Early classes at Sierra College landed Yale scholarship | TheUnion.com

Early classes at Sierra College landed Yale scholarship

A 4.7 grade point average isn’t the only thing that’s mind-boggling about Christine Jun: The 17-year-old’s maturity and confidence are equally astounding.

Jun, a graduating senior from Bear River High School, will attend Yale University this fall with a yearly scholarship of $47,000. She wants to major in biochemistry and minor in anthropology, she said.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Jun said, about being accepted at Yale. “I still can’t believe it. My SAT scores weren’t at par with the average.”

But the optional courses she took at Sierra College – out of her own initiative – and her community work helped Jun make it to the school of her choice, Jun said. Some of the courses Jun took include French, Spanish, sign-language, anthropology, art history, piano and ceramics, she said.

Jun attributed her academic success to her hard work.

“I was willing to explore a lot of options,” she said. “No one told me I could go and take classes at Sierra College. But in my freshmen and sophomore years, I had a lot of free time. A lot of my friends thought the courses my school was offering were limited. But instead of stopping there, I looked beyond.”

With her family hailing from South Korea, Jun was quick to realize “that Grass Valley isn’t everything,” and that the area is “just a small part of a big world.”

“The smart people in my school are just smart in my school,” Jun said. “There are thousands of other high school students with just as many bright people. So instead of competing within the school, I was competing with those imaginary people.”

Striving for excellence, Jun sacrificed her social life and “family time was almost nonexistent,” she said.

Jun studied five hours every weekday and all day on weekends, she said.

And she added an diplomacy to her hard work.

“I learned early on that befriending school administrators, talking to them and treating them like real people helps a lot,” Jun said.

At school, Jun was the president of the Interact Club during her freshmen, sophomore and junior years, she said. She also co-founded the French Club and Asia Live Club to spread cultural awareness, she said.

In her own time, Jun makes handbags and sells them to raise money for a soup kitchen in Sacramento, she said. She enjoys running, she added.

In her personal life, Jun is a “spiritually independent person,” she said.

“I know I’m the only person who can change my future,” she added.

To contact Soumitro Sen, e-mail ssen@theunion.com or call 477-4229.

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