Every year at this time we drop in on the newest BFS Merit Scholars to see how they’ve fared in their first year as high school students. Class of ’18 scholars Isabel U., Joy F. and Lucy S. weighed in on newfound freedoms, opportunities to speak out, and increased academic rigor.
Lucy S, Joy F. and Isabel U were honored at the end of their eighth grade year last spring with BFS Merit Scholarships. The awards carry a $10,000 scholarship for all four years of high school. As these class of ’18 scholars finish up their ninth grade year they took a few moments to weigh in on newfound freedoms and increased academic rigor of life in the Upper School.
“My favorite classes are Western Civilization and Youth and Society,” said Isabel, who has been at BFS since Kindergarten. “In Western Civilization we learn about different idealistic revolutions and world leaders that have left a major mark upon our culture. I particularly enjoyed being able to write a research paper on Julius Caesar, a leader of my choosing.”
After school on Tuesdays, Isabel volunteers with Horizons at BFS students as part of her service learning requirement. “We work with these kids in math,” she said. “We get to help teach and try to explain new concepts. A few other students and I also worked with some of the younger girls in a feminist group at lunch.”
Isabel is also on the yearbook staff and runs track, “which has been a new experience and a major challenge,” she said.
Fellow Merit Scholar Lucy is inclined to take the pressure of academics and extracurriculars in stride. “The amount of work we were told to expect was exaggerated,” she admitted. “My favorite part is being given more opportunities to get involved with different clubs.” Still, ninth grade year isn’t completely devoid of growing pains. “Getting used to the shift in the community as been very difficult. Until this year our grade was always very close,” the BFS lifer candidly explained. “We’d known each other for so long and we were relatively comfortable with each other.”
Lucy’s academic strong suits this year have been Math, History and Latin. She also serves as 9th grade Treasurer. Moreover, she has performed in the dance concert, is on the dance team, works on yearbook staff and on the Upper School newspaper. “And earlier in the year,” she said, “I made the varsity volleyball team.”
Merit Scholar Joy, who also entered BFS in Kindergarten, doesn’t necessarily have a favorite or strong subject as much as positive relationships with certain teachers, she said. “I enjoy all of my classes, which personally, depends on the teachers and how they present the material. It’s been fun working with them this year.”
She appreciates having relationships with peers and teachers outside the classroom. “The students have far more independence and influence which includes the ability to take a proactive stance on current events and other school-related issues.” She’s also a member of the Japanese Culture Club, the Anime/Manga Club, and plays volleyball with fellow Merit Scholar Lucy. Outside of school she enjoys drawing, photography, and playing guitar and piano.