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When DeeAnn Brewer '89 applied to Harvard last January, she was the first student from Holyoke High School in tiny Holyoke, Colo., to vie for entry into an Ivy League School. Neither she nor her school counselor had ever heard of Achievement Tests.
"Half my graduating class of 35 people went to local colleges, and the other half got married and took over their parents' farms," Brewer says.
The Colorado native is just one of nearly 1600 students who have told Harvard they'll be moving in come September. The Class of '89 will gravitate to Cambridge from all 50 states and as many foreign countries to take their best shot at the Harvard experience."
And, as admissions officers in Byerly Hall have promised, the incoming freshman class will represent a wide range of interests and achievements. Diversity is, after all, the name of the game at Harvard.
"I'm looking forward to meeting people who are really interested in education and people from different cultures," Brewer says.
When she leaves her agricultural hometown near the Colorado-Nebraska border, Brewer says she'll be looking forward to "living in the city for the first time." Having passed up offers of admission from the University of Denver, Yale and Columbia, Brewer hopes to study either Psychology or English during her four years in Cambridge.
Yale also got a thumbs-down from Susan N. Dekle '89, whose twin sister will attend the New Haven school. "People think it's funny that we're going to rival schools," says the Savannah, Ga. native. "We visited the Harvard campus, and I fell in love with Cambridge and Boston--Harvard's atmosphere is better than Yale's atmosphere."
Dekle, who danced with a professional ballet troupe during high school, says she "can't wait to perform at Harvard."
Like many incoming freshmen, however, the Southerner says she has some fears. "I'm not very good with cold weather, but I figure I can get a lot of leg warmers."
Dekle, who went to an all-girls Catholic high school, adds that she hopes to major in Biochemistry and to perform in musicals while at Harvard. "You know you can't go wrong with a Harvard education," she says.
The Georgia native will find she has a lot in common with one of her classmates from across the country. Ellen R. Pinchuk '89, who comes to Harvard from the Westlake School in Los Angeles, also decided not to go to Yale. And, like Dekle, Pinchuk says people have warned her about New England winters.
"When I tell people where I'm going to college, they first say, 'Oh, that's good,' then they say, 'You're gonna freeze your butt off,'" says Pinchuk. "But I think I was meant to be an Easterner."
The Californian was accepted early action at Harvard and says she can't wait to head to Cambridge. "It was going to be Yale early action, but I Yale and was so disappointed. I saw Harvard and loved it." She has already begun deciding which freshman seminars she'll try to take.
Pinchuk, whose high school was all girls, says she's looking forward to coeducation. "A family friend tried to get me to apply to Smith, and I said, 'I'm sorry, but after six years, that's it for all-girls schools.'"
"It might be hard to be so far from home--I'm very close to my family," she adds. While at Harvard, Pinchuk hopes to continue working in drama and with social service organizations like the Phillips Brooks House. She says she expects to concentrate in Government.
Joseph M. Harvey '89 says Harvard's "reputation and tradition" led him to accept Byerly Hall's offer of admission. "It seemed like a school with a lot of pride, like my high school," the Joliet, III, native says.
Harvey, who has never been east of Cincinnati, says he has no fears about spending four years in New England. "I kind of applied blindly--I'm looking forward to a different part of the country."
Harvey says Harvard alumni in Joliet, an industrial town in the midst of Illinois farmland about 40 miles south of Chicago, dispelled early fears about Harvard's "bad name."
The class valedictorian at the all-boys Joliet Catholic High School passed up offers from Stanford, Northwestern, Johns Hopkins and MIT to come to Harvard. He says he hopes to row crew and concentrate in Engineering or Government.
Like Harvey, fellow Illinois native James E. Golen '89 says he was initially attracted to Harvard because of "the name." And since he was accepted early action, Golen's friends have capitalized on the Harvard reputation.
"Since I got in I've been given a 'Harvard--the Michigan of the East' shirt and a 'Harvard--the Vanderbilt of the North t-shirt," the Highland Park native says.
Golen says he hopes to cox for Harvard crew, although his concentration plans remain up in the air. "Every time I try a new course, I like it, so I don't want to commit myself too early."
The former editor of the Highland Park High School literary magazine says he is looking forward to taking a variety of courses and skipping down to New York City for a weekend or two.
Until he heads east, Golen will continue his job as a vendor at Chicago White Sox and Cubs games. He says he has no fears or inhibitions about making the 1000-mile trek come September.
A member of the Class of '89 whose journey to Cambridge will take a little longer is Walter Kohl '89, who will fly in from Bonn, West Germany. Kohl, the son of West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, could not be reached to discuss his future Harvard career.
According to the Byerly Hall grapevine, Kohl is not the only illustrious member of the incoming freshman class. But don't sit on the edge of your seat until September wondering who your other famous classmates are. When you get here, you'll probably find that you're sharing a bathroom with them.
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