When Rosalie Luo was a freshman and sophomore — she’s a senior now — she was in the Greater Miami Youth Symphony. She played piano and percussion. During that period, she visited Ireland with the symphony.
“I loved Ireland!” she says It changed my life. I didn’t expect it to.”
She especially loved the countryside with the sheep, water and cliffs.
“It’s so different from Miami,” Luo says.
Also different from Miami is China, which she visits in the summer. When she goes to see her grandmother, she usually takes books with her to donate to an elementary school. She says the schools are nice but lacking in resources, especially foreign books.
“My grandmother on my dad’s side, she still farms,” Luo says. “This year I went to a different city, more urban, close to the coast, it’s more touristy. I was teaching English for a week or two weeks. A high school class and middle school.”
She says the experience was interesting – made more so because of the cultural differences.
“They have a lot of rules in place,” she says. “Girls are not allowed to paint their nails or dye their hair. The students aren’t allowed to date. I was talking to the kids and asking them questions about the stuff. They were very shy, very reserved.”
Luo came in with painted nails so the students assumed she was older than they were.
“The students that were my age, they didn’t look my age,” she says. “They looked 15.”
Now that she’s no longer in the youth symphony, she has more time for other creative endeavors. Luo is in IMPACT, a theater company that puts on productions about equality, racism and sexism. She writes plays.
“I love writing,” she says. “It’s always been one of my favorite things to do.”
Ten to fifteen writers were involved in the play. The actors were students from Coral Reef and Palmetto.
Although she’s not taking a writing class at school this year, she did a summer session at Columbia University after her sophomore year that focused on writing. Before taking the class, she primarily wrote non-fiction.
“It was a small class, 10-12 students,” she says. “At the end I had a huge portfolio. I wrote a lot of fiction and I wrote a lot of plays. I did some comedic writing.”
She’s a good writer — she’s won Silver Keys in the Scholastic contest.
She’s also a good scholar. Luo has been named an AP Scholar with Distinction Award and she is a National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test Semifinalist.
Luo has been active in debate, Tri M and Model United Nations. She was treasurer of the debate club and then president her junior year. She’s been treasurer of the English Honor Society and is now copresident. She’s also vice president of tutoring for Mu Alpha Theta. In tenth grade, she competed for the Science National Honor Society in Chemithon. The team won second place in the oral section and third place overall.
“I love chemistry,” she says. “I don’t consider myself a science person. I love writing more. Chemistry is different. It felt more like one with the earth. You could learn about everyday things.”
She’s interned at the University of Miami in the psychology department. She was a research assistant and spent much of her time doing data entry. The year before, she interned in business law. At that time she was considering majoring in pre-law in college. Now she’s considering psychology.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld