For the Select Few

Next year, NA seniors who gain admission to the country’s top schools will enjoy a preparatory suite on the northeast corner of the third floor.


photo by D. Crickets

As it resides at the highest point of the corner of the building facing the Ivy League schools of New England, the NASH Social Studies office will be renovated to welcome a new tenant, the AEC.

Kristen Kinzler, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Next school year, students who have the desire to see and experience the top college campuses in America may have to look no farther than the third floor of NASH. The Alumni of Elite Colleges (AEC) chapter of Pittsburgh recently announced that it would be donating a grant to North Allegheny to cover the expenses of creating a college prep program.

The catch? The program will only be available to seniors who have already been accepted into the most competitive schools in the country.

“We initially only wanted the program to be available to Ivy League-bound students, but we would never want to come off as pretentious or exclusive,” AEC co-chair and donor Steven Richenson said. “That’s why we reluctantly decided to expand the accepted schools list to include MIT, Caltech, Stanford, and, eventually, the University of Chicago.”

When establishing the requirements for the program, the AEC thought about taking other factors under consideration but ultimately decided that college acceptance was just far too important.

“I feel that we, as alumni of these institutions, have the responsibility to maintain the integrity of truly elite higher education,” Richenson said. “Anyone can have a high grade point average. Anyone can be in ten different clubs. What really sets a student apart from the rest is their ability to succeed, and nothing proves success better than an acceptance letter from an elite college or university.”

Once they join the program, students will have access to the soon-to-be exclusive northeast portion of the third floor. Behind what will most likely be velvet ropes will be a university-standard library, replicas of famous marble statues, an exclusive mini dining hall, and large wooden tables to be used for group seminars and discussions.

The goal is to mimic the experience of attending a top institution in order to help students with their college transition. It will be the first project of its kind in the contiguous United States.

“It’s really a revolutionary endeavor, as far as tying together secondary and higher education,” Richenson explained. “It’s incredibly important to me that superior young people are as prepared for the next chapter in their lives as possible. I mean, these extraordinary individuals are going to change the world. They should have the best resources at their fingertips.”

Pullquote Photo

It’s really a revolutionary endeavor, as far as tying together secondary and higher education.”

— Steven Richenson, AEC Co-Chair

Students in the program will also be given a hall pass that will allow them to leave their classes at any point to go visit the program.

“I think that will be really beneficial, because, at this point, I don’t need my classes at NASH that much anymore. They’re not going to help me at Princeton, but I do crave exposure to the kind of lifestyle I’ll have in less than six months,” senior Joe Stallard said.

One of the main challenges of the program is how much space it will take up. The AEC insisted that the structure be designed in the northeast portion of the third floor, as it is the highest point in the school and the closest to the university the organization holds dearest to its heart– Harvard. The space will be distinguishable from that exterior of the building, as it will have the organization’s bronze crest displayed on the outer brick walls.

Richenson told North Allegheny that not having it in this location would be a dealbreaker. However, that part of the building is currently inhabited by the Social Studies Department, which is rather disappointed in the district’s plans.

“We need space to have meetings, plan the curriculum, and grade papers,” AP Economics teacher and Social Studies Chairperson Ms. Keats said. “I didn’t think a club would get priority over an actual academic department, but I suppose the organization was just offering the school too much money to turn down. It’s concerning, to say the least.”

As community members take in the news, initial reactions are mixed. Many parents, however, think the program is a necessary addition to NASH.

“My four eldest sons have all attended either Yale or Brown, and my youngest will be attending Columbia next year. I’ve seen how hard the transition can be for some of these kids. Providing students with advanced courses and personal laptops isn’t enough anymore. If North Allegheny wants its top students to feel comfortable at college, this is a step in the right direction,” NA parent Abby Kleinhaus said.

Some students are concerned about the implications such a program would have on the school’s culture.

“I can’t be the only person thinking this is crazy. I’m literally going to Georgetown, and you’re telling me I wouldn’t be able to join a club for elite students?” senior Julia Vandenberg said.

But certain students are already excited to apply.

“I’m applying Early Action to every Ivy League school, so I’m really looking forward to joining. I imagine it will be an extremely gratifying experience,” junior Rachel Hinsen said.

Construction for the AEC prep program is expected to begin this summer, and applications to join the organization will be open in December of the 2021-2022 school year, just as early college acceptance decisions are released.


Note: As the dateline indicates, this article is an April Fools prank.  It is entirely fictitious.