STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Zack Zhang '19

1). Where did you grow up and why you decide to attend Fryeburg Academy?
I grew up in Urumqi; it’s a small city in northwestern China and it’s the capital of Xinjiang province. It's not too big but still a city. Most people there are immigrants from other provinces all over China. People began moving there after WWII, looking for more opportunity. We have a lot of petroleum and coal. These are the two main exports, and I think we support most of the petroleum needs throughout China.
 
I learned about Fryeburg Academy from my high school counselor who is a friend of my parents. I first went to a day school and lived with a host family for a year in New Jersey. Then my parents wanted me to go to a boarding school. They thought I would find a better education there and it would help me become more independent and responsible. They suggested Fryeburg Academy and that’s how I learned about the school. I had never lived in a rural area, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to try something new, so I chose FA.

2.) How has your experience been at FA?  Are there any particular classes, teachers, or clubs that you loved while here?
I really like it here, which is why I have stayed for three years. The class I really enjoy is French. Madam Gadfa is a really nice teacher; I really like her and her class a lot. Basically, I enjoy all my other academic classes especially Mr. Atwood’s AP US History class. I really enjoyed him because he told a lot of stories about Fryeburg. It was really fun because he made history really interesting. Also in math class, Mrs. Seavy and Mr. Gus teach each class in a special way that makes them fun and maks you want to keep learning. What do you mean by a special way? They tell jokes a lot and they break down all the mathematical problems into small steps, which makes the math easier for students to understand. For most international students, English is not a strong area so the teachers take it slow and make sure each one of us understands how to solve the equations.

I’ve joined a lot of clubs and during my sophomore year, I played basketball and tennis. I’m president of the International Club. I founded the Future Problem Solving Club, too. We still get together and discuss future problems that affect the world. I’m also part of the Daniel Webster Society and lead campus tours, which I enjoy, I’m also part of the Interact Club, French Club, and am a dorm proctor and member of the Residential Honors Program.

My favorite thing to do outside of class is to play basketball. My basketball skills have improved a lot during the last 3 years. I play all the time outside on the basketball court. I like playing basketball with my friends, and it’s a really good way to make new ones. If you participate in sports at FA, it’s a great way to make new friends.

3.) How would you describe the community?
Personally, its a really tight community. It's not very big and everyone knows who everyone else is. I basically say hi to everyone in the morning. You can make friends here and meet people you trust and people you would like to hang out with.

4.) What are some memorable moments from your time as a student here?
There are tons of moments. I remember when we were all hanging out in the Quad before school started. We played tons of games; basketball, soccer, tetherball, frisbee, biking and had a BBQ. That was really fun. And, skiing that is really fun. I’ve been skiing since I was six. Where I am from its cold and we get a lot of snow like here. There are more moments like the first time I scored in a basketball game. And the first time I watched a basketball game, a soccer game, and a football game. And, basically, like hanging out in the dorms with friends and playing jokes on each other. These are all memorable moments.

5.) After FA, where did you plan to attend college and what do you plan to study?
I’m interested in studying communication and psychology. I’m also thinking about anthropology. These are my preferences but maybe when I get to college I will switch to math or science. I am hoping to get accepted to Northwestern. But besides that, there is Rochester University which is very good and I also know tons of people there. I’ve also been accepted to Boston College. I applied there because it is a small school. I don’t really like big schools like NYU. They have too many people, so I applied to BC. It's a pretty good school, it’s close to Boston and it doesn’t have too many people. Right now it’s my third choice.

6.) How did FA prepare you for the next step in your educational journey? Do you have any words of wisdom to share with FA students?
Yes, I would say that the teachers are really preparing me for college as well as the AP courses I’ve taken like my AP Bio class. At first, I thought it was really, really hard and I asked if I could drop the class because I felt it was too difficult.  But I reconsidered because I thought it was preparing me well for college. The way Mr. Wauer teaches AP Bio is similar to the way they do in college. It actually gave me an idea of what it's going to be like in college.

7.) Any words of wisdom or personal philosophy you would like to share with FA students?
Your college decision is really up to you and who you are as a person. It really depends on what you are interested in. I would say to never give up and stick with it to the end. Even if they reject you, you know at least you tried. I applied early action to Boston College and was accepted so I know I have one good option. My advice is to choose your favorite school for early decision. Even if you don’t get in, it’s still worth a shot. To me, applying early decision gives you a higher chance of getting in.

8.) Anything you would like to share that I haven’t asked you about?
Don’t stress too much [about coming to Fryeburg]. It's totally normal if you are nervous at first or feeling uncomfortable even. You are trying to live in an environment you have never been in. It's your first time leaving your home and experiencing a new, strange place.  Once you get here, you are going to be, “Oh, I’m fine here. People like me and I like to hang out with people.” And, I would also say (when you get here) try new things, things that you have never done before. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity. If you don’t do it now, you might not do it ever.
 
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List of 5 news stories.

  • Family Connections Program

    This year, Fryeburg Academy’s international students received a warm welcome from local families who volunteered to host new students as part of FA’s new Family Connections Program. The program brings local families and international students together for support, cultural exchange, and an introduction to American culture. “I was all for getting involved,” said Andrea Macht (‘86). “It was a total blessing that Mia was from Germany. My children know the language and visit family in Germany once or twice a year.”
  • Fryeburg Academy Places 3rd at 2019 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair

    Fryeburg Academy is excited to announce that junior Artem Laptiev ‘20 and senior Antonina Zakorchemna ‘19 placed 3rd at the 2019 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair on May 12-17 in Pheonix, Arizona.
  • FA's Goldberg Gallery Presents “Phantasmagorical" —A Collection of Oil Paintings by Amy C. Laskin

    During May and June 2019, the Goldberg Gallery at Fryeburg Academy in Fryeburg, Maine is pleased to announce that it will host a collection of oil paintings, featuring the work of artist Amy C. Laskin. Laskin. Laskin describes her work as a combination of phantasy and reality--often combining the unusual.  "My paintings often focus on an anonymous nonrepresentational figure comprised of natural elements and unusual combinations,” says Laskin. “I am interested in decorative language and the assemblage of forms which are placed in situations existing in a natural worldly environment. Ostensibly, these combinations are of a surrealistic and mythical nature presented in a cogent way to suggest something phantasmagorical."
     
  • 2019 NHS Induction at Fryeburg Academy

    On Monday, April 29, Fryeburg Academy celebrated the induction of 19 new members to the National Honor Society (NHS). Students who join the National Honor Society must have a high academic standard (a minimum of 3.0), exemplify leadership, good citizenship, and community service. The following students were inducted: Seniors: Celine Lyu, Hailie Zhu, Tonia Zakorchemna; Juniors: Ryan Duffy, Dawson Jones, Sophie Kummer, Sonia Leone, Lillian Nylin, Julianna Stanton, Kaia Staples, Danielle Tait, and Purlin Twig-Smith; Sophomores: Ella Baptista, Samantha Carus, Lilah Felix, Morgan Fusco, Sasha Maguire, Grace Marshall, and Margaret Powers. Sally Gibson was the guest speaker at the ceremony. To read her speech, please click here.
  • Fryeburg Academy Students Win 2nd Place at the 73rd Maine State Science Fair

    On Saturday, March 23, senior Antonina "Tonia"  Zakorchemna and junior Artem Laptiev — both international resident students from Ukraine — participated in the 73rd Maine State Science Fair at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME. The annual fair is organized by the Jackson Laboratory and the Reach Program—a program of the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance.
     

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