Several years ago, Roma and Abhi Sur made what they considered to be a wise plan for their son’s future education. They bought a house within walking distance of one of the best public high schools in the metro area. But, as Roma says with a laugh, “Life is what happens while you are making other plans.”
Today, instead of walking to his neighborhood school, Tuhin Sur is a Ninth Grader at Colorado Academy.
“We feel blessed that he was accepted,” says Abhi.
The change in plans started with a family friend suggesting that the Sur family take a look at CA. They thought the school would present an impractical commute, but out of curiosity, they decided to attend an Admission Preview event.
“I came to CA, and it reminded me of a prestigious university campus,” Roma says. “When I heard the student panelists speak, it was such a wide range of intelligent students who could process their thoughts so well. At that moment, I was already envisioning Tuhin at CA.”
Roma and Abhi were impressed by the Anderson Innovation Lab in the Upper School. Tuhin’s parents also liked CA’s long history and many traditions. Abhi was very pleased to see that the ratio of students to teachers was small, so that his son would be able to follow what he calls “the path of discovery to education.” And he was struck by his first meeting with Head of School Dr. Mike Davis.
“I felt like Dr. Davis was not just talking the talk, but he would also walk the walk,” Abhi says. “He has a rich academic background, but he is very humble. I felt I could put my son in his care and know he is in safe hands.”
But Abhi and Roma don’t make decisions based on first impressions. They did their homework. The family attended SPEAK lectures and brought Tuhin with them to hear Margot Lee Shetterly, the author of Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race. Roma investigated CA’s arts offerings, because Tuhin enjoys painting and sculpting, and she made sure that her son would have an opportunity to continue studying and playing the violin. Abhi talked with teachers to learn more about math competitions and computer science classes. “It was reassuring,” he says. “I knew that Tuhin would always feel challenged.”
‘I can make new friends’
Still, there was the matter of that commute from their home, which might have seemed a hurdle, until Abhi and Roma learned that CA runs a bus route to the area where they live. The bus would pick up Tuhin just 10 minutes from their house.
“It felt like with the many bus routes, the school is catering to people living in a variety of different places,” Roma says. “The buses bring a diverse community of students from all around the metro area.”
Roma and Abhi knew where they wanted their son to attend high school, but Tuhin had his own plan. What mattered to him was sticking with his middle school friends who would be attending the neighborhood school. Tuhin’s parents were careful to keep their bias in this decision quiet, until Tuhin had a chance to shadow at CA. He came home at the end of the day, and, to his parents’ delight, announced, “At CA, I can make new friends.”
What impressed Tuhin on his first visit? Everything at CA, but in particular the Admission Office’s willingness to honor his request to talk with then-Senior Cooper Kofron, who had impressed Abhi when he presented a math and physics project during the Admission Preview. Knowing Tuhin’s interest in violin, the Admission Office had also arranged for him to meet the violin teacher.
“We have never seen such personal touches in an admission process,” says Roma. “CA goes the extra mile to accommodate a student’s interests. Tuhin felt special.”
Once he made up his mind, Tuhin did his own homework. He wanted to feel he had earned acceptance to CA. So while the family made a pre-pandemic trip to India to visit family, he got up at 6 a.m. every morning to study for CA’s admission exam. Today, as a Freshman at CA, his parents say he has a long list of things he likes about school, including “every single teacher.” Encouraged by Director of Inclusivity Sarah Wright, Tuhin also presented at PlatFORUM, CA’s annual day for student-led discussion about topics related to diversity, social justice, equity, and inclusion. His parents say he has made new friends in several groups, including on the tennis team and in student government. Abhi and Roma say they have also enjoyed making new friends at socially distanced outdoor events for parents.
The Sur family started with one plan for high school, and today they have a very different plan. Still, the entire family agrees that making an unexpected change to come to CA was “the right decision, 100 percent.”
“When you go to a new school, you have to make a strong emotional connection,” Roma says. “You have to feel, ‘This is where I want to be. And that is what has happened.’”