For any fourth-grader to have sights set on the Ivy League is pretty impressive. That’s a whole lot of vision and determination. Mandy Jiang, a resident of the 2500 block of South Eighth Street and a nine-year-old studying at D. Newlin Fell Elementary, 900 W. Oregon Ave., has got just that. Her nominator, Jennie Markowicz, says she is the “most motivated, hardworking and serious fourth-grader I have ever had the pleasure of teaching. Having a conversation with her, you may forget she is only nine years old.” Even more, her nomination says, when asked about college plans, Jiang didn’t bat an eye and said the University of Pennsylvania and Brown University could top her list.
The Lower Moyamensing resident, says her teacher, is “dedicated to her academics, to her friends, to helping her teachers, to playing violin, to being a good sister and to everything else in her busy life.” She’s received straight As every term, earning First Honors distinction. Volunteerism is strong with her, too, and she arrives at school 30 minutes early everyday to assist third- through fifth- grade teachers with morning chores. She’s already involved in the after-school Art and Crafts clubs, and participates in a Big Brother/Big Sister program that matches her up with a “big.” Medicine is “probably” in her future, she says, as it’s at the top of her list of potential careers. If she sets her mind to it, no doubt, she’ll be answering to Dr. Jiang in no time. – Bill Chenevert