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Sophia Nguyen is ahead of the curve. At age 17, the senior at George Washington University Online High School (GWUOHS) has already attended the United Nations Winter Youth Assembly in New York and the very first annual UNICEF gala in San Francisco.

With a sharp mind at a young age, Sophia’s father, Jim, decided to enroll her in an online curriculum for an academic challenge. “We chose GWUOHS for Sophia’s junior year after being disappointed by the mediocre teaching standards of her local private high school,” he said.

The academic rigor and flexibility that GWUOHS offers has been a positive experience for Sophia. “I love having the freedom to create my own school schedule and being able to dictate my extracurricular activities,” she said. “It’s wonderful to have time for finding new hobbies, take control of my coursework, and spend more time on recreational activities.”

Sophia has certainly been challenged academically during her time with GWUOHS. Due to the nature of the online curriculum, students must stay on top of their schedule and budget their time accordingly. In the long run, Sophia’s father is confident that this factor will better prepare his daughter for the future.

“I believe she has acquired valuable self-initiated and independent study habits,” Jim said. “In college, there’s little hand-holding – you are on your own. The work load was quite heavy at times, but Sophia persevered and earned high marks.”

In order to stay on track, Sophia typically starts her day at 7:30 a.m. During the afternoon, she takes a break by playing the piano or painting. As a senior, her course load is difficult; Sophia is enrolled in three AP classes along with calculus, but she tries her best to manage a healthy work-life balance.

“I do my school work throughout the day, but I make sure to take time away from the computer,” she said.

So far Sophia’s proudest academic accomplishment is being accepted into the National Honor Society two years in a row. In addition to this achievement, Sophia attended the United Nations Winter Youth Assembly in New York last winter, an event that aims to discuss fundamental topics such as climate change, gender equality, third-world education, and several other global issues.

“The moment I stepped foot into the General Assembly Hall I was overwhelmed, elated, and most of all excited for what we were about to do,” she said. “Surrounded by young entrepreneurs, businessmen, and activists from across the world, I suddenly felt at home with my environment that I was placed in.”

Sophia is very passionate about the earth and social justice. This passion led to her interest in the annual UNICEF gala in San Francisco, an event that honors humanitarians who have contributed significantly to third world countries.

“I learned about this event through my participation in a Congressional Action Team (CAT) that is supported by UNICEF,” she said. “During our meetings, we have national calls with guest speakers where we share grassroots victories, practice articulating issues, and take action together.”

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