School News

How This Maharishi School Student Does It All

An Interview with Avery Travis

By Christine Albers, from TM Magazine Issue 17

What does it take to be a National Merit Finalist, have a perfect grade point average of 4.0, and score in the 99th percentile on the SAT and ACT—all while participating in international and state competitions, varsity volleyball, and studying art to a fine level of accomplishment?

Avery Travis, a student at Maharishi School since she was three years old, is all that and more. In the following interview, she comments on her many areas of success, and how her daily practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique has kept her feeling balanced and happy.

Christine Albers: You are an exceptionally busy person. How do you do it all?

Avery Travis: Sometimes I ask myself the same question! I think the key is that I love everything I’m doing, so it’s never a drag to, say, get to rehearsal at nine o’clock on a Saturday morning. With my packed schedule I am under a lot of time crunch, and even though I love every minute there is a certain amount of stress that comes with it. TM helps release the stress so I can continue enjoying everything I do.

Christine: What else do you notice from your daily TM practice?

Avery: For me, a good meditation means a good day. You know, sometimes you have days in which everything seems to go right? TM gives me that feeling all the time—not because everything is necessarily going perfectly, but because if something goes wrong, my world isn’t over. I can handle it, and I can move on.

Christine: What is your most prized accomplishment?

Avery: Each year I’ve been participating in Destination Imagination (DI), an international creative problem-solving competition. A few years ago, I was on a team with other sophomores and some freshmen, so we were a very young team compared to the rest of the high school division. Despite that apparent disadvantage, my team ended up placing seventh in the world at the Global Finals competition, the highest I’ve ever placed. My teammates and I had been working on our solution for about six months by that time, and seeing our hard work pay off... it was incredible.

Christine: What’s your favorite extracurricular activity and why?

Avery: I would have to say it’s a tie between Speech and DI. Speech is all about the performance, and I love being on stage, so of course that program is one of my favorites. The end result of a year in DI is also a performance, but the real focus is on the process, the brainstorming and problem solving that leads us to our solution. It requires a range of skills, from writing to engineering to art, so I love it because it involves so many sides of me.

Christine: How has TM helped you in these activities?

Avery: In both of these programs, Maharishi School is one of the smallest schools competing, but we are also one of the best. In the state speech competition, for instance, there are three schools that dominate the competition. Two are the biggest high schools in the state, and the other is little Maharishi School. Similarly, at the DI state competition we regularly bring home a quarter to half of the first place medals. Why do we do so well? I feel that it’s Transcendental Meditation. It really does help kids be more creative, bright, and coherent, and the audience picks up on that.

Christine: I hear the Maharishi School girls meditate on the bus on the way to competitions, and before competing. If it’s time to meditate during meetings, all the girls on the team stop and meditate. Is that true?

Avery: My team would never think of missing a meditation at competition. It might sound impossible to sit quietly together and meditate right before the awards ceremony at which we find out if we’re competing at Global Finals, but in fact that’s one of my favorite times to meditate. I can’t speak directly for the other girls, but they seem to enjoy it as much as I do.

Christine: Are you regular with your meditation?

Avery: I do my best to be regular, but there are times when rehearsals make it hard, or I just feel contrary and I choose not to. I always regret it. If I miss one—or more—I see the effects right away. I feel more tired, I can’t focus for as long, and sometimes I even get mad at my friends.

Christine: What do you feel you have gained from attending Maharishi School that you will take with you when you graduate?

Avery: I’ve made some really close friends and learned a lot about the world, but I think the most important thing is what I have learned about myself. I feel like I have a very strong foundation on which I can build the rest of my life.

Christine: Why would you recommend Maharishi School to kids around the world?

Avery: It’s like a family. I don’t know if it’s TM or the small classes or what, but the girls in my class are like sisters to me. Like siblings, we may not always get along, but underneath all of that we all care for each other. I’ve been here my entire life, and I am always shocked to hear stories of the bullying and violence that plague most every other high school in the country, because that has never been my experience.

Christine: Any plans for graduate school?

Avery: Yes. I want to be a teacher so I want to get my master’s degree in education from MUM. I'm interested in Consciousness-Based Education because I believe it is more effective than traditional paradigms, and it aligns with my idea of ideal education. After that I may very well end up teaching at Maharishi School.

Christine: Thanks, Avery. We look forward to the day when you join the other Maharishi School alumni who wanted to give back to the school and returned to teach. In the meantime, we wish you great success and happiness in pursuing your education.

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