Home Education and Careers St. Thomas More’s Jessica Zhang hits right notes musically, academically

St. Thomas More’s Jessica Zhang hits right notes musically, academically

St. Thomas More Academy
Jessica Zhang, a senior at St. Thomas More Academy, heads the school’s liturgical choir, and she was recently named a commended student by the National Merit Scholarship Corp. Dialog photo/Mike Lang

MAGNOLIA – Jessica Zhang has made quite an impression during her three-plus years at St. Thomas More Academy.
The senior from Milford is an academic all-star and was recently named a commended student by the National Merit Scholarship Corp. for her performance on the Preliminary SAT as a sophomore. That honor goes to the top three percent of the approximate 1.6 million students who took the test.
She is a member of all-state choir and has applied to be a member of the Eastern Regional Choir. The musical talent runs in the family. Her sister, also a graduate of St. Thomas More, played piano, and the influence rubbed off.
“I grew up around music,” Zhang said recently at the school. “I had piano lessons, too, when I was younger. I still take piano, but the main thing I really liked to do was sing. I’ve been singing ever since I could talk. It kind of progressed from there. Once I joined middle school choir, I decided that I really wanted voice lessons. And then I just kept on going with it. I try to sing as much as possible, in as many choirs as possible.”
She also leads the school’s liturgical choir. Outside of school, she has performed with the Governor’s School Choir.
In addition to her music, Zhang, 17, also likes acting. When she was a student at Holy Cross School in Dover, she would go to watch plays and think to herself how it was “such a cool thing to do. As soon as I got into high school, I was like, ‘I can audition for this play.’”
She has progressed to featured roles and is looking forward to a few more nights on stage as a senior.
The extracurriculars are nice, but Zhang has not forgotten her academics. She said she learned from her parents’ example. Both worked really hard when they were younger, and now they are physicians who are able to send her to a school like St. Thomas More.
“I feel like it’s really, really important to follow in their footsteps and make good use of the opportunities that they’ve given me,” she said.
Zhang currently has a few colleges in mind for next year, and she said she may major in biomedical engineering.
“It’s kind of an intersection of biology and technology,” she explained. “They have the natural sciences in there, which I like, and my parents are doctors, and I grew up around that. And engineering seems really cool because you get to make these breakthroughs in science, and you get to make new technologies that people have never seen before.”
Despite her busy schedule, Zhang occasionally has some down time. If she’s “feeling lazy,” she’ll find something to watch on television or YouTube. But those times are pretty rare.
“Usually I don’t have a lot of time to spare, or if I do I want to be doing something … I try to make myself get off the couch and do something beneficial. I feel like that kind of stuff is less lazy than sitting around and watching TV,” she said.
School principal Rachael Casey said Zhang is a “wonderful representation” of the students at St. Thomas More.
“She’s got a good heart, she’s service-minded. She’s involved in the school. If I’m walking through the halls after school and it’s late, I’ll probably bump into Jess. She’s definitely a scholar in a lot of different ways, musically and certainly academically,” Casey said.
Zhang is going to enjoy her last year at St. Thomas More, which she enjoys because of its small classes and close-knit environment.
“If someone wants a family-like experience, it would be good to come here. It feels really familiar and comfortable, which is nice. Because there’s so few people, you get to do any activities you want,” she said.