Sunday, March 31, 2013

Amy Chen Wins Boettcher Scholarship

Congratulations to HRHS hurdler Amy Chen on being named a 2013 Boettcher Scholarship Winner. This is Colorado's highest academic honor for graduating seniors.  The competition is intense for these 4-year full-ride awards to attend the Colorado university of the student's choice. Annually more than 1300 students apply for the 40 scholarships that are awarded to Colorado's best and brightest graduating seniors. Congratulations to Amy as she joins an elite group of Colorado students who have been selected as this year's Boettcher Scholars!

Here's a Q & A with Amy on her award:

What motivates you to be an outstanding student? What people or experiences have had the greatest impact on your academic development?
I would have to say that I'm really self-motivated. Education, in my opinion, is the foundation for everything in life and is the means for advancement and achievement. I don't think it's necessarily what you learn (because who really uses multivariable calculus every day of their life?) but what you're learning - the perseverance, dedication, and problem solving skills that come with school.

My parents definitely motivate me to do well, and they've been huge support every step of the way. There have been some amazing teachers who changed my mind about certain subjects and some really great classes. Mr. Goings, of course, and Coach Padjen, who also happens to be my counselor and persuaded me to come to HRHS in the first place. And I have some really amazing peers, friends, and teammates who challenge me to do well and to be as amazing as they are both in the classroom and on the field.

What excites you most about being a Boettcher Scholar and what does the scholarship mean for your future?
The opportunities and the relationships, definitely! It is just such a neat community to be a part of. The Boettcher scholarship is something I never expected, honestly, and I never thought that I would stay in state for college. It truly opens a door of amazing opportunities and friendships and connections to an amazing community and I couldn't be more blessed.

What field of study to you plan to pursue in college?
I've decided to major in chemical engineering at CU Boulder! But I'm really indecisive - I like business and have thought of being in the full-scale event planning business organizing the Grammys or the Sundance Film Festival - but there's still time.

What extracurricular activities have made the biggest impression on you at HRHS?
Track, of course! It's time to not think about a test tomorrow or how much homework is waiting (because trying to hurdle with that on your mind never works out well) and just let go of everything for two or three hours and de-stress. Plus it's a ton of fun and we're always laughing, and so many of my friends are on the team.
DECA has also played a major role in my high school experience and taught me leadership and public speaking skills, professionalism, and made me more outgoing. Working with the Cunningham Foundation through DECA showed me we are so fortunate and everyone can give back, and the volunteer opportunities at HRHS - SNHS, NHS, Unified - have been a great way to do so.

How has being a strong student helped you as an athlete, and how has being an athlete helped you as a student?
If I didn't have track very day, I think I would be certifiably insane. There is no way I could function without this mental break every day! The dedication and perseverance bit works both in the classroom and on the track. I mean, I'm really not fast and really not much of an athlete, but sticking with it for four years has been challenging and rewarding. I've always believed that success comes with hard work so I'm willing to put in the time and effort because I'm not as good as I'd like to be.

What question have you answered a lot lately?
A lot of people have asked me, "How did you do it?" or told me, "You're just smart." But I have always believed that very very few people are born geniuses, or born champions. My first DECA roleplay was a 21/100, and my first practice ACT was a 27, and I got deferred then rejected from MIT. Everything is a result of hard work and making yourself better. It doesn't matter what it is, you have to work at it. It's completely okay to fail, as long as you use failure as motivation to pick yourself up and try again. And if you put in the time and the effort and the dedication and you persevere, everything will work out.

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