Positive People In Pinecrest – James Wang

Positive People In Pinecrest - James WangMiami Palmetto High senior James Wang participates in Tutoring for Tomorrow, helping fellow students in math and science. He covers algebra, pre-calculus, calculus, biology, physics and chemistry.

“I tutor quite frequently. Sometimes twice a week,” he says. “It all depends on their schedule and my schedule as well.”

Wang’s extracurricular activities include taking part in Plant the Pride, Key Club and competitions through the Science National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta and the National Forensic League (debate).

In science, he’s competed in Envirothon, for two years. Both years, his team has won in the Best Soil category. He also participated in Chemithon competition when he took Advanced Placement Chemistry.

“Our team won overall second place,” he says.

Last year was the first year Palmetto took part in the Astronaut Challenge.

“This competition was mainly a multiple choice where we answered many questioned based on your knowledge on things required in space, he says. “The parts of a space station, how to fly basic air crafts.”

Only two teams from each school could go on to the state level so his team was not able to go to the next level, at the Kennedy Space Center.

He plans to be in the Astronaut Challenge again this school year with the hope of competing at the space center.

Over the course of his high school career, he’s spent a lot of time on debate competitions. He debates in the Public Forum category, which is partner based debate. Wang says the topics relate to government and how things should be improved. Topics have included question such as should we keep Obamacare and how to go about governing other countries and their nuclear weaponry.

“You have to prepare for both sides of the debates,” he says. “Generally, you can think of good ways and bad ways for both sides. Debate, in essence, is like a research club or class. What determines how well you are going to do is preparation.”

He says he and his debate partner, Bo You, did well in their debates last year.

“There’s a lot of collaboration, a lot of planning,” he says. “You learn how to communicate with your partner. We’ve been on the same page quite a lot.”

Occasionally, he says, there are cases when the debate partners aren’t prepared as well as they’d like. In which case, they have to be able to improvise on the spot. And all of that requires research time in front of the computer, good planning and practice with a partner and by yourself.

This fall, Wang plans to apply to MIT, Cal Teach, Stanford, Carnegie Mellon and Georgia Tech. He expects to major in some sort of engineering, bio-medical, mechanical or electrical. The other possibility is a major in computer science.

Outside of school, he is a member of CLEO, an environmental youth task force. He attends monthly meetings at Pinecrest Gardens. CLEO has an outreach to schools as well as Palmetto.

“I participated in many of their volunteer opportunities and this past year I became an officer,” he says.

He also volunteers at Chinese school.

“I basically help teachers who are teaching these students who are predominately English speaking, Chinese, primarily Mandarin,” he says.

He started Chinese school in first grade and learned to be fluent in his family’s native language. Now he helps the children in first grade.

Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld

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