Join the TJ Partnership Fund (TJPF) in supporting TJ seniors by completing our 20 for ’20 form. In 20 words (more or less), we want you to share your congratulations and advice for a bright future with our newest alumni!

Submit a 20 for '20 message

Congratulations on a job well done! There are incredible adventures in life ahead of you. TJ is a special place. I know you keep the experiences you had and friends you made close to you as as you head out into a brave new world.-SETH GALE, '98

Twenty is the atomic number of calcium. Hadn't thought about that since tech lab. But that was where I learned a chalky, colorless block of calcium carbide explodes when you throw onto a moist surface. Some dumb, garlicky block unleashes blinding light. Who'da thunk it? It started revolutions! Accidental, indecorous hydroelectric power: lights in the mines we are now rethinking for renewable energy. Imagine the impact of harnessing multiple sources of power from this boring, weighty object otherwise so very easy to ignore. You in the Class of 2020 might have felt ignored this spring, but people will say you graduated from one of the best high schools in the world. You are hard to forget. Now high school is over forever, and you no longer have to keep score of who's making the most impact or the most perfect. You now get to enjoy life's happy accidents that change the world. People whose whose crazy, bright ideas change hearts and minds does not check off all the boxes, but they do throw things, even if it gets them in trouble. Throw your own, then, in your own way, and if you can't throw that far, no one cares. Change where you are today with your good arm. You may find something pretty, or change someone's life. You being you and not what people want you to be or think you are is the way you change the course of the world.-MAUREEN MILLER, '02

Congrats to an amazing class that has accomplished so much in the face of so many challenges. Seize the day and apply your immense and varied talents to make a difference in the world around you!-TRAVIS MARKLEY,'00

In the midst of great uncertainty, be confident that you have the tools and resources to flourish and succeed. All the best to you—wherever your journey takes you!

-JONATHAN GOERTZ,'00

Congratulations - you have earned this day and should be proud to call yourselves graduates. Use your knowledge and curiosity to help your fellow human.-HARRISON KRAT, '00

Congratulations! You made it! Figure out what you want to do your life and have the courage to do it while being kind to others always.-BECKY CLARK HANSBERRY, '89

Congrats TJHSST Class of 2020! You should be very proud of yourselves. Keep up the great work in the future!-MIHIR SRIVASTAVA, '12

Your high school experience has prepared you well to succeed wherever you go, we look forward to the leadership, impact, innovation, and creativity you will bring to the world!-KENNAN MURPHY-SIERRA, '10

Don't worry if the shutdown measures push your plans off-track for a year or so. You're not even 20 yet--you'll have so much time left to accomplish your goals after the virus is under control. Take advantage of the downtime: read those books you've been wanting to, learn a useful but non-academic skill (like cooking, home repair, or wilderness survival), or do something completely impractical for the sheer pleasure of it. After four years at TJ, you've earned a break!-LAURA HANDLEY, '11

Congratulations on achieving this huge milestone! You've got decades of learning ahead. Remember that your career isn't linear; all of your experiences will sum up to something quite unique so don't be afraid to try a few zany roles and zig zag. You will bring those experiences with you into your next roles and they are all valuable!-PATRICIA CHOU,'95

You are amazing, inspirational and our future! Believe in yourselves, take risks and be grateful for all your TJ experiences!-BOBBY KOO, '89

To infinity and beyond! Congrats, class of 2020!-ROSE ZU, '08

Congratulations to the Class of 2020! Thanks for making this Class of '05 graduate feel extremely old :). Obviously 2020 has been a year for the ages. However, based on the selfless, proactive passion for improving our world (that I see every day from young people like you), I have no doubt that our future is in good hands. Enjoy college and beyond, but never forget the memories made at TJHSST!-CHASE SMERDZINSKI, '05

Think creatively, think big. Don't be constrained by boxes. Work hard -- the easy path is often the wrong path. Congrats on completing the TJ experience!-JONATHAN PADEN, '97

Congrats to the class of 2020! I know this year may not be the graduation that you planned or hoped for, but I hope it will also be memorable for you in so many other ways. Go out into the world and do great things for yourself and for each other.

-MICHAEL JAY MANALO, '97

If you haven't picked it up yet, you should start reading audiobooks sped-up to 2.5-3x the speed with some way of taking notes while reading (taking notes makes retention much better-- on-par or better than visual reading). This is easily the most valuable piece of advice I could give a younger version of myself. You all are lucky that audiobook apps like Audible exist and are mainstream now-- I didn't have access to them roughly until after college and missed out on four+ years of value because of it...College is as much about networking as it is about learning. You should focus as much on forging deep connections with as many people as possible as you do on getting good grades. The people matter a lot because references is how you'll get most of your opportunities after graduating college, and because having a deep network of intelligent people will yield random serendipitous dividends all throughout your life. Grades matter because they help you get a good first job, which helps you get a good next gig etc. Things are very path-dependent so even though a lot of people laugh and say "oh lol I don't even remember what my GPA was ten years ago," they often fail to realize that without good grades they would never have been put on the path they're currently on because they wouldn't have been able to get their first gig. I had a lot of people telling me "grades don't matter"-- I believe this advice was misguided. Probably the thing that is least valuable, counter-intuitively, is the learning itself, since learning is commoditized and you can pick the stuff up either from reading on your own or from watching lectures online. The thing that isn't commoditized is the network (people) and the label (grades) so prioritize those (obviously while still trying to learn as much as possible, but just remember the other two things are more important). Also if you're not sure what to major in, computer science major with a math or applied math minor still seems like a great bet to me (make sure you learn probability and statistics, ideally take two classes on each topic). Anyway, if you ever need advice or whatever, feel free to email me: nba@alumni.princeton.edu. Best of luck to all of you.

-NADER AL-NAJI,'10

Congratulations! Keep dreaming big - you could be someone who changes the world, and the world needs more dreamers and thinkers like you!-JENNIFER GOODNIGHT, '05

Congratulations Class of 2020! I wish you all the very best as you head off to college during these very challenging times! TJ gave me many incredible friends to lean on during difficult times and I hope it has given you some wonderful friends and memories as well. Best of luck!-MICHELLE WALTERS, '94


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