If you’ve ever read Word Magazine or enjoyed one of the many theatre productions on Pudong campus, then you’ve seen the behind the scenes work of Pudong senior, Francis Huang. Next year you’ll find Francis at Williams University where she’s looking forward to exploring a wide range of topics and taking advantage of Williams’ unique Winter Study program.
Congratulations on your acceptance! Tell us a little more about it.
I'll be going to Williams College. They don’t require you to have a major so I'm going in undecided and that’s the good thing about Williams College, they allow you to explore your interests. But I put in my application that I'm interested in anthropology, sociology, psychology and crime and law.
Besides the coursework at Williams, what else are you looking forward to?
So, I think what initially really drew me to Williams College, I'm going to have to be honest, is that it’s in the northwest of Massachusetts. It's mountainy, there are a lot of trees, it’s really beautiful. They offer a lot of courses on hiking, they have this thing called Mountain Day where the entire class goes into the mountains to hike and kayak, and I thought that was just really cool. I’ve lived in metropolitan cities all my life. I come from Singapore, and now I live in Shanghai, so these are all skyscraper cities. I thought it would be a really interesting experience to just live somewhere where you're surrounded by nature. And one other thing that everyone talks about for Williams College is their Winter Study program. In this program you have an opportunity to take courses that usually aren’t offered, and you get to chose courses that are more based on your interest. So I'm really, really excited to be doing that.
Also, there are a lot of opportunities in Williams College to work directly with professors. The school population is only around 2,000 students. So, because of the small population, we have a really close connection with the teachers. And I really value having that personal connection with my professors, and also that personal connection with all your peers. A lot of the classes are seminar based. And right now in senior year, I'm also taking a lot of courses with a very small class size and a lot of Williams classes are structured like that.
Wow, that sounds amazing. Now we really want to be a student at Williams.
Let’s talk about SAS a little more, can you tell us what you're best known for in school?
I think I'm really everywhere around school, but most people know me as the Head of Layout for Word Magazine, our student literary magazine. I’m also involved in Pudong Press, our student journalism club. I also worked backstage for theater tech, and I'm pretty involved in the theater program. And finally, I’m a Link Crew Leader so I help integrate ninth graders when they arrive in high school.
Can you tell us a little more about how you developed some of these passions while at SAS?
In middle school I joined Yearbook Club, and Yearbook Club is sort of a thankless job. But that's what taught me about InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, and I really, really loved working with these programs. When I joined high school, we had a lot of called clubs offered to us. And one of the clubs I was really interested in was Word Magazine and being a layout artist, so I was able to continue what I did as a yearbook editor, except with student literary works. So, in ninth grade I joined Word Magazine club, and now I'm an Exec and I found that I really developed my skills, and I found my own art style.
Another interest I think SAS has helped me develop was my interest in theater. So I’ve basically dabbled in most forms of art. I did film, I did art, I did orchestra. I was in APAC orchestra, and I also did theater. When I was in seventh grade, I stumbled upon Backstage. I worked with our Backstage crew for Elf that year, if anybody remembers that, and it was a really good show. I had so much fun backstage making the set pieces and then for the actual show night, helping the actors. It was just really fulfilling. I continued Backstage through high school, but that was something I had never expected I would be interested in, especially since I'm not a very big drama kid. I know a lot of schools don't offer Backstage or don't have very big production shows like we do here at SAS, so that's just something I'm really grateful for.
If you could offer any advice for juniors or students thinking about going to Williams or starting their college application process? What advice would you give to them?
I think my one major piece of advice to people applying, it's a little cliche, but it's to remember that your application is only part of your high school story. You only get to live your high school experience once, so really enjoy it and find out your interests, because this is sort of the point of high school, right? It's to explore who you are, your identity, to take courses that you're interested in learning about. Don’t let college applications take over your life, really try to do your best in high school but not let this be your end all be all. There are people at SAS who are here to help you and that you can ask them, SAS alumni, and your friends for help. Just know that you'll get through this.
Williams is lucky to have you, Francis! We can’t wait to see what all you accomplish.
Hear more of Francis' story here: