I like to utilize everything that’s offered.”
Meet Rachel Zhang ’23
Rachel Zhang ’23 is sometimes referred to as a Pingry “lifer”, someone lucky enough to attend Pingry from Kindergarten all the way up to their high school graduation. She has all the qualities that one expects from a Pingry student: Confidence. Determination. The ability to surprise. And she is oh so smart.
What’s it like to be a lifer? “Eat, breathe, sleep Pingry,” she responds, with a laugh.
Rachel played tennis for three years during high school, growing close with her teammates and the many hours they spent together in the BAC, all the while pushing herself competitively. She participated in IRT, where she was part of the Fluorescent Fish team (“We analyzed fluorescent proteins and tried to express them in vitro.”). She enjoyed the Journal Club, where she and fellow students got together to read scientific papers. She also co-led the East Asian Affinity Group and participated in the Student Diversity Leadership Committee. From Kindergarten to her Senior year, she has been a ubiquitous presence on campus.
Of course, in between classes and during Flex periods, Rachel can be hard to find. That is, unless you know where to look.
Not the science rooms. Not the Athletics Center. Past the crowds of laughing students at the ping pong table, past the friends draped on chairs with books in hand, and all the way to the empty art room. Empty, except for Rachel Zhang, that is.
“I like to pop in between classes,” she says, explaining that she stretches her own canvases and works on her abstract paintings in her free time. “It’s very freeing.” She finds the time to explore her creativity a fulfilling respite from her other interests and activities. And, quite simply, she likes to constantly be doing. “I like to utilize everything that’s offered.”
One of Rachel’s favorite memories of Pingry is The Rejection Tree. Every year, when seniors start to receive their acceptance—and rejection—letters from colleges, they take the rejection letters, cut them into snowflakes, and hang them carefully onto the tree while their friends and fellow seniors cheer them on. An act of unbothered confidence—and a bit of defiance—and a reminder that life’s potential cannot be contained in an 8x10 letter.
Like the abstract art she sneaks away to create, or those beautifully hanging snowflakes on the tree, life is an ever-moving journey. One that we create—together.