Meet Ava!

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I’m sitting with Ava Rakowski, over Facetime, on a cold night in early 2022. She’s eating a meal of rice and shrimp and, between bites, is telling me about the Mount. Rakowski graduated in the Class of 2020, a year unprecedented for its difficulty academically and socially. While at the Mount, Rakowski held many leadership positions, including Editor-in-Chief of The Argosy (the very paper you’re reading now), President of the Justice Club, Chair of Dominican Preachers, Kairos Team Leader, along with being an actress with the Mount’s theatre company. 

She currently studies at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, at the Mason Gross School of Dance, where she is a BFA dance major and is beginning a second major in Journalism.

“I took Journalism my sophomore year,” she recounts, “and that definitely informed my career choice and my want to double major.” She considers Journalism among her favorite subjects and remarks that her most beneficial classes were those that were English based. 

“They were really, really valuable,” she said, noting that the classes taught her to “just write.”  She remarks that “writing is such a valuable skill that too many people are starting to let go of.” She said that classes like “APUSH, Journalism, Lang, Lit” helped her “hone in on those skills.”

Of her four years, she considers junior year her favorite, saying it “felt like the most Mount experience for [her].” Senior year, however, proved underwhelming, especially as it was cut short by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“What I had of my senior year was okay,” she says, though she describes her love for her senior year schedule, especially Painting and Contemporary Novels and Media – an archived class that analyzed modern-day works of literature and some television. 

Despite the challenges, Rakowski looks back fondly on the Mount, expressing gratitude for how it taught her to advocate for herself. She knew that “if [she] had an issue, [she] could bring it to [Dr.] Muoio,” former Academic Dean, and “take some action to make the situation better.” She admits that this skill is especially helpful, adding that the Mount gave her a good grasp on public speaking, allowing her to “feel confident speaking in front of people and talking about things and kind of inserting [herself] in a situation” even if that situation made her “a bit uncomfortable.” 

Rakowski reminisced on the moments that made the Mount so unique, specifically Christmas celebrations and the 12 days song. She also enjoyed tech week and prom – though, she admits,  dances were “not really [her] moment.” She expressed disappointment at not enjoying graduation, however, calling it a “weird experience,” the worst part being that she “couldn’t even wear the shoes [she] wanted to wear [be]cause [the ceremony] w[as] on the grass.” Despite this, Rakowski says that  it was “all the little moments [that] made [the Mount] special.” 

Rakowski wants Mount students to know that “you don’t realize how much of a leader you are to other people” or “the memories that you can kind of set in someone’s mind.” To her, the legacy you create at a place “doesn’t have to be something big.”

“You don’t have to have your name on a plaque or anything like that,” she says, “but if you’ve had just positively impacted at least one, you’ve done a pretty good job and you should be proud of yourself.”

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