Search Results for: featured student

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Featured Student: Yula Zixin Ye, Rising Senior, Peninsula Catholic High School

image1 (1)Yula Ye arrived in the United States in 2013 as a sophomore exchange student in a new school, in a new country. But when she first arrived at Peninsula Catholic High School in Newport News, Virginia, she quickly realized she felt right at home.

Several short years later, Yula is heading into her final year as a Peninsula Catholic student. During her time at the school, she has achieved success in school, and at home.

“Peninsula Catholic is a small school with close relationships,” Ye said. “We all know each other well, and we make a lot of friends.”

At school, Yula earned Honors in Art 3, Achievement in Art 2, Achievement in Honors English 11, and was selected to the Mu Alpha Theta National High School and Two-Year College Mathematics Honor Society.

An accomplished artist, Yula hopes to be an interior designer after college. She has been heavily involved with her school’s Art Club for all three of her years in the school, so much so, that she will be taking over as president next year. In the Art Club, Yula and her fellow students participate in contests, where they have received numerous awards.

In addition to her school’s Art Club, Yula applied for and will attend Virginia Commonwealth University’s Summer Art Program in the summer of 2015, a program which promotes cross-disciplinary approaches to creative activity; and imparts practical knowledge and skills to prepare performing artists for college auditions and visual artists for the creation of their application portfolios. [VCU Arts]

Since art is such a big part of Yula’s life, she found a way to give back to her host family using her artistic talent. The night before Mother’s Day in 2015, Yula a waited anxiously for her host mom to go to sleep. Once her mother was sleeping, she was up. She had a long night ahead of her. IMG_1006

While the host mom slept, Yula and Nancy worked through the night to decorate the host family’s kitchen with balloons and artwork with Mother’s Day messages on them. The mother awoke to quite a surprise, declaring how much she loved it!

Yula’s interest in art can be accredited largely in part to her art teacher, Ms. Kovalcik, who has helped her throughout her time at the high school. In 2016, Yula will serve as her teaching assistant.

Having made connections with many other teachers, Yula said her Honors English 11 teacher, Ms. O’Brien is also always willing to help her, is very friendly and has a wonderful personality.

Entering her senior year, Yula will be working with Lizzie Lixin Liu, her academic adviser at New Oasis, to prepare for the TOEFL and SAT tests.

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A student by day, a dolphin by night: Featured student, Bob Xia

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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.”

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Featured Student: Rena Shenghan Gao, Freshman, The Ravenscroft School

Rena Gao, her host family, and president Sean Chen at headquarters

Rena Gao, her host family, and president Sean Chen at headquarters

Rena Shenghan Gao is a successful student in every sense of the word. Only a freshman at The Ravenscroft School in Raleigh, North Carolina, Rena has already achieved more than most students achieve during their entire four years in high school.

Rena is a star-student, but that’s only the beginning.

She is actively involved in a number of extracurricular activities and was recently elected vice president of her school’s Student Government Association by her peers.

When she’s not in class, Rena often spends time taking care of students in Ravenscroft’s elementary school. She loves observing other’s behavior and offering help whenever she can. She has also worked with the Chinese-Culture Club, where she plans activities to introduce Chinese culture and language to other students.

“(Rena’s) curiosity for knowledge drives her to explore a wide range of subjects. She is doing very well in every single subject at school, getting straight As or A-pluses,” said Yun Liu, Rena’s academic adviser at New Oasis.

“Every teacher gives great comments on Rena’s very impressive academic performance. They speak highly on Rena’s efforts improving herself and collaborating with other students in group projects.”

Rena also keeps up her interest in ballet dancing. Outside of her activities at school, she independently discovered a ballet school in her area, and participates in classes several times each week after school.

The freshman student is especially interested in Psychology. When Liu suggested a psychology summer program for Rena to attend, Rena did not hesitate to take action and apply for the Duke TIP Scholar weekend program in Abnormal Psychology.

She was admitted by the program shortly after applying. The scholar program is an intense, demanding, weekend session where students are challenged to think critically about themselves and the world.

“If I really want to do something but I am not sure if I can succeed, I just take a chance and put in my best efforts. It’s better to have tried and failed than never try at all,” Gao said.

“I miss everything China-related, but whenever I have questions about academics, extracurricular activities or more personal concerns, my (New Oasis) advisor is there to listen to my problems and help me out.”

Passionate about the French language, Rena is pursuing opportunities to take French classes at Duke University, North Carolina State, or Meredith College. This summer, Rena plans to take her French studies to the next level by studying in Morocco, Africa with Project Abroad.

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