Tuesday, July 8, 2014

George Lieu, College Bound!

George Lieu, University High, class of 2014, and incoming  UC Santa Barbara freshman is spending his summer as a SMART intern. Selected to join us through a competitive application process, George is helping with IT, data entry, and here, sharing reflections on his past eight years as a SMART Scholar.
It’s hard to believe that just over a month ago, I finally graduated from SMART. SMART’s influence started during my transition from Tenderloin Community School to Cathedral School for Boys. Transferring from a public to private school was exciting, but intimidating as well. Everything at Cathedral was different; the sense of community was very powerful while the dedication to academics from both teachers and students was amazing. The 1-on-1 opportunities and well-rounded class schedules were also very new to me. Art and music class exposed me to a great deal of knowledge that I previously never knew existed. Moreover, I had many opportunities to experience something new, whether it was being part of a play/musical, going through some improv classes, or choosing between a wide selection of elective classes. The freedom to explore and develop my artistic skills along with my academics skills was mind-blowing. At the same time, I was attending SMART twice a week, receiving academic support from tutors. The combination of a new school and a supportive program helped me realize my educational potential.

When I entered high school, SMART also expanded in order to continue supporting students all the way to college. Other than the help with schoolwork, I found the support to be extremely useful when it came to the SAT/ACT and college application process. Personal meetings allowed me to craft a strong application and clarify any confusion, particularly regarding the aspect of financial aid, which was always a primary concern.

Looking back, I’m truly grateful for all that SMART has done for me. I’m happy knowing how much I’ve been able to achieve. In just a few months, I will be starting my college journey at UC Santa Barbara majoring in Computer Engineering. Although I’m a little nervous, I’m also eager. I’m eager to start a new chapter of my life and chase my aspirations in the next step of my education.