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Meet HighScope Hero

Meet HighScope Hero


“Living a HighScope Inspired Life”

2020 Pace University Graduate
Keansburg, New Jersey

This year has been one of extraordinary achievement for HighScope alumna Alexa DeAnna. In addition to being honored as a HighScope 50th Anniversary Hero, she was also awarded a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from New York’s Pace University/Dyson College of Arts and Sciences. Ambitious and dedicated, this 22-year-old is on a fast track to realizing her goal of becoming a physician.

Alexa credits her days as a preschool student at the Keansburg Preschool, located in the small New Jersey coastal town of Keansburg, for helping her chart a career path. Keansburg Preschool utilizes the HighScope Curriculum and principles of active learning to support its students’ development throughout their education and into adulthood.

Alexa, who is a talented singer and performer, explains that her original dream was to move to New York City to study music and theater. After being denied entry into the undergraduate performing arts programs, Alexa turned to the HighScope principles she learned in preschool to help her formulate a new plan. She remembers, “HighScope taught me that when something doesn’t go my way, that you don’t get discouraged. You problem-solve. Think outside of the box.” So, Alexa turned to another one of her interests and a subject in which she also excelled: science. “A career in medicine perfectly melded my love for science and my passion for volunteering and giving back,” she says.HighScope Hero Alexa Deanna with students

Last summer, Alexa participated in an internship with Global Medical Brigades in rural Panama where she spent a week volunteering in a clinic that serviced 1,000 children and adults from the community. “Some people walked three hours to see a doctor,” says Alexa. “I was able to support their health and well-being, as well as make deep human connections. This experience solidified my love for medicine. It was incredible,” says Alexa.

Alexa was nominated to be a HighScope Hero by her two Keansburg pre-K teachers, Gina Sinatra and Cheryl Ahrens, who said, “Alexa started in the program at three years old and we always knew she would make a difference! She has embodied the HighScope method and is still raising the bar on what she can achieve.”

Growing up in a small town like Keansburg allowed Alexa to develop strong and enduring ties with her HighScope-trained preschool teachers. “Not many people keep in contact with their pre-K teachers,” says Alexa. “It’s so amazing to keep these ties. Cheryl and Gina were my first role models — instilling in me the values of giving back and being kind.”

Gina Sinatra also recalls, “Alexa was such a memorable student. Creative and imaginative. During playtime, she would dress up like a doctor. Now, she is realizing her dream.  I’m so proud of her.”

Today, Alexa is busy applying to medical schools for enrollment in September 2021, and she recently landed an exciting new job as Office Coordinator in the department of surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. While Alexa is evaluating her options for a future medical specialty, she says that the onset of COVID-19 and its implications for the public health system have inspired her to consider a career as an infectious disease doctor.

HighScope Hero Alexa DeAnna is a shining example of the HighScope approach at its best, and she is destined to make a profound impact on the world.