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Posts Tagged "FCS Student Spotlight"

FCS Shines at the Math Olympics

May 29, 2024
By Fremont Christian School
A few of our Math Olympics winners: Aaron Jin, Alice Ng, and Yuen Wei.

We are thrilled to announce that Fremont Christian School achieved outstanding success at this year's Western Division Math Olympics. Competing against six other schools and approximately 250 students, our participants demonstrated exceptional skill and dedication.

Students are selected to participate in the Math Olympics by taking pre-tests in their regular math classes, with the top three students in each grade qualifying for the two categories: computation and reasoning.

Only 4% of the total participants in the first round made it to nationals, and we are incredibly proud to have been represented by eight FCS students in Grades 3-8 (out of 35 initial participants and 25 in the divisional round).

Our students achieved remarkable results, with 71% of our 35 participants placing in the top 5 of their categories. Notably, we swept the 7th and 8th Grade Computation categories, securing 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places.

Our Top Performers

3rd Grade Reasoning
* 2nd Place: Maureen Liu
* 5th Place: Alyssa Yaoyi

3rd Grade Computation
* 2nd Place: Yuen Wei
* 4th Place: Ryan Xu

4th Grade Reasoning
* 1st Place: Grace Li

4th Grade Computation
* 4th Place: Chloe Liu

5th Grade Reasoning
* 1st Place: Aaron Jin

5th Grade Computation
* 1st Place: Claire Ng
* 4th Place: Daniel Hsu

6th Grade Reasoning
* 1st Place: Sophia Chen
* 4th Place: Joseph Sung

6th Grade Computation
* 3rd Place: Kyle Ly
* 4th Place: Prisha Rajkumar
* 5th Place: Ethan Lin

7th Grade Reasoning
* 1st Place: Alice Ng
* 2nd Place: Joseph Widjaja

7th Grade Computation
* 1st Place: Ricky Ji
* 2nd Place: Hannah Joseph
* 3rd Place: Luke Thu

8th Grade Reasoning
* 2nd Place: Olivia Au
* 3rd Place (Tie): Brendan Williams
* 3rd Place (Tie): Michelle Hsu

8th Grade Computation
* 1st Place: Ethan Huang
* 2nd Place: Maxwell Lin
* 3rd Place: Alexander Jin

Special recognition goes to the top students in each grade and category, who received an Olympic-style medallion for scoring at least 85% correct answers:
* Grace Li
* Aaron Jin
* Ricky Ji
* Sophia Chen

Insightful Advice from Our Participants

Michelle Hsu, an 8th-grade participant, shared her advice: "The best way to study is to not over-study because it makes you forget. My advice is to spend more time thoroughly reading the question than just skimming over it to save time. It is more important to understand the question than to just read it."

Karen Behrens, FCS’s Director of Curriculum and Instruction, who facilitated the event this year, expressed her pride. “Math Olympics is an exciting opportunity for students at FCS to compete against not only one another but also students all over the country. It provides a chance to test our students' computation and reasoning skills under pressure; each test is allotted only 11 minutes, and students must use the most efficient strategies to solve as many problems as they can. We are very encouraged to see such positive results this year!”

Divisional & National Round Results

Out of 1,792 participants in the divisional round, 8 of our 25 FCS students qualified for the Nationals by scoring in the top 15 in their grade level and category.

Computation
* Ryan Xu, 3rd Grade
* Yuen Wei, 3rd Grade
* Ethan Lin, 6th Grade
* Ricky Ji, 7th Grade

Reasoning
* Zien (Grace) Li, 4th Grade
* Aaron Jin, 5th Grade
* Sophia Chen, 6th Grade
* Alice Ng, 7th Grade (Earned 3rd Place in the Divisional Round)

We proudly announce that two of our students placed in the ACSI National Math Olympics!
* Yuen Wei — 3rd Grade Computation, 5th place
* Aaron Jin — 5th Grade Reasoning, 2nd place

Thank you for your continued support and partnership in making this event a resounding success! Congratulations to all our Math Olympians — your achievements inspire us all!

The Wushu Stars of FCS

March 14, 2024
By Fremont Christian School

For a school of its size, Fremont Christian offers students a wide array of extracurricular activities, including those in its robust athletics program. But even with so many on-campus options, some students opt to participate in other hobbies and sports. Two such students, senior Howard Kam and junior Elena Chow, have chosen wushu (a Chinese term for martial arts), a sport in which they have proven not just adept but exceptional.

Finding Their Passion

Howard's early exposure to martial arts dramas on a Hong Kong broadcasting station fueled his initial interest in wushu. “The channel had a lot of dramas with martial arts,” he says. “I saw that, and I was like, wow, this is really awesome and super cool."

His parents, understanding his passion, allowed him to pursue wushu at the age of six. Despite the commitment and sacrifices — he currently practices for three hours four to five times a week, including with a straight sword and a spear — Howard finds fulfillment in pushing himself beyond limits. He emphasizes the importance of enjoying the journey, saying, "Winning hasn't been the same for me. What I came to realize was that I have to be willing to push myself in practice and in preparation."

Elena also became interested in wushu at a young age, partly because her mother ran a kung fu school. She began practicing when she was seven, and the physical activity soon became an integral part of her identity. Balancing academics and wushu, Elena highlights the supportive environment at FCS, citing how accommodating and understanding the teachers are as a main reason she transferred from her previous school, which hadn’t been as accepting.

Howard echoes this sentiment, “If, for example, I have a competition, I can ask my teachers ahead of time for assignments, tests, or whatever I need. They’re very supportive.”

Competition Champions

Both students’ dedication has paid off. Howard has competed in several high-profile competitions, including the Golden State International Wushu Championships, Tiger Claw (where he was grand champion), and the prestigious Pan American Wushu Championships, for which he traveled to Brazil and took home the gold.

Elena has also competed in esteemed competitions, including the World Wushu Championships. “I got to see athletes who do this sport for like a living — athletes from China, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia — who I would normally watch online to get inspiration for my own routine. And I got to compete on the same floor. I just remember it being so surreal because I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, these people do the same thing I do, and I get to see them in person.’” She has also traveled to Indonesia to compete in the World Junior Wushu Championship.

Howard, having competed at national and international levels, underscores the sense of community in wushu. “The people you compete against push you to be better. The community is a big part of what draws people into the sport.”

Elena echoes this sentiment, emphasizing wushu’s transformative power. “It’s taught me discipline and perseverance. It's not just a sport — it's a way of life.”

Senior Spotlight: Harsha Rajkumar, Stephen Lo & Melody Zhang

May 30, 2023
By Fremont Christian School
Harsha at Duke University, which he will be attending in the fall.

As our latest class of seniors prepares to move into the next phase of their lives, Fremont Christian would like to recognize three standout individuals, starting with our valedictorian, Harsha Rajkumar, who will be attending Duke University in the fall. Although Harsha originally planned to be pre-med, he’s now leaning towards a double major of bioengineering and computer science, with a bent towards AI (artificial intelligence).

“But that might change, too,” Harsha says. “There are so many opportunities.” He is particularly interested in the research aspect of science, with which he already has a great deal of experience for someone his age. After transferring to FCS his freshman year, he became a mentee to Edward Njoo, a PhD candidate in chemistry at Stanford University. His first project was on the medicinal properties of certain herbs, which was followed by more internships at the GRIPS (Genomics Research Internship Program at Stanford) program, where he researched complex organic chemistry synthesis reactions. Last year, he was a finalist in the Genes in Space competition, which allowed him to travel to Washington, DC, to present his project to a group of astronauts.

Harsha also participated in track and field for most of high school and joined the varsity baseball team (who placed first in their league this year) as a senior, an experience he enjoyed so much that he hopes to join a club at Duke. He credits this surprise love of the sport to Fremont Christian. “It's a small school but has so many opportunities,” he says. “The teachers and students just care for each other so much that you can get involved in any activity.” Even if the activity doesn’t yet exist: Harsha was instrumental in founding both the Medical Research Club and Speech and Debate Club. “That’s another plus for FCS: If you're interested in starting something, it's pretty easy to do.” 

He also feels that the close relationships with the teachers were beneficial in his education. “With small class sizes, I was able to learn a lot more. The conversations I had with teachers and students after class are something that I probably won't forget.” 

One of Harsha’s closest friends is co-salutatorian Stephen Lo. The two hit it off from their first day at FCS, back in freshman year, and not just because they had the exact same class schedule. “He's always smiling and laughing,” Harsha says. “He lights up everyone's mood.”

That’s an important trait to have when you’re the basketball team’s captain and MVP, as Stephen was. “Even though he's academically and sports driven, his personality is something that's gonna take him really far,” Harsha says about his friend.

Like Harsha, Stephen plans to study bioengineering, although he’ll do so at Pasadena’s California Institute of Technology, where he’ll also play for the school’s basketball team.

Stephen attended preschool at FCS but then went through the public school system through middle school. When he tried to enroll in high school, however, he wasn’t able to take the classes he wanted, so he—and his twin brother—transferred back to FCS. “Fremont Christian has a very flexible schedule and they let me take every class that I wanted,” he says. The twins’ younger brother soon followed suit and transferred as well.

Stephen at home on the court, where he was team captain and MVP.

In addition to basketball (and taking every AP class that FCS offers), Stephen also participated in choir, an experience that saw the group perform in the FCS rendition of High School Musical, take second place at the Golden State Choral Competition, and even play at New York’s famed Carnegie Hall. He and Harsha also collaborated with the Alameda County Science Fair to form a nonprofit called the More-STEM Initiative, which partners previous fair winners with underprivileged students for virtual mentorships; Stephen and Harsha helped add a face-to-face component to the program. Somewhere in between all that, Stephen found time to act as head chaplain for the student body council and president of the Health and Science Club. 

“I just wanted to share a passion that I had, which was to help in science, and it was so easy,” he says, grinning ear to ear.  “It goes to show that anything you want to pursue [at FCS] you can. They provide the opportunities for you to achieve your full potential.”

Stephen is also very proud of his friend Harsha’s achievements. “FCS isn’t like a lot of other schools, where students don't want to help each other because everyone wants to be the best. Seeing Harsha and I both succeed at the highest level makes me so happy. It’s like a family dynamic at FCS. That's something I want to emphasize because we don't see each other as competitors. We’re all here to support each other and lift each other up to be the best that we can be.”

Co-salutatorian Melody Zhang echoes that sentiment. Melody transferred to FCS from a local public school just under two years ago—and she’s incredibly glad she did. “At FCS, you can actually feel the positive energy in the air. There’s so much school unity,” she says. 

Melody with her winning entry, “With Heavy Heart,” which is currently on display in the White House.

Once she landed at FCS, Melody made fast friends with other students—and even her teachers. FCS’s art teacher, Ms. Yuan, recognized Melody’s talent early on. 
“Over the last two years, I have witnessed tremendous growth in Melody 's leadership, self-management, and teamwork,” Ms. Yuan says. “She is creative and a good leader—and adept at problem-solving.I believe she will be a great artist in the future.” With Ms. Yuan’s encouragement, Melody entered the 2022 Congressional Art Competition, which she won for her district; her entry is currently on display at the White House. 

Melody cites Spirit Week as one of her favorite FCS memories. Due to her aptitude in art, she designed and drew all of the posters for this year’s Homecoming court. She also participated in Mandarin choir and founded the Creative Cards Club, which sends greetings to residents of senior homes. “We write uplifting messages and affirmations to remind them that they're not alone in the world and that there's always someone thinking about them,” she explains. 

After FCS, Melody will be attending the University of Pennsylvania to study graphic design and user experience. “Those are both really useful and a lot of fun,” she says. She hopes to use her degree to work on websites and potentially video games. “It's fun to see how even little changes to the design and the interface can totally enhance the experience,” she explains. 

FCS is incredibly proud of our seniors. We wish you the greatest of success!

Senior Spotlights: Jake Meyer and McKenna Nolasco

June 29, 2022
By Fremont Christian School
Fremont Christian School graduating seniors Jake Meyer and McKenna Nolasco

FCS is proud to highlight two of our standout seniors, Jake Meyer and McKenna Nolasco. No strangers to their classmates, both students have been exceedingly active in extracurricular activities, from sports to performing arts to student leadership.

Although not quite a 13-year student, Jake has been with FCS since the first grade and comes from a family of FCS grads. After graduation, he will attend Grove City College, where he will major in communication arts and enjoy the wide variety of seasons Pennsylvania has to offer. Jake chose his major because, he explains, he wants to help people, and he knows he needs to be able to communicate well with others to do so.

Fremont Christian School graduating senior Jake MeyerIn addition to the numerous sports teams he played on, Jake has been performing in student plays since elementary school and considers his castmates an extended family. He was also previously a member of class council and has served in other leadership roles. “I try my best to be kind and to reach out to everyone,” he says, adding that being voted Homecoming king felt like a recognition of those efforts. 

During his freshman year, Jake founded the FCS chapter of Best Buddies, an international organization whose mission is to create awareness of intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and to provide support for those with them. As president of the chapter during his sophomore year, he attended a national leadership conference where he met other likeminded students from across the country. The experience is one of the main reasons he cites Best Buddies as a high school highlight, in addition to how the organization helped him to grow personally and learn more about treating others with respect. 

“The idea of high school is really fun,” Jake says, “but when it comes down to it, you’re going to be safe at FCS, whether it’s with other classmates or teachers. You feel very valued.”

Fremont Christian School graduating senior McKenna Nolasco

Classmate McKenna Nolasco has Jake beat by one year — she’s been at FCS since preschool. She will be attending Chapman University in the fall, where she’ll study business management and play soccer. 

Looking back at McKenna’s school involvement, it’s a wonder she fit it all in  — volleyball, basketball, school board, chorale, handbells, plays. She credits this ability to diversify to FCS and its staff. “Teachers work together to allow you to be part of multiple programs,” she explains.

“The school makes it possible to do anything you want to do.” As an example, she cites how her advisors allowed her to alternate one period between handbells and choir, rather than having to choose just one.

The faculty also made sure McKenna could participate in The Sound of Music her sophomore year, even though she had broken her leg. Their creative solution: cast her as a nun in a wheelchair so she could still use the gift of her voice. McKenna’s FCS performance history dates back to elementary school, when she and Jake both appeared as Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz.

Her affinity for leadership led her to participate in class council, where she helped plan Spirit Week and fundraisers. “I like to be a part of making those decisions and seeing it all come together,” she says. She was also the vice president of Best Buddies. 

McKenna’s family is another exemplar of FCS school spirit. Her brother Jeremiah graduated in 2013, and her mother has coached volleyball and basketball and served on the school board.

McKenna cites FCS’s small classes as one of its benefits. “You get to know teachers personally,” she says. “They know what’s going on in your life. That helps build a good connection, trust, and respect. I’ve always felt comfortable asking for extra help, which I think I’d be intimidated to do in a larger class.” 

One of her favorite memories was the Mexico mission trip during J-Term, where she had the opportunity to travel with a small group of friends to work together for a bigger purpose. She says the first house they built was for a family who had lived in a tent. “It really put things into perspective about being grateful for all we have here, including the opportunities,” McKenna says. “Seeing that your hard work means something is both humbling and rewarding. It’s something I’ll carry with me forever.”

Congratulations, Alice Zhou!

October 04, 2020
By Fremont Christian School

Alice Zhou was named a National Merit Scholarship Program Semifinalist!

She discovered her interest in math after joining a math program taught by high schoolers, Math Olympiad for Elementary and Middle School, in 4th grade. After entering high school, she wanted to give back by volunteering to teach a younger group of elementary students and introducing them to the fun of math. She has taught over 40 students in the past two years and will be returning to coach again this year. Additionally, she organized a free, virtual math program over the summer, where, for two weeks, she taught students 4.5 hours a day to give them a head start or review traditional math concepts, as well as an introduction to math and logic puzzles and riddles. After the long process of researching and preparing materials, finding other student volunteers to help answer participant questions, and advertising to students across the nation, hearing words of affirmation and gratitude from parents and students alike helped confirm that it was all worth it.

In addition to her appreciation for math, Alice has also taken an interest in computer science. She aims to combine her two interests and pursue a data science major in college.

We are so proud of you, Alice! You have already accomplished amazing things at FCS and we know you will continue to do so throughout your life!
 

Congratulations, Simeon Godwin!

October 04, 2020
By Fremont Christian School

Simeon Godwin was named a National Merit Scholarship Program Semifinalist.

Simeon is a highly accomplished student and the current Student Body President of our high school. He volunteers in the community through his church youth group, which visits Love-A-Child missions, a homeless recovery shelter for women and children. They share meals with residents, host worship services, pack meals for the homeless, and give toys to children with incarcerated parents. After high school, he plans to attend a four-year university and study data science. His career goal is to work in the field of data analytics.

We are so proud of you, Simeon! You have already accomplished amazing things at FCS and we know you will continue to do so throughout your life!

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