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Senior illustrates abilities, learning experiences gained from newspaper

Avery Jones | The Feather Online

Senior Luke (Zeilang) Wu joined The Feather during his senior year and feels his writing and communicative skills have improved.

Chinese citizen and senior AmeriStudent international student Luke Wu is a first-year Feather reporter. 

My high school is crazy. During my freshman year, when I was sleeping on a table, a crazy old man ran in and knocked the table, pulling me out of my dream. This man is crazy.

He sometimes came to us and asked me to join him in his class. Yet, I didn’t think he was a teacher. He’s like a character in a movie – a security guard who walks around school and suddenly becomes a great professor. But, he is just the security guard.

When studying in school, he would often ask some students with a camera to come into a class or during lunch and press the shutter at you. The camera facing my way always made me feel uncomfortable.

Slowly, I got used to it. I thought this may be one of the characteristics that make American high schools different from China. Crazy guards and a bunch of classmates taking pictures all the time, just like the wild western cowboy American culture in movies.

In 10th grade, I joined video productions. After that, I think that the students who took pictures may just have joined the same class as me. Then, they became much more normal in my eyes.

Then I became a junior. In my third year in the United States, I started to use some American social media instead of just downloading it and never turning it on, including Instagram. In it, I found an account called The Feather Online, which is updating more than one post about our school, community or global issues everyday. At that time, I discovered what are those students doing with those cameras.

By the spring of 2019, my senior year was just ahead and I knew I had to start preparing for my college life. When I was in chapel, I heard the name of Feather again–a part of a bird? They said it has helped many students earn scholarships.

The following tweet features an article that Luke (Zeilang) Wu wrote about his experiences in America.

So I went to the next informational meeting for Feather. I saw that crazy security guard standing in front of the classroom again. Next to him was our history teacher, Kori Friesen. Perhaps this security guard wants to help the history teacher organize discipline?

After noon that day, I decided that I wanted to join this organization called The Feather. I filled out an application form and handed it in.

I didn’t think much of my decision as summer vacation soon arrived and I spent almost three months in China. 

When I returned to the U.S. in August 2019, I joined the organization that not only has helped me with my English, interview and writing skills, but may help me in my college applications.

On the first day of class my senior year, I opened the classroom door and the security guard sat there again. After some introduction and chat, I learned that he is the boss of this organization. Adviser Greg Stobbe is the great professor in the movies, even though I thought he was just a security guard. 

I’ve been a part of The Feather for almost a year now; I’m used to adviser Stobbe and my writing is improving. However, everything is difficult at the beginning. My first post was about the educational differences in China.

My teacher/adviser asked me some very simple questions. When did I come to the United States, what kind of food do I like, how I heard about this school and why I stayed, etc.

The following video features Feather adviser Greg Stobbe joking around in the campus hallways during one of his ‘shenanigans’ in May 2018.

Stobbe Shenanigans from The Feather Online on Vimeo.

In answering these simple questions, I found inspiration to write. So, the first thing The Feather taught me was how to find the subject of an article. Most of the time I didn’t know where to start an article or how to proceed. However, I have improved greatly the last nine months.

The second thing I learned was to speak boldly and ask questions. In the past, I didn’t like to talk and never talked to anyone if they did not talk to me. Yet, once I was assigned an article that required me to interview, I prepared all the questions in advance and thought about the answers the other party could give.

Megan LeBlanc | The Feather Online

Luke (Zeilang) Wu, ’20, initially mistook Feather adviser Greg Stobbe for a security guard before joining The Feather.

I learned that interviewing was not bad. Although I was nervous at the time, I was fully prepared to complete the interview; I am no longer crippled by fear. My junior high Chinese teacher always told us “pens can speak.” Many things cannot be said but can be written. 

When I first joined The Feather, my composition failed to meet the published standards due to language reasons. I always make stupid mistakes such as forgetting capitalization. We don’t have capitalization in Mandarin, so I always forget to capitalize when I write things like names of people and places. 

However, my adviser has and continues to correct me one word, one sentence at a time. Even if he leads the best scholastic press team in the United States, he will not be angry with these small problems. He also helped me prepare questions for my interviews.

He makes sure I don’t make mistakes preparing for the interview. After a while, Stobbe slowly changed from that security guard to a professor. 

The Feather did not only teach me how to write an article but also how to learn from others. How to take control of my education. I think The Feather helped me get prepared for college and get ready for the hectic pace and studying in college.

For more articles by Luke Wu, visit his Feather profile page.

For Wu’s latest article, read COLUMN: China-born senior reviews local Chinese food in Fresno area. For his first Feather article, COLUMN: New world challenges, culture shock drive new resolve, pt. 1.

Luke Wu can be reached via email. 

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