I’m a founding student and eighth grader at Rainier Prep. I live in Burien with my brother and our parents, who immigrated from Vietnam. My parents are constantly pushing me to be something better, to become the independent man they believe I can be one day.
I learned about Rainier Prep when one of the founders, Ms. Do, came to my martial arts class and talked to my mom and me. Even though the school wasn’t opening for another two years, my mom was all on board about this idea of a free charter school and it pretty much started from there. Before Rainier Prep even opened, Ms. Do helped me improve my habits of doing homework.
I was struggling in elementary school, especially since I was in dual language. I was born in America, so I had pretty good English, but I needed extra help with some ELA skills, and I had really crummy handwriting.
Zero to hero. That’s how I’d describe my change since fifth grade. I just had this big growth spurt at Rainier Prep.
When I started at Rainier Prep, I was behind in reading, but now I’m on pace. From the start, I got a lot of one-on-one help with teachers and I got better at reading and writing essays. Rainier Prep has helped me build great habits around reading every single day and challenging myself to try my best on homework. Reading also helps me in math and my other studies.
Rainier Prep is really diverse and there are a lot of subjects that they don’t teach at my other schools, like robotics. My teachers at Rainier Prep have shown me that engineering is cool and has lots of uses today. In sixth grade I discovered my passion for biomedical engineering. In seventh grade, I discovered that I was really good at building robots and that just sparked a candle inside my head.
I have lots of grit and potential. Grit is one of the most important things at this school. In math, we are learning high school-level things so we can be ready for Algebra, Geometry and Calculus.
You need to put all your effort into trying. What’s the point in not trying?
I have confidence today, and my teachers are always there to motivate me. In elementary school, I would barely even ask teachers for help, but now I ask for help if I don’t understand something, and I raise my hand and try to answer questions.
It’s easier to make friends here, too. I’ve met people in all the grades that like science, anime, and video games, like me.
Next year, I’m going to Summit Atlas, and after that I want to go to UW and study human biology and engineering. I want to go into areas of study like prosthetics and heart regulation. Rainier Prep is a big part of my life and I wouldn’t be on track if Rainier Prep didn’t exist.