During his first semester taking English language classes at Riverside Military Academy, junior Zhichen Yan has been selected by the University of Georgia as a Class of 2015 Georgia Certificate of Merit winner.
Cadet Sgt. Yan, a native of Changchun, China, was nominated by RMA as a candidate for the honor. Based on his current rank in the top 5 percent of his class, Yan joins an elite group of 5,000 juniors chosen to receive the state award. He is an international boarding cadet from China and a member of Hotel Company at Riverside.
“This is a big accomplishment for anyone, especially for an ESL student (who) has been here for less than six months. That is a staggering rate of growth and showcases his work ethic,” said Lara Moore, one of Yan’s ESL teachers. “To that end, most research indicates that while it can take a new ESL student a couple of years to become conversational in basic English, it takes anywhere from five to seven years for the student to develop a solid academic vocabulary, which is an entirely different skillset. As a new ESL student, Yan’s accomplishment is very rare and profound, indeed.”
The Certificate of Merit program was established by the University of Georgia in 1959. The program seeks to identify our state’s most academically talented students and encourages them to explore honors programs and scholarship opportunities.