With numerous titles to his name, counselor Bai Zhen is one of the busiest people at Galileo. Working at Galileo since 2009, his roles include; being a newcomer counselor, being freshman sponsor, and being part of the ELAC and PTSA. Bai finds the work he does to be very rewarding because he is able to assist hundreds of students towards success.
One of the roles that keeps Bai Zhen busy is running the galileoconnection Instagram account, that allows student, teachers, and alumni to connect easily. Galileo Connection is also a club for newcomers to meet new people and connect with others. He also uses Facebook and Twitter but feels that it is easier to communicate with others on Instagram due to the fact that more people frequently use it. Bai says, “Galileo connection had been my brand since I started working, and it is basically my way of showing student and staff [school] spirit because before, this school did not have an official Instagram.”
He also wants students to push forth and succeed in school and life so he provides leadership roles for students through the parent teacher student association (PTSA), where students have the ability to become officers and work with the PTSA. He hopes they will learn skills that will translate to their future careers and their daily lives. According to Bai, “I am happy that the PTSA involvement has increased this year, with more student, teacher, and parent joining and working together.”
Bai also helps on the English learner advisory committee (ELAC) to help students who have recently come to the United States and are having difficulty finding friends and learning the English language. He wants these students he works with to be able to succeed and feel comfortable in their new environment. The students he assists can learn skills that allow them to be able to adjust within their new society. He says, “It is a great opportunity for the English learner families to get more involved.”
In addition, Bai also works to showcase the school to prospective students who may be interested in attending Galileo. He coordinates the shadow program, where potential students have the opportunity to follow a current student around the school and experience their day as at Galileo. Bai also runs tours of the schools to show the school to those who are interested in this school. Bai has been happy with the way the program has grown, saying, “The shadow program has increased a lot with about 200 students shadowing and over 500 people visiting us in the fall season and it could not have been done without the shadow coordinators and shadow leaders.”
Bai not only focuses on helping freshmen, but he also acts as a co-advisor for the college ambassador program who helps students with their college applications. He makes sure the students have everything they need to progress to college and the future beyond that. Bai states, “I’m one of the core advisors for the college ambassador program and I enjoy working with seniors because that was my previous role and its dear to my heart to help seniors because it is their last year.”
Of all the responsibilities Bai has at Galileo, helping out students who are new to the country and are at Galileo is closest to his heart. He says, “I really enjoy and love helping our new immigrants because I was a new immigrant. I grew up in Mexico but I was born in China. I immigrated to Mexico when I was 6 and came to US when I was ten. I put myself in their position and think how would I like to be treated whenever I first meet them. I want to make a good impression and make sure they get connected and find support.”
Many of the staff have a strong appreciation for all the work Bai does for the Galileo community. College counselor Ms. Chan says, “ [Bai is] amazing. The school can not run without him.” Ms. Schkoll, the 9th grade counselor, adds, “Bai is a very generous and caring counselor. He dedicates so much of his time.Bai is here whenever there is a school event and is one of the last people here. He knows the ins and outs of the school.”