Kevin Zhang

Future Leaders Nurtured
Clairbourn is not only a school. It is a safe haven that nurtures future leaders. The lessons that Clairbourn has taught me are unlike anything else. When I first came, I was nervous and unsure. Luckily, I had a thirst for challenge and a willingness to take a risk. Positive risk taking is a key component to Clairbourn’s learning, and it has encouraged me to leave my comfort zone and allowed me to advance my skills in various areas.
My first experience of positive risk-taking was when I agreed to be in Clairbourn’s production of Twelfth Night. I had no prior acting experience and I had no idea how the show was going to be run, what the lines would sound like, or even who Shakespeare was. Even though I had many doubts, I had a great time, learned much from my experience, and I’ve grown to love Shakespeare. Positive risk-taking has propelled me to find this new passion, allowed me to think in new ways, and pushed me to change for the better.

Another time where positive risk taking has deeply impacted my life was when I broke my leg. I was suddenly limited in many aspects of my life. My parents had signed me up for a speech and debate camp in northern California for a week all by myself. With my injury, I wasn’t so sure I should go, but I got over my self-pity and decided to take on the challenge. I boarded a plane, navigated carrying luggage and traversing a large college campus on crutches, and made the best of my situation.

In hindsight, my efforts were totally worth it, as I learned so much from the camp. I enhanced my debate skills, grasped more key points, bonded with my friends, and actually had a great time overall. Life is full of hurdles, but no matter how tall or impossible a hurdle seems to be, a positive attitude and a relentless spirit will always get you over.

Another time I decided to take on a challenge was when I was ten. I had a dream to share chess with others because of the lessons it has taught me and how it has shaped my character. I went to the library and pitched my plan for running a chess meet-up. It was a success. People came back again and again, and I have continued meet-up events at the library for four years now. Teaching chess at the library further encouraged me to host a chess elective here at Clairbourn. I hope to continue expanding my dream in high school.

As the great author, Lewis Carroll once said, “In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take,” and that is so true. Taking a positive risk is always the better choice, because you are going to carry that feeling of if only… for the rest of your life. Australian poet Eric Hanson writes, “There is freedom waiting for you, on the breezes of the sky. And you ask, ‘What if I fall?’ Oh, but my darling, ‘What if you fly?’

Even though my time at Clairbourn has been short, I have never been happier. The graduating Class of 2020 is special, and each individual has true character. It is a group that will rise to the top in every aspect, which is why I asked for autographs from every one of them—just in case.
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