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Student Spotlight: Grace Cowan ’17

Family is on Grace Cowan’s mind as she prepares to graduate from Lee Academy this weekend. Cowan’s family has left its mark at Lee Academy (the Cobb Building and Mallett/MacDonald Gymnasium are even named after relatives of hers) and now so has she. The ambitious Cowan is an all-season athlete, having participated in basketball, soccer, softball, and cross-country, and is an involved community member, having participated in French Club, Student Council and Community Service, National Honor Society, and Envirothon.

As a student at Lee Academy Cowan was connected to her own family and connected with a new family: her fellow students as well as her instructors and advisors. “This new family saw the world from a different perspective than I did,” she says, “and they showed me how to open my eyes to things I didn’t know or understand.” In fact, she says that the diversity of the Lee community and the tight-knit family-style relationships they share are her favorite things about L.A. She carried these values with her when she visited China with others from Lee Academy.

Grace Cowan“My China experience was amazing,” she says. “I loved experiencing the culture head first, and living in a world so different from what I was used to. The teaching part was incredible. I hadn’t been sure about ESL before visiting China, but those kids really set my heart on it. I know I wasn’t a very good teacher while I was there, because I’ve never been properly trained or anything, but the personal relationship I was able to build with each kid, even with the language barrier, was something I’ll never forget. We also got to travel around China, going to the Great Wall, Forbidden City, and a few places in the mountains. These places were all so unique and breathtaking. Visiting China really humbled me. I think that trip helped me grow as a person, because now I have a deeper understanding of the world.”

Cowan plans to translate those experiences into a career as an ESL teacher (in Belgium, she hopes!) after attending college at the University of Maine. During her time at Lee Academy, she says, “I have been shaped into a woman that is cultured and ready to face the world before me.”

We are lucky to have had her as a part of our Lee Academy family and can’t wait to see what she does in the world! Congratulations, Grace!