Accolades abound when it comes to this student; indeed, it is difficult to choose from the number of positive adjectives his teachers offered to describe this young man’s demeanor, attitude, service to the community, and intellectual prowess. “Amazing leader,” “devoted scholar,” “ebullient,” “tremendously positive,” “generous,” and “exceptional” are but a few.

Teachers report that he is the first to volunteer to wash dishes in the kitchen, not just once, but every time that help is needed. The admissions department wishes that cloning were possible so that they had “ten of him.” His teachers say they cannot decide whether his personal qualities or his academic achievements merit more praise. Coaches of the cross-country team and the swim team report that it would be easy for him to adopt “an elitist stance,” but this is not the case. Always encouraging of others, he is the first to congratulate and compliment his teammates. Healthy ambition guided by compassion for others is what guides this student’s moral compass.

First and foremost, he is a good friend to all, and perhaps, this attribute is what should be emphasized the most. As a famous philosopher, Muhammad Ali, once said, “Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything at all.” In only a short time, this student has touched each one of us in the IMS community offering the respect and kindness of a true friend, and it is for this reason, above all others, that the IMS faculty proudly presents a Mountain Card to Mason Zhao.