In April we learned that Cathy from VIA Guangzhou campus who has studied in Otter Valley Union High School for almost a year was admitted to National Honor Society.
Cathy, the second one from the right
Cathy started her one-year study as an exchange student in Otter Valley Union High School since 2018. To this admission VIA President Dr. James P Cross and Board Member Mr. Lu Wei attached much importance and specially arranged an interview, hoping that this news could be shared to VIA’s teachers and students.
Otter Valley Union High School
What is National Honor Society?
The National Honor Society is a nationwide organization for high school students in the United States and outlying territories, which consists of many chapters in high schools. Selection is based on four criteria: scholarship, leadership, service, and character. The National Honor Society requires some sort of service to the community, school, or other organizations. The time spent working on these projects contributes towards the monthly service hour requirement. The National Honor Society was founded in 1921 by the National Association of Secondary School Principals. The Alpha chapter of NHS was founded at Fifth Avenue High School by Principal Edward S. Rynearson in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Questions and Answers
1. Grade Point Average: The first requirement is meeting a minimum grade point average on a 4.0 scale. What was your grade point average to meet the requirement？
I am not sure about the 4.0 scale grade point, because OV use percentage to grade. The requirement letter that sent to me says the minimum grade point is 88. I keep my grade above 95 for every subject, since I ask myself to do so.
2. What were your favorite subjects at Otter Valley Union High School?
I consider most of my chosen subjects are all of my favorites. Behavioral science, food lab, and calculus etc. I did not have chance to learn most of those subjects while I was in China, so it is very interesting of learning them.
3. Service: The second requirement is for students to make voluntary contributions to the school and/or community without compensation. Can you describe what voluntary work you did to meet the requirements for consideration for the National Honor Society?
In my application, these are some events I’ve chosen as my community service. First is the Environmental Science & Sustainability program at Yale University. It is a summer program where I went to the States to participate it two years ago. Secondly, I am a member in a cosplay club in Guangzhou, because cosplaying is one of my interests. Basically we just did Cosplay and modeling in club’s different theme activities monthly as well as in some ACG fairs, sometimes designed the costume and makeup by myself. Thirdly, I am a part-time piano tutor at my piano training center for tutoring kids to practice piano.
4. Leadership: The third requirement is demonstrating student leadership. Leadership includes the demonstration of resourcefulness, problem solving and idea contributions within the school and/or community. Can you describe your leadership activities at Otter Valley Union High School?
My leadership mostly demonstrated when I was in China instead of OV since most of the events I put in my form were happened in China. I am the leader of my school Animation Club. And I am the person in charge of entertaining activities in my class since I was in Middle school. I am also a leader of drum section in my school orchestra.
5. Character: The final requirement for consideration for the National Honor Society is to demonstrate good character. A student of good character is cooperative; demonstrates high standards of honesty and reliability; shows courtesy, concern, and respect for others; and generally maintains a clean disciplinary record. Can you provide examples of your strengths as a student in meeting these requirements?
I consider myself as an out-going person. I am usually the leader of whatever learning groups or activities due to my well-organized personality, I guess. I am very willing to help others when they have troubles. I also put some accomplishments on my application such as English competition awards, piano and drum certifications, and even some experience as an amateur dancer.
6. How did you manage to accomplish so much within one year of study at OVH? Have the school teachers, peer students, and your host family been very helpful?
In my opinion, my relative solid English foundation and habits really help me a lot when I study in a total different environment. Managing not only study, but also life is the key to adjusting myself into the new condition. School teachers have always been helpful to me. They are really patient and kind both in class and out of class, and that actually support me a lot both physically and mentally. I do not get in touch with the students that lot since we do not have too many commons, however, I have a few close friends that I can hang out with. My host family is really kind and helpful to me. I could not get used to American foods when I first got here, so my host family did everything they could to help me adjust my diet. They often took me with them to some events like watching operas and have meals in restaurants which I enjoy a lot.
7. Did your study at VIA prepared you well for your study at OVH at the senior year?
I mean VIA definitely helped me a lot with my English part since I can quickly adapt to the local’s conversations. I have basically no problems with my classwork or homework, and that’s one of the reasons that I can keep my score high. However, I had a pretty huge problem on science subjects such as biology and some maths. I do not think it is the reason that VIA did not prepare me well, it is just the joint work between VIA and OV was not that well. For example, when I first arrived at OV, my counselor scheduled the AP Bio as one of my courses. But when I got into the class, I found out that I could hardly understand anything in the class. One part is because the language problem since there were a lot of technical terms. And the other part was that the last time I studied biology was about two years ago because we did not have classes of biology in Grade 11. even I studied biology up to 12 every night, I could still hardly keep the same pace, so I was pretty frustrated at first because I needed to drop that class.
From the interview we can see that Cathy had encountered many obstacles, ranging from language, food, social interaction to academics, while resorting to her own strengths, efforts and help from others she managed to overcome these problems. And what really surprised us is that she was successfully admitted to National Honor Society. We believe what she had acquired over this year is not only this honor, what she achieved are great academic advances, broadened horizon and tenacious spirit. There’s no doubt that Cathy’s future study and life will be positively affected by this one-year experience.
On November 2017, OVUS and VIA signed the memorandum
From the year of 2017 when Otter Valley Union High School and VIA signed a memorandum, each year VIA students could be sent to Otter Valley Union High School and study there for a whole year. As VIA’s first student who studied there, Cathy’s experience would be invaluable for those after. And we sincerely expect more VIA students could follow the example set by her and be well recognized in the future.