Sofia has known about Commonwealth for as long as she can remember—quite literally. Her aunt graduated from the school in 2005, so Commonwealth has been on the periphery of Sofia’s life since it started! And when Commonwealth launched Dive In in 2019, Sofia and her family were among the first to know. Sofia applied to the Dive In summer program at her aunt’s insistence, and she ultimately decided to enroll in Commonwealth for high school, too. Both decisions brought their own surprises along the way. Keep reading to learn more about this first-year student from Dorchester and her path through Dive In to Commonwealth.
Getting to Know You
What is bringing you joy right now?
Hanging out with my friends here at Commonwealth—just talking after classes and getting closer with them.
What is your favorite book (or a book you’ve re-read)?
I would say Frankenstein. I read it this past summer. You hear so many stories about Frankenstein, but the original is way different. It was just super interesting, and I feel like it expanded my vocabulary—I think about "melancholy” and how it sounds like what it means. And the backstory is crazy!
What do you think is the most intriguing paradox?
“Never say never.”
What are your favorite comfort foods?
Empanadas, particularly chicken and cheese. I don't really eat them a lot; my mom probably only makes them about three times a year. So it's nice to have them.
What was/is your favorite class (at Commonwealth or elsewhere)?
I feel like it's been changing since I got to Commonwealth. It used to be history, but now I would say Spanish. The people are always very chill, and Mr. Pérez is really funny, too.
When do you feel most connected to your fellow students?
I’m still getting used to Commonwealth, compared to my old school, but during times like Diversity Day, where we all can share how we’re feeling and our experiences, I feel really connected.
Pen or pencil?
Coffee or tea?
Fall, winter, spring, or summer?
The Dive In Commonwealth Experience
What led you and your family to Dive In?
My aunt [Nora Lewontin-Rojas, Class of 2005] is a Commonwealth alum, so she hears everything about what's going on at school. As soon as she learned about Dive In, she was like, “When you're able to, you're gonna sign up!” Then two years later, I did.
What was your Dive In experience like?
Well, at first I was like, “I have to go to summer school?!” But then I started to build connections with the people, and I loved it. Actually, it was so fun. I miss it now—not just the students but also the teachers. They taught me way more than I expected, and they prepared me for what was going to come in my academics. The teachers had a really different style than my old school. Usually I don't like new things, but it was really fun, especially ceramics. I've always thought ceramics looked so cool; I finally got to do it [in Dive In] and I fell in love with it. So now I'm doing it this year.
After COVID and quarantine, Dive In reminded me of what it's like to feel like a part of something. And I feel like it definitely prepared me for Commonwealth. I mean, it's still kind of weird actually being at Commonwealth! But I feel like it would have been more of a culture shock if I hadn't done Dive In. I think it just opened new doors for me—a lot of new experiences.
What’s your advice for students considering Dive In?
I would say, definitely go. I know it's kind of weird to be in summer school, and I didn't need to be in summer school, but you just expand your knowledge in a really good way, and you make really strong bonds with friends and teachers. Going on Saturdays [during the school year] is a little annoying, but it's very helpful for you, especially if you're planning on applying to Commonwealth.
Life as a Commonwealth Student (and Beyond)
What made Commonwealth the right next step for you?
It was between Commonwealth or a public school, and I grew up with my aunt telling me about Commonwealth and how she had a wonderful experience. And it just seemed right. Now that I've been in Dive In, I know more about Commonwealth for myself, and the Dive In community knows more about me, too. So I felt like it would be the best option for me.
How do you spend your time outside of class?
Right now I'm in Sisters [our student-run affinity group for female and nonbinary students who identify as Black]. I'm really enjoying it. I feel really connected to the people. And I’m in yoga; I think I'm going to do Ultimate Frisbee next spring. Other clubs interest me, but I want to get my footing before I start doing more extracurriculars. I used to play the violin; I haven't for a while, but I'm probably going to get back to that. I also like taking naps!
What was your first impression of Commonwealth as a high school, and how has it mapped to your experience?
Well, it was definitely a little weird, right after Dive In [in the summer], because the building looks way different when there are more students in it. It’s really different from my old schools, too. The building itself is like a house; when I first came here, I thought it was an old theater. I've never really been in a community like this, and I think it's just something to adjust to. It's still a bit funky, but I've definitely gotten more comfortable, being a part of everyday high school life.