By Molly Congdon
CLIFTON PARK — On the day of graduation from Shenendehowa, senior Shelly Zhang shared the same sentiments as many of her classmates.
“I was excited but a little sad at the same time,” Zhang said. “I was excited to graduate, but sad because I knew it was the last time that I was going to be seeing a lot of people for a while.”
She thoroughly enjoyed her time as a Plainsman, both academically and extracurricularly. Swimming was a huge part of her life. “I swam for multiple teams, including high school varsity [for which ]I was the captain senior year; a summer team, the Knolls swim club; and the YMCA Barracudas, which is where I started out with competitive swimming when I was about 10 years old.”
Her passion blossomed and continued to grow. “I got into the sport when I was really young, so when I first started out on Barracudas, I loved the environment, my coach there and the people that I became friends with and still really good friends with. So that made me stick to the sport,” Zhang said. “Then in high school, when I joined the Shen team, it was another great environment.”
Even though she decided against swimming on a team in college, she isn’t completely cutting the sport out of her life. “I might swim club in college,” Zhang said. “I don’t want to swim for the team because I really want to focus on my studies.”
Zhang hasn’t always resided in Clifton Park; she moved here from Troy at the age of 8. She was born in China and her family came to America when she was 2. “Most of my relatives are there, so we visit there a lot,” she said. “My favorite part is the food.”
Her mother, Dongyan, is a computer scientist and her father, Haifeng, is a chemical scientist.
Aside from her swim meets and practices, Zhang also found time to play violin for the school orchestra and be a regular volunteer at Ellis Hospital performing miscellaneous tasks, such as cleaning out wards and running errands for nurses.
In the fall, she will be walking the campus of Cornell University as a college freshmen. “I’ve always been interested in going to an Ivy League school, a really prestigious school, so that was the drive that made me apply there,” Zhang said.“In terms of location and environment, I thought it was the best. The campus is really pretty.”
She will major in psychology. “I think that the field is so fascinating,” Zhang said. “I took psychology senior year and I had a really great teacher, so he got me interested in the field and I always thought it was pretty cool.”
However, nothing is set in stone quite yet. “I know there’s a lot of different career options, so I’m still keeping myself open,” Zhang said. “I’m really excited for the academics there, I’m looking forward to being able to take classes that really interest me and meeting a bunch of professors and people.”
Six questions for Shelly Zhang
Q: What is your favorite ice cream?
A: The Mint Cookie Crunch at Stewart’s
Q: If you had one wish, what would it be?
A: Probably to travel a lot. I really want to go to Europe.
Q: Favorite color?
Q: What is one object you couldn’t live without?
A: Good company; I get bored a lot and I like to be around people.
Q: What’s the number one thing on your bucket list?
A: Read more and watch more TV shows. In high school, I barely watched TV.
Q:What show is on the top of your list right now?
A: I just got done with “Sherlock” and it was really good; I’m like rewatching it.