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A Step Above: Richard Zhou

The Meadows School

Class of 2019

Writer Douglas Adams said, “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” This quote resonates with The Meadows School Valedictorian Richard Zhou, whose journey through life has taken him in unexpected directions. Yet, with every change in scenery or uncomfortable scenario, he found within himself a new level of calm courage that helped him not just adapt but thrive. If he’s learned anything from his trials, it’s that hard work, strong mental focus and a never-give-up mentality are the keys to success. For applying each of these qualities to all that he does, Richard Zhou is– A Step Above.  

G.P.A.: 5.14


  • Varsity Tennis, 2016-Present, Captain, 2018-2019
  • Varsity Bowling, 2016-Present
  • National Honor Society, 2017-2019
  • National Spanish Honor Society, 2017-2019
  • National English Honor Society, 2019
  • Physics, Engineering and Technology Club, 2015-2019; President, 2018-2019
  • STEM Club, 2015-2019
  • Boy Scouts of America, 2012-2019

Scholarships/Awards/Community Service:

  • President’s Scholarship–University of Maryland, 2019
  • National AP Scholar, 2018
  • National Merit Commended, 2018
  • Team Tennis State Champion, 2016
  • Team Tennis State Second Place, 2017 & 2018
  • Mountain View Hospital, 2017-2018

Moving around a lot seems to have made you a more adaptable person. In what way(s) has this quality helped you achieve your goals? “No matter what you’re doing, there is always a chance that things don’t go as expected. However, I found that it isn’t perfectly sticking to plans that has allowed me to find success, but being able to adjust my plans as the situation changes. This adaptability makes it easier to handle unexpected obstacles and use opportunities as they arise.”

Why do you want to study Software Engineering in college? “During sophomore year I took a computer science course. I’ve always liked math and science, and during my experience at summer camps, I found that I enjoyed the thought process behind coding. Programming is what makes much of our technology work today, and I believe that it will continue to allow for innovation.”

Tell us about your Eagle Scout project. “My Eagle Scout project was collecting Curl-Leaf Mountain Mahogany seeds at Mount Charleston, a project that ensures the preservation of native plant seeds in the great basin area and helps promote biodiversity. The most important thing to make the project successful was maintaining communication with the Forest Service and relaying updates to the scouts. By doing so, the project proceeded smoothly.”

What has been your favorite service endeavor? “I worked at the front desk of the ER at Mountain View Hospital. Even though I wasn’t medical personnel, I was still able to assist the patients and visitors in other ways. There are a lot of ways to help others, even if it is a seemingly small thing.”

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