Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) recently asked Aldo Aragon, a Class of 2020 graduate of Arsenal Technical High School and a rising senior in the Harvard University Class of 2024, about his life experiences. He discusses everything from his influences during high school to taking classes on one of America’s most prestigious college campuses.
Note: Aragon was known as Medina until just recently. He had his name changed to honor his grandmother.
Read his Harvard profile here.
- You were born in New York but then moved to Indianapolis to attend Arsenal Tech. What was that like?
- One adjustment from the nation’s largest city to the Midwest involved choosing a secondary school for me to attend. Although I considered a variety of options, including public, charter, and even boarding school at one point, I ultimately chose to enroll at IPS and specifically at Arsenal Technical in downtown Indianapolis for the entirety of my four years of high school.
- What Arsenal Tech class and teacher had the biggest impact on you and why?
- By far, the person in IPS who had the biggest impact on me by far must be Karen Markman, who taught and led Arsenal Tech’s law and public policy program before her retirement in 2019.
- My decision to enroll and stay in Indianapolis Public Schools, as opposed to a less urban option, allowed me to ‘grow personally and contributed to a depth of experience that other academically superior students are not often able to acquire. Because of my enrollment in the law and public policy program led by Mrs. Markman at Tech and at IPS, I developed varied friendships with all types of people, from all backgrounds. I still keep in touch with many of my peers from the program.
- How impactful was your time at Tech and IPS?
- My time as an IPS student allowed me to develop a sincere interest in public service. I was a student advisory board member for Superintendent Johnson. The policy and advisory skills I learned on 120 East Walnut translated well into similar work at the Indiana Statehouse during my senior year of high school and then eventually, an internship at the United States Senate during college.
- My interest in law and public policy, cultivated in part at Tech and at IPS, has persisted throughout college; I’ve studied with various law professors from Harvard and Yale, was an on-campus finalist for the Truman, a nationally prominent public service fellowship, and even interned for the Southern District of New York last summer.
- Why did you select Harvard?
- I chose Harvard because, like New York City and Indianapolis Public Schools, there is diversity of experience and thought. I am friends with students from a variety of social classes, ethnic identities, ideological traditions, and geographic backgrounds here. Being farther away from Indiana during the school year is tough, admittedly, but I still make time every year to return to the Indiana State Fair, where I’ve been a funnel cake flipper since my sophomore year of high school!
- What is next for you?
- Last summer, I continued cultivating a potential public service career trajectory that began at Arsenal Technical vis-a-vis a summer judicial internship at the Southern District of New York, back in my hometown. I’m exploring a variety of options once I graduate, ranging from the private sector to the U.S. military, to law school.
- However, I cannot predict what the future holds, and so my personal philosophy regarding college is to remain open to the many opportunities that may arise, including those that I may not have previously considered. I know the education I received not only at Harvard, but especially at IPS, will allow me to meet those opportunities and challenges head-on.