Zhong’s story of embracing a new home, language, and succeeding in a foreign country

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Senior Zhenhao Zhong, known to his classmates as Victor, moved to Sandpoint, Idaho from the Hong Kong area in China for family reasons in 2013.

Some of the largest differences in Zhong’s move he noted as being the amount of people in the city, transitioning from around 30 million to 8,000 in Sandpoint, seeing much more wildlife through the drastic change in environment, and a vastly different style of schooling.

“It was interesting seeing people different from yourself, you know there’s not much white people around [Hong Kong],” Zhong said.

Transitioning from his native language of Chinese and suddenly learning English might have seemed like a daunting task for many, but not for Zhong, as he had the help of his numerous classmates and teachers.

It was interesting seeing people different from yourself, you know there’s not much white people around [Hong Kong].”

— Zhenhao Zhong

The English Language Learning program helps to support students who don’t know English as their first language, so students like Zhong can leave high school a better understanding of English.

“The teachers are really nice and lots of people and good friends helped me learn English and get used to it,” Zhong said.

Since coming here, Zhong has participated in numerous honors classes, being ranked in the top 25 percent, and in a variety of sports, which is a great way to get involved and make new friends.

“I’ve done football and track, football is just a lot of teamwork and it’s nice to hang out with your friends. For track, I’m just trying to get faster, it’s pretty fun,” said Zhong.

Zhong has accomplished much in his time here, as he describes the academics here as easier in comparison to China.

Students in China have to take tests to move up from elementary school to middle school and later to high school as well as different Scholastic Aptitude Test(SAT) like exams for each grade level.

With his skill in comprehending and completing rigorous work, Zhong plans to go into the biomedical field and possibly dive into the realm of genetic modification to help as many people as he can.

He was first inspired to go into the biomedical field after the death of a family member from cancer, his future plans being close to his heart.  

Since moving to Sandpoint, Zhong has adapted and really embraced all opportunities presented to him and without him, many people would be left with a gap in their lives.