Listing engineering and research as major career pursuits, FHS salutatorian is Alice Tang.
Jin is well-known both inside and outside of school, especially during the last year while serving as the student representative for Knox County Board of Education.
While Jin said he has “always aimed to push myself academically, and do my best in class,” he added, “becoming valedictorian was not one of my goals.
“My ranking in comparison to my peers has never been too important for me.”
Moreover, “I have tried to choose courses that I genuinely have an interest in, which has allowed me to thoroughly enjoy my education throughout high school,” he said.
“One of the things that I have enjoyed most about high school are the great experiences that I have had,” Jin added. “In the classroom, I have had the opportunity to learn from many excellent teachers who made learning both fun and fulfilling. Outside of the classroom, my clubs and other extracurriculars have enriched my time in high school beyond what I otherwise would have been able to have.
“Whether it be the fun I had in Las Vegas for the Mu Alpha Theta National Convention (a math competition) or meeting new people in New York City at the National Model United Nations conference, I will look back at my years in high school with great fondness in the years to come.”
His many club and organization affiliations have included serving on the Alliance for Education Equity Steering committee, president of FHS’s Mu Alpha Theta, treasurer of State Mu Alpha Theta, and secretary of Junior State of America, Science Club and Model United Nations clubs.
He also was a member of the FHS “A” Team, which won first place this year in the Tennessee Science Bowl, among numerous awards and accomplishments.
Beyond his own work, Jin credits his teachers in a number of ways.
“All of my teachers have made a difference in my life,” he said. “They have all supported me throughout high school, whether it be academically or otherwise, and they have all helped me become the person I am now.
“I would also like to give recognition to all the wonderful school counselors that I have had a chance to work with,” he added. “They made many parts of high school, like signing up for classes or applying to colleges, much less stressful than they would have otherwise been. Although I have not officially committed to a college yet, I will likely go to Yale University for the 2022-2023 school year.”
Jin said his goal is earning a doctorate degree.
“I currently would like to become a university professor, but I’m open to doing something else if life takes me in a different direction,” he added.
Jin is the son of Mingzhou Jin and Jun Feng.
Tang said the first word that comes to her mind in describing herself is “nerd. Not in a bad way of course, but sometimes I’ll just hook on to a topic and end up going down a rabbit hole that I didn’t quite mean to.
“I remember for Science Olympiad, one of my events was forensics, and I had to know how to interpret the results of paper and thin layer chromatography,” she added. “But one thing lead to another, and I ended up spending maybe a couple hours learning about different types of chromatography and how they worked at the molecular level.
“Another time we were dissecting cats in anatomy. I am kind of a squeamish person, so when I was standing in the lab looking at our specimen, I started questioning why I had done this to myself. After a little bit though, my face was only inches above the cat peering down into the abdomen, and I was fine.”
Science has been a constant theme for Tang.
“My science-themed jewelry is probably enough to tip someone off — my DNA ring is my favorite,” said Tang, who also has been involved in many STEM clubs.
“For this year, I was the president of Science Club, historian for MAO and president of the MAO State Convention Committee,” she added. “For MAO State (a math convention serving as practice for the national math convention in July), we organized a two-day, 16-hour convention. It was probably one of the hardest things I’ve had to coordinate in a while since it was my first in-person event in two years.”
Tang said two things she enjoyed at FHS “were the clubs and the competitions. She said another aspect she really liked “were the teachers. Many of them showed me what truly loving a subject looks like, and it has grown my own love for learning.
“There are a lot of teachers that have made a difference in my life, each inspiring my love to learn,” Tang added. “But two I want to especially thank are my physics teacher Mr. Milligan and my state Mu Alpha Theta sponsor Dr. Bothman.
“Mr. Milligan pushes me to think more and in different ways .... Dr. Bothman inspires me to be a better leader ... .”
Though Tang said her plans include going into engineering and “to get involved with research,” she added, “What exactly I haven’t fully decided on. … I’m going to explore in college first before I make any decisions.”
She is the daughter of Wei Tang and Yuping Wang.