Sandy Shen, a jack-of-all-trades in SHS


Sandy Shen smelling the flowers in Oregon over the summer. Photo taken by Katie Shen.

Lara Decastecker, Contributing Writer

Leadership is commended in Solon High School (SHS), but sometimes what’s ignored is the qualities and story behind a leader. SHS senior Sandy Shen is an officer in a few clubs, but it wasn’t so she could entice colleges. Shen has been able to accomplish a lot in her four years at SHS while keeping her sanity and morals. Still, the way she leads activities and groups helps defines her.

With her position as president in The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and Technology, Entertainment and Design (TEDX) while being an editor in Images, her personality is showcased in how she leads.

“She’s able to delegate and ask help of her officers without making them feel like she’s dictating orders to them,” said Laura Fitch, UNICEF Advisor and SHS English teacher.

The way she acts with her fellow officers and club members parallels the Chinese saying her mother told her.

“There’s always going to be a mountain taller than a mountain, a sky that’s higher than a sky,” Shen said.

This saying helps her stay calm and humble. Shen said that it means there will always be someone who’s better, so there’s no point in letting ambition get to one’s head.

Moreover, she uses her leadership to impact others instead of building herself up.

“She never pulls the focus back on herself,” Fitch said. “She always puts the focus back on the topic, so… she doesn’t pull energy into herself, she’s sharing that energy out with other people.”

Similarly, the time she devotes to her clubs is willingly spent. She even went beyond her requirement as officer to organize a new event for UNICEF.

“This year… we did candy cane grams as a fundraiser,” Fitch said. “It was something she had wanted to do.” Now, Shen looks ahead to her college plans.

Furthermore, SHS graduate and founder of UNICEF, Alice Wu, is someone who motivated her to be passionate about her extracurriculars.

“Alice Wu was also trying to balance a lot of things and trying to figure out what to do,” Shen said. “She was really passionate about UNICEF, and she really inspired me to make sure I don’t neglect all the clubs that I’m in.”

Shen is also able to take off the pressure of being advisor from Fitch. Fitch said that even though she’s signed onto the club, Shen runs the show.

“[Shen’s] the one who says: ‘can we get together, can we talk [about] doing a meeting,’ Fitch said. “[She’s] the one who chooses the topics and what to do with the meeting.”

Shen aims to utilize a lot of her waking hours wisely, which is significant because of the added responsibility of being a viola player in Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra (COYO).

“The rehearsal schedules are more intense than you’d think,” said Kristen Nedza, fellow SHS student and COYO violinist. “All of our weekends are one day weekends. If you’re someone like Sandy… I can’t imagine that’s easy.”

Nonetheless, she’s consistently organized and equipped for COYO.

“She definitely comes into rehearsal prepared, “ Nedza said. “I was her stand partner for the first concert cycle and she was on top of bowing and markings which made my life easier.”

Alongside her clubs, Shen’s interests lie in about six different majors, including business, economics, international relations and human rights.

“I still don’t know what I wanna do but I think the skills I’ve picked up on and worked on will come in handy somewhere,” Shen said.

Furthermore, when Shen goes to college, she’ll continue to take part in clubs.

“If they don’t already have a UNICEF chapter, I’ll start one, and If they don’t have a TEDX chapter, I’ll start one too,” Shen said.

By expanding her interests and putting a lot of time into things that matter to her, she was able to open herself to a lot of opportunities and make the most out of her time in SHS.

“Certainly there are individuals who have walked the halls of any high school who pad their resume because they want it to look good to other people and they want to get into a good school,” Fitch said. “That’s not at all the case with her… the things she does, her extracurricular lists are things that she’s passionate about, [and] thinks will make the world a better place, TEDX or UNICEF, it’s about the good she’s putting out to SHS, to the community at large.”