by: Stacy Alexander, Director of Alumni and Community Engagement
Dating back to Shorecrest’s first graduating class in 1976, Upper School faculty established a tradition of selecting an Outstanding Senior. The Outstanding Senior represents all of the best qualities and characteristics of a Shorecrest student: leadership, scholarship, mentorship and service. This student also serves as the Commencement Speaker 10 years after their own graduation. The Class of 2011 Outstanding Senior, Austin Fuss, will speak at the Commencement of the Class of 2021 this May.
Austin fondly remembers, “It was quite the honor to be named the Outstanding Senior from my class. I remember learning that in 10 years I would be asked back to give the Commencement speech and thinking how far away that is and what in the world would I say. Now, I can’t believe it has been almost 10 years and I’m still not sure what to say!”
After graduating from Shorecrest, Austin attended Emory University in Georgia, where he earned his Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Film & Media Management and Strategic Management. Outside of the classroom, he was a member of the Student Programming Council, where he planned campus events including homecoming, concerts, comedians, speakers, and spirit weeks. Being a part of that organization was a super rewarding experience for Austin, along with his classes in business and film and a passion for the arts, it pushed him towards a career in the entertainment industry.
This excitement for entertainment led him to work at NBCUniversal. There he began as an NBC Page where he gave studio tours at 30 Rock and worked on various assignments with “Saturday Night Live,” “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” and cable entertainment networks. After finishing the Page Program, he was the Executive Assistant to the President of USA and SYFY, where he provided administrative support while also getting to read scripts, shadow different departments, and support the marketing and press teams with premiere parties, events, and Comic-Con. “I loved my time at NBC. I got to work with some really amazing people and learned so much about the television industry! The jobs I had at NBC exposed me to different career opportunities including business and legal affairs, which is what led me to want to go to law school,” shares Austin.
Austin has now entered his second year at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Over the summer he had an opportunity to intern at Lambda Legal, a civil rights organization, providing impact litigation and public policy work for the LGBTQ+ community.
Some of Austin’s fondest Shorecrest memories involve his time in the Performing Arts department from Middle School through Upper School. “The theatre community was a special group of people. I feel very lucky to have so many great memories from my time in the various productions, showcases and coffee houses. I’ll never forget singing the Russian part of 'L'Chaim' from 'Fiddler on the Roof' backstage after every spring musical performance throughout high school.”
“I still think one of my greatest accomplishments in life was being able to learn the original 'Singin’ in the Rain' tap choreography to 'Moses Supposes' that Cheryl Lee taught us,” Austin shares with a laugh.
When asked how Shorecrest prepared him for a life outside of the classroom, Austin credits the Shorecrest faculty for instilling in him that coursework is important; but an educational community has so much more to offer than just curriculum. “The people and experiences that make up a learning environment have so much to give and it is important to take advantage of every opportunity that feels right.”
When it comes to the advice he hopes to share with the Class of 2021 in his Commencement speech, Austin shares, “Try to make the lives of others easier. And vote!”
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