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  • Stanford Rowing

Saying "No" to Stanford

Updated: Jul 30, 2020

When I told my guidance counselor I was applying to Stanford, she laughed in my face. No one from our school had ever gotten in. When I told my parents, they hesitated. The tuition was beyond our means. Yet when I told my high school rowing coach I declined my official visit, he urged me to reconsider, “No one says no to Stanford.” And now I understand why. Stanford gave me 3 National Championship rings and 1 Four-Year Athlete ring. On the surface, the rings represent blood, sweat, and tears—my tribute to the Home of Champions. But inscribed inside are the intangibles that define my experience. The first, a lesson—the first laugh I shared with the team, and the last thought I had in every race. The second, an accomplishment—the product of rebuilding in the face of adversity. The third, my team—a legacy defined by every member, not just those who took the winning strokes. The last, myself—because I had achieved what was unthinkable to me as low-income student from a Metro Atlanta public school. Stanford afforded me that opportunity, and now I must say “NO” to Stanford because I will not let them withhold that opportunity from the next student-athlete like me.

-Katherine Christel, Class of 2016

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