MST’s is proud of our alumni community who have gone on to accomplish so many wonderful things in all corners of the globe. In this section, we celebrate their achievements and they share their reflections on how their time at our school has been a formative factor in their lives.
Montessori Memories #1 (Jasmine)
For our first-ever Alumni Feature, we’re catching up with Jasmine Rupani, 18, who started at MST when she was 6 years old and left after 5 years in our Elementary programme when her family returned to the US.
Hey Jasmine! Thanks for being willing to share an update on what you’ve been doing since your time at MST. Tell us about what you remember most fondly about your old school.
I recall in Upper Elementary I was asked in a video interview what my favorite thing about MST was and my answer is the same to this day: the people. I also loved going to camp because I got to spend all day with my friends and teachers that I had so much fun with. Along with this, I loved working on the school musicals and group projects because these were outlets in which I could spend more time creating and learning with my friends. MST and Japan were my home and it was one of the most shaping chapters of my life so far.
Tell us more about that: how did MST prepare you for the next part of your adventure?
MST prepared me to care deeply about my education and how to be self-disciplined, so although the expectations of my school looked drastically different, I was able to adapt quite quickly. Furthermore, my math and science skills were pretty advanced which gave me the time to catch up on subjects we didn’t focus on at MST, such as American History and Latin. The skills I learned from my Montessori education continue to be a blessing to me as I engage in higher levels of academia. I am able to examine the world critically and be hands-on in my studies. When we did AP Calculus and Statistics in high school, I found it second nature to visualize the problems we were working on, because I wasn’t taught math from a textbook, I was taught it from interacting with the classroom materials. More than anything, MST taught me how to learn and how to love the process of learning. This allows me the freedom to tackle difficult subject matter without feeling pressured to know everything or to get everything “right.” Learning is a lifelong process.
Sounds like you had some pretty impactful teachers. Who were they?
Throughout the years my classroom teachers were Lynn, Tomoko, Kinota, Patrick, Sainoor, and Minako.
And what about your friends? Are you still in touch with any of them?
I am still in touch with my friends from MST! We definitely don’t get to talk as much as I would like, especially as many of us have recently started university. Since leaving Japan, I’ve gotten the opportunity to get in touch with a few friends here in America, visited some friends in France, and have seen old teachers. Social media has been a great way to stay updated with each other’s lives. It’s so great to scroll through Instagram and see old friends. There are a few other MST alumni attending university in the greater Boston area and we’re hoping to meet up sometime next year!
WOW! That’s fantastic! So you’re living in Boston, which is such a beautiful city.
My family is located in San Diego, California and my dad recently started working in Tokyo again. I’m currently a student at Gordon College just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. I am part of the Global Honors Program, Class of 2023 and plan on majoring in Communication Arts with minors in Theatre Arts and Theology. I am also the current president of A.S.I.A. (Asian Students in America), Gordon’s Asian Student Organization, where I hope to educate my peers on the experience of Asian American/International/Third Culture Kids.
So it seems as though your time living in Japan has left a big impression on you, even to this day. Thinking back to your time here, what do you miss most about it?
I miss the freedom I had in Japan to travel and explore. I think in America I have often felt held back by the lack of public transportation and the safety of kids traveling alone. The experience of a Montessori education in Japan was so amazing, because I was able to have a lot of freedom and control in all aspects of life, which allowed a lot of space to learn and grow.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I think the advice I would have given my younger self is the same advice I’d have for current MST students. Make the most of your experience at MST and don’t let your experience stop within the walls of our school. The lessons you are being taught are so valuable and don’t hold yourself back by being afraid. Develop deep relationships with your peers and your teachers. The education you’re getting is so rare and it is a great gift – use it.
Wise words, Jasmine. And lastly, thinking to the future, what’s in store for you?
My studies of communications, theatre, and theology may seem disparate, but have a common thread throughout them: storytelling. In the future, I hope to be a storyteller (when I say this word, I always remember the song from Scheherazade, the MST musical we did when I was 6 years old, that goes “please tell me a story…a story that will take me to a place where dreams come true”)
My plans and aspirations are not grand ones. I don’t intend to change the world through a large gesture, but I do think a good start is through being intentional with my impact on others. It is my hope to be a wife and a mother one day and share with my kids the great things my education has provided me and helping them love learning as well.
It’s my current dream to open a cafe where I sell teas and snacks from the places I have traveled and have it be a place where people engage in conversation with one another in an earnest seeking of truth through expanding their perspective of the world. I love connecting with people through art and food, and a cafe seems like the perfect opportunity to do so.
Jasmine, thank you so much for sharing your news and dreams with us! We hope you’ll continue to keep us posted over the years. And let us know when we can drop by your future cafe - we’ll look out for some Montessori themed menu items!
- Maria Montessori