The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Seniors Aspire Toward Specialized Majors

From electrical engineering to political science, seniors going to universities in the fall will study topics across the spectrum of the liberal arts. A few students have chosen post-secondary plans at specialized colleges where they will hone their skills at a particular subject.

Taylor Tompane: London College of Fashion

Senior Taylor Tompane is one of the students who will be studying at a specialized university: the London College of Fashion, one of the most prestigious fashion schools in the world.

Like many young girls, Taylor loved flowing ball gowns and dressing up. She began sketching her first designs when “[she] could barely hold a pencil and [her] designs resembled potatoes.”

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Taylor taught herself using whatever resources she could get her hands on, from manuals on her ancient sewing machine to videos on Youtube. Her own designs have ranged from a striking peacock dress to one that took 67 hours of beading.

It wasn’t until Taylor’s sophomore year, when she was invited to participate in the Stanford Charity Fashion Show as one of the accepted applicants for the Future Faces of Fashion program, that her career really took off.

Taylor has already had a taste of what it means to be a working designer as an intern for Camilla Olson, a designer in Palo Alto. Since she shared her portfolio with Olson and was invited to work in the designer’s studio, Taylor has done pre-mass production work making patterns.
“I was working side by side with [Olson], not just as a coffee girl,” Taylor said.
After an extensive (and extremely selective) application process, Taylor became one of the lucky students accepted into the London College of Fashion, and she is ready to tackle the challenge.

Whether her designs are just colorful drawings in her sketchbook or full-length gowns displayed on the runways of London, Taylor believes that wherever fashion takes her, it will be meaningful.

“I remember when I was younger … I would see a dress and say ‘wow,’” Taylor said. “I want people to stop and stare at my dresses and say: ‘This is the dress for me.’ I love it.”

Ellie Vanderlip: University of San Francisco

Senior Ellie Vanderlip carefully adjusts her camera as it follows the blur of bicycles whizzing by. Through her lens, she captures the energy of Critical Mass in San Francisco, a cycling event in which bikers fill the streets on the last Friday of every month.
Filming Critical Mass is just one of Ellie’s recent projects. Titled “The Human Motor,” the film is one of the three current finalists in the Bay Area’s Social Issues Documentary Film Contest.

Ellie’s interest in filmmaking developed at an early age. Having several cousins in the film industry, she grew up watching their work, and was “really interested in cameras, productions and sound.”

Joining Freestyle Academy of Communication Arts and Technology in her junior year exposed Ellie to the filmmaking process hands-on and helped solidify her aspirations in cinematography.
Ellie plans on pursuing the rest of her filmmaking education next year at the University of San Francisco.

“San Francisco is one of my favorite places in the world,” Ellie said. “USF strives to impress the importance of creating social justice in the community and world. I feel that as a student there, I will have many opportunities to tell the stories of under-represented communities.”

Instead of going into mainstream media, Ellie plans to create independent films and documentaries focusing on minority issues because she finds it more interesting to discover issues and and hopes to convey messages in an impactful way.

“Mainstream media skews our perspective in such a way that we can take the problems of minorities, who in reality are today’s majority, and shove them aside,” Ellie said. “At USF, one of the professors works with transgender Latina women in the city’s Mission District.

That sort of a story is one that is so unheard of in society today simply because mainstream media doesn’t cover it. Media is very powerful in this sense; it can completely warp our understanding of the world.”

Ellie looks forward to studying at a place where her creativity can run wild and aspires to create films that will “make a difference in the global picture.” With lights and cameras beside her, she’s ready to take action.

Some other seniors who are going to career-oriented colleges or pursuing specialized majors include:

Marie de Alcuaz: Cal Poly Pomona—Animal Science (to go into the Equine Assisted Therapy business)
Ethan Ming: Otis College of Art & Design— communication arts (graphic design/illustration)
Alanna Rice: Chapman University—minor in Oboe performance in Conservatory of Music
Harry Simmons: Berklee College of Music—music
Shefali Vasudevan: Emerson College – film
Sarah Weber: Emerson College – TV production

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