Inga Hao is a senior at Summit High School. She is part of the Girls Cross Country Team, for a third year. Her interest was piqued in middle school and she decided to pursue the sport as a 5K and long distance runner. She feels it is great for team bonding as well.
Inga has a passion for music. She has played the flute for nine years. She is the Woodwind Captain for Marching Band and Pep Band. Inga shared, "Being a captain has a lot of responsibility, yet it is very rewarding. I love how the different sections cohesively come together." Inga is also part of Pit Orchestra, an extracurricular she has been dedicated to for four years. Each year, she and about 20 students have the integral job of bringing music to life for the spring theatre productions. The experience allowed her to become close to many peers and they have developed a genuine camaraderie. "Mr. Rapp is an outstanding conductor. While I have loved all of our musicals, Mary Poppins was my favorite; I was able to learn about set production and special effects!" Inga's love of music spreads beyond the walls of Summit High School. She was selected as a member of Honors Band at Caldwell College. For the past three years, along with college students, she has dedicated many nights to rehearsals during the holiday season. The culmination is always an amazing winter performance.
Inga is very involved with environmental concerns such as energy conservation and going green waste reduction. She is president of the Environmental Action Club, where she and club members focus on waste reduction such as paper and cafeteria waste. They are currently in the process of implementing composting bins. She is also the student representative on the Summit Town Hall Recycling Advisory Committee. As a city-wide initiative, they deal with the Summit Free Market and create a greener city by encouraging municipal recycling efforts.
Since sophomore year Inga has been working on a national environmental project called 1,000 Schools: Hands Together, enacted by Secretary of State, John Kerry and the Chinese Vice Prime Minister, Liu Yandong. She was inspired to become involved in this since her mother travels to China often and invariably returns with a cough from the air pollution. The project's goal is to create a residential waste reduction system to implement a recycling center in the city and educate citizens on the importance of waste-reduction. The school she was partnered with in Wuhan surveyed citizens in the town and the surrounding area; an additional goal was to empower residents and give them ownership over their lives. Thus far, Inga has worked with Wuhan No. 6 High School in China, communicating over social media, to devise a research presentation. Inga and the Wuhan students presented the report to government officials in China.
Academics are important to Inga, who is taking a lot of challenging classes this year. She is very determined, sets personal goals, and works hard to achieve. The best advice she has ever gotten was from Coach Welsh who said, "Perseverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages." She explained that what she takes from that quote is that having a good attitude and never giving up will be paramount to her success.
Seeing others succeed is important to Inga as well. The advice that she would offer all high school students is to join extracurriculars. "These opportunities will shape your personality and your overall experience; so pick different areas that reflect your character and interests, and get involved!"
In the future, Inga would like to focus on Finance. She is fluent in English, Mandarin, and Spanish so she hopes to create a cross-cultural bridge in her career. With the support of her parents, brother, and grandmother, she will indeed go far. "My mother has always encouraged me to be work hard, to be curious, and to keep a positive mentality," said Inga. She plans to take her mother's guidance, along with fierce determination, and forge her own path.