• Top Ten Profile: Yan Zheng

    by  • June 5, 2017 • Homepage, Top 10 • 0 Comments

    Senior Yan Zheng. Photo submitted by Yan Zheng

    Senior Yan Zheng is leaving Malden High School to attend the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the fall. While this Top Ten student is still undecided in her major, she immersed herself in many extracurriculars during her time at MHS that she’s still passionate about like running, art, and being a member of the Asian Culture Club.

    Zheng is a former professional dancer who began traditional dancing in China from where she moved to the United States, first residing in Philadelphia and Alabama before moving to Massachusetts. Dance, which she currently pursues recreationally, has allowed her to gain many friends throughout the years. Zheng said that “she learned that “there are certain things that [she] loves and wants to pursue, and there are certain things that she wants to keep as a hobby”.

    Zheng believes that college experience can give a person a new “outlook on life”and is a “unique experience” that not everyone is exposed to. She chose to attend UMASS Amherst because of the large range of majors for her to select from and the financial package she received from the school. She is mostly looking forward to meeting new people at college because “high school is so much smaller”.

    To Zheng, there will have to be a “transition period from [a] teenager to adulthood” as she describes that she was mostly sheltered by her parents. Despite being sheltered, she finds that she didn’t receive copious amounts of academic pressure from her family and that she mostly pressures and motivates herself. Zheng feels that “[she] needs to make [her parents] proud” because of the sacrifices they made to leave China and come to America. Starting in the fall, she will use college as the vehicle to not only further her education, but take advantage of the opportunities that were not available to her parents but are now available to her.

    Zheng explained that she will miss the staff, especially guidance counselor Erin Craven whom she is a Student-to-Career for. She received a lot of help with the college application process from Ms. Craven and that those going through the process should not worry too much due to the resources available here at MHS. She also credits Craven’s help in allowing he to become “more comfortable with speaking in front of the class and sharing [her] own opinion”. She adds that in the past she become nervous during class presentations but now she has “a better understanding of what [she] is capable of”.

    The advice she would give to underclassmen is to not be too worried about grades and not take too many AP classes. Zheng believes that it is more important for students to “choose the right classes for [them]” so they can be “able to balance [them] out” as well as take classes with topics that they are interested in.


    Junior Toby Pitan is a very introspective person and yet they are still adamant about the things they believe in. They are a vegan that is into folk music, alternative music, and musicals. Their favorite song is “Wolves” by Bon Iver and their favorite lyric is from that same song: “Someday my pain will mark you and then harness your blame and walk through.” Aside from music, Pitan likes TV, movies and literature. Their favorite TV shows include “My So-Called Life”, “Orphan Black”, and “Steven Universe” while their favorite movies are “The Hunger Games”, “Matilda” and the Harry Potter series. They also enjoy mystery and thriller novels, especially “Dark Places” by Gillian Flynn. One of Pitan’s favorite lines is from one the Harry Potter book series, reading: “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” Pitan is very passionate about writing, as they have started an online writer’s group, have written fanfiction, and also have written their own memoir. Over the summer, they did an improv camp, which they say is “one of the best things [they]’ve ever done in [their] life”. This year, Pitan is challenging themselves academically as they are taking AP US History and AP Language and Composition. Someday, they would like to travel to London or British Columbia. This is Pitan’s first year in the Blue and Gold, and they are excited that the Blue and Gold allows them to not only have a platform where others can read their writing, but to learn more about the community as well.

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