A First Look Inside the Class of 2016

As incoming students filled the residence halls around campus, the eagerly awaited first day at Saint Mary’s was finally here. The SMC Class of 2016 is notable in many ways, with more honors students and Presidential Scholars than last year’s incoming class, and twice as many international students. But in many ways, they’re a lot like every new class – full of plans and dreams, and excited to call Saint Mary’s home for the next four years. 

After unloading the car with the help of SMC Weekend of Welcome volunteers and setting up their new rooms, some students took a moment to talk with us about Saint Mary’s and their hopes, concerns and goals. Judging by their answers, there’s no doubt the Class of 2016 is going to take Saint Mary’s by storm.

Here’s what the newest Gaels had to say:

What drew you to Saint Mary’s?

Taeler Akana
Honolulu, Hawaii

“The small campus and the small class sizes -- the overall feel. I like the small campus because I like to feel a community. I don’t want to feel like I’m tiny.”

Grant Krogius
San Juan Capistrano, California
Business Administration

“The people – how they reached out to me earlier and how nice and friendly they were.”

Julian Thompson
Santa Cruz, California

“I came here because it’s close enough to home that I’m still able to get there, but it’s far enough away that I don’t feel like I’m at home. I already know that I forgot stuff, so I can go back and get it easily!”

Ben Chittick
Austin, Texas

“Trying to get out of Texas and trying get into California! I got recruited for soccer. (At a small school, you get) more attention. As far as athletics go, I would say everybody knows who you are around school.”

Hayden Decarion
Laguna Beach, California

“The archaeological program. They have a summer program to Bermuda. I’ve been there before. … It was really surreal underwater, seeing an anchor surrounded by all the sea life and hearing the story of how the ship sank after running out of fuel. I hope to get a Ph.D. in anthropology so I can go and do my own digs and travel the world.” 

Kentaley McCurdy
Stockton, California

“The financial aid! It’s a beautiful campus as well. I like the really private setting. The professors know everyone, and you definitely have a closer connection to certain people. You get to focus more, and it’s easier on the student.”                                                                            

Are there any concerns you have about starting at Saint Mary’s?

Aoife Berrill
South San Francisco, California

“Just to make sure I stay focused and study a lot!”

Jennifer Lum
Honolulu, Hawaii

“I really hope I can keep that balance of a social life and academics, because I heard it’s going to be really hard.”

What are your main hopes for your time at Saint Mary’s?

Ian Winslow
Portland, Oregon
Business Administration

“To just better myself in every way, whether it’s physically, mentally or even just personally with my character. Based on the core curriculum and what you guys strive for, it seems like that should be pretty easy. They make you feel pretty welcome here.”

Sean Tartaglia
Morgan Hill, California
Business Administration

 “I don’t know yet. I’ll make it up as I go along, I guess. I’ll just go with the flow and get used to it!”

Reed Cornish
Portola Valley, California

“I hope to have a really nice smooth transition. That’s my biggest thing. Also, to be able to be myself the best that I can. That would be awesome.”

By Daniel Murphy ’13

Photos by Teresa Castle