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Once, Always | Achieving Beyond Academics

At Shanghai Community International School (SCIS), we prepare students to succeed in academics and explore potential pathways beyond classroom walls. Our engaging community allows passions to flourish in all aspects of interest from athletics to the arts. 

In our latest, Once, Always spotlight, we re-connected with Izzy Johnson, an alumnus from the SCIS Pudong Class of 2020, to share how SCIS cultivated her athletic skills to become a college-level athlete at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. 


Since you graduated, what do you miss about SCIS? 

The thing I miss most about SCIS would probably be the location or the friends I made there. I have a few lifelong friends that I barely get to see anymore since we are all in different parts of the world. After living in such a big city, moving to a small college town was a culture shock, but I learned to appreciate the experiences I had overseas. 


Tell us a story of how SCIS has shaped you to become the person you are today. 

Being part of the women's basketball team with our Head Coach, Ethan Schultz, has played a large part in shaping who I am as a person. While he had a quieter coaching style, he was always fiercely proud of us and encouraged us to work towards our own goals both inside and outside the sport. That's something I've taken into my own athletic journey. I have been able to prioritize academics while still being able to improve on track by setting goals and working to improve. I still have a passion for music and have my own band here in Moorhead, Minnesota. It is raining in paradise and we are set to release a few songs in the new year! 

What is something unique you have achieved since you graduated from SCIS? 

My biggest challenge was joining an NCAA D3 Track Team and finding the confidence to start running with the team. I was always able to keep up with the lifts since I like to lift regularly, but I was worried that I wouldn't be able to keep up in the speed drills. I did have to put that worry aside when I went to my first practice, but I joined a wonderful team full of supportive people with amazing coaches who validated by worry and made sure I wasn't too hard on myself since it was my first time ever doing track. 


What are your current aspirations? Where do you see yourself in five years? 

My current aspirations are finishing my Double Majors (Physical Health and Health Education) and Minor (Coaching), qualifying for outdoor MIAC in the 100- or 200-meter dash, and learning how to pole vault for competition next indoor season! 

In five years, I hope to be back overseas and teaching somewhere in Asia! But I'm also hoping that my band will have our first and second albums out and a few shows under our belt. 

As a full-time athlete and a double-major student, how do you have time to juggle both?

My organization tools are a good routine and alarms on my phone. I have learned to not procrastinate and do things when I have time. It will all come down to how much self-motivation and discipline you have if you want to excel in both academics and athletics. However, it is a little easier if you've completed the IB programme while playing sports and doing after-school activities. The IB programme prepares you well for a  college workload. It is important to remember to take a break when your body tells you even if it's just for five minutes lying on the floor or an hour-long workout. 


If you could go back in time to when you were at SCIS, what is one thing you would change? 

I would take part in more music classes! I am currently in a band and am struggling to find the time to learn how to read bass and guitar tabs which I could have easily learned while I was still at SCIS. 

Do you have any advice for current aspirational Dragon athletes? 

You will become a better athlete if you seek improvement. This means asking your coaches what you can work on. If your form is good, you can do drills in your own time. You will also improve if you ask for feedback and in all aspects of your life. It shows that you are coachable and always want to learn more and improve. 


Thank you Izzy for sharing your journey with us, and we wish you all the best!

Once A Dragon, Always A Dragon.

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