How long have you attended MFS?
I’ve been here six years, since sixth grade. I’d been coming to the school for summer programs since first grade.
What was it like coming in sixth grade?
I think I had a pretty good transition. Teachers were very welcoming. The grade grew a lot in ninth grade, but there are people who were here when I was in sixth grade who I’m still close with… I think we have a very close-knit community. I know everybody in my grade and I talk to everybody at least once a week. That’s the benefit of being at a small school.
Can you talk a little more about what it’s like attending a small school?
Getting to know everybody, you feel appreciated in the grade and in the way that everybody looks to you for different reasons. They know who you are. Besides the students, the teachers are also very personable and know you specifically and on a more personal level. I think you have a more engaging learning experience when you know who your teachers are personally. They actually want to see you progress. They don’t just teach to the test, they actually want to help you as a person.
What subjects are you most interested in?
My main interest right now is in political science, history, and international relations. However, I can see myself in law as well.
Do you feel the school is a good fit for you as you explore those subjects?
MFS has definitely augmented my skill in several regions of academic learning. I would consider myself an aspiring student, I go the extra mile, and MFS is always accepting to those characteristics. They look for people who are self-motivated. It’s expected that you won’t outright fail for missing certain assignments on purpose. That’s not the attitude here. You want to strive to succeed rather than just passing by. You want to take something out of it.
There’s definitely room here for me to be excited about history and be a history nerd. MFS allows for people to grow. They allow for upper level classes that wouldn’t necessarily be allowed at a public school. You can go to the next level.
How would you describe the relationships you’ve built at MFS?
In my classes, there are about eight people who I’m with the entire day. Those are the people who help me academically, or I help them, and we kind of prosper together. We’re all friends here. I get to see my friends pretty much every period and we’re interested in the same things.
How about relationships with teachers?
I have an English teacher, Mr. Hammer, who has taught me more than I had ever learned before about how to construct an essay or a thesis or any parts of writing. He’s definitely changed the way that I write and the way that I look at English as a whole. My first assignment for 10th grade English, a Beowulf essay, was not that great. But by the time we reached Frankenstein, my writing had definitely improved. We spent about two weeks towards the beginning of the year covering prose and how to write it. It drastically improved my writing.
What kinds of things do you do with friends outside of class?
Each year, we attend three conferences for Model UN: Penn, Rutgers, and TCNJ. I thoroughly enjoy them. That’s kind of the way I want to go in my life: international relations or political science. It’s been an interest of mine since ninth grade.
One of the other competitions I go to is History Bowl, and I’m the captain of the History Bowl team. Each year, we go to nationals, which is held in Washington, D.C. We have time to visit different types of monuments. Last year, we did a tour of the Lincoln assassination around Washington, and the year before that we went up to the Mall and several Smithsonian museums. It’s a blast. I love sitting around and answering questions about history.
In addition to academic competitions, do you also play sports?
I play soccer, I fence, and I play baseball. Fencing’s interesting because unlike the other sports, we go off to a separate facility in order to fence. We get personal instruction from trained fencers. Our head coach is Serbian and there are Chinese coaches, too, who come from all over the world. Not a lot of other schools around here have fencing. We have a lot of Saturday competitions where we travel up to North Jersey, and it’s really interesting because you have 500 to 600 kids all fencing together.
What other clubs do you enjoy?
I participate in Ethics Bowl, Envirothon, Debate Club in 9th grade, Quiz Bowl, Consumer Bowl, Model UN, and History Bowl. In other schools, you might have a person who just does, say, Envirothon, and that’s all they do. But here, you can do many different things. I think it’s a good thing because I’m testing out the waters of other subjects.