Meet Owen, class of 2021

Hello! Ni hao! I'm Jingqi 'Owen' Tu and I'm originally from Beijing, China. I graduated from Thornton Academy in 2021 and am currently studying Physics at the University of Rochester. For the past four years, Thornton Academy has been my home and it is my pleasure to share my TA experience with you. 

Thornton Academy is so much more than a school. Yes, the classes are challenging, the course offerings are varied, and the teachers supported my learning in so many ways, but it is what's outside the classroom that truly makes Thornton Academy so special. 

Below, you'll read about my participation in sports and clubs and the wonderful people that I was able to connect with through these activities. I know that as I go off to college, I'll be able to smile as I reminisce about all of the memories of laughter and shared experiences that I've had. 

My experiences as a boarding student at Thornton Academy were unforgettable. The dorm parents really became like a second family to me - they supported me during my soccer seasons, comforted me when I was homesick, and provided guidance as I went through the college search process. The dorms at Thornton Academy are so international, there are kids from all over the world. I know I made friends that I'll stay in touch with for years to come. 

I think that I made the most of my time at Thornton Academy. I hope that you enjoy learning about my experience and that you add Thornton Academy to your list of schools to apply to. I know that I wouldn't be the person I am today if it hadn't been for all of the different experiences that I was able to have at this amazing school. 

My favorite Thornton Academy Moments

Mary's Walk is an annual event held on Thornton Academy's campus to raise money for the Maine Cancer Foundation. Here I am with another member of our Interact community service club as we serve as route guides during the 5K event.

Thornton Academy is a really international school with kids from all over the world.  My friends in this photo are from Ghana, Mexico, Russia, Italy, and Spain. I've really enjoyed learning about new cultures during the past four years.  

We got to do an experiment pretty much every day in AP Chemistry. In this photo, we're learning about the difference between bases and acids. I loved getting to work with my classmates and experience science firsthand.

a student at graduation

Graduation was a memorable and emotional day for me. After studying remotely for the 2020-21 school year, I decided to return to campus in June to walk with my class. After four amazing years at Thornton Academy, I couldn't imagine not being there to celebrate all we've accomplished together. 

The dorm parents at Thornton Academy are like second parents to me. I lived in the same dorm with Mr. and Mrs. Nelson for three years and they came to support me at the final soccer game of my TA career. I will miss them so much when I'm at college. 

Thornton Academy international students were invited to visit the Maine State House to meet with our Governor, and I was fortunate enough to be invited! Maine is an incredibly welcoming and safe state and I've felt like I belong here since the day I stepped on to campus. 

Wow!! The blue sky and fresh air were some of my first memories at Thornton Academy. I arrived a month early before my freshman year to do our summer program and it was such a great experience. We got to go hiking, whitewater rafting and so many other fun activities. But the best part was getting to know the campus so when school began, I was ready! 

I played soccer all four years and was the first Chinese student to make the varsity team! Playing a sport is such a great way to make friends and become part of the school community, I'm so glad that I did it. 

As a member of the Neuroscience Club, I participated in the 'Brain Bee', held at the University of New England. It was a great way to meet with other young scientists and get a taste for what university studying will be like. 

The staff and teachers at Thornton Academy are so nice and have helped me so much. Mrs. Paradis is the Director of Residential Life and she creates a home-like experience in the dorms that is so welcoming. In this photo, I'm playing a card game with her and her family. 

Before deciding on the University of Rochester, I was able to visit many universities to help me make my decision. Thornton Academy is located in New England and our school counseling department sets up campus visits to many top universities. My friend Kevin in this photo will be attending the University of California - Berkeley. 

Life at Thornton Academy is so much more than just academics and extracurriculars. Here we are getting ready to go to the Homecoming dance. I love that TA has so many annual traditions. 

At Thornton Academy, you can really do it all. I sang in the Chamber Singers, a group for singers of all voices. The music that we were able to create was gorgeous and it always lifted my spirits after a hard test or quiz. 

After a busy day of classes, I love relaxing in the dorm common room with my friends. We watch movies, play video games, chat and laugh, and eat food together. I've made friends at Thornton Academy that I'll have for the rest of my life. 

My roommate my sophomore year was Rocco from Italy. He liked to play soccer, too, and so we would head out to the stadium in the evenings and on the weekends. We had so much in common and really enjoyed spending time together. 

As a member of the Interact Club, I did a lot of community service projects around campus. Here I am helping to serve alumni at the Senior Alumni Reunion. I loved hearing stories about what Thornton Academy used to be like 50 years ago! 

a student proudly holds a diploma at graduation