12 May, 2022

Outstanding DAIS Seniors: Interview with Jasmine Zhao

Girl sitting by the table
Jasmine Zhao, DAIS Class of 2022
  • Outstanding DAIS Seniors: Interview with Jasmine Zhao - Jasmine ZhaoSecretary General of DAISMUN
  • President of the National Honor Society
  • DAIS Debate Team President
  • AP Scholar with Distinction (2021)
  • Captain of the DAIS varsity girls basketball team
  • College admissions:
    • The Chinese University of Hong Kong
    • McGill University
    • University of Toronto
    • University of Auckland
    • The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

We are continuing our interviews with DAIS Class of 2022 students. Today it's our honor to talk to Jasmine Zhao, a brilliant student, open-minded leader, and lifelong explorer.

"Try new things" is Jasmine's philosophy and life motto. "I'm a very curious person, I like to try everything, no matter if it’s outside of my comfort zone, and my experience at DAIS nurtured that characteristic of me."

Born in Dalian, China, Jasmine had a chance to experience attending public schools in China and the US, but only Dalian American International School gave her a variety of options to explore. "DAIS is the best learning experience I've had." At DAIS, our students get exposed to a lot of opportunities: core subjects, applied studies, AP courses, ASAs. "Whatever interests me, I just sign up and go," says Jasmine.

Outstanding DAIS Seniors: Interview with Jasmine Zhao - Jasmine Zhao

"DAIS is different from the schools I attended in the US, it’s kind of like a college life because you get to pick your own courses and go around to classes instead of just staying in one classroom, it’s a unique experience that helped me get used to college life earlier." Because of the low faculty/student ratio, teachers can have conversations with students in the classrooms and beyond, let students dive deeper into studies, and provide students with much more information than public schools can offer. "It's a really comfortable environment, everyone is super caring, I feel super safe and at home," added Jasmine.

Our friendship began when I came to DAIS in 9th grade. It was an unfamiliar place to me, but Jasmine reached out to me and helped me to relieve the stress and anxiety. In grades 10 and 11, we witnessed each other's growth as we became more mature and closer to each other. After getting to know her more, I found that she is not only hard-working, courageous, independent, loving life, but also tolerant, humble, and encouraging others. In the 12th grade, we have come to the last year of high school and both received ideal college offers. Though we have a different vision for the future and different goals, Jasmine is as close to me as a part of my family. She is brave, persevering, and willing to work hard for everything she loves. I am very fortunate to have met such an outstanding friend in high school.

Jane Kwan
DAIS Grade 12

Whether it's about academic courses, athletics, MUN, music, charity programs, debates, or performances, Jasmine not only tries new opportunities but succeeds in them. She is the President of the DAIS Debate Team, the founder and the President of the DAISMUN after-school activity, the captain for the school varsity basketball team, and the champion of the DAIS Knowledge Bowl. Jasmine has been nominated for several high school awards for her outstanding performance in various subjects.

Jasmine's family has always been more focused on supporting her well-being than on her grades and academic achievements, and this approach nurtured Jasmine's personality – brave, open-minded, and resilient. She recalls that her parents never made her attend academical tutorials after school, instead they encouraged their daughter to explore what really interests her, whether it's music, freediving, horseback riding, drama, or golf. They also taught her time management skills and healthy habits. Having her parents' full support and reliance, Jasmine quickly learned the importance of self-discipline and found joy and satisfaction in it.

Outstanding DAIS Seniors: Interview with Jasmine Zhao - Jasmine Zhao

Jasmine's profile is impressive. She is a National Level 2 Golf Athlete, Double-Octofinalist in National High School Debate League Championship (NHSDLC), National Finalist in China Thinks Big (Chinese premier research and innovation competition), and a 1st place winner at China Conservatory of Music's 8th National Social Art Level Examination Competition. Meanwhile, she also has excellent academic results at school. Her senior year GPA is 4.0, she took eight AP courses and scored 5 (the highest possible) in most of her AP exams. Last year, Jasmine received the AP Scholar with Distinction award from the College Board.

Jasmine's favorite subject at DAIS was AP Psychology. Thanks to her teacher, Mr. Fowler, not only she mastered in social sciences and grew academically, she also learned many useful personal skills: how to cope with stress and negative feelings, how to understand herself, and how to help others. As an empathic leader, Jasmine believes that she needs to be open-minded about ideas and other people's views.

For the past two years, I've worked alongside Jasmine for several clubs and leadership teams. As a friend, I have proudly witnessed her growth as a student and as a leader. Recognizing her leadership positions, the inclusiveness and consideration that Jasmine has for her peers are equal, if not extended, beyond everyone else’s on the teams. I have always appreciated her positivity and patience. Even in the most stressful times, she always does her utmost to approach issues with a hopeful demeanor. Her ability to holistically and efficiently mediate situations is inevitably one of her most praiseworthy traits. Jasmine has brought many valuable memories for me to look back on and she will undoubtedly continue to thrive in the next chapter of her life.

Charmain Xu
DAIS Class of 2021

Another favorite class of hers was the Model United Nations. Jasmine says that at first, MUN was totally outside of her comfort zone. When she attended her first MUN conference in Xiamen back in 9th grade, she got to the podium for her opening speech and couldn't say a word. But then, with the help of Ms. Liu and Mr. Mcloughlin, she started to love public speaking and in 10th grade joined the DAISMUN leadership team (first as the Press & Publications Officer, then Deputy Secretary General, and Secretary General now). This experience shaped her future career as well: Jasmine chose international relations and politics as her major in college and hopes to become a diplomat or to work in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Outstanding DAIS Seniors: Interview with Jasmine Zhao - Jasmine Zhao

As the president of the National Honor Society, Jasmine and her team hosted a lot of events at school. Last year, Jasmine went on a volunteer service teaching trip to Guizhou together with her friends. It was a valuable experience for her. This spring, NHS organized clothes drive to help kids in Guizhou that they met during that trip. Another volunteering opportunity for her was participation in Mother's English project in Dalian. Tutoring underprivileged kids English and giving them a chance for a better future is truly an invaluable experience.

Jasmine Zhao has been the president of National Honor Society this year and has been an effective leader and communicator. She has led the group with a strong vision of community service. She has planned effective communication and activities beginning with assigning a design team for the haunted house, selling candy grams for winter holidays, as well as valentine grams, and spearheaded a donation drive for the Baima Lake Daxin Elementary School in China.

Michele Milan
DAIS College Counselor
NHS Sponsor

In 2020, Jasmine was named a Hero in Harm's Way Award (it is given to the brave, unhesitating rescuers who rush to the epicenter of the virus) for volunteering during the pandemic. She has been helping with organizing COVID-19 nuclei acid tests in her residential community.

Jasmine is also a talented actress. In middle school, she starred in a short film "Dog Tag" that won a few prizes in the United States. This year, she fulfilled her dream and got a role in DAIS musical performance "Oliver". Jasmine also has her own rock band "Sonic Pie" where she plays keyboard. The band appeared on DAIS stage during school events and was invited to perform at music festivals in China, including Beijing, Suzhou, and Dalian.

DAIS also gave Jasmine a lot of resources for individual and team sports. In 9th grade, she joined the DAIS basketball team. She remembers that at that moment she had almost no idea how to play basketball, but Coach K helped her develop her skills from zero to becoming a captain this year. Trying a team sport was also important for Jasmine who has been a successful golf player for many years. "Sport helps with my self-discipline. It's like a competition against yourself. It also builds your team collaboration skills, developing good relations with other people."

Outstanding DAIS Seniors: Interview with Jasmine Zhao - Jasmine Zhao

Jasmine's college application process was different from many other DAIS students. Instead of focusing on one country and one area of studies, Jasmine applied to a variety colleges and universities in 5 countries, including United States, Canada, Singapore, and Hong Kong, and for each school she applied to a different major. DAIS counseling team and especially Mr. Mark Donagher offered her immense support along the way.

As all countries and universities have different policies and requirements, Mr. Donagher helped Jasmine to customize her application and personal statement, draft different essays, and answered her questions very patiently. Jasmine is thankful that the counselor was there whenever she needed help, shared his professional ideas, but didn't limit her and let her work on the essays based on her own views.

It was a real pleasure to support Jasmine this year with her university applications. She was extremely well organized and took the entire process very seriously. She put in a lot of thought and effort into her applications. She was receptive to feedback and took full advantage of the experience and knowledge that the Counseling Dept has to help our students. I am really happy for her that she found a school that fits what she wants from her university experience. I look forward to hearing about her success not only in university but beyond.

Mr. Mark Donagher
DAIS Director of Counseling

Jasmine's curious and open-minded personality, her willingness to choose unconventional ways and try new things makes her unique. Jasmine hopes to either become a professor or to return to China and work in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or United Nations as a diplomat after she receives her doctorate degree. Jasmine's dream is to leave the conventional path, to travel the world, to immerse herself in different cultures and to embrace new opportunities, and we are sure she will take full advantage of her abilities and strengths to enjoy success.