Q: What clubs/activities are you engaged in at your school?
A: I'm part of the Ultimate Frisbee team. I was also part of the school musical this year for the first time, that was fun. I'm also in the recycling club.
Q: What do you want/plan to do after high school?
A: I’m planning on being a biochem major pre-med then going to medical school. I’ve accepted Pitt for my undergrad college. Medical school wise, I'm looking at Jefferson or Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, I did some stuff over the summer there.
Q: What is your best memory from senior year?
A: Okay, this is really weird. We were at the junior-senior game and at the end of it, everyone was cheering because the seniors won. I ran over to hug [my friend] Matt and stuff and he picked me up. I was like: “Bro, why are you doing this?” because I was cheering my friends on and I was really happy. Then, the whole class of 2020 just made this giant circle around me, it was really weird. They hoisted me up and they cheered: “Chabe! Chabe! Chabe!!” but I hadn't done anything. I was just watching and cheering my friends on, it was just a really nice class moment and I guess that's awesome.
Q: Can you explain the significance of “Chabe”?
A: I began attending Masterman in seventh grade. Most of the kids had been attending since fifth and sixth. It was just really weird for me to get to meet people. In seventh grade, I spent time kind of getting used to the workload and stuff like that. Then, in eighth grade, I started to put myself out there as a person and make friends. People liked me, I don't know, I guess I'm a likable person. I’ve always loved talking to a person and having fun and stuff. I made lots of friends in eighth grade and they were all surprised that I didn't have any type of social media. They all said: “Abe please make an Instagram, please make a Snapchat, we want to talk to you.” Finally, one day I did it, and the day after when I went to school, my friend Matt started calling me “Chabe”. It's a shorthand way of saying my Instagram username, which is chillin_abe. So, you know, that nickname has stuck with me for years now.
Q: What is your best memory from all of high school?
A: This one is actually kind of messed up, it was after the Fitnessgram Pacer tests. I was having a bad day. The previous day, I had Ultimate Frisbee so I was still kind of sore from practice. I had walked in the gym saying, “I'm probably not going to do like more than 40.” I made it to like 69, not on purpose it wasn't like a joke or anything, I just made it to 69. That was just how it was. I was really happy, I was like hyped up. We're going back to the locker rooms, and I'm like jumping around and I'm happy because I made it to this really nice score. Then I jumped a little too high, in front of one of those glass panel things. I wanted to not hit my face in the glass panel. So I put my hand there thinking I’d bounce off but my hand went through. Of course, all my friends are like looking at me and they're like: “Chabe. Oh my god.” When that happened I expected everyone to be like: “Yo, what the heck!” and get mad at me but everyone just kind of like laughed off. They were like: “Are you okay? Are you alright?”, stuff like that, and it shows how close my class was in a way. And then also afterward I was just kind of standing there like: “what should I do now?” And everyone was like: “Yo, let's blame somebody else, let's not get Chabe in trouble.” Of course, I don't want that to happen. So I go down to Ms. Curran myself and I’m like: “Ms. Curran? I'm bleeding, I broke the glass, blah blah blah,” and I didn't get into much trouble. I just got detention, which was kind of nice. It's one of those moments that kind of teaches you that you shouldn't have to hide the truth. No matter what you do the truth should always come out.
Q: What is your greatest achievement?
A: My greatest achievement was being able to do this medical program a couple of years ago. Truly. It was like a two-week thing at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and I was just proud to do that and be with such smart people and stuff. I guess that's my greatest achievement.
Q: What is one thing you will miss about your school?
A: Definitely just the community. It's weird, I feel like I have a bond to so many people in the school, students and teachers. I'm just gonna miss that. It's gonna be really hard not to hear people say “Yo Chabe” all the time. Yeah, it'll take some getting used to.
Q: How has your high school experience shaped you?
A: It's made me a more outgoing person. My friends from elementary school would say that I've always been kind of shy and scared when I went out there. I never really struggled with anything. I had friends but I kind of kept to myself. And at Masterman, I felt like I was able to just put myself out there and show people who I really am, and that's been really nice.
Q: What has been your most formative high school experience?
A: Joining the ultimate team in 10th grade. I wanted to join freshman year and complications came up so I couldn’t join. So joining in 10th grade was kind of just like, during that whole season I was kind of just bummed out because all my friends had this experience that I didn't have. I didn't think I'd be able to catch up and be as good as they were. It was just nice to learn that as long as you put in the work you can be as good as you want to be. And I learned a lot of that through doing Ultimate Frisbee and going to practice every day and learning all these new skills like for ultimate. And being able to just make myself better at the sport, not only for myself but for the team, was just a nice way to teach you that putting in hard work isn't like this cheesy thing in only Disney movies and stuff. It's something that actually works, and you should be doing it.
Q: Do you have any advice to give to incoming freshmen?
A: You gotta study. I'm not gonna lie, I went into freshman year, thinking that if I kept my same old “I barely study” advice for every class I'd be fine. It's not. It was not a good year for me. Going into like all these new classes and stuff, you kind of feel like: “Oh, you know, you'll learn the hang of it, you can learn the hang of these things.” But studying is something you’ve just got to get used to do it, because you may learn something in school and then come home and completely forget what it is. So that's what I did. I'm not gonna say everyone does that. So, you have to be able to take some time out of your day just to look over your notes, over things you don’t understand, and bring questions to your teachers. But you also need to be able to talk to your teacher when you have an issue or a problem. It's better for you to talk to your teacher before your teacher has to go to your parent. Talk to them about that stuff, cuz that always sucks.
Q: How are you feeling during the quarantine? What are you doing to keep yourself engaged?
A: It's just been a really weird time. It has given me a lot of time to just think about myself, and like where I'm going. I try to work out like every other morning just to keep myself active and stuff. Then, academically, I try to keep up with my work, and try and do classes, like do the classwork that's given to me and stuff like that. Socially, I always try to talk to my friends and make us do weird stuff. I've gotten a bunch of people to start playing this game called Brawlhalla, my friends and I usually play like smash ultimate and stuff. I was just like sitting down bored one day and I was like: “Let me try out this game,” and I found it kind of fun. So I tried to get other people to play, and it's been pretty fun. Just talking to them and playing with them and stuff. That's good.
Q: How do you feel about your senior year being cut short?
A: It bums me out. Like, it's really just so sad, thinking that you might potentially not see a bunch of people ever again. The last Friday that we went to school, I was thinking it's gonna be two weeks, we'll be fine. And now we've been here for like months.
Q: If you could change one thing about your school, what would it be?
A: So, I guess that’d be the administration. It seems like there is a big disconnect. [Between] students and teachers there's usually disconnect, it's just expected, and teachers are supposed to be able to bridge that gap somewhere somehow. There's just this weird feeling every time I see my principal, I don't know how to feel towards her. It's super weird but I just feel like if the principal was kind of closer to the school as a whole it would be better. When I see her I don't know much about her. It's not like she's mean or anything, she just doesn't talk much, and I don't know much about what she does. Once in a while she will make an announcement about something but other than that there's not much to know about her.
Q: If you could change one thing about the school district, what would it be?
A: I don't know how the school district distributes funds and stuff. It seems there is such a weird thing towards neighborhood schools nowadays... There are so many schools in Philadelphia and there are only like a handful of them that people actually want to go to. There are schools in these neighborhoods that lack funding and that stuff just scares people away. I live next to one of these schools and I hear about stuff happening there all the time. I can't help but blame the school district because I feel like they haven't done enough to try to help these neighborhoods change their reputation. If there's something I could change it’d be just more initiative towards these neighborhood schools.