Q. How has your experience been at FA? Are there any particular classes, teachers, or clubs that you loved while here?
A. My experience here is excellent. I think probably my favorite class is the film class because it is a class that I would never have a chance to take in China. In the schools in China, we study math and science; we don’t get many elective choices. Here we can choose photography and all sorts of music classes, arts, and film, I have always wanted to learn how to shoot good videos, but I never got a chance to do that in China, so that’s probably the unique experience that I have had so far
Our college prep classes are also really good. I’ve already taken 7 or 8 AP courses. I took AP Calculus with Mr. Gus, he’s a great teacher, and I scored five on the AP exam, which is the highest score. Mrs. Manning also did a great job teaching AP Chemistry.
Q. Have you been involved in clubs? Music?
A. Yes, I created my own film club last year. We are working on some projects with other students and my instructor, Mr. Dana. Some of our projects are pretty good, and they have already been uploaded to the school’s student film video channel.
I also play clarinet in the band. It’s pretty new and an adventure for me because I was playing solo back home because my school in China didn’t have a band or orchestra. It’s a different experience because you have to cooperate with others. You have to stay on the same tempo and stuff like that. Actually, the music played in the band is not that hard compared to the music I play on my own. I think, however, the most challenging thing about playing in the band is that you have to stay on the same beat and cooperate.
I also ski. I have always wanted to ski, but the ski mountains are sort of far from my home in China and I didn’t get that many opportunities. Last year, I purchased a season ticket to Shawnee Peak which is the ski mountain nearby. Fryeburg Academy provides trips every day right after school to go skiing. It’s a great experience. The mountains in Maine are very good and better than the mountains back home for skiing. I know a lot of people come to Maine because we have good skiing here.
Q. What are some memorable moments from your time as a student here?
A. Dorm Olympics are memorable for me because I had never had an experience working like this as a team before coming here. In Dorm Olympics, everyone has to work together to be the champions. It’s a great experience because there are so many activities that I didn’t have a chance to do like limbo. I had never experienced limbo before, and the experience helped me to get more involved with the culture here.
Q. After FA, where did you plan to attend college and what do you plan to study?
A. I would say Cornell is a good option. I went there for summer college this year. I loved the campus and Ithaca is a great town. There are many beautiful waterfalls, and the professors I worked with were pretty cool. In my stereotypical thinking, I thought the college professors would be aloof and indifferent toward their students. But my experience there was that the professors care about the students in their class, and that was amazing. What classes did you take? I took transmedia which is about communications. It is a pretty competitive college, and I didn’t get a minute of spare time. I was doing work all day long, but it was a great time. Emory University is another school I am interested in. I’m probably going to study communications and media as my major because I am planning to do more marketing investigation and things like that. This major will also help me with my writing and communication ability which will ultimately help with my future success.
Q. Do you feel that Fryeburg has prepared you for your next steps?
A. Yes. Just a quick personal example: before I came to Fryeburg Academy I took the PSAT for 9th graders, and I didn’t do well. My score was like 1100, and after I came to Fryeburg Academy, I took the actual SAT I got 1490 on it, including a 700 on the English part which is not typical for an international student. As I get more involved in the community here, it helps me with my English.
Q. 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?
A. I would tell international students that apply here to get more involved. Don’t be afraid of speaking English. Everyone makes mistakes at first. If you never dare to open your mouth to speak, you’ll never get a chance to improve. I think probably most Asian international students come because they want to prepare to enter a US college - its OK that you make some mistakes at the high school stage --at least you won’t be making the same mistake in a couple of years when you go to college; It will help you.