From a Loomis Chaffee School Graduate

From a Loomis Chaffee School Graduate




From a Loomis Chaffee School Graduate

I was far apart from any study abroad experience. I went to a Korean Catholic elementary school and was expected to attend a public middle school near my home, probably heading into another public high school to study afterwards. Nobody in my family attended a school out of the country, and never even thought of the concept of studying in a country hundred miles away, living in a dormitory starting from an early age.

A single email sent that ended up in my parent’s spam inbox was the catalyst for an entire new lifestyle for me. It was my fourth-grade summer break when my parents decided that it was a moment for a turning point. Up until then, the mere thought that learning English and experiencing a variety of cultures was crucial in a modern world motivated my parents to travel to Seattle with me and my sister every summer. It was not long until my parents started to scout for a fresh summer plan for me, and that was when the Eaglebrook Summer Camp information email caught my parents' radar.

The idea of sending off a fourth-grade boy to Deerfield, Massachusetts, by himself made my parents slightly reluctant about the decision they were about to make, but I was just excited for a new summer, finally away from the same house, the same park, the mundane days that I got accustomed to in Seattle.

Despite leaving home with the sole goal of having a more entertaining summer, my love for Eaglebrook quickly outweighed the simple and superficial joy I thought I would have. It was not long until I signed up for the second summer camp the following year, where I decided I had to attend Eaglebrook.

My application process was slightly different from others. I wrote my application impulsively during the summer camp, concerned that my parents would not let me attend the school. Unlike other families that applied through professional consultants who helped families apply to many schools and strategically apply to reach, possibles, and safety schools, I was pinned on only Eaglebrook. I made sure before I left that the only thing my parents had to do was schedule an interview and pay for whatever that had to be paid so that they could not back out of the application. It was also the only school I applied to. It was not long after until I got an email telling my parents when I should deposit and arrive at campus.

After three years on the hill, it was time for me to apply to secondary school, and I believe how I differed from the other hundreds of Asian male students in a junior boarding school was the attitude I had towards my school. None of my work, none of my extracurriculars, none of my sports were pressured by anyone. Contrasting with my peers who all had fancy consultants planning every course, what activities, and projects to do, all of my work was from a genuine heart. This is not to belittle any of my peers or to direct the spotlight at myself asserting that I’ve done better. They all found success in their areas and worked hard for their position. It is just that I worked hard in a different way. I did not strategize anything. I loved singing and performing, so I participated in the theater, musical, and adlibs. My love for wrestling and crew led me into taking part in those teams. However, when I put my heart into those activities, opportunities opened up. I was able to sing the national anthem at America’s most beloved ballpark - Fenway. I was able to participate at New Englands and multiple regattas for crew and wrestling. It is a lie to say that I loved every single moment of those competitions and performances, but they were all something I was passionate about, and something that I will never regret doing.

When I got to interviewing schools, I went on for hours. Not being arrogant and listing all my awards and accomplishments, but I just genuinely found enjoyment talking about subjects I loved and how the programs work around in different schools. Most of my peers prepped for the interviews - studying all the expected questions, finding the “golden answer” that will somehow magically give them an acceptance letter. I knew the interviewers worked in their offices for years and probably heard the same repetitive answer and some sophisticated, philosophical speech that a thirteen-year-old obviously came up with himself at the moment.

Blessed with the opportunity to choose between many competitive schools, I was given the chance to tour around an array of schools and campuses that each had their own beauty and charm. Loomis was where I had the gut feeling of “belonging”. I don’t know if it was the sunlight sparkling off the Connecticut River, or if it was the bridge that magically took us into the fields of Loomis, but it just felt comfortable being in the vicinity of Loomis.

My gut feelings turned into a definitive “yes” as the school started to introduce us new students to their programs. The famous writing workshop of Loomis provides a step-by-step guide throughout every student’s sophomore year on how to write one of the most high, sophisticated writings a high school student can produce. Loomis’s resource does not end here. For students who feel pressure to ask their teacher for feedback, there is a student writing resource center where peer students who are in high English level courses edit and comment on your essay. This process provides students an opportunity to learn comfortably and get a fresh perspective on their essay. Any alumni from Loomis will be able to say that even in college their writing skills are top of their class, through the rock-solid foundation that Loomis provided. My writing was also not top-notch; it was flimsy and couldn’t escape the “amateur” level. However, by the end of my senior year, I was awarded with a handful of writing awards from NYT, the local newspaper, and more.

Loomis was more than a school where I learned academic material. It was where I could confidently call home, a place where all my friends stayed, a place where I experienced great success and failure. Loomis was not all about getting the highest grade, or a warmup stop for college. It was four years of growth, and perhaps in one of my most important years. It was a place where I can still make mistakes and Loomis would always be there to hold me up but also prepare me so that I am aware that this is the last place where second chances could be an option.

Every school out there has their own message, own story, and own value that they give to their alumni and students. Loomis Chaffee will always have the alumni that have one of the most outstanding, analytical writers, the strongest, resilient athletes any college or company will find. They will always have one Latin phrase engraved somewhere inside them. “Ne Cedes Malis”. Do not yield to adversities.

Godspeed to all reading this.