Kalos K. Chu: 2018 National Merit $2500 Scholarship

Photo of Kalos K. Chu with his Harvard acceptance letter.

Q. Where are you attending college, and what do you plan to major in? Why did you choose this field of study?

A. I will be attending Harvard College in the fall and plan to major in English. For me, it was the influence and guidance of amazing high school English teachers that influenced me to choose this major. It was a combination of literary analysis— of being able to read so many different authors who were able to convey so many different ideas in so many different ways that revealed to me the potential for English to be a vehicle for thought—and of writing—being able to articulate my own ideas and finding the most efficient, effective, and impactful way of doing so.

Q. What have you recently read, experienced, or discovered about this field that excites you?

It’s not so much what excites me, but, rather, what scares me. After reading “What Does It Mean to Be Well Educated?” by Alfie Kohn and “In Defense of a Liberal Education” by Fareed Zakaria, I feel more aware of the pressure against the liberal arts. My choice to pursue English, a humanities major that is often the punch line of college dropout jokes, is a deliberate rebuke of the modern zeitgeist that overwhelmingly favors STEM fields. I truly believe that one can study the humanities in college and still have successful careers in the future.

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Q. Do you look up to an expert in your chosen field of study? If so, how has that person influenced or inspired you?

To the world, he may not be considered an expert, but to me, he is the epitome of the word: my 12th grade English teacher, Mr. Frerichs. His dedication to his teaching is unparalleled, and his diligence in analyzing the meaning of a text served as an invaluable example for me.

Q. What motivated you to excel throughout high school? Which of your accomplishments have meant the most to you?

Even as a freshman, the seemingly distant notion of the college admissions process still looms heavily, and is often the motivation for volunteering, taking AP classes, or scribbling an email on a random sign‐up sheet at the club fair. When I was in 9th grade, I may have fallen victim to that urge, but throughout my years in high school, my motivation and passion have transcended that basal need for resume boosters. The academic perils of AP classes were made very clear to me as a freshman: the mounds of homework, the incomprehensibly difficult material, and the possibility of receiving—heaven forbid—a B. Nevertheless, I couldn’t stay away. The rigor, the depth, the challenge was too enticing, and the opportunity to learn so much more was worth the threat to my GPA. My experience as a freshman in my school’s Model UN program was invaluable, boosting my research, writing, and public speaking skills. As such, when the advisor stepped down, I stepped up—coaching students in the art of debate, drafting lessons and presentations, sustaining the club for three years, and preparing the next generation of delegates to continue the task. This last example, I believe, is the most important. As a 12th grader, it is extremely tempting to succumb to senioritis, to coast through second semester, and to, essentially, waste the remainder of our time in high school. To do so, however, would be a tragedy. We have so much experience. We’ve accumulated four years of study skills and time management strategies and varied interests and talents and passions. To sequester that knowledge and withhold it from the 9th‐11th graders is unkind and impractical. The responsibility to introduce them to the Improv Team or AP Biology or any of the myriad opportunities available here at Henry falls upon us, the senior class, and there is no group better equipped to do so. As such, whether through MUN Club or marching band or Environmental Club, I dedicate my time toward facilitating this transfer of knowledge, toward communication between classes, so that our school, as a whole, may progress.

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