“I have really enjoyed and will miss the four years I have spent at Landmark. In my American high school life, I met many friends. In my high school life, I not only learned course knowledge, but also many life lessons, how to be independent, and how to improve myself.” — Lily Wang, 12th-grade student at Landmark Christian School
Full Immersion Landmark Christian School works in partnership with families from local and global communities. Teachers, coaches and administration work collaboratively to develop the whole student - to prepare them for leadership in the world. Lily Wang is a 12th grader at Landmark Christian School in Fairburn, GA. She moved from Beijing to Fairburn at the start of her ninth-grade year. The campus is conveniently located less than 10 miles from Hartsfield International Airport. Lily’s rigorous education in China prepared her for academics at Landmark. She developed a vital foundational education in China. Landmark introduced a more personalized and nuanced learning environment as well as diverse offerings in the arts and athletics.
New Interests, Development of Talents In China, the students are externally motivated. Lily explains, “the teachers push us very hard. We are assigned with great loads of homework. We don't have time for sports or activities. We devote all of our time to our studies. We go to school from early in the morning to late at night.” After starting school at Landmark, Lily had more time on her own. "Free time" was a concept that was new to Lily when starting Landmark. "I learned to be in charge of my own time,' she shares, 'it was strange at first."
Found in Translation Immersion in an American high school taught her to approach learning from a broader perspective. She was able to learn to think about familiar concepts in new ways.
Throughout her time at Landmark, one of Lily's favorite teachers has been Mrs. Sherri Fasci. Mrs. Fasci was beneficial to Lily, especially during the beginning of her transition. Lily's first class on her first day was Literature. Everyone experiences jitters on the first day of high school. Imagine a first day halfway across the globe, immersed in a sea of new faces in a foreign language!
The concepts of the classes were familiar, but the context and expression of the language were not. Mrs. Fasci works in the Landmark Learning Support Center. She is available to the students throughout the day for language support. Most of the Landmark international students have a standing appointment with her once a week. Mrs. Fasci is available for evening support on significant assignments, labs, or essays. Additionally, Mrs. Fasci assists the students by hosting weekend SAT and ACT prep.
Self-Differentiation Lily's parents desired for her an opportunity to learn self-motivation as opposed to being continually "directed" by teachers that prioritized a standard, “one-size-fits-all” approach. Landmark Christian School approaches education from a relational context. Teachers spend time getting to know and understand their students and their unique talents, personalities, and interests. Regardless of potential "language" barriers, teachers are intentional about understanding their students. Lily experienced this from the beginning of her time at Landmark.
Fine Arts It was, initially, the Fine Arts Music Department that caught her parents' attention. Lily plays the flute. She had taken music lessons from the time she was a young child. Landmark provides Lily with the opportunity to continue to develop her creative passion and talent in the community of others with the guidance of excellent teachers.
"At Landmark, I was able to play soccer every day after school. Soccer was new to me, but the students were so friendly! They invited me to play and encouraged me as I became part of the team.” Lily enjoyed the extracurricular opportunities. She joined Beta Club and Key Club. Lily met new people and developed a broader area of interests and cultivated friendships with peers.
Global Perspective There were times Lily missed her family back home in China. It is helpful to have host families that have similar personalities and an understanding of Chinese culture. School in China is very ordered. Students are quiet and obedient. She was struck with surprise by the high energy level of her classmates. With a laugh, Lily says, "I wasn't expecting students to have so much to say! It was loud!”, Lily says with a laugh. Classes at Landmark are smaller and dialogue is encouraged, so there is ample student engagement. It took some time to adapt to the change.
Lily's parents encouraged her to immerse herself. She continues, "They wanted me to be, fully, where I was. I was nervous I wouldn't make any friends. But students were very kind to me - they included me in everything and invited me to spend afternoons and weekends with them. There were so many choices!" Lily started trying new things, learning an abundance about herself in the process.
4-Pillared Multi-Disciplined Approach Lily imagined herself pursuing either Biology or Computer Science in college. Beginning in high school, Landmark offers college-level classes to students. With new opportunities to explore, Lily realized talents, interests and aptitude in other areas. She is grateful that she isn't going to begin Biology her freshman year of college - because she knows now, it isn't what she wants to do. She's interested in Business Communication. Her parents were impressed by the diverse course offerings made available through Academy Programming. The deep selection of athletics, strong academics and art as well as non-homogenous experience of Christianity - a "pouring out" of Christianity as opposed to a "putting on". Landmark averages five Chinese students per year. For all involved, it has been a blessing. Landmark believes there is a synergistic benefit to increasing global diversity amongst the student body. It must be mutually beneficial - admission at Landmark Christian School is a competitive process. It has to be good for the Chinese students, and it has to be good for our students. It increases the global competence of all of our students. Landmark Christian School is grateful for the enriching opportunities afforded to us by International Students' presence and diverse scholarship. Lily's personality was a good match to the spirit of Landmark - improve ourselves, improve the community, improve the world.