Junior heads to Julliard


Junior Gaby Pho holds the instrument that got her a full ride to Julliard.

Galilea Sejas and Maryam Dereje

AHS can be a sanctuary, a home, or dreadful place for many students. There are many seniors who are counting down the days until their gradu­ation, with their college acceptance letters in their hands. Junior Gaby Pho is one of the people includ­ed in this group of seniors, since she is planning on completing the high school journey this summer and starting college this fall.

“I was accepted into the Cleveland Institute of Music, Northwestern Uni­versity, Juilliard, and the Curtis Institute of Music,” said Pho.

The strong passion that she has for music, especially for playing the French horn, has played a crucial role in her life, and understanding how to become more independent and making difficult choices that many students in Annandale, have yet to face. She previously attend­ed Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, but decided to transfer here.

Many of her friends along with anyone who learns of this news always wonders how she could possibly turn down one of the most prestigious schools that would better her education and her knowledge in the sciences.

Though this may seem as an unwise choice to some, Pho knew that she truly has a love and drive for furthering her passion in music. With this, schools are able to notice that music plays a crucial part in her life, and is thus shown through her achievements in band. Pho has been a part of band since a young age, and she continued to be a member of the Atoms Marching Band throughout high school.

“I submitted a recorded audition and passed through to a live audition in New York where I played for a panel of teachers,” Pho said. “The long answer involves thousands of hours of practice from a young age, great teach­ers, and some luck with opportu­nities and scholarships for things like lessons, ensembles, summer programs, and masterclasses.”

There was a long process for her to be recognized by Juilliard and put on the shortlist, but with the dedication that she has to the arts, it didn’t prove to be the problem.

“Juilliard offered me their Kovner Fellowship which covers the full cost of attendance includ­ing tuition, room and board, and other expenses. I plan to attend there starting this fall,” Pho said.

The fellowship is offered to only a select fifty students who are recognized by their high academic performance, artistic merit and the prospective student’s curiosity for the arts, society and leadership. Since the program is very selective, a full board of members views each applicant’s background and history in music, to decide whether or not they are worthy enough to receive such a large scholarship.

Pho is fortunate enough to receive a full ride from such a prestigious institution, since their tuition is nearing 40,000 with a 7% acceptance rate.

“Since Juilliard is a conservatory, I will be enter­ing its music division. I will be working to receive a Bachelor of Music for which I will be majoring in French horn performance,” Pho said.

The french horn is one of those instruments that many master, but it requires a lot of time and patience from the performer. For Pho it proved to be worth it, and every decision that she has made since being recognized as a Kovner fellowship acceptant.

“No matter where you end up or ‘how good you are’ in the grand scheme of things, there’s nothing quite like being passionate about something and working at it. I think it’s worth finding things that you enjoy the process of, not necessarily the result. Whether it’s in relationships, careers, or hob­bies, sometimes it’s the struggle that makes them meaningful,” said Pho.