Senior Spotlight: Michelle Zhu


With the school year winding down, our Senior Rams have finished their last official day of classes and are preparing for IB Finals, the end of the year exams, and their new and adventurous lives after AISG. Through our Senior Spotlight series, we are going to take a behind the scenes look at some of our incredible Seniors and show how they have impacted and inspired our community during their time at AISG.

This week we talked with Senior Ram, Michelle about her impressive High School badminton career.

Michelle is an incredible badminton athlete who has just finished her fourth APAC Badminton season. Throughout her four years as an AISG High School student, she has placed in the semi-finals, won two APAC Championships and taken home the coveted Super APAC Championship title.

We caught up with the 3-time APAC Champion to ask about the impact that the AISG badminton program has had on her life, her favorite memories on campus and life after AISG.

You have an incredible 3 APAC Championship wins under your belt! How do you explain that?

My first year playing badminton was a freshman. I really wanted to win a medal at APAC, but didn't place which made me want to try even harder. I began training almost every day to prepare for next year's APAC season, almost 6 days a week for 2 hours a day. I was really dedicated, which really helped me. I kept on pushing myself because I really wanted to get that gold medal. This helped me to practice and play harder during games.

After your first season as a freshman, did you think you were going to go on to win the championship title for the next three years?

No (laughing)… I didn’t think I would win every year after, but in my sophomore year, I felt very confident and thought I had a good chance. During my Junior and Senior year, I wasn’t so sure. Especially because my senior year was a Super APAC Tournament which means that instead of competing against 6 other schools from the region, we competed against 12 different international schools from the entire Asian and Pacific Region. APAC Badminton tournaments have two seats, so that means during a normal APAC, there will be 12 matches but in this year's Super APAC, I had to play 24.

Why Badminton?

Growing up, my dad and his friends would play badminton every Saturday and because I would always go with them I got interested in the sport. When I was in 6th grade I decided I wanted to start training and learn more about the sport and how to become a better player. My whole family played badminton a lot and I was always around the court.

What goes through your head before each match?

Actually, before each game, I get really nervous. Before each game, I don't sit down for a full hour to make sure my legs are warmed up and ready, then I take some time to warm up with my teammates and my coaches before taking a short rest. Then I warm up one last time just 5 minutes before the game to make sure I can still play the way I want to. 

Has badminton influenced your life off of the court?

Yeah, I feel like it has. Badminton has really taught me how to motivate myself, so in my classes and in the IB program, I find it easier to push myself academically. Also, I always felt super tired at school but during badminton season I feel awake and full of energy during school which helps me to focus in class. 

Do you feel our new Middle School Badminton team will strengthen our High School Team?

Yeah, I think it will. When we train on campus, I see them training as well and I've seen them playing against other schools. This experience playing competitive games will really help them. I also think that more and more people will get interested in badminton at a younger age which will help to build a stronger team and a stronger program at our school. 

Memorable moments?

Definitely, my freshman year when I was playing in the semi-finals to get into the top four I was playing against a great player and was losing 14 to 10 in the third set. I have no idea how, but I was able to get it back and ended up winning the match.

Next steps? What are your plans after graduation?

I'll be going to the University of Southern California (USC) and I hope to find a club team where I can play badminton. I'm excited about university and eager to get started but a little nervous about being away from home.

We wish Michelle and all of our seniors the best as they finish the year strong and look back on all of the incredible memories they have made throughout their years at AISG. Go Rams!

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