August 16, 2021 - Academically ranked third in the Canyon High School Class of 2021, Ava Robillard is Ivy League bound and pursuing her passion to study plant biology at Cornell University. As she prepares to leave home, she shared her thoughts about high school and how pursuing her passions lead her to her next adventure.
Robillard, 18, and her classmates didn’t have a normal end to their high school careers with their junior year cut short by COVID-19, and their graduation ceremony cut short by a rainstorm. In fact, Robillard was unable to share her closing remarks which she had prepared for the ceremony, but even this disappoint was taken in stride.
“The rain at the end was just fitting,” Robillard said. “It was fun and memorable. We had such a crazy shift in everything as juniors, but it made us appreciate every experience afterwards so much more. We had a pretty normal senior year in the spring, but ‘normal’ did not feel ‘normal,’ it felt 10-times better. We were so excited to do the normal things again.”
These are the same sentiments she wanted to share with her classmates and family members, writing, “We have the unique opportunity to go about life, loving and appreciating every little moment, because we know that the value of each of them is immeasurable. In our futures, we must remember that all of our biggest accomplishments will be the results of an accumulation of a ton of tiny moments, just like tonight, right now.”
Looking back on her time as a student in Comal ISD, Robillard, who attended Comal Elementary, Garden Ridge Elementary and Canyon Middle, says she will miss Friday night football games and the sense of community she has felt, especially when everyone came together to celebrate victories.
A member of the CHS cross country team, she encourages every student to find their passion and get involved in campus activities whether it be sports, clubs or student organizations.
“I think it is important to explore a lot, especially as a freshman and sophomore. Meet new people and try all the clubs and sports. Attend the meetings to see what they have to offer and then narrow it down to what you really want to do. This is part of being in high school. It is having the whole experience instead of just going to school for classes.”
As someone who found her passion early, Robillard began researching colleges that offered a major in plant biology and conservation a few years ago. She would like to eventually earn her doctorate degree and lead research expeditions studying climate change and discovering plants. Cornell not only offered the botany as a major but also offered a variety of concentrations from which to choose. With a goal in mind, she worked to make her dream come true, taking classes that would help her reach her goal and finding a job at a local plant nursery to pursue her passion.
“Cornell was an all-around good fit for me, so I knew in my sophomore year that it is where I wanted to go. Having a vision and a goal made high school easier because everything I did had a purpose. I applied to other schools as well.”
Robillard’s biggest piece of advice to other students is to pursue a passion, no matter what that may be.
“Someone told me that colleges are not looking for your typical class president and all ‘A’ cookie-cutter student, they are looking for their puzzle-piece. It made it easier for me to do what I was actually passionate about doing.
“As long as you are doing what you love, and it is what you genuinely like to do then they will see that. You never know which college will want you, but you don’t have to change for them.”