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Augusta Prep alumnus named Fulbright Scholar

Augusta Prep alumnus named Fulbright Scholar
Posted on 08/22/2019
Alexandra HelfgottEarlier this year, Augusta Prep alumnus Alexandra Helfgott was named a Fulbright Scholar. On Sunday, she leaves for Mexico City, where she will work at a university teaching English to students who want to be English teachers. Her grant runs through May 2020.

According to the Fulbright web site, the U.S. Scholar program is, “the largest U.S. exchange program offering opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and primary and secondary school teaching worldwide.” Helfgott received one of the highly-competitive scholarships - roughly 20 percent of applicants earn a Fulbright scholarship - which will cover her round-trip transportation, as well as room and board and other incidental expenses.

“To see the impact it’s had on other people and see how it’s impacted their trajectories, that’s what I’m excited to see,” Helfgott said about being a Fulbright Scholar. “Right now, I think I know what I want to do afterward, but I’m interested to see how Fulbright impacts my long-term goals.”

Helfgott, a 2015 Augusta Prep graduate, graduated summa cum laude (4.0 GPA) in May from the College of Charleston Honors College. She earned degrees in political science and Spanish, and she was a member of the Aiken Fellows Society, an honors society for the top 10 percent of students within the Honors College.

Helfgott credited Augusta Prep for helping prepare her for college success. She recognized Spanish teacher Monica Graser, Latin teacher Franklin Kennedy and history teacher Steve Boyd for their roles in her academic development.

“Augusta Prep is so academically rigorous that I felt absolutely well prepared when I went to college,” she said. “I had such a broad foundation in various courses - I had the option to take Latin, I had the option to take Spanish, Psychology. Mr. (Steve) Boyd’s classes really prepared me for upper-level classes in college. I was in the Honors College at the College of Charleston and there’s a massive course called Western Civilization that runs a full year. Everybody complains about it, everybody hates it. But after going through Mr. Boyd’s AP History and AP European History, that class was nothing.
“So to know I had the academic foundation to succeed in college, I think that’s the absolute best thing Augusta Prep has given me.”

When Helfgott applied in October 2018 for the Fulbright Scholarship, she planned to attend graduate school and get a master’s degree in public policy and also pursue a law degree to work in migrant labor policy. Also, she said she thought about pursuing a PhD in political science. Then, she became a Fulbright Scholar.

“I think the biggest lesson from all this,” she said, “is being willing to take a step back and go with the flow and see how the experience changes you and impacts you.”
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