2013 SPIRIT: Who are James Liu and Harrison Blackman?

posted Feb 9, 2014, 9:34 AM by Sandy G   [ updated Feb 24, 2014, 11:52 AM by Remember Robert Yin ]
As I write this it is 2014. The Class of 2013 have long since moved on to their college lives. Their exciting new journeys - encompassing personal, academic, athletic, and artistic growth - never disappoint. Students and parents keep me informed how Wootton grads are doing. Just hearing the name "Wootton" causes a swell of pride and joy to rise in my chest. Wootton kids represent the best of Rockville, Montgomery County, Maryland, and the nation!

You can read a little more about the Class of 2013 SPIRIT Scholar finalists, on this page, which includes James and Harrison's YouTube videos.

I regret Robert is not among his Class of 2008 mates, and friends across other years, to try his dreams... Hence my delay to keep the website up to date, and I apologize for that. Sometimes I just need a little down time... 

Wootton kids are the greatest. I am privileged to get a glimpse of their vibrant personalities, hard work, and keen intellect. I am very grateful these nice kids and their families share that with me. 

SPIRIT stands for "Show potential, integrity, responsibility, and inspire thousands!" And now the 2014 SPIRIT Scholarship is underway for its 4th year...

- Sandra Giger, February 8, 2014
James Chengyu Liu - 
I imagine James wondered if I disappeared, because in 2013 I was late to market his well-deserved victory lap as the 2013 SPIRIT Scholar. If this were a test, James aced it like all the rest. James Liu is a gentleman and family man who acts with clarity and a positive aura. 

James just wrote to inform me what he is doing now at Dartmouth College, "I have decided on a double major economics and computer science and a minor in mathematical finance. I decided to cut down the math major to fit in a study abroad program to London and Denmark, three internship programs and some interesting courses in geography, psychology and speech. I will also be taking a wide range of PE options: Ballroom Dancing, Wilderness Survival, Skiing, Ice Fishing, Ice Climbing, Snowboarding and Golf. I am also training to hopefully walk on the Varsity Cross Country and Track teams my Sophomore year! So that is my plan in a glimpse!" 

Good luck James!
Harrison Blackman - 
Harrison had an idea about a video to match his writing component. He contacted me and asked if he could submit a video anyway. My answer was, "Of course!" Thank you.

Harrison demonstrates initiative and confidence, which will serve him quite well in the future. He is at Princeton, considering a future major in architecture and public policy.

Harrison's video made us THINK and RE-EXAMINE our life style choices for home and community, juxtaposed with urban planning design and our transportation needs. Do we ever walk, or do we drive to everywhere? What do people without cars do?

The idea for the SPIRIT videos is to use the global reach of YouTube to touch another life with SPIRIT. We want to show how SPIRIT can reach beyond WHS borders. But in 2013 we changed the rules to let the video be optional, at the time of application to SPIRIT Scholar. We were told kids were not applying because they didn't want to do a video... So it is now only a requirement for the winning Scholar.

Harrison was the one and only applicant to submit a video with the 2013 SPIRIT Scholar application. This helps narrow competition for a $100 cash award. His video is well done, and absolutely deserves an award!