Hi! My name is Isabel, and I am currently a junior at Memorial High School in Houston, Texas. I’m a fan of most things geeky (Sailor Moon, Studio Ghibli, conspiracy theories . . .), and organizing things is one of my greatest joys on Earth. I enjoy listening to lofi hip-hop playlists and sad Chinese songs when it’s raining, and Costco is my favorite place on Earth.
Academically, I am currently a valedictorian of the Class of 2020, and I am interested in majoring in marketing and design (specifically product design) and minoring in communications in college. My proudest achievements in high school have been made while participating, for the past three years, on the Memorial Debate Team as a varsity member. I have served as Policy Debate Chair for the past two years and am currently carrying out my duties as Secretary of the team. The most exciting part about speech and debate are the opportunities to compete at prestigious tournaments around the country: for example, I have twice-qualified for the National Speech and Debate Association Tournament, twice-qualified for the Texas Forensic State Tournament, qualified for the University Interscholastic League State Tournament, and won numerous regional tournaments. Just recently in November, I was also notified that I, along with three other teammates, made the top 64 teams in the International Public Policy Forum competition hosted by the Brewer Foundation and New York University. Debate has been instrumental in helping me realize the intrinsic value of using your voice, and I will continue my love for the sport through high school and college. Along with debate, I also have a deep love for art and design. Last April, I was chosen to be apart of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH) Teen Council, an honor that is only given to 14 Houston-area teens each year. CAMH’s Teen Council is a collaborative creative incubator that provides high school students with the opportunity to interact with Houston’s professional art scene and gain skills in leadership and visual literacy. We are tasked with serving our communities by attracting the city’s teen population to CAMH and exposing them to the vibrant field of contemporary art. Currently, we are in the making of the 11th biennial youth art exhibition that features work by Houston-area artists.
My Fantastic Learning Opportunity is hosted by the Council on International Educational Exchange, a non-profit organization that has been promoting international education and exchange since 1947. The highly-competitive program I have been selected to attend is a four-week, highly-immersive study abroad program located in Tokyo, Japan that allows students firsthand experience and exposure with Japanese language and culture. During my time in Tokyo, I will receive over 60 hours of instruction in Japanese by professors, experience a Japanese homestay, and explore Japan’s unique cultural and historical destinations. After debating for so many years, I have come to value the education each rounds brings and the perspectives each opponent has. Similarly, the international education this Fantastic Learning Opportunity offers is important to me because it is an opportunity to obtain different perspectives and a higher level of understanding with people of different races, nationalities, environments, and cultural experiences. Additionally, as an artist myself, seeing a culture with a clear love for finely wrought items and beauty thrills me. I chose to study in Tokyo, as opposed to other cities that CIEE offered, because the other artistic and cultural facets of Japan (the mix of traditional and modern architecture, the attention to detail and service, and the explosive, colorful pop culture) greatly inspires me in as a creator.
I would be very grateful for any contribution that would help sponsor my participation in the CIEE High School Summer Abroad Program in Tokyo, Japan. I have applied and received financial aid for the tuition of the program, but the airfare is not covered and will cost approximately $2000. I am hoping to fundraise 40-50% of this money. Your sponsorship of $50, $100, $150, or $200 is greatly appreciated and would allow my participation in this program.