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Saturday Senior Spotlight: Jingqi 'Owen' Tu
Katy Nicketakis

Welcome to our Saturday Senior Spotlights for 2021! We will be highlighting a wide variety of Thornton Academy members of the class of 2021 and featuring their accomplishments in the classroom, on the athletic field, in academic competitions, in the arts, and out in the real world. We are so proud of the resilience and dedication of this class in particular and are excited to share their stories. 

Today's spotlight features Jingqi 'Owen Tu from Beijing, China. Owen truly 'bleeds maroon and gold' . He played soccer all four years, including three years on varsity, indoor & outdoor track, Neuroscience Club, Interact Club, Chinese Club, Science Olympiad, Model United Nations. Next year, he will be attending the University of Rochester with a major in Physics. 

What's your favorite spot on campus, and why? 

My favorite spot is the dorm because I met a lot of people from all over the world.
 It's the best place to improve my language skills because I get talk to my friends. The dorm parents help us a lot both with life and school. We have a lot of activities on the weekends. All the dorm parents are teachers, they know how we think and how teenagers deal with problems. They can help us with schoolwork because they are teachers here. 

What is your favorite Thornton Academy tradition and why? 

Even though we haven't had it for the past two years, my favorite TA tradition is Mary's Walk. We have a special relationship between the community and the school and it allows me to see how I'm not only part of the school, but I'm part of the greater Saco community. I worked with the photographer my first two years during Mary's Walk. I got to meet older people from the community and develop relationships with them. 

What is your favorite class, teacher, or club? 

AP Physics I & II with Mr. Rue. For me, Physics is all about the labs and experiments - we had a lot of opportunities and resources to do labs with our classmates. Mr. Rue is a really nice teacher, he encourages us to make mistakes, which is the best way to learn science. We learn from our mistakes and therefore better understand the material. Mr. Rue changed my view of science and showed me why people love science and influenced my future goals. He always loved to talk to us and answer all of our questions, even if they weren't related to science at all. 

What are you most proud of from your time at Thornton Academy? 

We have dealt with COVID-19 and now it is getting better. Starting last year, it was a really dark time for the school, but the school was able to react quickly with a remote learning plan. TA was able to make adjustments quickly to improve the plan. This year, TA created a really equal opportunity remote plan for remote learners to be able to participate fully in our classes. I know that teachers made a lot of changes and hard work to give us as good of an education as possible and made a memorable experience for me, despite all of the challenges. The school made quick and efficient action to help support the students. Post COVID-19, both the school and the students will come out stronger because we have gotten through this really hard time. 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I'm not sure yet. I hope to have a better idea of what I want to do after being in college for a while and what part of society I would like to be in. I want to improve the world in my local area and make people happier by offering help where I can. I hope that everyone is able to have a better life in the future.