Newark high schooler accepted into seven Ivy League schools

NEWARK, NJ — Janic Aguirre, a student at Bard Early College High School in Newark, has been accepted into seven of the eight Ivy Leagues and wait-listed for the remaining one. He was accepted to Harvard, Princeton, Yale, University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, Cornell and Columbia, and placed on the waitlist at Brown. When asked what considerations he made when applying to every school, he replied “I kind of took the YOLO (You Only Live Once) approach. I thought, this will be the only time I apply to college, so why not?”

“Some of my classmates call me quirky, and helpful, and curious,” said the 17-year-old, whose curiosity has led him to learn more about the world around him than most children his age. He recognizes that he has a strong sense of intellectual curiosity; he loves to pursue subjects and spend his time reading more about them. It is due to this that he has, at various times in his life, wanted a career in astrophysics, computer science, law and currently Mayan epigraphy, which he intends to pursue after studying anthropology and linguistics at the Ivy League school of his choosing.

“Janic is one of those people who just really seems to excel at everything he does,” Joanne Baron, Aguirre’s teacher, said. “My colleagues and I actually had a bit of a competition to see who could get Janic interested in their specialty — and I feel like I won that competition.” 

It is thanks to Baron and her course on ancient Mayan writing, that Aguirre has landed at his current interest of Mayan epigraphy. Through Bard’s Early College program, students are encouraged to explore their curiosities and take electives and classes of their interests with hopes to steer them in the direction of their future career goals, if not at least assist in deciding their major in college. The objective is to offer collegiate services and experiences without putting students into the debt that typically correlates to going to college.

Being a first-generation college student who typically would have to navigate the stress of figuring out tuition, Aguirre assures that his future at an Ivy League is secure because of the assistance he’s been offered in financial aid. This serves as yet another nod to Bard’s assistance in preparing future scholars for greatness.

Coming from a family of Japanese and Nicaraguan descent, Aguirre, who speaks fluent Japanese, is currently constructing his own language — with up to 300 words done so far. 

“Janic is always in pursuit of ways to feed his passion for knowledge,” Bard Principal Carla Stephens said. “I am proud and excited for him to arrive at his next ‘place to think’ and to continue nourishing his greatness. I can hardly wait to see the mark that he leaves on this world.” 

The phrase “place to think” is the motto for Bard Early College High School, serving as a reminder and reinforcing the notion that students have the freedom to explore their interests and build knowledge within their schools walls.

Aguirre is one of a few in this year’s Newark Public School seniors headed to the Ivy Leagues; he joins Science Park High School’s Azeez Richardson, who got accepted to Harvard, and Temitayo Ojo of Central High School, who got accepted to Dartmouth.