Name: Emmie
Graduation Year: 2020
Middle School: Bentley 
Hometown: Orinda
What's the biggest difference between middle school and high school? In high school you are presented with many more opportunities, whether that be in sports, clubs, or even the classes you take. And along with those opportunities comes more freedom to choose what you want to do. You get to decide where you’re going to invest your time.
Why are you glad that you chose College Prep? When I was looking at high schools, Prep stood out to me because of its high academic standards. All of the classes that I shadowed seemed incredibly well-run and organized, and the students were all engaged and seemed genuinely interested in the class. As someone who had been very serious about academics throughout middle school, this aspect of Prep greatly appealed to me.
What advice do you have for 8th graders applying to high school? I know it may seem overwhelming now as you are going through the high school application process. However, I believe that what school you actually attend is less important compared to what you make out of it. I think you can have a great high school experience anywhere as long as you try your best and make what you want out of the experience.
What campus activities are you involved in? I am a captain of the Varsity Swim Team, a member of Science Olympiad, and a leader of AAA (Asian American Association). I swim outside of school for a club team, but swimming at Prep is special because you get to know the people you study and go to school within a different environment. Doing a sport helps me to destress and gives me time to think about something other than my academic classes. There are also no grade boundaries in sports, which means that I've been able to create strong and lasting friendships with both upper and lower classmen throughout my time on the swim team. Science Olympiad has given me an opportunity to learn about different science subjects other than just the mainstream ones that are available to us through classes. For example, my friend and I are partners for the Forensic Science event. We've ended up loving the subject and even won 4th place at our regional tournament last year. Lastly, as a leader of AAA, I plan and host bi-weekly meetings during the school week in which my fellow co-leaders and I aim to bring together students of all ethnicities and experience Asian culture. We’ve watched Studio Ghibli movies, cooked, and played Asian tabletop games together. It's been very rewarding to teach others about my culture and traditions, and I have also made many new friends in the process.
What is your favorite College Prep memory? When I think back on my years at Prep, the event that stands out the most to me is Sophomore retreat. A couple of months into our sophomore year, my whole grade got driven over to the American River and went river rafting. After a long day in the sun, we camped outside under the stars.
What is your favorite place on campus? I really love the library at Prep. We recently had it renovated, and the new space is beautiful. What I like most about the library is that it has both a quiet section, as well as an area where you can talk and collaborate with your peers. You can do anything from studying for an upcoming test to working with classmates on a group project.
What has been your favorite class? I had a great time in my AP Biology class last year. As someone who considers themselves more of a math-science person, my science classes are usually my favorites, but this one definitely stood out. My favorite parts of this class were all of the labs we did throughout the year. These labs gave us an opportunity to apply the skills and information that we had learned in class to solve a research question with real scientific implications. For example, in our first lab, we determined the optimal conditions for the enzyme cellobiase.
What has been the best thing about College Prep? The community. Since Prep is a relatively small school, you really get to know everyone in your own grade and also in the grades above and below you. In inter-grade events, such as spirit week, you are given the opportunity to get to know many new people in a fun, positive, and stress-free environment.
Who is your favorite character from a movie/book/television series? I am a big fan of Leroy Jethro Gibbs from the tv series NCIS. Not only is he a pro at solving cases by following his “gut” intuition, but he also sticks to a strong moral compass. Most of all, he is a father figure and mentor towards the members of his team and treats them like family.
1. I can tap dance.
2. I interned in the Niyogi Lab, a plant biology lab at UC Berkeley, this past summer.
3. I taught myself how to play the ukulele.