Day 4 of Student Profiles

Irene Yi: Does it all


Maria Devroy, Staff Writer

As junior Irene Yi prepares to take the SAT this spring with the rest of the junior class, she will do so with the advantage of taking these types of tests beginning in sixth grade.

Yi took on the role of an extra-ordinary student in sixth grade when her mom decided to have her take the ACT, and she scored so well on it that she qualified for an accelerated program called the Academically Talented Youth Program, or ATYP.

“My mom made me take the ACT in sixth grade she was like ‘we’re just gonna do this,’” Irene said, “but, a ton of my friends did it too. We got a letter that said ‘Because you did well on [the ACT], we want you to do something called ATYP.’”

This head-start learning environment set her ahead of her peers, taking classes such as Honors English 9 in seventh grade. This program is what fueled her to begin to truly love the process of learning, taking the most challenging classes and learning the subjects she truly enjoys. She found a passion for pushing herself to utilize the most of the education system and into uncharted territories. In her second year in ATYP, she made the conscious decision to try both the Math and English programs–something that has never been done before.

“[The counselors] said that no one really did both but then I was like ‘oh, I don’t want to drop English but I want to try Math as well,’” Irene said. “So, I ended up trying both with a couple of my friends, and it was actually the worst experience because it was horrible how much homework we had. But, after that year, I was just so glad I got it over with.”

As a result of the advances she made in middle school, she began her freshman year of high school taking AP classes that were normally meant for juniors. She continued the trend of taking the most challenging classes possible for the next two years of high school, and for her junior year, she was considering dual enrollment at Calvin College.

FHC enrolls 1,295 students; 699 take AP classes; 608 of which pass the class. The statistics for the students that are truly passionate about the classes they take are unknown, but surely, Irene is one of the few that has a true passion for knowledge.  

“I think the classes are fun, and I enjoy learning about these [classes]. I really like Calculus; I didn’t think I would like Calculus at all, but it’s actually really fun,” Irene said. “I really liked Chem, so last year after I took Chem 215, I wanted to take AP Chem, even though it’s a really hard class. It’s fun, but I struggled a lot.”

The difficulty of her courses is a strain on her life. The assumption is that she wouldn’t have time for other activities other than completely immersing herself in school, but she somehow finds a way to fit in sports and social activities. Irene, aside from her already busy schedule, found time to take dance lessons, run cross country, be a part of FHC’s DECA club, band, and Model UN. Irene’s day to day life can be overwhelming.

“During cross country season, I’d wake up at five, make breakfast, pack a lunch, and go to zero hour,” Irene said. “Then, my full day of school. After school, I’d go to cross country, and then depending on what day of the week it is, I’d either have dance afterwards, or band, or model UN. Then, I’d get home around nine or ten, do my homework, and then sleep.”

Leading an extra-ordinary life, Irene sets an example for the people around her to be just as high achieving as she has been.

“Irene is one of the most positive people that I know,”  said friend Holly Ford. “No matter what is going on in her life she can always find reasons to smile.”