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Ivan Mejia

Special Advertorial Health Section

The Roxbury Latin School
Ivan Mejia
Ivan Mejia (Photo: Photo by Mike Pojman)

During the summer after his sophomore year at The Roxbury Latin School, Ivan Mejia of Roxbury took a chance and traveled to Cadiz, Spain, with 15 of his classmates to take part in the school-sponsored, month-long immersion trip. A culminating experience open to all boys who have completed their second or third year of Spanish, the immersion trip proved to be a transformative experience for Ivan. “I traveled halfway around the world and lived with a family whom I had never met before“ Ivan recalls. “I matured a lot during my time in Spain and grew even closer to my classmates.”

This opportunity was just one of the many that Ivan has taken advantage of while at Roxbury Latin, a small school of 300 boys located in West Roxbury (an easy 10-minute commute from Forest Hills). Roxbury Latin’s mission, as stated by its founder, John Eliot, in 1645, is “to fit boys for service in church and commonwealth” or as the school defines today, “to lead and serve.”

Even though Roxbury Latin does not describe itself as a college preparatory school, 100% of its graduates go on to impressive colleges, due to a rigorous academic program that challenges boys to think deeply about the material they are studying and to use that knowledge to make a difference in this world. Beyond the classroom, boys get involved in a number of extracurricular activities, including sports, music, drama, community service, public speaking, debate, Model United Nations, and student publications. Whether in the classroom or on the playing fields, boys strive for excellence in all that they do, and are encouraged, supported, and nurtured by an advisor—each boy has an adult in the community with whom he meets weekly—and the many other adults (teachers, coaches, extracurricular advisors) that work with a boy in this intimate community.

In fact, Ivan credits the school’s intimacy with helping him transition to Roxbury Latin from Nativity Preparatory School (a tuition free, Jesuit middle school for boys located in Jamaica Plain) during his first year. “My teachers encouraged me to ask for help,” notes Ivan, “and slowly I gained the confidence I needed to be successful in many areas of school life.” Since his arrival in 9th grade, Ivan has challenged himself with a demanding course load, which this year includes AP Statistics and AP Spanish. AP Statistics is his favorite course because, he notes, “It is exciting to see the connection between the material that we are studying and the real world.”

Ivan has also enjoyed being a part of numerous teams and extracurricular activities at Roxbury Latin. He has made a strong contribution to the basketball program during his three years at the school, serving as a captain of his junior varsity basketball team last winter and aiming to make a meaningful contribution to the varsity team this winter. In addition, as a discus and javelin thrower for the varsity track and field team (which won the New England Class C hampionship for the fifth straight year this past spring), Ivan is poised to have success in his fourth and final season with the team.

Ivan admits that “making mistakes” either in academics or athletics has been critical to his success at Roxbury Latin. “It doesn’t matter that you make mistakes. What matters is what you do after you make those mistakes,” he reflects. In Ivan’s case, he feels that the mistakes he has made at Roxbury Latin drive him to take advantage of every opportunity that comes his way. That is why he took a chance and traveled to Spain for the immersion trip, tried new sports (football and track and field), and became involved with community service opportunities at Roxbury Latin, such as Habitat for Humanity (building houses for those in need) and Connected Living (teaching senior citizens basic computer skills). Risking new endeavors, Ivan believes that he has become a better student, athlete, leader, and, most importantly, a better person.

Ivan sees learning from his mistakes as fundamental to the learning environment at Roxbury Latin, an admission that would make the founder, John Eliot, proud. Ivan notes, “My teachers at Roxbury Latin constantly remind me that they care most of all about what kind of a person I am.” Ivan’s performance in his classes and in a broad array of extracurricular activities has been an important part of his education at Roxbury Latin, but it is the molding of Ivan as a person for which he is most thankful and will long remember after he graduates next June.

Ivan is one of 300 motivated, reflective, selfless, talented boys who make Roxbury Latin a distinctive community. They come from all over Boston to prepare for the opportunities and challenges of life in and out of the classroom. If you would like to learn more about Roxbury Latin, please visit their website (www.roxburylatin.org), email the admission office at admission@roxburylatin.org, or call the office at 617.477.6317.