Meet Commonwealth Students: Ethan ’26, Ninth-Grade Class Representative

It was a short campaign trail for ninth-grader Ethan: after delivering a speech to his fellow first-year students early in the school year, they elected him (along with Juliana ’26) as a Commonwealth class representative, a role that allows him to advocate for their needs and work closely with school administrators. Keep reading to learn what inspired Ethan to step into this leadership role and the other fun challenges that have prepared him for the work.

Getting to Know You

What is bringing you joy right now? 

Hanging out with friends.

What is your favorite book (or a book you’ve re-read)? 

Sherlock Holmes stories. I read them for a summer course, and I think they’re really well written.

What do you think is the most intriguing paradox? 

If there is an omnipotent god that can do whatever it wants, can it create an unmovable object that it cannot move?

What are your favorite comfort foods?

A dish with shrimp and peas that I can’t remember the name of. My grandma used to make it and it tasted amazing.

What was/is your favorite class (at Commonwealth or elsewhere)?  

Music theory or calculus. I just moved into calculus (from pre-calc) after the first quarter, and it's a lot more interesting than any other classes that I was taking in middle school or outside of school. Music theory is really cool because I've never done it before. I’ve played the cello for a while, but I didn’t even know the names of the notes!

When do you feel the most enjoyably challenged?

Probably calc class. It’s pretty fast paced, so you have to really stay on your toes and think a lot.

What are people most surprised to learn about you?

That I only speak English. Even though my parents are Chinese and Japanese, I don't speak either language and I’m taking French in school.

Pen or pencil?

Pencil, because I erase a lot.

Coffee or tea?

Tea. I’m not much of a coffee drinker.

Fall, winter, spring, or summer?

Either spring or fall…I think fall because my birthday’s in it.

Life as a Commonwealth Student (and Beyond)

What inspired you to run for ninth-grade class rep? What does the role entail? 

There was a student council at my middle school, and I felt like there were a lot of things that they could have changed but nothing really got done. I wasn't really interested in joining it then, but I thought maybe I could help here now.

I just got started [as a Commonwealth class rep], but it's been good so far. I’m getting to know how things work. Anytime someone tells us an idea, we keep track of it in a shared document and talk about it at our meetings with Dr. Eagle [our Dean of Students] and Ms. Jackman [our Assistant Head of School]. 

What do you hope to accomplish as a class rep this year?

I hope to make everyone happier and improve the experience at Commonwealth. I’m also hoping that we can have a small chunk of Class Meetings for our classmates to voice what they want to see changed or implemented.

What was your first impression of Commonwealth and how has it mapped to your experience? 

Before I visited Commonwealth, I hadn’t thought about how going to a very small school would compare, coming from a bigger school. But now that I'm here, the small-school setting makes everyone a lot closer. You really know everyone in your grade and even a bunch of people outside it. It's been a lot of fun and a really big change from what I thought high school would be. It’s very freeing.

Using metrics besides grades, how do you define your “success” in your classes?

Enjoyment and feeling like you accomplished something. I've been having that experience in all of the classes here, which is really nice.

When do you feel most connected to other students (or teachers/staff members) in our community?

When we're just talking, like at lunch or after a soccer game.

How do you spend your time outside of class?

Swimming, swimming, swimming. I’ve been swimming competitively for about six years now, and I spend at least two hours a day practicing. It’s been more recently because I just moved into a different [swim] club. I get up at 4:00 a.m., swim from 5:00–7:00 a.m., and then go to school. Then I swim from 6:00–8:00 p.m. It's a lot! Honestly, I think it's more stressful than school, but it's also really fun, going to the competitions and always being around friends.

How has your Commonwealth experience colored the way you look at the world? How you plan for your future? 

Well, Project Week has made me think about things that I could be doing in the future. I'm trying to do some shadowing at investment firms in Boston, because I've been vaguely thinking about economics for my career. I did some economics courses in the summer that really got me interested, and now that I’m taking calculus, I can understand it better. 

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