2019 Scholastic Superstars: Andrea Shaw

May 2, 2019

Name: Andrea Shaw

School District: Wyoming Valley West

Parent: Heather Jones


Q. What accomplishments are you most proud of and why?

A. My involvement in district and regional orchestra are my greatest accomplishments in high school. In order to qualify for these events, I underwent a highly selective audition process. Every November, we would audition on a predetermined selection, and only those who placed well would move on to district orchestra. The first day of each festival, we would audition again to be seated for that specific event and to qualify for the next level. The greatest lesson learned through this is that the struggle to improve what I once was will provide a tremendous outcome and a feeling of immense accomplishment. I tackled every new packet of music with great zeal knowing the amount of work I needed to put in to prepare myself to perform what I was presented. I know that I will apply this to everything I do and a single essay could never truly explain how it has influenced my life.


Q. What were your most rewarding school or community activities?

A. One of my favorite parts of high school was my involvement in orchestra and other activities involved with playing cello. Since my junior year, I have been principle chair for my section in my school’s chamber ensemble. We have held several concerts and played at many different events. Even before then, I had helped those around me in my section by aiding them after class. This has taught me to be a strong leader and to work with others. A high level of confidence in yourself and the people around you must be maintained and coordination on all levels must be in sync in order to achieve the best sound as a whole. Whenever anyone deviates from the main tempo of the group, it is the section leader’s job to help pull everyone back together. Through the different activities that I have done, I have seen how people’s perspective has changed and their knowledge has expanded through simple advice I had been able to offer. Another thing that I had seen is that everyone has to put in just as much work as the others and that the ensemble is only as good as its worst member.


Q. Do you have any hobbies?

A. Whenever I have spare time, I like to occupy myself by learning different instruments. I love music and it is a huge part of my life so I enjoy spending as much time as I possibly can surrounding myself in it.


Q. What are your plans after high school graduation? Why did you choose this path?

A. I plan on majoring in biochemistry and furthering that degree by attending a medical school to become a medical research doctor specializing in infectious diseases. It took me several years to conclude that biochemistry is what I wanted to pursue as my undergraduate degree in preparation to go to medical school. Biochemistry delves into the chemical processes within biological systems, masterfully combining the perplexity and depth of chemistry and the beauty and intricacies of biology. There is more to life than what we see around us and the idea that we cannot begin to understand or know the vast intricacies of everything is entirely baffling. This major would not only be a valuable resource in showing me an abstract view of the world, but challenge my analytical mind. For many people, life is only knowing the answers to “why” but never knowing the question to it. I think that the only way to truly learn is to challenge everything and inquisitively seek answers to problems that might be hard to comprehend, but the extra effort is worth the added challenge I continuously strive to learn from.


Q. What do you see yourself doing and where do you see yourself living in 15 years?

A. In 15 years, I will be living in a city where I will be able too finish up the rest of my residency to become a doctor. Hopefully by this time, I will be able to start a family of my own and be able to enjoy all that life has to offers.


Q. Who do you most admire and why?

A. The person who I admire most is a woman that has made a profound influence on who I am and who I will become. My mother has been a huge inspiration to me and has always pushed me to strive to be the best I can be. Through her loving and guiding support, she has always helped me see the good through all the bad and led me down a path of great success and accomplishments. Although she believes she has not and cannot do enough for my siblings and I, she gave us not only her world, but the world around us. She is a spectacular woman and words cannot describe her countless exemplary characteristics. Loving, caring, compassionate, dedicated, supportive, passionate, and encouraging are only few of the many ways to describe her.


Q. In a sentence, what is your philosophy of life?

A. Confidence will carry you everywhere you need in life.


Q. The most interesting thing about me is ...

A. ... my personality, I am never afraid to be myself.


About Andrea Shaw:

Some of Andrea’s activites include: Le Grande Concours (the National French Contest); lettering in winter track; achieving high honors with distinction, and received the Citizenship Award. She is a principal cellist in the orchestra and has participated in district and regional orchestra for four years. She is a member of the varsity cheerleading squad. Andrea volunteers in wheelchair assistance at Philadelphia Temple, as a gardener at the community garden, a bazaar worker and musical coordinator at St. John’s Church, and donates time to play for various local musicals.

From her educators’ nomination:

“During the four years with which I have had the honor to work with Andrea, she has exuded qualities of not only an outstanding student but also a wonderful human being. She leads our cello section in the orchestra and is an asset to our entire ensemble. She is always prepared for class and eager to learn new things. Andrea also is extremely helpful to her classmates, when it comes to teaching them new ideas and concepts. I can rely on her to help both her section and other sections of the orchestra. She continuously impresses me with how driven and focused she remains while encompassing so many additional extra-curricular activities.

Andrea is always ready to offer her assistance during class, and holds an excellent rapport with her fellow classmates and teachers alike. I will genuinely miss having her every day in class. Andrea never fails to bring a positive attitude with her and to reach for her dreams while doing so.”