Around this time last year, Linda Ren, an IB Year 1 student at EF Academy New York, had finished her IGCSE exams and was starting her summer break. Nearly a year later, she was recognized by Cambridge International Examinations as Top in the Country for additional mathematics and a Scholar Award-winner with distinction. At a recent ceremony at school on June 2nd, Linda was recognized in front of her peers and teachers.
To receive the ICE Award, a student must pass at least seven IGCSE classes, including two language classes and classes from the humanities, science, mathematics and creative subject groups. To pass with distinction, as Linda did, a student must earn an A or better in at least five subjects and a C or better in two subjects.
Linda received the top mark in the U.S. for additional mathematics, but that wasn’t necessarily her favorite subject.
“I would love to say my strongest subject was biology because that is what I was most interested in, but due to my exam results, I guess my strongest subject was math,” she says. “I did have a decent grade in every subject, and I suppose the reason for that was my ambition and curiosity about learning in general, and enthusiasm in specific subjects including math, science and literature.”
Not only is Linda an outstanding student, but she is also very involved in school activities. She started the Peer Tutoring Club together with a friend, puts on performances as part of the Drama Club and is the layout editor for the Literary Magazine. “The key to balancing school and clubs is time management,” she says. On weeks when she knows she has a lot to do, she will start her homework on Friday. Her advice: don’t leave everything to the last minute and expect a miracle to happen.
She also thanks her teachers and counselors for their support.
“I have to take this opportunity to thank all my supportive teachers and my counselor. My counselor, Ms. Ferrera, helped me a lot in various situations. All my teachers are very knowledgeable in the subjects they teach and are always willing to help their students,” Linda says. “I would like to specifically thank Ms. Marcus, who advised me in preparing the coursework for the English First Language exam because I didn’t take the course but needed the grade to be eligible for the ICE Award.”
Linda has just finished her first year in the IB program and she says the IGCSE program gave her a good foundation for the IB.
“To the IGCSE students reading this: imagine the IGCSE program as a rehearsal for the IB program,” she says. “Take your chance now to try different courses and find out what subjects you want to study in the IB program.”
As a good example, Linda took IGCSE drama to meet the requirements of the ICE Award but throughout the year, she says she fell in love with acting, script-writing and stage design. She never imagined herself getting involved in drama because she’s afraid of being on stage.
“People always say interest is the best teacher, but it’s impossible that one can fully explore his or her interests without trying [something new] even once,” she says.
Looking ahead, Linda isn’t sure what she would like to study at university. She says she would love to study microbiology, zoology, bioengineering, math, anthropology, archaeology, literature or even acting. As she begins her university applications this year, she’ll begin to narrow her choices.
Linda wasn’t the only student at EF Academy New York who received an ICE Award. Twenty-one other students were recognized by Cambridge International Examinations based on their exam results from June 2016:
Jiawei Gao – Top in Country for Additional Mathematics & the Scholar Award with Merit
Goahang Zhu – High Achievement in First Language Chinese
Siheng Yang – Scholar Award with Distinction
Ivanova Ina Vesselinova – Scholar Award with Distinction
Chenglei Shan – Scholar Award with Distinction
Jiayi Zhao – Scholar Award with Distinction
Tianchen Xia – Scholar Award with Distinction
Nikola Viazmenski – Scholar Award with Distinction
My Chau Luu – Scholar Award with Distinction
Shih Chien Huang – Scholar Award with Distinction
Zhanming Wang – Scholar Award with Merit
Gracierla Rothenspieler – Scholar Award with Merit
Tongxin Lin – Scholar Award with Merit
Dongpeng Li – Scholar Award with Merit
Palden Lhamo – Scholar Award with Merit
Junqi Wang – Scholar Award with Merit
Sumin Lee – Scholar Award with Merit
“It is extremely rewarding to congratulate Cambridge learners and teachers at EF Academy who have worked so hard to achieve tremendous success in Cambridge IGCSE examinations. The results are a reflection of the enormous talent in the United States not only among learners but also within the teaching profession. Learners from EF Academy have a bright future ahead of them, and I wish them every success in their future,” says Keith Lucy, Cambridge International Examination’s USA Northeast Schools Development Manager.
Congratulations to Linda and the other Scholar Award-winners!