Carolina Liu
University: New York University

How has COVID-19 changed your high school experience? How did CISB support you in that?

COVID-19 made me appreciate the little things more. For example, in English class, we always had hard copies of the books. Only during quarantine, I realized I miss the feeling of the worn-out pages in my hands. Similarly, I never knew I would miss the chatter in our halls during break time. Transition time during quarantine would either be rushed breakfast-eating or a silent 10-minute stare-off with my ceiling. And neither felt like the exciting buzz that school had. Yet, through all this, our teachers were excellent on Zoom. They all kept the same positivity that they would bring in class, learning and always tried to help us have fun even through a tiny screen.

Describe one opportunity that CISB has given you. Why is it special to you?

CISB gave me the opportunity to take risks like leadership. I grew up as the follower in the class, always the listener. But then, for my MYP Personal Project, I challenged myself to be the opposite and host a dance competition from scratch. Everyone in school was supportive, lending a helping hand or just a listening ear whenever needed. Our MYP coordinator pushed me out of my comfort zone, my classmates pitched it with anything I needed, and many teachers even reposted my poster on Moments!

What were your favourite communities at CISB, and what did they bring to your time at CISB?

The CISB Drama Club, the StageCats is a community I’ll never forget, though I wasn’t very aware of what acting really was when I was younger. Upon watching a musical at CISB in my fifth-grade year, I was amazed by all the music and talent surrounding me. I thought to myself, this is something I want to try! So when I entered middle school, I auditioned, and this community welcomed me with no reservation. Seven years later, I did my final curtain call with this group of passionate thespians. I left with not only the skills of theatre but a group of lifelong best friends. Who knew joining a small after-school activity could become something so magical?

We also have a close-knit group of dancers at each assembly. This is an informal and unexpected community that we built up over time. At first, there were only a couple of us who danced. As more students started taking an interest, I found a fantastic group of friends. At dress rehearsals, we’d sing along to each others’ songs from the audience and cheer at each climax of the routine. It was a casual community relationship that gathered once every assembly period, but our shared passion for performance made it stronger than ever.