Class of 2024 Alumni Spotlight: Elsie Zhang

Introducing our esteemed spotlight alumni, Elsie Zhang, who has made a significant impact on the AISG community. As a dedicated coordinator for Roots and Shoots Environment, Elsie has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills and a passion for environmental conservation. She has also been influenced by the teachers at AISG, who have shaped her into the person she today. With countless memories made, including a standout moment during the APAC Theater closing ceremony, Elsie has faced challenges head-on and learned valuable lessons along the way.

What are some of your proudest accomplishments at AISG?

One of my proudest accomplishments at AISG is being the coordinator of Roots and Shoots Environment for my entire high school career. I’ve learned so much while being the coordinator of the group; it has both improved my organisation and leadership skills, but also has taught me the importance of delegation and collaboration. During our GCED fair in grade 9, I looked for Roots and Shoots Environment and learned that the group no longer exists due to the members not being able to return to school because of the pandemic. I took the opportunity to become a coordinator and have been ever since. The first year coordinating was a learning process for me, and the difficulty of learning to lead a group while getting used to Upper Secondary school is what makes me so proud. I’m also proud that I worked with three different co-coordinators the next three years of leading the group, the change in coordinator meant a change the way the group works. I’m proud that I managed to adapt to different working styles of the coordinators. I’m extremely proud of how much our group has grown since I first started as a coordinator in grade 9; we started out with 5 freshmen, and now have 12 students of varying grade united by their passion for caring for the environment.

Who influenced you the most during your time at AISG and why?

The teachers are the ones at AISG who have influenced me the most at my time there. This includes teachers who have taught me in class, and teachers who I’ve interacted with outside of class. My teachers in class have shared their knowledge and their passion for their subjects with me. They’ve also helped me learn more about myself through the ways in which I learn the best and what subjects I enjoy. All of my teachers at AISG, both in and out of class, have influenced me and shaped me into the person I am today, and are role models for who I want to be in the future.

Share your favorite AISG memory.

I have made countless memories at AISG, and many of them will stay with me forever. One of my favorite memories was made during this year’s APAC Theater closing ceremony. This year’s APAC Theater event was hosted by AISG and the closing ceremony was held in our theater. At the end of the ceremony, it’s a tradition for seniors to get on stage and take their final bow. My favorite memory at AISG was running up those stairs alongside fellow seniors from other schools such as Concordia and SASPX while the entire audience was cheering for us. There weren’t many audience members, but the theater was the loudest I’ve ever heard in my 7 years at AISG. I was surrounded by seniors who I’ve bonded with over the two years of APAC Theater that we’ve attended and I loved hearing “RamNation” being cheered from the audience and loved seeing the RamNation hand sign, an inside joke that was developed during this year’s APAC Theater. The joy in the audience and on stage at that moment is something that I will forever remember.

What challenges have you faced during Upper Secondary, and how have you overcome them?

A constant challenge that I have faced, especially over the past two years, is balancing my extracurricular activities with my school work and personal life. As a full IBDP student who’s highly involved in AISG’s extracurricular activities, I have found that I barely had any free time. A time that highlighted this was the week before the IB art exhibition. IB art HL is a time-consuming course in itself; preparing for the exhibition while leading Roots & Shoots Environment, National Honor Society (NHS), International Thespian Society (ITS), and being involved in my extracurriculars was extremely challenging and stressful. Challenging times such as this one helped me realize the importance of prioritizing and relying on others. I ended up letting go of some of my control over my clubs and letting the others take on more responsibility while I focused on the exhibition, spending all of my free time in the art room. Challenges such as this are unpleasant to go through but add to my character and will ultimately benefit me in the future.  

What was the most important thing you learned while you were at AISG?

One of the most important things that I learned from my time at AISG is that at the end of the day, it’s the people that you surround yourself with that matters the most. As someone who’s stayed at AISG for a relatively long time, I’ve seen classmates and teachers come and go and have felt the impact that they have made on my life. I’ve learned that it’s important to surround myself with people who will bring out the best in me and people I feel comfortable being around with. Being surrounded by good people makes hard times (like taking the IBDP) not so bad anymore. In the future I may not remember what I did during my senior year, but I will always remember who I did it with.

What advice do you have for current students to make the most of their experience at AISG?

You are more resilient than you think you are, just take it one step at a time. The course load will increase as you progress through school, and you will gain more responsibility. It always seems like a lot in the moment, but you take it day by day, class by class. After it’s done, you look back, and realize that you made it through everything and you’re still standing. I could never imagine the day I finished all my IB exams and graduated, but I eventually made it through everything, one exam at a time. We all have the ability to handle more stress than we think we can.

What are your future career goals, and how have your AISG experiences influenced them?

I will be heading off to University next year. I hope to get my bachelor's degree and possibly a master in the future. The education I have received at AISG has opened a lot of doors for me and has given me a chance to pursue higher education. The teachers here have taught me the importance of finding a career that is the right fit for me. As of now, I’m unsure of what I want to pursue as a career. However, I do know that I want to do something that is related to art and be a person who makes a positive impact on the world and others.

Elsie's extracurriculars/activities/awards/etc. from her time at AISG:

  • Roots and Shoots Environment Coordinator (2020-2024)

  • National Honor Society Member (2022-2023)

  • National Honor Society President (2023-2024)

  • International Thespian Society Vice President (2023-2024)

  • APAC Theater (2022-2024)

  • US Battle Of The Books (2020-2024)

  • Secondary Musical (2021, 2022, 2024)

  • US Media Crew (2021-2024)

  • US Quiz Bowl (2021-2024)

  • Art Club (2021-2024)Piano Accompanist (2021-2023)

  • Varsity Girls Cross Country (2022-2023)

  • Jazz Band (2020-2022)

  • Theater Club (2020-2021)

  • Student Council Genco 11 Treasurer (2022-2023)

  • Theater Most Valuable Performer of the Year 2024

  • Science Student of the Year 2020

  • English Student of the Year 2021

  • Highest Honor Roll 

  • US Battle of the Books Champions 2023

  • International Academic Competitions 2022 Regional Round 

  • LS Media Crew (2017-2020)

  • Shanghai Regional Honor Band 2019

  • LS Battle of the Books (2018-2020)

  • LS Quiz Bowl (2019-2020)

  • LS Volleyball (2018-2020)

  • LS Battle of the Books Champions 2019

  • Approaches to Learning Award 2019

  • Class Ambassador for Class of 2024

As Elsie gets ready to begin a new chapter in her life, her heart is set on pursuing higher education and using her knowledge to make a difference in the world. We have no doubt that she will accomplish amazing things, thanks to the strength and perseverance she has gained during her time at AISG.

The AISG Upper Secondary program is designed to provide a broad exposure to a balance of academic disciplines and co-curricular activities to facilitate the development of well-rounded, self-directed, and enthusiastic learners. Click here to learn more about the Upper Secondary at AISG.

Learn More