Welcome to our Alumni Spotlight! Today, we are thrilled to showcase the talents and accomplishments of Thomas Hou who has been at AISG for 14 years, is one of our Alumni Class Ambassadors, and is a shining example of leadership and kindness. From spearheading service projects to APAC Band, Thomas has demonstrated a remarkable commitment to community service, fostering a sense of unity and purpose among his peers. Join us as we celebrate the achievements and legacy of this outstanding Ram.
What are some of your proudest accomplishments at AISG?
I think it goes without saying that surviving the IBDP along with all my friends is a pretty big accomplishment in its own right, because it truly is a gift that keeps on giving – being bombarded with IAs and EE deadlines is no fun, but I’m thankful that I spent my last two years with the most fantastic and supportive people, whether they were friends, teachers, or classmates.
On a non-academic note, I’m proud of my service groups’ trips to autism centers that I was so lucky to take part in, even as senioritis (stress-induced laziness) and DP2 kicked in. I’m proud of all (most) of the work we’ve done in the past 3 years, and I’m proud of all the bright-eyed underclassmen in our group who will continue to lead and serve next year, to push the boundaries of what service means to our school.
Who influenced you the most during your time at AISG and why?
It's hard to pin down a single person who influenced me “the most,” because I’ve run into so many phenomenal friends and teachers here, who all influenced me in their own uniquely caring ways. That being said, I want to give a special thanks to my Social Studies and Economics teacher, Ms. Partee. In the three years that I’ve been her student, I’ve made a 180 turn as a learner, from a disorientated and lazy student to a less-disorientated (still lazy) student, happy to be in her class nonetheless.
But as an individual, I know Ms. Partee as someone who asked us, “How are you doing today?” every time we walked into her class, as someone who would explain the same diagram for the 5th time when her students forgot the diagram for the 4th time (sorry Ms. Partee), and most importantly, as someone who was always willing and able (PED = 0) to listen and help her students in their academic or personal time of need, regardless of how busy and packed her schedule might be. Our senior year would not have been as joyful and wonderous had she not fought for our China Trips or senior lock-in, and I would be nowhere near the person I am today had I not stepped foot into the G10 Social Studies class that she taught.
Share your favorite AISG memory:
Playing a very high-stakes game of rock, paper, and scissors with everyone in our APAC Band/APAC theater group. We sat outside on a large balcony outside of the hotel, the night after our final performances, and I remember it being ludicrously cold because we were in Shanghai in mid-Feburary. That didn’t stop us from setting up a few tables and immediately start hedging our bets on who would win the next game. Underneath the flickering amber floodlights and the silent hum of airplanes in the starry Pudong sky, our APAC crew roared in celebration and booed in loss for every game we played, as we anxiously awaited the losing player to make a comeback. All on a silly game where the players couldn’t even intentionally try to win or lose.
What challenges have you faced during Upper Secondary, and how have you overcome them?
COVID-19 has been a persistent challenge that we’ve all faced in Upper Secondary, and I think it took a lot of adjustment to make sure that we’re accountable for our own learning when in-person instruction is no longer available.
What is the most important thing you learned while you were at AISG?
Procrastination is a dangerously fun pastime that is best avoided (but often not).
What advice do you have for current students to make the most of their experience at AISG?
Spending your time doing what you love to do, and if you don’t know what you love to do, spend your time exploring everything available here. I’ve been at AISG for 14 years, and it really goes by in a blink. From Pre-School, Elementary, Lower Secondary, and Upper Secondary, your time flies away from you faster than you could expect, and it still feels bizarre that I’m departing fromom a place that I’ve known for my entire life. Explore your passions, whatever they are, from athletics to the arts, from ASAs to service groups. There are so many new and interesting things for you to experience, but you have to be the one to take the first step out of your comfort zone.
What are your future career goals, and how have your AISG experiences influenced them?
I won’t know with certainty what I’ll be eating for lunch tomorrow, in the same way, that I won’t know what a 5-to-10-year older version of me might prioritize in his career. But I sincerely hope that when that person looks back, he remembers the kindness that dozens of educators have given him through his time here, and the joy of community service and bringing people together for a great cause. I hope that he remembers all the meaningful and insightful work he accomplished or aspired to accomplish in Upper Secondary and that these values reflect in his career goals, regardless of where his professional life will take him.
Thomas Huo’s extracurriculars, activities, awards, etc. at AISG:
- Co-founder of Indifferent to Difference (ItoD), Coordinator (2021, 2022, 2023)
- Co-founder of Switch Side Debate Club (SSDC), Coordinator (2022, 2023)
- Community Service Award (2022)
- National High School Debate League of China (NHSDLC) Finalist (2022)
- Scouts BSA (2016-2023)
- Eagle Scout Rank, Junior Assistant Scoutmaster (JASM) (2022, 2023)
- Varsity Swimming (2020-2022)
- Varsity Swimming Coaches’ Choice Award (2020, 2021)
- Wind Ensemble/CAS Band (2016-2023)
- APAC Band (2022, 2023)
- VEX Asia Open Top 16 (2021)
- TEDxYouth Speaker (2023)
- Highest Honor Roll (2021-2023)
- FLL Robotics (2016-2018)
- FLL China National Champion Team (2018)
Well done, Thomas! You are a natural leader, from showing so many from our AISG community what kindness and service looks like with the student-led initiative of Caring in Action to being involved in so many clubs, sports and activities. Now as an Alumni Class Ambassador, your leadership skills and love for AISG will continue and we wish you all the best in your next chapter. Once a Ram, Always a Ram!