Refilwe Lauren Riba ’19 (South Africa) will pursue a Bachelor of Law at University of Cape Town after turning down offers from University of Kent, Newcastle University, City University of London, University of Leeds, and King's College London.
Fluent in English and Afrikaans and an advanced Italian speaker, Lauren excelled on eight Advanced Placement (AP) exams over the course of her final two years at TASIS—English Language and Composition, English Literature and Composition, US History, US Government and Politics, Statistics, Macroeconomics, Art History, and Italian Language and Culture—earning both an AP Scholar with Honor Award and an AP International Diploma.
Lauren feels that her four years as a scholar and a boarding student at TASIS have prepared her well for all aspects of university life. “TASIS has thoroughly prepared me to conquer the next chapter of my life,” she said. “My teachers helped me to push myself and discover a new level of work ethic. Furthermore, they encouraged me to think analytically and always look beyond the surface. The boarding life helped me learn how to properly manage all aspects of my life in a balanced manner. Not only does TASIS prepare you academically for college, but it also transforms you into a global citizen who is able to interact with people of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds.”
"Not only does TASIS prepare you academically for college, but it also transforms you into a global citizen who is able to interact with people of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds."
Lauren served as a Dorm Proctor for her final two years at TASIS and found this to be a particularly rewarding experience. “Proctorship allowed me to grow in ways that greatly impacted who I am today,” she said. “Being in a position where people are looking up to you and depending on you for advice required me to really examine myself and ensure that I was worth looking up to. It made me into a more responsible and thoughtful person. Additionally, I was able to truly connect with the TASIS community through the opportunity of proctorship. I became close to many dorm parents and fellow students, who were a great support.”
Lauren was more than an excellent student and an invaluable member of the boarding community. Her special gifts as a singer and musical theater actor were recognized in grand fashion at the 2019 Commencement Ceremony, where she received the highest honor accorded to a student musician: The Bertha Seifert Award for Excellence in Music. (She also performed several songs at the ceremony itself.) She credits Maestro di Canto Jonathan Morris “for developing me into the vocalist I am and for never giving up on me” and Performing Arts Department Chair Samantha Forrest “for guiding me all through my TASIS experience and being a constant voice of calm and support.”
Lauren cited several other faculty members as major influences:
- On English Teacher Carolyn Rosenberger: “She has a true passion and love for teaching that shines through during every lesson.”
- On English Department Chair Dr. Chris Love: “He taught me how to properly write an essay and taught me the value of trial and error.”
- On Learning Resource Center Assistant Jaclyn Campenni. “She was my dorm parent for the majority of my time at TASIS and truly became like family.”
- On IB Coordinator and UK University Counselor Howard Stickley: “He was instrumental in assisting me throughout the process of getting into university and was always readily available to discuss my options and answer my questions—I couldn’t be more grateful for his guidance, patience, and understanding.”
Studying and living with students from more than 60 nations throughout the course of her high school career had a profound impact on Lauren. “Being exposed to many different cultures has allowed me to realize that they can coexist and learn from one another in a peaceful, respectful manner,” she said. “This realization has been the most inspiring part of my time at TASIS, especially in today’s world that is so often plagued with hate and strife.”
While Lauren notes that she won’t soon forget “the Collina d’Oro and its wonderful sunsets and sunrises,” it is the relationships she’s built that have left an indelible mark. “Most of all I am going to miss the community that truly felt like a second family,” she said. “A school like TASIS is very hard to find, and I couldn’t be happier to have been blessed with the opportunity to spend four years here.”