“This environment—filled with excitement about education—expanded my view of politics, neurology, law, the Japanese language, and much more. That is the best kind of environment for learning. It was amazing.”

Samantha LaRochelle
Samantha LaRochelle

Samantha LaRochelle

WHERE I’M FROM: Middletown, New Jersey
GRADUATION YEAR: Communications High School, 2018
EXTRACURRICULARS: Digital Video Club, Drama Club, Student Government Association, Instructional Council, National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, National Art Honor Society, SkillsUSA, Junior State of America, and Cultural Communications Club
PROGRAM ATTENDED: Secondary School Program
COURSES TAKEN AT HARVARD: Beginning Screenwriting, Introduction to Psychology
FAVORITE MOVIES: Heathers, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Say Anything
FAVORITE TV SHOWS: Scrubs, Friends, Parks and Recreation, and The Office

How did you become interested in producing videos?

I go to a vocational high school for communications fields, and the very first class I took on my first day of freshman year was Introduction to Digital Video.

I had never thought of film as a possibility before, but I absolutely fell in love with it. Every part of the process appealed to me. It let me tell stories in a new way that people really seem to connect to.

What did you enjoy most about creating this video?

I enjoyed walking around Harvard’s beautiful campus with my camera. It also allowed me to become closer with my friends who are featured in the video. We got to spend time roaming around, filming and interviewing. In the process, I got to find out what they liked about the Secondary School Program.

What was the biggest challenge in making this video?

The biggest challenge was thinking of the right questions to choose. There was so much I wanted to tell people about Harvard Summer School. I had to pick the most important ones for prospective students. It was really difficult to not make the video 20 minutes long—packed full of reasons my friends and I had so much fun this summer.

Tell us about the class you took at Harvard Summer School.

I took Beginning Screenwriting. It was a smaller workshop-style class—we were a close-knit group.

I was surprised by the amount of time Dr. Steinberg spent with each of us. We each had private meetings with her to discuss our scripts. I finished the first 30 pages of a full-length screenplay in seven weeks with the help and support of my class and professor.

How would you answer the questions you posed in the video?

What was your favorite part of attending Harvard Summer School?

My classmates were my favorite part of the classroom. I had classes with other high school students, college students, and even faculty who were taking summer courses for fun.

I learned so much sharing the classroom with people from all walks of life, at all different levels of expertise. They all treated me as a peer, no matter how much older they were. We always treated each other with kindness and respect.

What was your favorite part of Harvard Summer School outside the academics?

My favorite part outside the classroom was making friends from around the world. I love meeting new people.

I was lucky enough to have amazing roommates that would explore with me—getting midnight snacks, visiting the Curious George shop, or taking the bus into Boston to see live music. I learned how to say pickle in Mandarin from one of my roommates. Another helped me discover the moving shelves in the Science Center Library. There was never a dull moment.

What will you miss the most about your Summer at Harvard?

I actually answered this one in the video! Watch to hear my answer.

What did Harvard teach you?

I learned about not only my interests, but the interests of my friends. We would get so excited about what we were learning, so we shared what happened in our courses with each other.

This environment—filled with excitement about education—expanded my view of politics, neurology, law, the Japanese language, and much more. That is the best kind of environment for learning. It was amazing.

Describe your experience in five words or less.

Seven weeks created countless memories.