“Me?” SaraJo beams when she learns she’ll be featured on our website as an outstanding student.  “Cool!”

SaraJo is from Nangtong in the eastern part of China.  She wears glasses and a Nike sweatshirt, casual and relaxed—far from her hectic schedule.  With AP Calculus, AP US History and AP Economics, this junior has a heavy academic load.  Add playing for our school’s volleyball team as well as our advanced orchestra, and it’s a demanding schedule.  But this doesn’t stop her from giving back to the school and local communities.

On campus, SaraJo has dedicated numerous hours to our peer tutoring club, helping struggling students with all levels of math and chemistry.  Off campus, at the Orange Public Library, SaraJo volunteers each week, assisting with a reading program for 3-12 year-olds.  As she discusses helping the children, she clarifies the unusual spelling of her own name, explaining she settled on it before she knew much English.  Now SaraJo’s English skills are strong (but she keeps the spelling of her name because she likes it), so strong in fact that the school administration enlists her help in translating from Mandarin to English and back again!

With all this talent and effort, the future is limitless.  In terms of education, SaraJo will attend university where she would like to major in economics, eventually pursuing business.  This up-and-coming entrepreneur is interested in one day developing her own line of makeup and cosmetics.  “I want to create warm tone eyeshadow pallets and foundation for flawless skin.  I want to make all ladies beautiful and confident.”  In the meantime, SaraJo will settle for creating makeup videos and posting them on YouTube.

This hardworking high-schooler will be returning to China for winter vacation.  She looks forward to seeing her friends and family, as well as her “flat-faced cat named Wangtai.”  Ultimately, she would like to pursue her dreams as an adult while traveling back and forth between the United States and the country of her birth.  Both countries will be fortunate to have SaraJo, for seldom does one find such a potent combination of intelligence, effort, and kindness all in one person.


Sean Kelley


Leave a Reply