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Dublin High School’s Clarisse Barbier Heads to Boston’s Berklee College of Music

June 26, 2016

DUBLIN, CA–The graduating Dublin High School Class of 2016 is as diverse as any in recent years. Some seniors relocated to Dublin at some point during their primary or secondary careers. And others stepped foot into a DUSD elementary site as kindergarteners and exited Gaels Stadium 13 years later with a high school diploma. Along the way, virtually each and every student has a different experience relative to academics and activities. And, there are those who elect to seize every opportunity – with the full knowledge that they are simply on another step on a very long journey in their own development. recently had the opportunity to sit down with such an exemplary student, Ms. Clarisse Barbier and we are pleased to share her journey.


Rather than to chronicle her entire K-12 history, we chose to focus in on her years at Dublin High School. Ms. Barbier has enjoyed a rich experience as a young person. She fulfilled multiple years as a Girl Scout in Troop 30855 – concluding in the rank of Ambassador. Clarisse also excelled in both sports and music. And as many other students have experienced, it requires great discipline and often making sacrifices to achieve balance between academic achievement and outside activities. While her odyssey may not be completely unique, the results truly are. While possessing a great passion for music and a desire for this to become a career, Ms. Barbier earned the distinction of being capable of selecting the institution of her choice post high school. This is her story. As you look back upon your career at Dublin High School, what were some of your most memorable activities/moments?

Clarisse Barbier: “Honestly, I don’t remember much of my freshman and sophomore years at Dublin High aside from the first day of school. Starting with our obnoxious orange homecoming t-shirts and the lack of stress at the time. Most of my favorite memories at DHS occurred during junior and senior year; a time where most students start to become more serious and focused on school, college and spending time with the people that matter the most to them. Things like the Friday night lights and spending time in the stands for football games, going to all the dances, whether it be homecoming, prom or ball. Then, performing in multiple concerts both years and finally receiving straight ones in our jazz competitions during my senior year. Greek week is another one for the books-spending all week getting pumped up for the powderpuff game between the juniors and seniors and then having the seniors win of course! Events like these allowed for all students of the school who wouldn’t usually talk to each other to come together and celebrate being a Gael. These were the moments that were the most memorable.” You have been an athlete for essentially your entire life.  Please share some of the highs and lows that you experienced during your soccer career.

Barbier: “Most of the most memorable moments of my soccer career started as I came into the high school. Making varsity was one of my all time highs, and then things like winning the NCS quarterfinals against Piedmont by saving the buzzer-beater shot…and then getting dog piled by the entire team. Even though we lost to Bishop O’Dowd in the semifinals, it was my last game of the season and the last game I ever played and I am extremely proud of my performance. In fact, I believe it was my best one. The game really showed my growth as a leader among the other girls on the team and the passion I had for playing. The only low of my soccer career would be the end of it as I had to quit due to an intense back injury. Yes, there would be games where we would lose as a team, important games too. But, nothing else compares to the all time low of knowing that you will never get to play your favorite sport or play alongside your friends again.”

IMG_0077 (1) Music has clearly been a constant for you – from Wells Middle School all the way through Dublin High School Irish Guard and the Jazz Band. Please articulate what this journey has meant to you.

Barbier: “My journey through music has been nothing more than learning about myself and my character while enjoying something that I loved to do. I discovered my strengths, weaknesses, passions and was able to grow as an individual who was aware of her impact in the community around her. More than anything, as I grew, I grew alongside a wide range of people, some in which I had gone to school with for 13 years. The people I have met in my journey through music have made it all worthwhile and are, I believe, the most important aspects of my journey in music, in growth, and in my development of character.” Post graduation, your focus has been very specific as it relates to college choices. Share with our readers your thought process on university applications and how you ultimately chose to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Barbier: “I started my college process the summer before senior year. This allowed me to have an adequate amount of time without the distraction of school work to research the schools with my intended major and programs to make sure they would be a good fit for me. It’s very important to be critical of schools in order to find exactly what you want in your college. You don’t have to settle! If one school does not have exactly what you want, there’s a very good chance that there is some other college out there that will. I was specifically looking for a school with an outstanding music program on a small campus that was located outside of California (most likely in a city with historical musical influence) with access to sound recording technology. It sounds like a lot, but by the end of the summer I had 10 schools that met all my requirements. Just like most other colleges, I needed to fill out an application and write essays for each individual college, except I didn’t have the luxury of completing the state common application.

Berklee Campus

“After my applications were sent, I had to schedule around seven auditions, two in which I had to fly out to the school to audition and the other five that I had to send in audition tapes for. During the middle of my senior year I had a lot on my plate to balance, from auditions, to school work to my extracurriculars but I got through it. Originally, my number one choice was DePaul University in Chicago, a city known for its jazz culture and influence in music. And the Berklee College of Music, known world-wide for its influence in music in the world’s modern contemporary movement, was my second choice because attending a school of such high caliber seemed a little too far out of reach for me. However, as May 1st rolled around, I was accepted into both DePaul and Berklee. Even though Berklee was twice as expensive, it believed it was the wrong choice to give up an opportunity to get an education at Berklee, especially because it would be the best school for me to make my influence in music and to help me step out into the world doing so.

“All I can say to seniors next year is to not set limitations of your education, whether it be money or ability, you’re more capable of achieving greater things than you believe. It’s reasonable to be picky with your colleges, ask questions and don’t settle for anything you may be unsure about-it’s your future and your career so you have to be fully confident in your choice that is going to be the next gateway to another chapter of your life.”  In addition to performing with the Irish Guard, you also had the unique opportunity to contribute to the Dublin High School Drama production “In the Heights.”  Kindly describe that experience.

Barbier: “In the Heights” was my favorite music experience/memory at DHS. This production was the first legitimate musical our school had performed in eight years. So, needless to say, it was pretty amazing to be a part of a Broadway production in Dublin. Along with six other high school students and three professional musicians, were able to play in the pit to produce the live music during the show. An experience like this is rare for a high school band student and was especially insightful into the world of professional musicians. I had the opportunity to play all four saxophones while learning the exact music played by the musicians on Broadway.

“It took a ton of personal responsibility to learn the music on our own as we only had three collective rehearsals with all the musicians and all the cast members, but then again, this was the expectation of a professional musician so I had to fill the role. In the end, the entire performing arts department received nothing less than the best reactions and reviews. Although it was frustrating at times that the visible cast was more recognized than the pit, I’m overjoyed by the fact that for one, people thought the music was a recording because it was so good, and two, that I was able to participate in a show that would change the expectations and standards of performing arts in the Dublin community. It was a once in a lifetime experience that will enhance my memories of high school forever.”

So, the journey will continue for Clarisse in just a couple of months – a path that will take her 3,107 miles away from Dublin, CA to Boston, MA. Somehow, we feel very confident that she will embrace this challenge – to a large city and a very different climate. would like to thank Ms. Barbier for her candor and for articulating her college selection process. Clearly, she left an indelible mark at Dublin High School and we wish her nothing but success. Perhaps one day, she will craft her own Broadway production.


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