Finding My Voice as Part of the Scott Center Community

Hillbrook Alum Angie Zoric ’20 writes the latest installment in our Student Voice series, looking back at the ways she figured out what mattered to her during her time as a middle schooler.

When I joined the Hillbrook community in 6th grade I was a quiet and shy girl. Within the next year, I changed into a confident, outgoing, and passionate young lady. It’s incredible how the Scott Center for Social Entrepreneurship helped me figure out what I am passionate about, with the endless opportunities and doors it has opened for me. It has helped me to create a bridge between my generation and the problems that the world is facing today, and to begin tackling those issues. In seventh grade, I joined Ms. Mak and Ms. Ngo’s social entrepreneurship elective where I was asked two questions, “what matters to you?” and, “what are you going to do about it?” Simple questions, yet I wasn’t sure how to answer it because so many things matter to me.

In 2019, I was among fifteen students that took a journey to The Island School located on Cape Eleuthera, Bahamas. Before arrival, I was told that we get two minute cold showers and I already knew this was going to be quite the adventure. At The Island School, I learned firsthand about the impacts of global warming on our oceans, what actions we can take to address it, and how to live sustainably. We dived deeper into the region of marine biology, and I mean that quite literally, we spent most of our time underwater exploring coral reefs, researching turtle habitats, how they communicate with other fish, and the list goes on. Visiting The Island School was an amazing and eye-opening experience. It has inspired me to become a change agent and to come back home and educate those around me about climate change; I run an Instagram page with the username reuse_for_ocean where I advocate and share my knowledge of how we can make small changes in our lives to live sustainably. I care profoundly about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and SDG 14 (Life Below Water) deeply resonates with me. It’s my great wish to be able to return to The Island School and learn even more.

Then, in eighth grade, I was given the unique opportunity to co-design a Reach Beyond Block with three of my fellow peers, and the help of Ms. Mak. We created W.I.F.T.T.Y., Women In Finance and Tech Teaching Youth. Students interviewed women to learn what it is like as a woman working in the S.T.E.M. fields. We hope that this reach beyond block encouraged and inspired young women to not fear, but instead take risks and to explore their passions. Similar to W.I.F.T.T.Y., I was part of a group of girls that founded the first all-girls robotics club with the guidance of Ms. Ngo. Again, we aimed to allow girls the opportunity to explore the aspects of the S.T.E.M. fields.

Faced with these unprecedented times when students are limited to accessing their activities, I found a way to make a difference for many, so I joined a group of like-minded teens to give virtual cello lessons to fundraise and support efforts in finding the cure for Covid-19. After seeing the positive impacts of online learning, I founded Language Connect, an online platform that strives to provide language education to all. Teens can volunteer to teach language lessons and make connections with students across the globe and learn about different cultures while raising funds for the World Food Program.

At Hillbrook, students are offered superb electives and reach beyond blocks. The Scott Center introduced me to the entrepreneurial world and I could not have found that experience anywhere else. I have experienced countless opportunities and there is no limit to what an individual wants to try. The Scott Center and Hillbrook School is the most supportive community one can find, and I am so grateful and thankful for being a part of the Hillbrook family. I could not have been the person I am today without them; they empowered my voice and like Malala Yousafzai said, “When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” I am looking forward to my high school years to build upon the knowledge that I acquired and to further hone my social entrepreneurial skills.