A National Hispanic Scholar, Diego Casanova ’19 is ready for a new chapter in his “story.” A Fort Worth Country Day Falcon since he was in sixth grade, Casanova took full advantage of all the School has to offer through its time-honored 3A’s, and its community service and leadership opportunities.
Academically, Casanova has most enjoyed classes in the Science Department. However, he does cite World History with Upper School Teacher Colin Douglas ’06 as a non-science class that grabbed his attention. “I loved that we could study art and culture at one point and Latin American culturalization at another point,” he said. “We covered such vast topics, and Mr. Douglas was so passionate in his teaching … and that passion excites students. We are lucky here at FWCD because our teachers are truly immersed in their fields of study and want to share that knowledge with us.”
Casanova challenged himself throughout his four years in the Upper School and will graduate having taken eight AP and seven Honors-level courses. He is a young man who strives to learn for the sake of learning. “The teachers here are so supportive and acknowledge our intelligence,” Casanova noted. “They encourage us to work beyond our potential.”
While Casanova enjoyed dabbling in the arts in Middle School, trying a little bit of everything, he chose to focus on computer coding and journalism in high school. Drawn to sharing the FWCD story through the Falcon Quill, Casanova served as a reporter junior year and then took on the leadership role of co-editor with valedictorian Alexandra Galloway during senior year. “There is an art to writing a story and then graphically designing it to be appealing,” Casanova said. “Working with Alexandra was a blast. We were both committed to finding those stories that deserved to be told.”
As a student-athlete, Casanova is drawn to running. He played soccer, ran cross country (serving as team captain) and participated in track. He uses running as an outlet when he needs to de-stress and step away from the busyness of School life. “It’s a love-hate relationship,” Casanova said, “but it sets you up to be an active person. FWCD conditioned me to work hard and strive for self-betterment.” His best 5K time is 17:55 minutes. He does recall an eighth-grade football game where Drew Chilcoat ’19 sacked the quarterback, and he recovered the ball to run it in for a pick 6 … that was immediately revoked.
A leader in the Upper School, Casanova is a role model for many. He has served as Diplomacy Club President, an Admission Student Ambassador, a member of TEAM Service for four years, a Student Council Officer as a freshman and a senior, and a Link Crew and Honor Council Officer and Community Representative as a junior and senior. “FWCD has laid a leadership foundation for me,” he said. “I feel prepared to lead by example and to continue to grow in my capacity to lead.”
This past summer, Casanova spent his summer researching medulloblastoma and how drug repositioning can alter current chemotherapy treatments with Dr. Riyaz Basha at the University of North Texas Health Science Center. As a result of that work, Casanova's name was included in an abstract titled “Copper-clotam for neuroblastoma” published by the doctor. “I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with Dr. Basha,” Casanova said. “Dr. Basha and his team were extremely welcoming and eager to teach. I'll always be thankful to them for confirming my hopeful career path and my passion for helping others,” Casanova said.
Casanova’s favorite memories center on the work he has done with the Quill staff these past two years. “I love the camaraderie of our staff and am proud of the work we have done together on the newspaper,” he said. Casanova most enjoyed coming up with the Senior Superlatives with his fellow senior staffers, wanting them to be personal and meaningful to each of his peers. He is profoundly inspired by his peers and grateful to have learned alongside them.
Excited to begin a new chapter in college, Casanova will attend Rice University, where he plans to major in biochemistry. He chose Rice because of its almost unheard of offerings: The university is situated within an extensive medical district and is affiliated with an overwhelming number of Fortune 500 companies.
Opportunities abound for this young man.