Meet Samantha Merrill

Samantha Merrill.

A 2010 graduate of Randolph Union High School, Sam lives in Goleta, California, where she recently graduated from Westmont College. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Art, and is now an Art teacher at Dos Pueblos High School in Santa Barbara.  

"Randolph Union High School was the runway that allowed me take off into the flight which has become my life. I mean this both literally and metaphorically. It exposed me to, and increased my interest in, other cultures. Starting in seventh grade, I was introduced to the Shizukuishi Exchange program through the Junior High School. I was selected to travel to Japan when I was in eighth grade, and we spent 10 days traveling throughout the country and living with host families. In turn, I have hosted Japanese students and teachers numerous times.

"During my junior year, my family hosted a student from Norway through the Rotary Exchange Program, and a year later, another student from Thailand. I also became such good friends with a German exchange student who was spending a year at our school that I traveled to Germany for a few weeks the following summer to visit her.

"During my senior year I attended the Vermont Academy of Science and Technology (VAST), a program of study at Vermont Technical College that allows local seniors to take their freshman year of college in their senior year. It was during my year at VAST that I took a course called “European Seminar” that enabled me to travel to Italy. At the same time, I maintained my connection with RUHS, completing my senior project and participating on the Lacrosse team. Because of that “dual citizenship” in both schools, I was able to earn two high school diplomas, one from VAST, and the other from RUHS.

"I graduated from Westmont College in 2014, where I majored in Studio Art. Through my travels and study of other cultures, I can now see more clearly how I am only one of God’s seven billion children. And I am one hundred percent certain that had it not been for the travel and cultural experiences I had throughout high school –and the confidence they helped me develop – I would not have been able to make the leap from the east coast town I grew up in to a west coast city 3,000 miles away."