Stephanie Manivanh has never been this excited about starting school in the fall.
That’s not a reflection on her current job as a lifeguard at the Riverfront YMCA, but rather an indication of where she will spend the next four years of her life.
Manivanh is bound for Harvard University this fall as she prepares for life after graduating from Roosevelt High School and working at the Riverfront Y for the past 18 months. As a lifeguard, Manivanh has spent several hours each week in the lifeguard chair watching over swimmers of all ages and expertise.
“I’ve gotten to meet a lot of new people since I started here,” she said, “but fortunately I haven’t had to go into the pool and rescue someone. I’ve heard though, that might change as my supervisor is going to stage a lifeguard drill my last week of work.
“That’s something I’m not really looking forward to.”
Based on her performance in and outside the pool, it is likely Manivanh will excel in that area as well. A member of the Roosevelt swim team, she said she wasn’t planning to apply to Harvard. But at the urging of her parents, she decided to give it a shot.
“I was really focused on other schools, but a few weeks prior to the deadline, I decided to apply and see what happened,” Manivanh said. “By the time I got my acceptance letter I was really serious about attending Harvard.”
Manivanh is undecided about her major at Harvard – she’s split between pre-med and economics – but the one thing she is really looking forward to is getting involved in some extra-curricular activities including continuing with her swimming and possibly joining the fencing club.
And while she is excited about what lies ahead for her, Manivanh says she will miss Des Moines and her lifeguard duties at the Riverfront Y.
“I will miss the people here,” she said. “I have become really good friends with the other lifeguards and I’m looking forward to coming back home and seeing them.”