Summer 2020 CAIS Alumni Newsletter
Yearbook Delivery for the Class of 2020
Class of 2020 grads: On Wednesday, August 19th, keep an eye out for a visit from Head of Middle School Joe Williamson or a member of the CAIS Alumni Relations team as they hand deliver your 2019-2020 yearbook right to your door! We can’t wait for you to flip through the stories and photographs inside and revisit all of the wonderful memories and lasting friendships from your time at CAIS.
Staying United as We Stay at Home
Now more than ever, it’s clear that our strength lies in our connections and shared camaraderie. In March, Alumni Council President Bakari Smith ’11 addressed the CAIS community in a video message encouraging alumni to tap into their Firedragon core values of courage, kindness, and perseverance as we continue to move forward through these unprecedented times.

#中美加油, CAIS_JiaYou!
Class of 2020 Alumni Association Induction
On Tuesday, June 9th, Alumni Council President Bakari Smith ’11 inducted the CAIS Class of 2020 into the Alumni Association. Held over Zoom rather than in the Carroll Family Learning Center, the ceremony looked a little different than in previous years, but the spirit and camaraderie of the CAIS alumni community was as strong as ever.

In his speech to the graduates, Bakari reminded them:

“...your CAIS education and the CAIS network are here to stay. Both have had an enormous positive impact on my life, and I am excited and incredibly lucky to be joined by all of you in the CAIS alumni network. Only 400 people in the world have experienced a CAIS education, and to this day, I consider this one of the most impressive high-performing groups I have had the fortune to be a part of. With that comes responsibility. I do not need to hammer this point home, but the world is complicated, and even those with the most power, the loudest voices, and the most qualifications do not have all of the answers. CAIS teachers have continued to set the tone for the construction of our ethical frameworks. At the end of the day, though, only you can put that framework to use.”

A full copy of his remarks can be found here. We are so excited to watch the class of 2020 make their mark on the world as they head off to new adventures at high school!
Acceptances at Independent Day Schools:

The Bay School
Bentley School
The Branson School
The College Preparatory School
Convent of the Sacred Heart
Drew School
International High School
Lick-Wilmerding High School
Marin Academy
Marin Catholic
Menlo School
Nueva School
Proof School
Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory
Saint Ignatius College Preparatory
San Domenico School
Stuart Hall High School
University High School
Urban School of San Francisco
Waldorf

Acceptances at Boarding Schools:

The Cate School
Choate Rosemary Hall
Concord Academy
The Hotchkiss School
The Loomis Chaffee School
Miss Porter’s School
Phillips Exeter Academy
The Taft School
The Thacher School
The Webb Schools
Westminster School

Acceptances at Public Schools with Competitive Admission:

Lowell High School
Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts

Students of the Class of 2020 plan to attend the following:

The Bay School
The Branson School
Choate Rosemary Hall
The College Preparatory School
Convent of the Sacred Heart
The Drew School
International High School
Lick-Wilmerding High School
Lowell High School
Menlo School
Milton Academy
Miss Porter’s School
Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory
Saint Ignatius College Preparatory
San Domenico School
Stuart Hall High School
The Thacher School
University High School
The Urban School of San Francisco
Alumni Council Updates
We are pleased to announce Crystal Yao ’09 as the newest member of the Alumni Council. Crystal graduated from Princeton University with a B.A. in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs, and minors in Finance and Dance. Passionate about furthering her study of foreign languages, she pursued Latin at San Francisco University High School, and Spanish at Princeton, including a semester abroad in Barcelona. As a founding member of the CAIS Dance Troupe, she has since followed her career in dance as Principal Dancer of China Dance Theatre, and Pre-Professional Dancer at ODC/SF, Boston Conservatory, and Joffrey Ballet School. Crystal is currently a Global Managing Strategy Consultant at IBM, accelerating and closing large deals around the world. Passionate about alumni engagement, Crystal is also a member/admissions interviewer of the Princeton Alumni Schools Committee, and was an Admissions Ambassador at UHS.

Interested in joining the CAIS Alumni Council? Let us know or email alumni@cais.org with any questions.
Staying Sharp for Tokyo 2021
On March 30th, the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics were officially postponed until the summer of 2021. Among the thousands of elite athletes worldwide affected by this news was Class of 2008 alumnus Alexander Massialas, who had qualified for a spot on the US Men’s Fencing Team after previously competing in the 2012 London Olympics as well as the 2016 Rio Olympics, where he won a silver medal in the individual foil event and a bronze medal in the team event.

Though he won’t be competing in the Games this summer as planned, Alexander’s kept his skills sharp, training on the back porch of his San Francisco home and staying ready for next year’s competition. “It feels a little bit more like unfinished business. I’ve proven that I can do amazing things. I can win World Cups and Grand Prix. I can win all kinds of results, but the dream ever since I was a kid, before I even started fencing, was to be an Olympic champion,” he said in an interview with NBC Sports.

We can’t wait to cheer Alexander on in Tokyo next year!
Pomp and (Unprecedented) Circumstances
This year’s grads may have tossed their caps in the air over Zoom rather than in person, but that didn’t stop CAIS alumni from the classes of 2012 and 2016 from celebrating their high school and college graduations in style! They shared a few anecdotes from their graduation ceremonies with us:

“We had a live-streamed commencement and a department ceremony over Zoom!” - Katy Woo ’12, Stanford ’20

“The Naval Academy divided my class into five groups and did five separate graduation ceremonies. Footage was compiled from all ceremonies into one virtual graduation later.” - Patrick Dowd ’12, United States Naval Academy ’20

“Though our graduation ceremony was postponed to Spring 2021, my friends and I went to our friend’s cabin in Northern Michigan to relax and celebrate - no caps and gowns involved!” - Justin Kim ’12, University of Michigan ’20

“I was at home dressed in my cap and gown watching the virtual celebration and had a small socially distanced garden celebration afterwards. I’ll be going down to Santa Barbara so I can have a belated celebration with my friends who are still there!” - Lihong Chan ’12, UC Santa Barbara ’20

“We walked around town in our caps and gowns and had a dance party!” - Adriaan Denbroeder ’12, Barnard College ’20

“I celebrated my big day with a graduation ceremony via Zoom!” - Kelsey Rasmussen ’12, UC Santa Cruz ’20

“Our school distributed our caps and gowns, diplomas, and 2020 Lowell Graduate posters to put up in our windows!” - Luxi Arnold ’16, Lowell High School ’20

Congratulations to all of our alumni who celebrated a graduation this year! The Class of 2016 will be embarking on some exciting post-high school adventures, which include a gap year and the following colleges and universities:

Bates College, Boston University (2), Brandeis University, Brown University, Carnegie Mellon University, Chapman University, George Washington University, Georgetown University, McGill University, MIT, Northeastern University, Pomona College, Reed College, Sacramento State University, Santa Clara University, Stanford University, St. Louis University at Madrid, The New School, UC Berkeley (2), UC Davis (2), UC Santa Cruz, UCLA (2), University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Miami at Coral Gables, University of Portland, University of Utah, Villanova University, Wake Forest University
CAIS Alumni Perspective: Using Pop Culture to Practice Chinese
By Bonnie Young '10
Many young people looking to engage with Chinese pop culture may not know where to begin. Chinese pop culture was previously not very popular in the West, even among Chinese Americans. But that’s all changing. Recently, there’s been a huge rise in Chinese artists trying to bring their music and culture worldwide, and I couldn’t be more excited. 

My trick to studying Chinese through pop culture is to just have fun with it. Find content that you truly love; it won’t work if you force it. Additionally, engaging with pop culture is a social activity, so get your friends into it so you can talk about it with them. When Chinese becomes a fun part of our daily lives, that’s when we become truly immersed in the language. 
3. VAVA: Her upbeat song “My New Swag” was featured in the movie “Crazy Rich Asians”.
4. ZTAO (黄子韬): I linked his song “Stay Open”, which is a very catchy remix of the original Diplo song.
5. Jackson Wang (王嘉尔): His song "Okay" will have you feeling good by the end!
My Top 5 TV Shows and YouTubers

  1. Rap of China: A competition show of rising Chinese-language rappers. This is my personal favorite!
  2. Hot Blood Dance Crew. A competition show for China’s hip-hop dance groups.
  3. MYBY. An American and a Brit living in China share comedic perspectives on life.
  4. Jared. A Canadian living in China makes fun of himself and other “lao wai” in China.
  5. Kevin in Shanghai. A former English teacher in China makes comedic videos to bridge understanding between the East and West.
Bonnie Young is a member of the CAIS Alumni Council and graduated CAIS in 2010. She went on to attend San Leandro High School followed by UC Berkeley, where she majored in Economics with a Minor in Chinese. During college, she studied abroad at the University of Hong Kong and National Taiwan University. Currently working as a finance professional, she uses spoken and written Chinese to communicate with clients in Greater China. She also writes translations and commentaries of top Chinese tech news on her blog. You can reach her at bonnieyoung@berkeley.edu
Class Notes
Do you have an achievement, milestone, or update that you'd like to see listed in the next issue of this newsletter? Email alumni@cais.org to share!
Te-Ping Chen ’99’s short story collection Land of Big Numbers: Stories, which explores the men and women of modern China and its diaspora, will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on February 2, 2021 and is currently available for preorder. She is currently a correspondent at the Wall Street Journal and has published work in The New Yorker, Granta, Guernica, Tin House, and BOMB. · Christine Trinh ’04 graduated from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA this spring and will be starting her residency at the UCSF Department of Pediatrics. · Colin Huang ’09 completed his first year of medical school at the University of California, San Francisco. · Malia Bow ’10 will be attending The University of Texas School of Law in Austin, Texas this fall. · Lihong Chan ’12 received her BFA in Dance from UC Santa Barbara this spring, where she was honored with the Tonia Shimin Award for Excellence and Promise in the Field of Dance. Named for Professor Emerita Tonia Shimin, who trained at the Royal Ballet and performed with both the Martha Graham and José Limón companies, this award is given to a dancer of exceptional talent who shows vision, drive and a mature approach to their work. · “I graduated from Columbia University in May and was accepted to a specialized Masters program. I have one more year at Columbia for graduate school. My CAIS education prepared me for an extraordinary future and my success at Columbia, which is known for its East Asian Studies department. I received two fellowships over the last four years, the first from Columbia, the second from the Asia Society. Mr. Bissell encouraged me to apply and I was lucky enough to spend the last two summers in China. During my research fellowship, I researched Chinese water systems.” - Adriaan Denbroeder ’12 · Peter Huang ’12 graduated with general and departmental honors from Johns Hopkins University this spring. · “I just submitted my senior thesis exhibition! It was frightening and confronting to do, especially during Covid, but I'm so proud of what I ended up submitting. It's available to view online and I also regularly post paintings to my Instagram, which is @Shawlenox.” - Shaw Lenox ’12 · Sophia Vann-Adibé ’12 graduated from the University of Chicago this spring with a degree in neuroscience. Her thesis focused on sex differences in the hippocampus of the brain and was featured in a spotlight on senior theses in the University of Chicago’s student newspaper The College. · Olivia Price ’13 was elected captain of the women’s water polo team at Harvard as well as Chair of the Social Media Committee for the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and will be interning at Nike this summer. · Simon Chang-Huang ’15 completed his first year at Brown University. · Madison Laymon ’16 graduated from the Urban School of San Francisco this spring and will be starting at the University of Utah as a mechanical engineering major in the fall. · Emi Steedman ’16 graduated from Lowell High School this spring and will be starting at UCLA this fall as an engineering major. She also plans on traveling abroad to China at some point. ·After several years of using my pi memorization skills to fundraise for the March of Dimes, I had the honor of being the San Francisco March of Dimes ambassador for their 2020 March for Babies. Our family’s story is shared on the San Francisco event page. With gratitude to the over 75 people who donated, many from the CAIS community, we were able to help many mothers and babies!” shares Lila Chen ’17. For more information about Lila’s work with the March of Dimes, check out articles published in the Noe Valley Voice and Lowell High School’s student newspaper The Lowell, and a video she made explaining why she marches.