Bob Haoqi Xia, a junior at Cape Henry Collegiate, is a student by day and a dolphin by night.
Yes, you read that correctly. In addition to juggling the life of a high school junior, Xia serves as Cape Henry Collegiate’s mascot, a dolphin.
So how does one end up as an undercover dolphin? Xia was approached by the head of admissions at the school because he got along well with the younger students at the school. See, Xia spent some of his first year at the school teaching students in the lower school about Asian culture.
“When I first got here, I tried a lot of new things. Being brave and being willing to try new things (played a big role in my success in America).” Xia said.
Studying in the U.S. is not an easy task. Every student will inevitably face challenges. Using his resources at his New Oasis partner school, the homestay team and the academic team, Xia was able to overcome these issues.
“My first history class was U.S. history. I joined the class halfway through, and just couldn’t keep the pace of the teacher. I went to the teacher and told him, and he helped me a lot. I ended up getting an A+ in the class,” Xia said.
“New Oasis has been great. The first day I arrived, I remember (my student coordinator) picked me up at the airport at almost midnight. She has supported me for a long time. (My academic adviser) always calls and asks me academic things, and tutored me for the TOEFL.”
When Xia arrived in the United States as a sophomore in 2014, one New Oasis event served as the highlight of his year.
“A year ago, we went to New Oasis headquarters and had dinner with Mr. Sean (Chen), the president, at his house with his family. That was pretty cool.”
Xia recently attended an award ceremony, in which he thought he was only going to be a spectator. As the awards were given out, one award-winner’s description caught Xia’s attention. The award was a William and Mary Leadership Award, an awarded granted to individuals whose high schools identify as a change-maker, a shaker-upper, a critical and creative thinker who bring people together.
“I didn’t know I was getting the award. I thought all of the awards being given were for the American kids.” Xia said. “I thought if I were getting some sort of award I would have known about it. When the speaker began describing the winner, I thought ‘is that me?’ When she called my name, I almost froze.”
Living with the same host family during his stay in America, Xia said he really appreciates his family.
“My host family is great. They’ve been really helpful. I learned a lot about American culture.”