I was born in Montreal, Canada on the 25th of January in 1997 in the midst of a big snowstorm to my parents Xiao-Jin Xu and Fei Zhou. I was the first of two children, and my younger sister, Clare, was born one and a half years later in July. We moved a sufficient amount throughout the first thirteen or so years of my life. My family lived in Montreal along with our grandparents for the first six years of my life until we decided to move to a suburb in Massachusetts called Southborough. We lived in Southborough for another six years and then moved again to Allston, and then yet again into the larger area of Brighton where I attended Jackson Mann public school. In the fall of sixth grade I took the ISEE exam and made it into Boston Latin School, and my family moved once more to Jamaica Plain where I now currently live.

Coming fresh out of junior year, I can confidently say that the last five years of being a student at Boston Latin School have been highly eye-opening and rewarding. Latin School has taught me how to operate on little or no sleep, to plan for the unexpected, to try new things, and most importantly to believe in myself and the fact that hard work truly does pay off. I have participated in many activities throughout my time so far at BLS, and although some, such as the Junior Classical League (otherwise known as the Latin club), and the fencing club, have not worked out, I have found plenty of things that I am passionate about and that I enjoy putting honest effort into.

Currently, I am part of the Argo, the school newspaper and various organizations such as REAL Future, which raises awareness about education inequality, China Care a non-profit that funds much-needed surgeries for orphaned Chinese infants, and reACT, an international feminist literary magazine run completely by students. From these activities I have learned how to plan events, organize funds, write grants, and partner up with other organizations. These activities are also what gradually fostered my interest in public service and helping others, and brought me to apply for the Ward fellowship.

Outside of school organizations, I have played the piano for around ten years and currently play the clarinet for the school’s symphonic band. Music has always been an emotional outlet from the rest of school and has allowed me to relax in the midst of busy school days. I also joined a program called ArtScience in junior year, located in a small center in Copley, which encouraged students to work in groups and develop their own ideas that would incorporate both the arts and sciences. At ArtScience, my team drafted an idea for the early detection of pancreatic cancer using bioluminescent trackers. Besides that, we realized that the gap between art and science is a lot smaller than what most people seem to think, and there is much you can do to bridge the two together.

As a rising senior, with college applications in the very near future, I have started looking for institutions that I’d like to apply to. Although I am not completely sure about what I want to do yet, foreign policy and premedical studies are two areas that I am looking into. I realize that they are on completely opposite sides of the spectrum, but being a Boston Latin School student has opened up so many opportunities and has taught me to pursue whatever I am passionate about regardless of whether or not it fits other people’s standards.