BWYA's Scholarship Winners George Gao: Robotics, Engineering and More
After our recent scholarship award ceremony, we had time to catch up with some of the award winners. In this new series, we will be focusing on the Special Talent Scholarship winners, learning more about what our students have been doing in, as well as outside the classroom.
This week, we had a conversation with DP2 Student, a capella singer, basketball player, and aspiring roboticist, George Gao.
Hi there George, thanks for spending some time with us today! First could you let us know what you received the Special Talent Scholarship for?
I received the Robotics Special Talent Scholarship this year. I received the award for my participation in the FRC (First Robotics Competition) competition with a local Beijing team, called 5737. My participation in the team grew from initially leading the construction of the robots, to eventually becoming the captain of the team, going to Silicon Valley, competing, and being ranked 9th out of 56 teams in the Silicon Valley region. Teams from all over the world attend different regionals, and the winners may then attend the finals in Houston.
How did you feel when you found out you were receiving this scholarship?!
It was sort of surprising for me, it’s the first time we’re seeing people recognised like this for their extra–curricular achievements. So it was a nice surprise for me!
Why do you think it’s important for schools to encourage special talents like these?
Personally for me, this robotics experience has involved a lot of contact with the engineering field, which often isn’t taught in high school. Lots of schools focus on physics and math, which are applicable into the engineering field, but don’t have any engineering related courses. It’s something I think is really great about BWYA – that we now have our own robotics curriculum and clubs, and also encourage students individually to explore these fields further. It’s nice seeing school recognising how important that is.
You’re hoping to study Mechanical Engineering at university next year, will you be continuing with robotics and the FRC?
Robotics extends far beyond high school, but this competition stops at the high school level. I also enjoy building drones, that’s one of my major hobbies, so I’m hoping to do lots of construction different cool things in the future.
We hear you’re also very involved in the a cappella club here, what are your hopes for this at BWYA?
A cappella is one of those things we want to attempt to make it a culture at BWYA, so we’re making attempts to bring new younger students into leadership positions at our club, and we hope that they’ll be able to lead after we’ve left.
And you’ll be singing at university in the future?
Yeah, definitely, it’s so big in college, so it’s definitely going to be one of the things I’ll be doing there.
One last question before we let you get back to work – what advice would you give to students tempted to only focus on academic grades?
Academic grades are very important, there’s no doubt about that, it reflects how and what you’ve learned through the teaching process, but it’s not everything! You might have interests in all sorts of fields, for me that was engineering. So explore those interests, they’ll be the driving force of what you want to do, and where your passions lead you. Of course keep your grades in mind, but also explore your interests!
Unlike other scholarship systems, at BWYA we seek to reward all students with excellent results. As such, the number of scholarship recipients is not limited to only the top students, instead all students meeting the requirements are rewarded. This year, one in five of our high school students received scholarships. In this way, we hope to encourage the entire student body to set their standards high!