Jackson Chou ’23 Speaks at 2022 Open House

On Saturday, October 8, MICDS welcomed prospective families to our annual Open House on campus. Senior Jackson Chou ’23 shared his thoughts about his time at MICDS with the audience.

Hello, my name is Jackson Chou and I am a current senior here at MICDS.

I came to MICDS in fifth grade, and starting off, there were many differences compared to my old school that I had to adjust to. The biggest difference was the MICDS workload: specifically, the fact that they had a grading system was already a step up from what I was used to in the classroom. However, it only took me about one semester of that fifth-grade year to get accustomed to the academic side of MICDS, and since then, I have realized that academics are only the beginning of what makes MICDS so special.

MICDS introduced me to new sports such as lacrosse and squash, and I have enjoyed playing for this school on the field and court alike in those two programs over the years. When I started taking acting in freshman year expecting just another easy class to fulfill my arts requirement, I discovered the vibrant MICDS theater department instead, and starting when I was a sophomore, I have acted in a school play in the fall and a school musical in the spring every year.

Furthermore, I have served in leadership roles in our Upper School’s student government and activities, spending time as a Student Council representative during sophomore year and junior year and, more recently, as a co-head of our Manos Unidas Spanish Club and our Rambassadors student ambassador program this year. And yes, ever since fifth grade, I have also challenged myself academically with a diverse range of courses every year.

Whenever I hear my classmates talk about what makes MICDS special, a common answer is “it’s the people that make MICDS special.” While I would agree that we have amazing people, I think the most special aspect of MICDS is how complete of an experience MICDS offers its students.

One example of this is how sports practices almost always take place before rehearsals start, allowing MICDS students to play a sport and do a show at the same time. I took full advantage of this policy during high school, and there were some days in the past two years when I would go from classes to practice to rehearsal. While I would spend up to 15 hours per day on campus during these days, it never felt that long because I was participating in activities that interested me the whole time.

And the best part is, the wholeness of the experience doesn’t mean that it looks the same for everyone. One of my best friends is the senior class president, a member of the MICDS squash and swim teams, and an actor who has acted alongside me in almost every theater production that I have been part of. Another one of my friends is part of the swim and water polo teams, is an avid guitar player, and is also surprisingly good at computer science. These are only two examples of many other students at MICDS who have diverse interests, and just like me, they have been able to take advantage of a wide range of opportunities here at MICDS.

There are countless wonderful teachers here at MICDS as well. While I was taking acting, my teacher, Mrs. Hood, was the one who convinced me to audition for my first school musical and created my love of acting outside the classroom in addition to during class. Mr. Tourais, my English teacher junior year, taught me how to approach writing assignments methodically with multiple outlines and revisions, and I ended up producing some of my best essays in his class as a result. Mr. B, my AP Calculus BC teacher, brought so much energy to his lessons every day that, when he lost his voice one week and had to write his lessons on the board, my friend and I thought that his silent math class was still engaging due to his passionate teaching. When it was time to ask for college recommendations, I reached out to each of these three teachers because I felt that those were some of the strongest relationships that I had built with teachers throughout high school.

I am currently in one of the most important periods of the college process, so I’m grateful for my college counselor, Dr. Macam, for supporting me throughout this whole process. I feel like Dr. Macam truly knows me as a student and person, and that allows me to feel more confident as we strategize through the college process together. And finally, no matter what your interests are at MICDS, we all take pride and share joy in being a part of our Ram Nation. One of my favorite annual events at MICDS is Homecoming weekend in early September, especially the bonfire that we have to celebrate every year before the football game and more activities the next day. This year, as I watched the flames burn high for the eighth time, I was surprised at how sad I became when I realized that this would be my last Homecoming as an MICDS student. But as I felt the warmth of the fire, I also felt secure knowing that MICDS had prepared me for life in college and beyond.

To wrap things up, if there is one special thing that I want you to know about MICDS, it is that the experience it offers can be anything you want it to be and more, and I hope that all of you choose that experience. Thank you.