7th, 8th, 9th

Seventh grader Isabella Kuo says that if she could change one thing about her daily routine, it would be adding more outside exercise to it. (Provided by Isabella Kuo)

7th Grade: Isabella Kuo

If seventh grader Isabella Kuo were famous, she would want to be famous for painting. “It’s a special skill I have,” says Kuo.

She likes to read and write as well. She is in love with the fantasy genre. “It opens a new world,” she states. One of her favorite books is The Summer of Moonlight Secrets by Danette Haworth. Winning a writing competition in sixth grade meant a lot to her. This was especially meaningful because she did not know English and spoke more Spanish when she was younger, even though she picked it up quickly. Spanish and math are her favorite classes.

In addition to painting and writing, Kuo plays the piano with her mom, who plays the cello. She started playing the piano at around 4 or 5 and she also plays the violin. Her and her mom also watch TV shows together like Hotel Del Luna.  She dances in her free time too.

Kuo believes socializing and being with people who make you happy is important. She misses that about regular school: hanging out with her friends. She is still in contact with friends from her old school and has regular Zoom meetings with them and texts them often. She has also gotten to make new friends at UP this year. She would want to come back to campus if things got better.

She wants to get into a good school, like Yale, because her older brother got into a good school as well.

To future seventh graders and prospective Student of the Month winners, she says to focus in school, do well, prepare for tests, and to have healthy social lives.

Eighth grader Nika Lyons likes to draw and play the violin in her free time. (Provided by Nika Lyons)

8th Grade: Nika Lyons

If eighth grader Nika Lyons could be any animal, she would be a cat. “They have a nice life, I’d like to be a cat in a rich family.” When asked what things are most valuable to her, she jokes, “Money. Because Money.” She has two dogs, who her parents brought home randomly one day.

If Lyons could be famous for anything, she would want to be known for inventing something and saving the world. “I’d be a hero for sure,” she says. If she were a talk show host, the first person she would have on would be one of her sisters, “so they could get famous.”

She has three sisters and she is the youngest. They like to all hang out in their front yard after school. She also likes to watch TV with them. Recently, they watched a movie from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise.  They also discovered a Death Note musical that they have been enjoying. Lyons likes musicals such as Heathers, Hamilton, and 21 Chump Street.

If she had all the free time in the world, she would like to travel. She is interested in seeing places like France, Rome, Japan, and Iceland.

She was surprised to have found out she won Student of the Month. When asked why she thinks she was selected, she states that she tends to do her work independently and is not disruptive. She advises others to always listen, do their work, and be a good person.

Freshman Bindiya Bhangu, in addition to Grey’s Anatomy, also loves watching Wandavision and is a huge fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (Provided by Bindiya Bhangu)

9th Grade: Bindiya Bhangu

Freshman Bindiya Bhangu says if she did not have to work or go to school, she would listen to music all day. Her go-to karaoke song is Dua Lipa’s “Levitating,” or “If It Ain’t Me.” She also recently got into Harry Styles.

However, she still does have to go to school. She is currently in ASB, which has become much harder this year with COVID restricting the fundraisers they would like to do. Her favorite classes are her most challenging ones, like math and biology. She eventually wants to be a doctor and go to Stanford. One of her favorite TV shows is Grey’s Anatomy. If she were famous, she would want to be known for making a huge medical discovery, like maybe the cure for cancer.

Her oldest sibling just applied to medical school. Bhangu is the second youngest out of five. Her siblings have inspired her to work harder, take harder classes, and just be a better person. Family is one of the things most important to her. “I just love being around my family,” she said. After school, she usually hangs out with her siblings in the living room.

One of the most memorable moments of the year for her was Christmas time, when she got to be with her family. “I can’t remember what presents I got,” she says, “I was appreciative for all of them…It wasn’t really about the presents.”

In addition to family, she also really cares about grades. “[One of my proudest moments was in seventh grade when] I got all A pluses, I worked hard to achieve that.”

One of the best pieces of advice given to Bhangu comes from her cousin, who told her to work hard and achieve what you want to achieve before you start enjoying yourself. 

Bhangu thinks she was selected for Student of the Month because she is helpful. When her friends need help for science or math homework, she is always available; she also likes to help with eight grade tutoring. She advises others to keep pushing when stuff gets hard.