The last few days have been a bit of a whirlwind for this year’s Girls Basketball team here at Rutgers Prep. After an extraordinary season leading into a big win over Manasquan HS last weekend, the team has been attracting increasing attention at the national level. We took a few minutes today to catch up with some of the team’s senior leaders… and their coach, Mary Klinger.
When asked to reflect on her experiences with the team, Senior Captain Olivia Dabney ’17 shared, “Being a member of the Rutgers Prep Girls’ basketball team is most definitely an honor. Throughout my four years on this team I’ve become a dedicated and hardworking athlete, and even a better person. Much of that we owe to Coach Klinger. She has shown every player the value of working hard and the importance of teamwork. From early morning practices to the late weeknight games, we’ve all learned to strive for the same goal; to improve and succeed as a team. I would not trade this experience for anything!” (Olivia has signed to play for Sacred Heart University in college.)
Maddy Stanley ’17, a senior who joined Rutgers Prep as a sophomore and who will be playing for Fairleigh Dickinson next year, explained, “We had a great season last year, but we lost Nikki (Nikki Metzel ‘16, who was recruited to play for Drexel University’s Dragons), so we weren’t sure how it was going to be. When we lost that one time, in the game against Franklin, we kind of all pulled together in this spirit of, ‘Well, we don’t want to do THAT again!’ and it’s been just great ever since. I can’t believe we’re ranked 13th in the country now! If you had told my third grade self – I was actually really short when I first started playing – if you told me then that I would play on a team that was nationally ranked, I would NEVER have believed it.”
A proud Coach Klinger shared that in addition to the national ranking the team has recently received, three recruited senior players have now each been offered an opportunity to play in the highly selective NJSCA “North-South All-Star Game.”
“This is just a great opportunity for Olivia, Maddy, and Gabby. And so well-deserved. I knew that this was a special group two or three years ago, because of the athleticism, the unselfishness, and the talent. After winning the state title last year, we have been so focused on getting there again… it has been clear that they all brought the same level of commitment to being the very best team.”
In closing, Gabby Redden ‘17, who will be continuing her basketball career at Marist College in the fall, shared, “It’s pretty exciting to be ranked #1 in the Tri-State, and number thirteen in the nation by ESPN-W, so this Sunday’s game, against The Patrick School, is going to be really big. They’re going to be coming for us extra hard now. So come out and support, everybody!” the highly selective NJSCA “North-South All-Star Game.”
(For information about results and upcoming games, see the team page here.)
As Rutgers Prep sprang back into action after our winter break, many of our recent graduates were still at home visiting. Most college’s academic calendars don’t start back up until later in January, which tends to result in a warmly welcomed group of former students streaming back on to campus to reconnect with faculty members and each other. This year, one of these returnees was invited into a few of our Lower School classrooms, and so it was that our fifth graders found themselves learning new vocabulary and new concepts with a new teacher.
Like her brother Andrew Parr ‘12 before her, Sarah Parr ‘16 is a Rutgers Prep “lifer,” having spent her entire academic career prior to college here with us at Rutgers Prep. As a first-semester freshman at Case Western Reserve this fall, Sarah enrolled in a course entitled “Women in the Ancient World,” and when some of her former teachers heard about it, they invited her to spend some time in their classrooms while home on break. Sarah learned that Rutgers Prep fifth graders were studying Hatshepsut, Egypt’s first female pharoah, and used that as her starting point.
“There’s a lot of new vocabulary to learn when you study Ancient Egypt, so I decided to start there. I hadn’t actually read the book the students had, so I truly didn’t know what they knew; I decided to use that to my advantage. I was learning from them, they were learning from each other, and then we expanded on what they knew, which was a lot. To drive home some of the most important terms, I divided the class into groups of two or three and gave them each a key term for them to create a skit for. Their creativity with props and ideas was amazing.”
Thinking back on her time at Rutgers Prep as a student, Sarah shared that she had learned some of the exercises she drew on – like brainstorming key words and taking a few minutes to write down everything you know about them, and then organizing your thoughts and remembering even more information – from her Advanced Placement World History course.
Not surprisingly, our fifth graders were very enthusiastic about their time with Sarah. Zachary’s favorite part was presenting, while Abbigail was delighted to have a chance to do some acting. Vikram liked that the students worked together to do the charades, and Phillip was happy to learn some new vocabulary.
Mrs. Vinchur added, “The students were definitely engaged. They were up and out of their seats, moving and learning.” As the students headed off to their next class, one boy turned to Sarah and said, “Good luck in college! You did great. I hope you get a good job – you deserve it.”
These kinds of unique cross-divisional opportunities are part of what make the Rutgers Prep experience a special one, and we’re always happy to see our faculty leveraging the talents of their students… even the ones who have graduated!
At Rutgers Prep we take pride in the level of support we provide our Upper School students in their college search and application process, but even our College Counseling Team was a little surprised by the apparent readiness of this year’s graduates. In a typical year, somewhere between 65% and 85% of Rutgers Prep’s graduating class will file at least one application by November 1st, a common deadline for both binding Early Decision programs and non-binding Early Action programs. This year, in the face of ever-increasing selectivity, members of the Rutgers Prep’s Class of 2017 brought their “A” game and completed early applications in record numbers; a full 92% of this year’s graduating class had filed at least one application by November 1st!
According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, total undergraduate enrollment in US colleges and universities increased 31% from 13.2 million in 2000 to 17.3 million in 2014. By 2025, the total US undergraduate enrollment is projected to increase to 19.8 million students. It is within this increasingly competitive context that Rutgers Prep students are rising to the challenge. Since in many cases filing an early application can improve a student’s chances of being offered admission, Rutgers Prep provides both opportunity and personal support to each of our students as they embark on their college application process.
As of this writing, although many students have yet to receive the results of their early applications, some good news has started to trickle in. At least one member of the Rutgers Prep Class of 2017 has received an offer of admission from the following schools (this list is not comprehensive, and is growing by the day!):
Carnegie Mellon University
University of Delaware
University of Denver
Indiana U of Bloomington
Johns Hopkins University
University of Mississippi
New Jersey Institute of Technology
New York University
University of Pennsylvania
University of Pittsburgh
University of Rochester
University of Texas at Austin
In addition to some exciting offers of admission, several of our students have been fortunate enough to be recruited Division I athletes, or have received substantial merit scholarship awards. The combination of Rutgers Prep’s excellence in education combined with our students’ own hard work means that our graduates are presented with some extraordinary opportunities. We are pleased and proud to support the Class of 2017 as they prepare to join some exciting academic communities next fall, and we look forward to hearing more good news as admissions committees continue to meet.