First Summer of High School


Katie Wang, Contributor '24

My summer started with the ZooTeen Summer camp and Visitor engagement program. I was selected after having applied online and done an in-person interview during 2019. Unfortunately, the program was held back that summer due to COVID-19. During the first week of summer camp, I helped to lead and organize the camp, along with the help of an instructor. It was a thrill to teach this bunch of 1st and 2nd graders. They would always have so many questions about the different animals we were learning about – mammals, birds, reptiles, and more. In addition, they would always make me laugh in the best way possible. Sometimes, it was hard to keep these excited kids engaged with the activity present, but with a few tricks up my sleeve, and with my problem-solving skills, I was able to come up with a rhyme they all loved. This program not only gave me the ability to share my knowledge about different animals but also allowed me to hone my leadership skills. These kids not only look for a leader to guide them but also a positive role model they can look up to.

I also participated in a national dance competition in Nashville, Tennessee. I then won the 13-15 age group overall dance national championship! When they announced it, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I heard my friends, teacher, and mom all cheering for me as loud as possible. It was a great way to prove to me that hard work always pays off! I was glowing; I smiled so hard that the corners of my mouth stretched from ear to ear! Although my solo and my group dances all finished on the first day, I decided that I would stay there to support my friends and other dancers. Somedays, I would wake up at 5:30 am to help the little kids get ready, put makeup on, and make sure all their costumes were in place. I would cheer on my friends and give them all my support as they performed on stage. I learned from this competition how important team spirit and teamwork are. I now have a good understanding of what it means to be a good team player, take ownership, and be a good student citizen in our Country Day Community! We are one!

Lastly, I was selected for an internship in the Cincinnati Mayor’s office with a scholarship from US Civic Leadership Academy. It was a great way for me to put my leadership skills to the test and help me understand the meaning of public service. I had a great experience conducting different research projects such as collecting information about the Delta Variant virus, childcare for parents and grandparents, and more. Although we did not participate in any earth-shattering events, like being part of a press conference or airing on TV, it showed me the meaning of public service and what it meant to take care of the people of our community. People came to us with their concerns, and as an intern in the mayor’s office, my job was to listen carefully and make sure these concerns were channeled to the right departments and personnel. I followed up and made sure the issues were all taken care of at the end of the day. After this internship, I felt it was my responsibility to encourage more youth to become interested in public service and build a pipeline for future civic leadership. With the skills I have learned from my internship, I am confident in my ability to contribute to the future leadership positions in Country Day, including the EDI Council, where I can help to promote more equity, diversity and inclusion in our community.