A Darlington student is made up of many things. None of which is average. We help our students develop their interests, passions and pursuits, because we believe every individual has something to contribute. We also believe that only when you're 100% you, are you 100% Darlington.
Here at Darlington, every student’s path is different. We think that's a good thing.
In this #SeniorSpotlight, get to know Ruby Zhang, a four-year boarding student from Qingdao, China, whose favorite thing about Darlington is the atmosphere and connections between everyone.
When you think of Darlington, what three words come to mind first?
Family, love, peaceful
What house are you a member of?
What are you involved in at Darlington?
I’m the co-founder of DIY Phone Cases iPeriod, an editor of the Jabberwokk yearbook and Inkslinger literary magazine, and was a member of DarFarm during freshman year. I’m a four-year member of the Concert Choir, a member of Darlingtones since sophomore year, and was involved in the musicals “Shrek” and “My Fair Lady.” During my sophomore year, I volunteered at the Boys & Girls Club. I’m also an AMP tutor.
If you are involved in the arts, what’s your favorite activity and why?
My favorite activity is the winter musical. When I first participated in the musical “Shrek” in 2020, I was initially responsible for the spotlight. I would sit on the second floor of the Rome City Auditorium and operate the lights. It’s very challenging to control the direction of light; however, it was really interesting. Later, I changed to a backstage crew. I was responsible for moving the props during scene changes. At first, I was not used to walking in the dark and would always accidentally kick something, but later I adapted. I met a lot of friends backstage and everyone is so nice and helpful! It’s really interesting that we cooperate with each other and move the props in and out in less than a minute.
This year, I was a piano player in “My Fair Lady.” When I first received the music score, I was surprised because it had more than 250 pages. After listening to the music, I questioned myself if I could really accomplish this. Our whole pit group started practicing in December. At first, we didn’t play that well. We had no idea of the rhythm of the music. However, after three months of constant practice and instruction by Mrs. Tunnell and Mr. Harvey, we really made it! The final music sounded amazing! I was surprised by our cooperation, and it was actually the first time for me to work with different instruments. Tech week is pretty tiring for all the members of the musical; however, we all found happiness in it. We were so proud of our shows and felt so appreciated when the audience complimented us.
I also love Valentine's Day when the Darlingtones and Random Notes a cappella groups walk around campus and sing for students and faculty. It’s really interesting to sing for them and feel the happiness of classmates, and sometimes the whole class would participate in singing. I love spreading love and warmth around campus.
What's your favorite place on campus and why?
My favorite place is Thornwood House. It feels like home to me. Girls in T-wood are nice and we take care of each other. After a tiring day, I feel relaxed when coming back to the dorm. There’s always food, movies, and friends in the dorm. I never feel lonely but rather surrounded by happiness and love.
Who's your favorite teacher and why?
I love Mrs. Bruce! She is so caring and always takes care of all the girls. Every time I need help, she helps me and we all sit around on the sofa and share stories with her at night. Mrs. and Mr. Bruce bring us food and cook for us, and we have parties and celebrations. One night, Mr. Bruce drove us to an ice cream shop. We didn’t know the plan until we arrived at the shop. We chose our own flavors and Mrs. Bruce paid for us. She’s like a mother and a friend of ours. Because of Mrs. Bruce, I feel Thornwood is more like home.
I also love Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Tunnell. This is my first year knowing Mrs. Johnson and, luckily, I have her class. Mrs. Johnson is really interesting, responsible and nice! She always compliments us and brings us food. I really appreciate her efforts in music, and I feel happy that we have many chances to work together. Mrs. Tunnell is so nice! Although I have known Mrs. Tunnell since freshman year, we got close in my senior year. Mrs. Tunnell is so patient and caring. She taught me how to play the piano well. I really love and admire Mrs. Tunnell’s piano skill and performance, and she’s the best piano player I’ve ever seen. I feel happy and honored to work with Mrs. Tunnell during the winter musical and choir.
What's your favorite thing about Darlington?
My favorite thing about Darlington is the loving atmosphere and close connection between everyone. The theme for this year’s yearbook is “All Roads Lead To Rome.” There’s an interesting section where we connect everyone on campus – students and faculty. Surprisingly, we found out that everyone has a connection with each other! We might be involved in the same class, same dorm or we have a mutual friend. I always feel love and kindness on campus.
Describe an experience that you've had at Darlington that you couldn't have had anywhere else.
My favorite and the most special experience is definitely RUMPUS! It's really interesting to see different posters, and they are so funny. My favorite part is Fear Factor. It’s really nerve-wracking and curious to see the food. People gather around and we cheer for our own house. I also love watching different dorms dance. I’m so happy and proud that Thornwood got two-time champion. The atmosphere is so crowded and good!
Another special memory was the physics boat race in my freshman year. Mrs. Kuckhoff tasked us with an exciting yet daunting challenge: designing and building a functional boat from cardboard and duct tape. We would need to row the boat across the campus lake. I was the rider for that race, and it was really interesting to sit in our own little boat. I got close contact with our school’s lake, and it’s beautiful. Although we were not successful, it is one of my happiest and most unforgettable experiences.
What are some of the ways you've grown since you first came to Darlington?
I think I’ve become more confident throughout these four years. When I first came to Darlington, I was shy and did not get involved in a lot of activities. However, I met so many nice friends, and I was encouraged to try new things, join different events, and speak up. I quickly gained more confidence and love. I also learned how to take care of others.
Where do you want to go to college and what is your dream job?
I wish to go to a college that’s similar to Darlington, where everyone is in close connection with each other.
Click here to see more #SeniorSpotlights from the Class of 2022!