Emily Tomczak likes to challenge herself in her academic and in her personal life. An Advanced Placement Scholar, she has maintained a 3.83 grade-point average while she’s taken 12 AP and honors classes.
“I take classes that really challenge me,” she said. “And I like to challenge my teachers as much as they challenge me.”
Tomczak is in her fourth year of studying Chinese and has shown a strong aptitude for the language. She hopes to travel to China this summer and eventually to study abroad.
Peninsula High Chinese teacher Heidi Steele said Tomczak has the discipline and the commitment to excel.
“The joy she takes in learning new things is infectious, creating a positive and engaging atmosphere in class and providing a great role model for her classmates,” Steele said. “She is clearly committed to integrating Chinese into her professional work life, and this goal forms the foundation of her study.”
Tomczak’s diverse interests range from athletics and school clubs to community service and creative writing. She loves to run and was a member of the Peninsula High School track and field team. She also was recognized for her commitment to the Seahawks’ boys basketball team as a scorekeeper and manager.
Tomczak has volunteered for such organizations as the YMCA and the Rotary Club. She’s also been active with Peninsula High’s Gay/Straight Alliance. She’s helped to organize activities such as dances and talent shows.
“It’s been really eye-opening to learn about issues related to sexuality,” she said.
To maintain her grades, Tomczak spends at least three hours a day on homework for the four or five AP classes she takes every year.
“I like learning, so I signed up for hard classes,” she said.
Tomczak has had to overcome some personal challenges because of anxiety, but she’s proud of achieving her goal to consistently step out of her comfort zone. One recent example included giving a speech in Chinese in front of all Chinese classes at the school.
“It was terrifying but something I’m really proud of doing,” she said.
Tomczak plans to attend Stanford University or the University of Washington to study pre-medicine. Her career goal is to become either a surgeon or a pediatrician, two professions she finds rewarding and intellectually challenging.
“Emily is creatively brilliant, academically motivated and personally responsible,” English teacher Kimberly Napier said. “Emily’s commitment to excellence and her consistent erudition have provided a solid foundation of intentional integrity. ... She authentically presents a personal demeanor of compassion and diplomacy.”
Education: Senior, Peninsula High School
Parents: Jim and Michelle Tomczak
Activities/achievements: AP Scholar, PHS Scholar Athlete, SPSL Scholar Athlete, We Chinese talent competition, Wellesley College Book Award, President’s Education Award, ACIS Creative Writing competition, Pierce County Library poetry and short story competition, Gay/Straight Alliance vice president, Chinese Club, We the People, basketball team manager, volunteer for community organizations, 12 AP/honors classes.
Favorite teacher: Kim Napier, English. “She is one of the most insightful and wise women I have encountered my past four years. She was the first teacher to challenge and push my horizons.”
Best thing about high school: The atmosphere, acceptance, spirit and love. “Peninsula has a positive reputation for a reason; we’re a family.”