EHHS Student Spotlight: Elena Tiptan & Dyanises Sanders

College and Career ReadinessRISE by 5 StrategiesStudent Voice and Success

The RISE Postsecondary Success team partners with CT high schools to ensure that all students graduate on time and complete milestones for their identified postsecondary plans. Throughout the month of June, we will be celebrating the accomplishments of graduating seniors in our core network schools. Their dedication, hard work, and resilience have led them to this important goal. Congratulations to the class of 2023!

Today, we are sharing an interview with Elena Tiptan (above, left) and Dyanises Sanders (above, right), from East Hartford High School.

What is your plan, after you graduate high school?

Elena: I will be attending UCONN, majoring in statistics and looking into a double major in public health. I first got interested in math and started thinking of a career in epidemiology during COVID. During my sophomore year, I took AP Stats and was able to see the real-world application of math (graphs and charts) that will forever be a part of history. I built a list and applied to 11 colleges. Originally, I hoped to go to a college in the Carolinas, where my grandparents live but decided that the financial aid package at UCONN was too good to pass up, especially as I would like to continue on to graduate school as well.

Dyanises: I will be attending the Morgan State University nursing program. I became interested in nursing after I did the CNA program at EHHS, which consists of two class periods a day and an end-of-the-year exam to receive my CNA certification. I also did fieldwork with a placement at Riverside Health and Rehabilitation. During these clinical days, I would need to be at the site from 7:30 – 8:45 a.m., before school, doing hands-on work with patients. This experience really increased my interest in the medical field and how I could continue beyond a CNA certification to the eventual goal of becoming an OBGYN. I also knew, since Grade 9, that I wanted to study at a four-year college, and in particular an HBCU.

Have you received any scholarships or special acknowledgments?

Elena: As Salutatorian of my class, I have earned the UCONN Merit Scholarship, which covers tuition for four years. I have also received some local and school-based scholarships from the East Hartford Woman’s Club, the CHET Merit Scholarship (CT State Scholarship), Rotary Club, and Lions Club. As a result, I am not paying tuition for the next four years.

Dyanises: I am receiving HBCU scholarships from EHHS (a fundraiser led by EHHS teachers to go to a student pursuing education at an HBCU), and I also received the School Counseling Department scholarship.

What support did you receive to help you form your postsecondary plan?

Elena: Our school counselors, including Ms. Johnson, were a huge help. She went through the Common App with students to help us with the process, helped review college essay drafts, and helped with scholarships. After I was admitted to several colleges, Ms. Johnson helped me weigh the pros and cons of each, helping me with the final decision of where to go. I can never thank the teachers and staff at EHHS enough, especially the senior team (Mr. Lavoie, Ms. Johnson, and my classroom teachers) for supporting me to keep going!

Dyanises: My family had familiarity with the process for college applications and FAFSA. Ms. Johnson, my school counselor, also helped with scholarships, applications, and orientation. Ms. Brown, the college and career coordinator, also helped with the college list. The school went to the HBCU fair, which was helpful for me to learn more about which HBCU would be the right fit for me. I also attended the EHHS Senior Signing Day.

What advice would you give to a rising senior?  What resources or support should they take advantage of?

Elena: My advice would be to create a new email address for Common App and scholarships, as trying to manage everything through one email was really challenging. Get as much done before school starts – getting the Common App done and a draft of your college essay will set you up for success. October comes around so quickly once you start school so having this done before school would be a big help, especially when applying early to colleges.

Dyanises: Be cautious of your senior year schedule, get help when you need it, and don’t struggle in silence.

What are you most proud of, as you look back on your high school experience?

Elena: I’m proud of my internal growth over the last four years. When I first started at EHHS, I used to stress over Grade 9, wanted only As, and didn’t want to ask for help. I started to note that my achievements weren’t less than if I asked for help. Lessening the pressure was helpful.

Dyanises: I’m proud of how far I have come with grades, accomplishing things I would not have expected.

What are you most looking forward to, as you look ahead to the future?

Elena: I’m looking forward to continuing learning. I love school and am looking forward to continuing past my undergraduate degree, as my current plan is to do a graduate degree. I feel that by learning, I will understand the world, and I look forward to that.

Dyanises: I am most looking forward to my future career goal as an OBGYN and meeting new people. I’m continuing to grow. I started as a seed, now I am a butterfly, looking forward to what’s next.

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