Huili School Shanghai introduced the Academic Scholarship Programme for pupils in the academic year 2020. The programme recognises outstanding academic achievement and all-round excellence. Recipients exhibit leadership potential, an exemplary behavioural record, unfailing kindness and an ability to act as a mentor and role model to their peers. In 2020, four Huili School Shanghai pupils were recognised with such honours.
—— Editor's Note
In this final Huili Scholar profile we talk with Georgia. Ms Lana Kulas, our head of High School and her mentor in the Highly Attained and Talented Programme, sums up Georgia's character and talents best. She describes Georgia as hard working and having a clear sense of purpose when it comes to achieving goals. Here, Georgia tells us about her passion for literature, the arts and other creative pursuits.
Finding meaning in poetry
Georgia and Ms Kulas spend a lot of time discussing literature together. Having majored in English Literature at Oxford University, Ms Kulas offers some unique perspectives and a wealth of insights on how to read and interpret literature, conduct academic research and improve her writing and analytical skills.
Ms. Kulas once sent Georgia a poem and suggested they discuss it in their next meeting. Georgia was surprised to see that it consisted of only one word:
To Georgia, even one word can be a poem, and that one word is open to a multitude of interpretations: a flower, a romance, a thorn, a person, a film, the past tense of the verb rise. Each of these is a possible reading of this poem. Each interpretation is potentially as unique as each person who reads it.
Ms Kulas reason for sharing this one-word poem goes all the way back to her time at university, when she needed to submit two literary analysis essays. After she had enrolled, she learned that one of her schoolmates had submitted an essay consisting of only one word.
Ms Kulas was struck by this unique approach and thought it would be a good way to push Georgia out of her intellectual comfort zone. She was right. It prompted a stimulating discussion on the nature of poetry. They pondered questions like "What makes a poem literary?", "Who gets to decide what a poem is or is not?", "Who is qualified to judge whether a poem is good?" These deeper discussions are beyond the scope of regular English class. But for a pupil with a passion for literature, mentoring like this sparks curiosity and inspires rigorous thinking.
What does art mean to you
When she is not studying, Georgia immerses herself in the arts. She loves dance, film and photography, but music is her favourite medium of expression. Not long after being awarded her scholarship, she purchased a synthesiser. She spends a lot of her free time making musical arrangements on it. She loves the process of refining a piece and the satisfaction of completing it. With every new piece she arranges, she feels she understands more about herself and others.
She finds inspiration in the band Re-TROS. She admires the vocal stylings of the band's singer and tries to emulate her calm and reserved tone in her compositions.
Georgia is aware that women do not get the recognition and opportunities that they deserve in the arts. This is why she follows a lot of female artists. She is also fond of films staring, written, and directed by women. Lately, she admires movies with female-centred plots such as Sheep Without a Shepherd, Sister and Nomadland. As a female herself, she finds these realistic stories to be deeply thought provoking.
Georgia grew up studying ballet and has a strong foundation in dance. But in Junior High, she transitioned to street dance. Unlike classical ballet, this dance style is more spontaneous and unconventional, focusing on the expression of emotion through movement and rhythm. As her dance performance in this year's winter showcase demonstrated, dance requires not only emotional expression but also inner strength, and strength is something Georgia exudes.
During a journey, Georgia noticed that the television screen on the high-speed train was broken, displaying irregular images. It was an "anomaly" that was clearly "incongruous" with the surroundings. Incongruity interests her, whether it lies in people or things. She believes incongruity means independence to some degree. Learning art deepens her thinking in life and spiritual world. These light bulb moments delight her and make her more determined.
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