As we near graduation and say congrats to our impressive class of 2020, we’d like to shine some light on two of our legacy students, Valedictorian Arjun Marwaha and Salutatorian Matthew Ong. Our “legacy students” are those who began attending Fairmont early in their education and progressed to graduate from Fairmont Prep. Fairmont works to provide all students with the highest level of learning, and attending Fairmont from a young age creates a foundation that helps them take the fullest advantage of what Fairmont Prep has to offer.

Valedictorian Arjun Marwaha joined Fairmont in 2nd grade at the Anaheim Hills campus, and his brother, now in 10th grade Fairmont Prep, joined in kindergarten. Arjun remembers the transition from public school to Fairmont fondly, and his early years from 3-5th grade were particularly formative. “The academic and social aspects that have helped me to flourish in high school have stemmed from my roots,” he says. “There’s a lot of ability and room for me to grow academically, and I was unable to do that in public school…The [Fairmont] curriculum and the teachers were superior. They were building blocks in my academic work ethic and foundation.”

Arjun feels that one of the main things that sets him apart as a legacy student is diligence — the ability to be focused towards a goal without forsaking the full high school experience. “The work-hard, play-hard mentality has set me apart,” he says, “to really push yourself to the limit and be the best version you can be, both academically and socially, inside and out of the classroom.” He also feels that a closeness to his classmates and teachers over the years contributed to a strong sense of belonging and connection. “I’m blessed to have grown up in this culture, where we support one another and are always thriving. It’s like a second family, and this family has been part of my experience for the past decade. I feel at home when I go to school every day and that I fit in no matter what. There is always a place I belong to.” After graduation, Arjun plans to attend the University of Pennsylvania and major in environmental biology along the premed track.

Matthew Ong, our Salutatorian, feels that his journey with Fairmont sets him apart due to the close-knit structure and collaborative journey with his fellow students and Fairmont staff. Matthew began at Fairmont’s North Tustin campus in first grade, as his family was attracted to Fairmont’s small class sizes and academic reputation. (Matthew’s sister, a year younger, has followed the same track.) At North Tustin, Matthew was able to receive close attention from teachers and grew alongside his classmates, who helped him academically and socially. This collaborative environment continued into high school, and many of his classmates moved into Prep with him. “Starting from second grade all through junior high we were all one class together,” he says. “That was one of the most helpful things I had growing up.”

One of the things that inspired Matthew to continue at Fairmont for high school was a sense of collaboration between schools. This was evident in Fairmont’s Debate Program: 8th-grade students can take debate as an after-school extracurricular that is run by Prep students and their coach. The middle students gain a strong Debate basis from which they can thrive later at Prep. This allowed Matthew to begin high school a step ahead, with established relationships with teachers, coaches, and students. Matthew will study Molecular Biology at Pomona College this fall and plans to incorporate Physics or Philosophy into his educational track.

A big congratulations to both of these graduates. It’s been an honor to have you in our Fairmont family.