- Upper School
Written by guest writer, Dingqi "Harley" Chen '22 – Beijing, China
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” –Lao Tzu.
My journey began with a small idea of coming back to Thornton Academy from China amid the pandemic. However, besides my friend Justin who shared the same idea with me, everything seemed to be against such a decision, including my parents. The political instability had been covered by the media in the news, and the astronomical number of COVID cases further frightened everybody, especially the ones thinking about coming back. In addition, the policies between China and the U.S. required us to stay in a third country—later decided as Cambodia—for at least 14 days before arriving at the U.S. custom.
One of the various reasons that I persuaded my parents is that Justin and I are both juniors this year, which is commonly considered the harshest year of high school. Not only is it the most academically stressful year, but also we must prepare for SAT and other recognitions for college. If we stayed in China for this entire year, we could not take the SAT exam since none is provided in the mainland. Also, we could not fully focus on college admissions because all useful resources are here at Thornton Academy where counselors can provide assistance, teachers can render direct help, and we can have a learning experience that is not vapidly staring at a screen all the time. Besides that, Thornton Academy’s education and the campus life itself are worth traveling across the hemisphere.
I came here as a freshman and I have met many interesting figures, from students to teachers, that facilitated my growth. I learn more than just the knowledge Thornton provides from its wide-range of courses. I learn from each encounter, each class, each day, The teachers help me to shape a righteous identity, and the students accept and encourage who I am. Moreover, living in a city at home that contains twenty million residents, I often missed the quietude and peace of Thornton Academy, where it’s covered by a white blanket of snow and teeming with nothing but the sound of the distant highway.
My parents were most worried about the situation of coronavirus in our campus because we live in a dorm. However, I believed the cases would be soon controlled as vaccines are more available, plus the school’s policy and teaching has improved from the accumulated experiences.
I want to use the rest of this blog post to appreciate the teachers, especially residential staff; they try their best to improve and help the dorm and students. They recognize those students from China that have stayed at TA for the whole year without returning to their country. I am truly amazed by the persistence and courage of these students that sustained them during their time away from home for almost two years now. I believe the wonderful life at Thornton is what motivated me and the others to pursue the challenging journey that brought us back to Thornton Academy.