Blake Chen

Blake Chen
Elementary School: St. John's College School, England
College: Harvard University
Major: Chemistry/History/Government
Career Aspiration: Air Force Officer, and then a career in law

Extra Curricula
St John’s College Choir, SRMP, Seminars at the Abigail Adams Institute and the Witherspoon Institute, the Edge Program at Chestnut Hill Center, and the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program.

Favorite Class at CRLS
Examining the Works of Alfred Hitchcock with Mr. Snyder. It's wonderful how Mr. Snyder teaches us to take movies seriously. You'll watch some great films too! Also, I loved my AP Chemistry class with Dr. Brown; it helped to direct me towards my concentration.

Favorite Teacher
It’s impossible to name only one, since so many helped me to learn: Ms. Giacchino, Ms. Wegman, Ms. Berz, and Dr. Farrar all gave me a solid foundation in 9th grade, while Dr. Brown, Ms. Breyer, Ms. Hansel, Mr. Nigdelioglu, and Mr. Benson all made the sciences and math intensely interesting. But I must give special mention and thanks to Mr. Snyder, who not only guided me through three classes, English, my Hitchcock class, and my senior thesis on Tocqueville and Twain, but also generously wrote recommendations for scholarships and special programs. He is also one of the rare teachers who you can have deep conversations with, even if you don't always see eye to eye on everything. Instead of merely "agreeing to disagree," it is refreshing that Mr. Snyder is willing to engage with arguments and to take other people's viewpoints seriously. Thank you all!

What are some of the out-of-school time (OST) programs that you participated in between grades 6 - 12?
Civil Air Patrol, St Paul's Parish Senior Organ Scholar, Handel & Haydn Society Soloist, Abigail Adams Institute (Student Fellow), Harvard-MIT Science Research Mentoring Program (SRMP), Indoor/Outdoor Track, Astronomy Club, piano

How did being enrolled in any OST program(s) contribute to your success in and out of high school?
I don’t know if success is the right word, but the programs influenced me for the better, I hope. The Choir taught discipline, sacrifice, love of beauty, friendship and worship. Civil Air Patrol, the official civilian auxiliary to the U.S. Air Force, taught me many valuable leadership lessons, including that to lead, one must learn first how to follow. The Edge Program gave all kinds of useful advice on learning effectively and developing habits of character. In SRMP, I learned how to use code to analyze climate data. The seminars gave me the chance to read great books in philosophy, politics, and literature that actually pre-date the 20th century! The books gave me a deeper and more complex perspective of the world and alerted me that I should watch out for swallowing hook, line, and sinker the first account coming my way on any topic.

What did you like most about CRLS? Why?
The location. It's close to home and next to a great library.

What is something people unfamiliar with CRLS should know about the school? Why? 
The block schedule allows you to take subjects you really want to and to concentrate deeply on them. We are also lucky to have a wealth of subjects offered at Rindge: make sure you choose your classes carefully and map out a path through high school.

Advice to Incoming Freshmen
It's worth noting that the culture at CRLS sometimes seems exclusionary; there's a strong pressure in many classes and friend groups to profess the socially correct viewpoint. While I appreciate the passion with which many people hold their views, sometimes this builds to a point where people don't feel comfortable expressing their true thoughts. Considering CRLS caters to people from various walks of life, we should encourage students to engage in respectful discourse with each other without shutting out certain voices just because of disagreements. I would advise incoming freshmen, and everyone in the school, to be open to a true diversity of ideas, to examine intelligently what you are being taught, and ultimately not to let philosophical differences prevent you from forming friendships with other teachers and students holding different points of view.

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