College season has been officially over for more than three months. Ms. Jankowski gave me permission to share her letter once all the applications are in (I waited an extra 8 months–can’t you tell?). I will post Ms. Jankowski’s letter. If you still have them (or got them at all in the first place), I ask you to post yours too. And if this is Ms. Jankowski reading this, thank you for the letter. I apologize for not being admitted to half of the colleges for which you wrote the letter and not going to any of them; the fault is not yours.
The English Department at Leland High School is agreed that a student like Jinghao Yan is as rare as the appearance of Halley’s Comet. Jinghao is profoundly gifted in the areas of math and science, for example earning a 5 (the top score on the Advanced Placement exam) on the AP Physics exam without actually taking the Advanced Placement Physics class. Many students with Jinghao’s math and science talent would be tempted to avoid any risk to their GPA shun classes such as English that do not play to their strengths, yet since his sophomore year (the first year that advanced classes in any subject are offered at Leland), Jinghao has taken the most challenging English classes available to him. The risk has paid off in helping to make Jinghao a more well-rounded student as well as assisting him in developing a strong, thoughtful writing ability, yet his sophomore accelerated class also accounts for one of his only two Bs (1). Earning such an unexpected grade did not discourage Jinghao, who persevered and signed up AP English Language and AP English Literature (this school year). Jinghao never runs from a challenge.
Jinghao took my AP English Language class very seriously (2), actively participating with thoughtful questions and intelligent insights and always determined to improve and become the best writer he could be. Jinghao’s tenacity is the reason I know him so well and why I feel so strongly about his potential. During the first semester, he had a disagreement with me over a few points, which nonetheless would make a difference in his grade, so he decided to write me an Email expressing his concern. Since AP English Language is a class that focuses on developing a mature, academic writing style, Jinghao surmised that a professional business-grade letter would get my attention. The letter was intelligent and stylistically flawless, and I told Jinghao that he had made my week with this charming missive. Pleased that he had brightened my day, Jinghao created what he called a bi-monthly newsletter where he wrote me astonishingly adept letters about our class, his experiences at school, or the world at large. Needless to say, I looked forward to each one. Jinghao may be the student that everyone runs to for math and science help but he is actually quite modest (3) and cares deeply about his classmates and his teachers.
Jinghao is a brilliant, kind, and thoughtful student who has an incredible future ahead of him. I honestly believe that there is nothing that Jinghao cannot overcome, and that whatever he aspires to, he will succeed at. Jinghao has much to offer and the tools to take advantage of the best that American schools have to offer.
1. Heh, as of now there are two more to add to that, thanks to lit and my supposed “perseverence”.
2. On brief occasions, I suppose that was true.
3. Modesty isn’t as frequently seen in non-English classes.