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Harrison Prep and Lakes seniors gain coveted college acceptances

As the school year comes to an end, high school seniors across the country have their eyes set on the beginning of their college careers. While Clover Park School District (CPSD) is home to a number talented students with acceptances to major regional and national universities, a trio of seniors set their sights on the “best of the best.”

Harrison Prep seniors Cassidy Barnes and Jennifer Niemi will both be doing their college work in the Ivy League. Barnes will attend Princeton and Niemi will be at Harvard. Meanwhile, Lakes senior Julia Kwak will be staying on the west coast at Stanford.

“When I got in, I was shocked. And honestly, I am still shocked to this day,” Barnes said.

When Barnes applied to Princeton she saw it as a longshot, but she had the opportunity to submit her application without paying the school’s application fee so she figured she’d take the chance. And while she wasn’t initially sure she wanted to attend, a visit to the school confirmed it was the place for her.

Barnes hopes to study in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs on the Princeton campus and will do so on a full scholarship. She credits her hard work and devotion to being a well-rounded student to her acceptance, including her time in leadership at Harrison Prep.

While Barnes hesitated on her final choice, Niemi didn’t have any doubt. She applied to only one school during the application process, and after her early acceptance into Harvard in December, she didn’t have to even think about looking anywhere else.

“I believe that hard work conquers being the brightest in class,” Niemi said. “I always felt like I was completely behind and that everyone else knew more than I did, but I never gave up and always believed that if I gave 110 percent of my effort, I would do well enough in the end.”

Inspired by her father’s military career, Niemi has her sights set on a future in government services. She plans to major in Chinese and Economics once she gets on campus.

Julia Kwak’s choice wasn’t quite as easy. When she accepted admission to Stanford, she turned down University of Washington, Harvard, Georgetown and Northwestern.

“I ultimately decided between Harvard and Stanford,” Kwak said. “I visited both and I felt more comfortable and more at home at Stanford. I just felt a brighter energy.”

Harrison Prep seniors Cassidy Barnes and Jennifer Miemi