“Baker taught me thinking and processing skills that prepared me so well that I am the first person in three years at Latin that tested out of honors Geometry.”
– Sebastian (Tian) Valenzuela, Baker Graduate ‘17, Latin School of Chicago ‘21
Where Do Baker Graduates Go Next?
By any measure, Baker graduates are successful, good citizens of the world who go on to attend competitive high schools, colleges and universities and find meaningful careers. Underlying it all is the strength of their character and their passion for lifelong learning, which all began at Baker.
Our graduates go on to attend some of the most reputable high schools and have been accepted into a truly extraordinary list of colleges.
Our recent graduates have matriculated to:
Chicago Academy for the Arts
Chicagoland Jewish High School
Evanston Township High School
Francis W. Parker School
Jones College Prep
Latin School of Chicago
Lincoln Park High School,
New Trier Township High School
Niles North High School
North Shore Country Day School
Northside College Prep
Regina Dominican High School
St. Ignatius College Prep
Walter Payton College Prep
During the past three years, Baker graduates have gone on to attend top tier colleges and universities including:
George Washington University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
New York University
Sarah Lawrence College
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of Michigan
University of Southern California
Washington University in St. Louis
Sebastian Valenzuela ‘17
As a 2017 Baker graduate and a sophomore at Latin School of Chicago, Sebastian (Tian) Valenzuela recently sat down with the Baker Connection editor to talk about how his Baker experiences shaped him for high school. As a “lifer” (he attended Baker from PS-8th grade), Tian brings a wide lens to the conversation:
Tian shared that one of the biggest things he took from Baker is to “work hard and be nice”. This phrase has been ingrained in me since my very first gym class at Baker. Be nice to yourself, your teachers, those around you and everyone you share the world with. Give your best effort, mistakes are okay and the world is your classroom. Student of all ages can understand and follow it this advice.
How was your transition from our relatively small school to Latin?
My transition to Latin was seamless thanks to my Baker education. Baker gave me the skills to navigate a large high school. I had already been in charge of my own school schedule, changed classes and what helped more than anything else is that Baker taught me how to adapt to different experiences, so I wasn’t afraid. I felt confident in my ability to meet new people, navigate my schedule, and ask questions if needed.
Did you feel prepared academically?
My main academic take-away from Baker was Be Persistent. Don’t Give Up.
Writing – Freshman English was nothing compared to Mr. Bingaman’s writing class. Reading logs introduced me to analytical writing and thinking. I already knew how to read and analyze a text as it related to me, to other literature, and to the world.
Latin – I still remember everything that Mr. Leach drilled into my head—how to approach language, how to structure sentences, verbs, paradigm and more.
Math – Baker taught me thinking and processing skills that prepared me so well that I am the first person in three years at Latin that tested out of honors Geometry (I took Geometry at Baker). I also jumped from Algebra 2 to Honors Pre-Calculus as a sophomore.
Science – My science teacher, Natasha Itkin, taught us about physics through the Roller Car Derby in 7th grade. I learned the principles of physics so that I could design and conduct an experiment based on physics fundamentals, such as dependant and independent variables. The concepts of speed, math and atoms were “slipped in” 7th and 8th grade. I still rely on these when analyzing in my more complex high school science classes.
What was your relationship with your Baker teachers like?
I developed a strong trust with my teachers. They knew my capabilities and how much I could/should challenge myself. But, I also learned to self-advocate if I felt I was being pushed too hard. Baker teachers also taught me what it means to be an Ally. Baker taught me how to support others and be comfortable with others who are different than me.