Oak Hill Academy Stories #4 Amy He class of 2015

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I first met Amy as a shy incoming 8th grader from China who had a large language barrier to overcome.  A short, memory-filled 5 years later, she is less than two weeks away from graduation at Oak Hill Academy.  We are all very proud of the engaged, confident young lady she has grown into before our eyes.  High Point University in North Carolina is next on the horizon for Amy.  She chose HPU from among several great scholarship offers from several good schools.  Amy is also a great example of the relationships built at Oak Hill Academy although it doesn’t take 5 years to do that.

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Amy has acted in several play productions and has grown into leadership positions on campus such as student ambassador and Admission Department intern along with a long list of community service involvement.  She embraced the opportunity to become part of a close-knit school community, and along with long-term support of the ESL program, is now completely bi-lingual.  We now take the opportunity to check in with her before what is sure to be an emotional graduation time arrives.

As an international student, what were your first impressions of Oak Hill Academy when you arrived?  To be honest, I thought it was too much in the country.  I’m from the city and that took time to get used to.  I remember feeling everyone was friendly and I was glad the school is not too big.  I was worried that I might not fit in before I got here.

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In what main ways have you grown at Oak Hill Academy?  I’m not scared to try new things and my confidence has grown a lot.  I’m a much better student than I thought I would become.

What are the most important relationships you’ve developed?  I have a bond with Mr. Henry Crede (Dean of Student Affairs) and he has become like a father to me.  I’ve felt support from a lot of faculty and staff and, especially, friends over the years if I’m having a tough time which happened more when I was younger.

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What have become your favorite activities while at Oak Hill?  In Shanghai, I never really had the opportunity to ride horses – the equestrian program has become a big part of my life while at OHA.  I also love to dance.  (Oak Hill does not have an official dance program, although cheerleading has been a good outlet for Amy)  There have been many adults on campus who have gone above and beyond to help me continue to pursue dance.  I really appreciate that effort to take me off campus to attend weekly dance classes and competitions.  I did a devotion in home room the other day to express how much that has meant to me!

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Any advice to international students that will attend Oak Hill Academy?  Don’t be afraid to talk to other people.  Be brave.  Nobody here judges you while you are learning English.  The students and teachers understand.  You need to socialize with all other students to learn things outside of class.  Don’t be afraid to try new things, you never know what joy it will bring to you.

What have been the biggest obstacles to overcome during your time here?  Obviously learning English seemed like it was going to be hard, but it turned out to be really easy as I look back.  Saying goodbye when I graduate will be the biggest obstacle for me so I’m appreciating every memory I’m making at Oak Hill Academy.