by Johnny Ha and Jessie Jiang
With one of the highest GPAs in the class of 2016 and being involved in extracurricular activities, Senior, Allen Tong is known as the “class genius” by many seniors at Galileo. Allen is currently a Semi-Finalist in the National Merit Scholarship, where he could possibly win a minimum amount of $5,000 dollars, for each year of college, if he advances into the finalist of the scholarship.
“The National Merit Scholarship is basically an opportunity for finalists to have a higher chance of getting more financial aid. Although I’m a semi-finalist, I don’t feel anything different and nothing has changed. The scholarship, if I make it to the finalist round, depends on which colleges I get accepted to. Some of them work for any school, whereas some of the scholarships needs a specific school or corporation,” says Allen. The National Merit Scholarship is similar to college applications, where the applicant has to write essays, show involvement in extracurricular activities, and get good grades and high scores on the ACT/SAT.
Overall, Allen has taken over ten AP classes and honor courses throughout his high school years with over a 4.0 GPA (unweighted). According to Allen, his success is due to his commitment to education including; spending a lot of time on his assignments, persistence and self-teaching; if he doesn’t understand something, he will ask his teachers, read the textbook, or search online until he comes to a solution. “Asking classmates is a good way [also] because sometimes people get things that I don’t get right away,” says Allen.
Even though Allen has done exceptionally well in all the classes he’s taken at Galileo, some of them have stood out for him. “One of my favorite classes is Computer Science with Mr. Tan because I’ve always been fascinated by that field since I was young. My sisters would be using the computer in front of me and I would be astonished and amazed about how the computers work. I was fascinated so I kept messing around with computers, so eventually I thought that I should make a career out of it,” says Allen.
Many teachers recognize Allen for not only his hard work, but also for his work in helping others. AP Computer Science Teacher, Mr. Danny Tan said, “He’s a really good student. Something that makes him stand out from the rest of the class is his ability to help those around him. His ability to troubleshoot a program in Computer Science takes a lot of skills because he has to figure out what’s the problem, how to fix the problem, and how to solve the problem. He has continued to become a strong student and helpful to his peers and improving the skills that he already acquired.”
Similar to teachers, other students also see Allen as a very productive and proactive student. “Allen is an idol to me because of how much he’s accomplished. He works really hard and he’s an inspiration to me,” says Chunjin Ruan, Senior.