is also excited about exploring a new city, meeting new people, and experiencing a different academic environment. Hlavka eagerly awaits this next chapter.

Hlavka shared her advice for incoming freshman: “Make the most of it. Don’t get totally distracted by homework and school every minute of every day. Make time to spend with your family and friends.”

For next year’s seniors, she encourages branching out: “Become friends with people you wouldn’t normally talk to. Go to all the events and sports games.”

Her time at SPA, despite its challenges, has taught her countless lessons and introduced her to many people, an important experience moving into adulthood.

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