With his sights set on Columbia University next fall, senior Dante Miele-Elion believes he is "lucky" to have had a "fantastic experience" attending the Williamsport Area School District.
"There are remarkable opportunities here that aren't comparable to other school districts around here," the 17-year-old class president said. "I'm amazed at how rigorous the courses can be, and there are a lot of options."
Now in his final months at the high school, Miele-Elion has a class schedule composed of five Advanced Placement classes, is involved with the music department, plays on the tennis team, and is a member of both the executive board and National Honor Society.
The senior said he has been most impressed with the music department, in which he is a member of the chorus and the male vocal group GQ.
"Most of what I know about music comes from the school," Miele-Elion said, adding that the department is able to provide a background that others may not otherwise receive to really appreciate and play music.
In addition, he said he is pleased with how challenging the teachers make their courses and applauds the effort placed behind the delivery of the instruction.
"A lot of teachers here are very passionate and take great pride in offering different classes to prepare you for college," he said.
Aside from his academic and extracurricular involvement, Miele-Elion also credits his success and preparedness for life beyond high school to the culture of the building.
As an aspiring entrepreneur and humanities major, the student has come to know the importance of making human connections while also having developed a sense of self-awareness and empathy for others.
"Being here in the district has shown me how lucky I am," he said. "There are a lot of kids here who aren't - I've been very fortunate. I think that's helped me be more compassionate than I would be otherwise. You see every type of person here. Every subgroup is here and it works well. I've been fortunate to experience that."
With a population of about 1,700 students at the high school, the senior said his experience there also is heightened due to the administration of the building, as he - and all students - are able to get to know the principals and build camaraderie with them.
"They form personal connections with the students," he added, "which is unusual for such a large building."
Feeling well prepped as graduation nears this June with Columbia as his first choice, Miele-Elion said he also is considering attending Brown University or the University of Pennsylvania.