Rancy (Jing) Duan – Initiative and Persistence Bring Success | EDUBOSTON

Rancy (Jing) Duan – Initiative and Persistence Bring Success

Monday, Mar 26, 2018

Rancy (Jing) Duan, a senior EduBoston student at Bay View Academy, a private girls’ school in Rhode Island, is a prime example of the characteristics the best schools hope to cultivate in their students – and of the benefits of extracurricular activities.

Extracurricular activities, or sports, clubs and volunteering, are highly valued in the US because they give students a chance to explore their interests and meet others who share them, take a break from their studies, learn from one another, develop their creativity and confidence, and develop friendships and camaraderie. US universities value these experiences for these reasons, and, more so, because these activities cultivate students’ practical skills such as communication, cooperation, planning, leadership, organization, marketing, even financial skills.  

Rancy Duan understood this even before she started at Bay View Academy in the 10th grade, and the availability of so many activities at Bay View is one of the reasons she chose it. So when she arrived, after a semester of getting used to her new home, school, language, and life, she set out to get involved. She has since become an active member of Bay View’s student body, participating in several clubs and activities.  She even started one of her own, the school’s Craft Club. 

Rancy has enjoyed doing crafts since she was about 13, so even before arriving in the US, she had a plan to start a Craft Club at the school and had asked if she could do this during her initial interview with the school.  So, after a semester of getting used to her new home, school, language, and life, she set out to launch her plan.

“Starting the club was not easy,” she says, but Rancy persevered. First she talked to the student counselor at the school, and then to the Vice Principal to explain her idea and get permission to move forward.  Next she had to find a teacher to oversee the club, and, finally, meet with the Vice Principal again to show examples of activities the club would do. Rancy herself planned the meetings and organized the activities.  The club got off to a slow start that semester, and the following year, Rancy had to find a new teacher adviser to keep the club going.  But her effort and diligence paid off, and in her junior year, and with the promotional help of the new club adviser, the club took off.  

Two years later, the club is doing well.  They meet once or twice a month to make crafts such as earrings, bracelets and necklaces, hair bows and accessories, hats, and even lipstick!  Rancy says, on average, 6 – 8 students participate in each meeting, though the number of students varies depending on the types of activities planned for that day. For example, when they made miniature hats (just the right size for a small dog), 25 students showed up. 

She credits the experience of starting and running the club with helping her communicate better with people. Also, a lot of people in the school know her now and say hi. 

What has she learned from the crafting itself? “I like doing crafts projects more than finishing them -- I enjoy the process.” Also, she says, it feels good to see the things she has made and think, “Oh, I made this by myself!” How did she learn most of her crafting skills? “On the Internet,” she laughs.  

Recently Rancy decided to organize a sale of her crafts for charity. She says, “I wanted to do something good for the community.” She also had a lot of jewelry and crafts she had made over the years. She knew of the charity, “Curvy Girls,” which helps girls with scoliosis, through her club adviser, Vera Keller, so she decided to donate the proceeds of the sale to help them. With Keller’s help, the sale was a success and she managed to sell enough of her work to earn and donate almost $100.

The Craft Club is just one of Rancy’s many activities. She is also on the school’s competitive math team, takes part in the chess club and the school’s new cultural sharing club, and serves as a student ambassador at Bay View, leading tours and sharing information about the school at open houses for parents and prospective students.  How does she find time to do it all and keep earning good grades?  “Well, I don’t attend every meeting of all the clubs!” she admitted, laughing. 

Besides all those extracurricular activities, Rancy has done well academically at Bay View. She says besides a wide range of sports and clubs for students to try, the school offers many interesting courses. “And the teachers there are very nice and good at teaching,” especially the history, art, and psychology teachers. 

“Bay View has really good history teachers,” she says. 

While she expects to continue making crafts as a hobby and has many interests, math is her main passion, and she plans to study Applied Math in college.  She has applied to several colleges, has already been admitted to 4 top universities, and is waiting to hear from a few more, some of which are long shots.