Last spring, the Concord Academy community elected Zachary Tung ’22 as the new student vice head of school for the 2021–2022 academic year. Zachary is a day student from Wellesley, Massachusetts, and has been a prominent member of the community since he joined CA his freshman year. He has held numerous leadership positions in clubs and affinity groups such as East Asian Students Alliance (EASA), Queer People of Color (QPoC), and Multi-Ethnic Students Organization (MESO), and regularly participates as a performer in the theater program. In mid-July, I sat down with Zachary on a Zoom call to ask about what he has in mind for the school year ahead; the following is a lightly edited transcript:
Kelly: Hey Zachary! What are some things you have been doing over this summer, both as yourself and as the new student vice head?
Zachary: Personally, I have been trying to work a lot throughout the last couple of months––I got a job with a neighbor as her housekeeper and gardener for a little while, and I wanted to seek out for a job with a little more stability; I had originally applied for a job as a camp counselor at CA’s summer camp, but then decided that it wasn’t really the right fit for me, so I then went on to apply for a position at Meadowbrook’s summer day camp and was offered a position there. I had just finished my first week there as a counselor working with rising second-graders––they are all super fun to be with and are actually a lot more well-behaved than I had anticipated, which I am so thankful for.
In turn, as the vice head of school, I have been calling Hannah Wixom ’22 [student head of school] a lot. We’ve just been doing a lot of planning and discussion about literally everything––talks about how we want orientation to look, discussions about what we want to change and implement into our community, Club Expo, and so on. Overall, [there was] just a lot of preliminary brainstorming that we’re trying to get done, and I think we’re definitely going to try to hit the ground running when we get back to school in the fall.
Kelly: That definitely sounds really exciting. Reflecting back to the end of last year, do you still remember what drove you to run for this position at CA? And what are some of the initiatives that you would like to make or continue in the upcoming fall?
Zachary: Something that originally made me want to run for this position is that I’ve always really admired the student leadership we’ve had at CA. It’s certainly really cool that we have an all-school council in the administration that represents student voices and perspectives, which really ties into CA’s core values of common trust, representing how the adults place a lot of confidence in the students when it comes to decision-making that would greatly impact the community. I wanted to try my hand at stepping into that role as I’ve previously had this kind of leadership experience, and I wished to bring myself into this position that could both fit me really well, and eventually help our community move forward. Then, something that I want to implement in the fall, and I think Hannah and I had discussed this a lot, is that the aspect that we really love about CA is its tight-knit community and the friendships that everybody makes here, which are so important and so vital to what makes CA itself. What we really want to do is to bring back this aspect of community and belonging, as much of it felt cut-off because of the pandemic. We also want to preserve and bring back traditions that hadn’t been as prevalent last year because of COVID, such as Club Expo and Red and Blue Day. In addition, we are working to improve communication and transparency between students and the administration, with regards to an abundance of topics, like Discipline Committee processes, schedule changes, etc.
Kelly: Yeah, and relating to some of the things that you had just discussed, we both know that the last year at CA had been pretty unpredictable throughout its course. What are some hopes and goals you have for the school and yourself as we start to make our transition back to normality?
Zachary: Yes, once again, our top goals for this year are centered around preserving our traditions, community, and improving communications. In terms of personal goals, I definitely hope to follow through with the college admissions process peacefully, and as the pandemic starts to fade away, I certainly wish to further connect and enhance my personal friendships in my last year at CA, as getting to see people in-person will be so incredibly different. Along with that, supporting other people’s friendships and their path to making connections at CA is also really important to me, as, once again, it is such a vital part of our community.
Kelly: That sounds really great. Lastly, do you have any advice for the new and returning students coming to CA in the fall?
Zachary: I would definitely advise everyone to be diligent and open-minded when it comes to connecting and communicating with other members of the community throughout the year, from your teachers to your peers, as one of the most important and unique aspects of this year is our common goal to reunite CA as a whole after the pandemic. Hannah and I really want to act as a catalyst in creating new friendships, and perhaps also mending old ones that have had less chemistry because of covid. In addition, be yourself, be happy, work hard, and definitely remember to reach out––your friends, your teachers, everyone. They will understand, they will listen, I promise.