Noah Kalishman ’17: A High School Experience That Was Anything But Typical

Attending University of Michigan

During his time at St. Paul’s Noah was a member of the Cum Laude Society, Model UN, National Spanish Honor Society and Spanish Club. He was the Co-founder of the Jewish Club. Noah was also a varsity wrestler who was named to the Maryland All-Academic Wrestling 1st Team. Noah attends Michigan State University. He shared this about his time at St. Paul’s:

As a semi observant Jewish boy, the idea of coming to St. Paul’s seemed truly foreign to me. Additionally, my family had moved to our current house for the public schools, so it is safe to say that I had never envisioned myself as a St. Paul’s student.

The first time I stepped onto campus, it was a gray day in the middle of December of my eighth grade year, and I was on campus for a wrestling practice. The drive was long, and I didn’t see much of the campus, but I did see that the school was all boys fifth grade and up. From that point on, even though I was set on going to the local public school, St. Paul’s was crossed off of my list. When I was presented with the opportunity late in my eighth grade year to apply and shadow at St. Paul’s, I reluctantly took the opportunity. I loved it and never looked back.

The beginning of my Freshman year was filled with excitement and adjusting to a new setting. I think I knew about two other freshmen coming in and had gone to a different school than every other kid in the class, so there was plenty of new stuff to adjust to. In early December, I sustained a major concussion during a wrestling match, and was unable to attend school or practice for quite a while. My teachers were extremely accommodating to me, and it helped me a lot with catching up on my work. This was when I realized that St. Paul’s was the right place for me. The school made me feel like a part of the community even when I was not mentally able to be there and they were so accommodating, that I was able to continue without really missing a beat.

As my years at St. Paul’s went on, I became more involved with clubs. As a freshman, I joined the Model UN club, but wasn’t able to participate much due to my concussion. As a sophomore, I continued in the Model UN club, in addition, I helped found the Jewish Awareness Club. These clubs provided a sense of community for me that I hadn’t been able to experience during my freshman year. In addition to my clubs, I was on the wrestling team. Wrestling was the reason that I was able to get into St. Paul’s, and throughout high school, it has been a big part of my high school experience.

As a junior, I enrolled in the IB Diploma program. Pursuing the diploma was a good choice for me because it allowed me to do research in all of my classes and helped me enhance my writing skills. I truly think that the writing aspect of diploma is the best thing that a student can do at St. Paul’s to prepare himself for the future. The internal assessments and extended essay allow for students to show academic curiosity in a way that isn’t really possible in other settings. At the end of my Junior year, I participated in the Spanish exchange. I hosted a spanish student for two weeks and lived in Sitges, a small beach town on the coast of Catalon, about a half hour from Barcelona. During my time in Spain, I was able to travel the region with my friends as well as live like a spaniard for a short while. I had been taking Spanish since the seventh grade, but after the two weeks that I spent in Spain, my Spanish had improved more than after any year of Spanish class. This experience was truly transformative and I would recommend it to anyone.

As a senior, in the beginning of the year, there is a huge focus on college. I was constantly able to get help with whatever I needed in the college process from the college counseling staff. They are truly amazing and they work so hard for every student. In the fall, I will attend my dream school, the University of Michigan, and I don’t think this would have been possible without the incredible help of the St. Paul’s college counseling department. This year was my best year in wrestling as well. We got a new coaching staff made up of Olympians, all americans and NCAA qualifiers. The coaching improved my wrestling to a level that I couldn’t have thought possible the year before. This year I didn’t give up a point in MD, won the MIAA and State tournaments and placed 5th at National Preps. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without the coaching staff.

My experience has been amazing. I wouldn’t say that it was the typical high school experience, but I feel extremely prepared for college and beyond.

Jill Wagoner

Jill Wagoner

Mrs. Wagoner is the Director of Strategic Communications for St. Paul's. She came to the School in 2015 and previously spent three years as Director of Communications and Marketing at an independent school in North Carolina. She also has experience working for a full-service marketing firm and a daily newspaper. She can be reached at

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