Class of 2020 Senior Spotlight: Bella Chow, Planning for a Gap Year


Living in Hawaii, Bella Chow fills her days painting, writing, wrangling nine cats, and going to the beach, naturally. While the state of the world may not feel like living in paradise, she's found a way to make this year—the year she graduated high school—truly count for something.

Bella ChowSomething to Flip For

With all that has happened in the last few months, it feels as though the world has been flipped, bounced, and spun off its axis. Through it all, we've seen just how resilient some people can be, including those who are missing out on celebrating important milestones in person.
As a Laurel Springs Senior, Bella is one of those people. Maybe it's her background in gymnastics that has conditioned her to spring back into action. Training with the Kokokahi Gymnastics Team for over ten years not only makes her a Level 10 gymnast, but it seems to have instilled a  certain level of strength as well.
When forced to look toward the future and what it may hold for her and other college hopefuls, Bella has had to make some tough decisions. "Like a large number of my classmates graduating in 2020, I have decided to take a gap year... I realized that in the long run it would be more advantageous—particularly if colleges have no choice but to make their fall semester online." 

Online and Beyond

Bella is no stranger to online learning. She's been a Laurel Springs student since the second half of her sophomore year. "The brick and mortar school I had been attending just wasn't the right fit, particularly with my busy schedule. Once I made the change to online schooling, a lot more opportunities opened up and I've been a lot happier!"
While she admits it took a little while to find her motivation and learn to be accountable, it soon became second nature. "I really appreciate the time management skills I have acquired from being at Laurel Springs... I know that I will benefit greatly from it at college and in the future."
As Bella built her own schedule around training at the gym—and relaxing at the beach—she relished in the course selection process. "I immediately zeroed in on the electives, and it was so much fun to get started with the forensic science course!"
Aside from the flexible schedule and class variety, it's the supportive staff that helped Bella get to this point. "I've really enjoyed working with my teachers and counselor, and although there is no in-person interaction, they're great at communicating and have always provided everything I need."
What does she need now? A year to gear up and give back. In addition to continuing gymnastics training, Bella has also applied for a variety of volunteer opportunities, including a position at the Waikiki Aquarium where she hopes to educate the younger visitors.

When Today Determines Tomorrow

Even though she's taking a year off, Bella still has plans for college. "I see myself at university pursuing a degree in chemistry with the intent of becoming a virologist." After this year, there are sure to be plenty of programs to choose from no matter where she ends up—from coast to coast and around the world.