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Class of 2018
Diving Her Way to the Ivy League
Fairmont is the best private school
for me because the athletic support system is phenomenal. Coach Esparza is very supportive and is very accommodating when I need help with school work."
USA Diving All-American
Winner of the 2016 CIF-SS Division 4 Diving Championship
Accepted to the University of Pennsylvania, Northwestern, USC, Duke, Cornell, Dartmouth, and Columbia
Plans to attend Columbia University to study business management
Mentored Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in diving on
ABC’s celebrity diving show “Splash”
when she was only 12
Fairmont Preparatory Academy alumnus Ben Harrison used to dream about working on Capitol Hill — and now that’s his reality. After graduating summa cum laude and receiving his Bachelor of Arts degrees in political science and public policy from the University of Redlands, Harrison worked a variety of political internships before landing a full-time position in Washington, D.C. as a staff member in the office of a congressman.
Harrison, who attended Fairmont Private Schools from kindergarten until high school graduation, developed an interest in politics during the beginning stages of his time at Fairmont Prep and was able to take advantage of various opportunities the school offered in order to pursue his passion. Not only was he the senior class vice president, but he also involved himself in other leadership opportunities and took courses that would better prepare him for his career interests.
“The great thing about Fairmont was that, all of the subjects were so well taught that I never felt I was lacking,” he said. “It helped me to pave the path that I’m currently on and really follow through on a goal that I had early on in my high school career, which was to be somewhere in politics — and that’s where I am right now.” Harrison intends to continue in his political pursuits and knows that whatever goals he sets before himself are attainable, thanks in large part to the preparation he received as a student at Fairmont.
Fairmont Preparatory Academy Class of 2017 alumna Christina Li credits much of the collegiate success she has had at Stevens Institute of Technology to her experience at Fairmont. Recently named the Empire 8 Rookie of the Week for her accomplishments on the basketball court, Li continues to strive toward achieving the goals she has set for herself.
As a student at Fairmont Prep, Li had opportunities to take part in a variety of activities outside of basketball, including as a cast member in three theatre productions and as a pianist for the choir. She was also able to challenge herself with the many courses and academic programs offered to her at Fairmont — such as the International Business Program — that helped to prepare her for her studies as a computer science major at Stevens and to provide her with a glimpse of what life is like in the business world.
Li is grateful for her time as a student at Fairmont Prep, as it allowed her to step out of her comfort zone and be part of new extracurricular activities that she never knew she would try.
"The most beneficial advice I can offer [to Fairmont students] is not to always be content with where you are," Li said. "Challenge yourself, try new activities, and don’t be afraid to showcase who you are."
Northeastern University graduate and member of Fairmont Preparatory Academy’s Class of 2013 graduating class Christine Boutros knows the value of a Fairmont education and how it helped prepare her for the academic rigors she would face in college, particularly in her science classes. The Advanced Placement courses she took in high school allowed her to forego many first-year courses and have the opportunity to take upper-level classes early on in her studies. As a result, she finished her requirements ahead of schedule and was able to work full time in a lab, conducting neuroscience research for two years during college.
Boutros received her bachelor’s degree in behavioral neuroscience in 2017 and is currently a research technician at Harvard Medical School. In the spring of 2018, she will take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and apply to M.D./Ph.D. programs in her pursuit of a career in neurology. Thanks to her time at Fairmont Prep — even though she did not always see them at the time — she now fully understands the possibilities available to her in her career.
"When I look back on the conversations I had with my teachers [at Fairmont], I realize that they know so much more about the things you can do with your future," she said. "Utilizing that life experience that our teachers have is extremely important." Boutros also knows that it is beneficial for students to believe that they can achieve more than they would have imagined before attending Fairmont.
"Don’t under sell yourself," she advised. "Apply to colleges, even the ones you’re not 100 percent sure you’ll get in to. I think we don’t have a very good feel for the people we’re competing with, but you’re actually in a very good position to get in to very good schools."
Former Fairmont Prep basketball standout Cierra Hall is continuing to let her talents shine at the next level in more ways than one. Not only was she named to the 2018 Big West Conference All-Freshman Team, but she’s also majoring in cell biology so that she can pursue her dream of attending medical school and becoming an orthopedic surgeon.
As a student at Fairmont and winner of OC Register’s Small Schools Female Athlete of the Year for her leadership and accomplishments on the basketball court in the CIF San Joaquin League, Hall certainly had a busy schedule. In addition to basketball, she was an AP scholar with distinction and earned Fairmont Prep’s award for Bioethics Student of the Year.
However, she said that the support she received from Fairmont helped to relieve stress and guide her toward success.
"There were always teachers, counselors and tutoring available if needed," she said. "Being able to balance athletics with academics made me learn how to be proactive, organized, and have good time management. I learned how to be able to study independently and make sure I was getting the most out of all of the opportunities that were offered."
After earning her Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business, Fairmont Prep Class of 2009 graduate Anar Bhansali knew she wanted her career to honor her family’s legacy. The Bhansalis have four generations of experience in the diamond industry, so she decided to use fine jewelry as her canvas for expression and created Bhansali, a jewelry line intended to change how people perceive luxury.
Borrowing from both past craftsmanship and modern sensibilities, Bhansali’s one-of-a-kind pieces reflect how women live today and are meant to be worn every day rather than displayed solely for decoration or safekeeping. She also designs custom pieces and engagement rings, and her jewelry can be purchased at Neiman Marcus and various independent luxury boutiques throughout the world as well as by appointment at the Bhansali showroom in Beverly Hills. Bhansali knows that the path she has taken thus far is a result of the experience she had as a student at Fairmont Prep.
"Besides the exceptional educational foundation, Fairmont gave me the opportunity to discover my passions and interests by allowing me to immerse myself in art, athletics, and extracurricular activities," she said. "This well-rounded combination of academic and extracurricular programs not only prepared me well for college but also helped prepare me for the diverse challenges of life after college."
She also values the diversity found on Fairmont Prep’s campus, which helped to prepare her for conducting business and regularly interacting with people of all different backgrounds. "What I enjoyed most as a Fairmont Prep student was being surrounded by people from all over the world," Bhansali said. "We live in a globalized world where business constantly crosses borders. It is important to learn about and understand different cultures and languages to be successful in today’s world."
Bhansali hopes to grow her business and become an established leader in the fine jewelry industry while also creating an impact through her philanthropic and social efforts. Be sure to check out her website and follow Bhansali on