Studying at Yale a dream come true for Monge Kaser
MAHINAHINA — Samantha Monge Kaser is fulfilling a dream by heading to Yale University to study in one of its most esteemed programs: political science.
The West Maui resident on May 29 graduated from Seabury Hall as class valedictorian.
Monge Kaser, 18, was also valedictorian at Sacred Hearts School in Lahaina in 2006.
In high school, Monge Kaser said she focused on learning and doing her personal best — not graduating at the top of her class.
“There were long nights of homework and studying and a lot of patience. But what I think really helped me is the support I got from my family, friends and Seabury community, as well as my passion for learning. When you enjoy something, it is much easier to do it well,” she explained.
Monge Kaser loves Yale. Before college even begins, the thought of leaving in four years is saddening.
“It is a place where you can get a top-rate education and top-rate opportunities. Yale knows the importance of balance in life, and it provides for its students intellectual development — as well as development in other fields — and an exciting, comfortable, healthy and educational everyday life,” she noted.
“The students at Yale are so talented in many areas other than just academics that I question my own acceptance at times. I am in love with my future classmates as much as I am with the school. Visiting Yale for ‘Bull Dog Days,’ I realized that I would be surrounded by humble, down-to-earth, brilliant people, and that is what really assured me Yale was my dream school.”
She will double major in political science with a concentration on international affairs and international studies with a concentration on Latin America.
Monge Kaser hopes to write for one or more of the publications at Yale, so that she will have the option of working as a journalist at some point.
At Seabury Hall, she enjoyed learning math and history — particularly European history — and fostered passions in design and philosophy.
Outside of the classroom, she enjoys basketball, doing volunteer work, traveling to new places and art.
“Art is one of my biggest interests. I love the freedom that it gives me and the ability to create, particularly in the field of design,” she said.
Seabury Hall helped Monge Kaser grow as a student and as a person. She said that “the levels at which I can perform academically today and those before I entered high school are incomparable.”
“Seabury also offered me many opportunities to develop in other areas, such as sports, art, leadership and volunteer work. I thank Seabury for helping me grow as a well-rounded individual that knows how to interact with society — something that I think is beneficial today and will continue to be in the future.”
Monge Kaser is the daughter of Mauro Monge. She lives in Mahinahina with her mother, Marcela Ensminger; stepfather Dennis Ensminger; and her brother, Aaron.
Dennis is very proud of Samantha.
“If you were to ask me what made Samantha who she is today, I would have to say it is a combination of… support of family; hard, tenaciously focused work ethic; and a whole lot of love,” he told the Lahaina News.
“The world is waiting for you. So all I can say is, ‘Look out world — here she comes!’”
Samantha will miss Maui and its people while studying in New Haven, Connecticut, and moving through the next phase of her life.
“What is not to miss about West Maui? I will miss the beautiful land, the weather, but most of all the people. I am so accustomed to living in a tight community where I know pretty much everyone and where everyone is kind and approachable. Not to say the people in New Haven will not be the same way, but it is hard to compare to a Lahaina community,” she commented.
“West Maui has given me many happy memories, and I am going to miss walking into the Barnes and Noble Café and talking to everyone, among many other day-to-day experiences.”