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A student standing in front of a beautiful sunset sky and city skyline.

This May our One of 360 series talks to Sophia D. ’27, a 9th grade boarding student from Houston, TX who helps make content for the school TikTok! Sophia told us about loving travel, finding Emma Willard School, tennis, and her favorite campus tradition so far.

On home…

I am from Houston, Texas! My parents are both from China but later came to the U.S. for university, and then moved to Texas shortly after I was born. I also have a younger sister, Alice, who is three years apart from me. I used to have a pet hamster and I’ve always wanted a dog or cat, but sadly I’m allergic to both. My family loves to travel, explore new places, and learn about different cultures. We have been to six countries in Africa, and lived in two, which has been such a cool and unique experience. My family is currently in Nigeria for my dad’s work, which has brought me here to boarding school. 


Two children on a beach with a sunset in the background.

Sophia and her younger sister, Alice, in Namibia!


On Emma…

I learned about Emma online and through one of my parents’ friends, and I decided to apply here because I thought this school would be a good fit for me. My first time visiting Emma was during Envision Emma last year in April. I was astonished by how beautiful the architecture was, and a senior who toured me around campus was so kind and welcoming. After visiting a few classes and talking with teachers who are so passionate about teaching, I knew this was the place to be!

Something that makes Emma special is that there are so many adults here who are very willing to go out of their way to help students. Emma has helped me become more comfortable with asking for support when I need it because I know as long as I reach out there are various resources available. There are also many amazing student leaders who have made my transition to Emma as smooth as possible and truly make this place extra special.


Three students taking a selfie and smiling at the camera showing pace signs.

 Sophia and friends volunteering at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation fundraiser for HOSA.


On music and tennis…

I am passionate about music, and whether that’s listening to or playing music, it is something that brings me to a completely different world and makes me feel at peace. I began learning piano when I was four, and then started playing violin a few years ago. Learning to play an instrument takes time and effort, and has taught me patience and perseverance. I have loved learning pieces for duets and ensembles, which is a nice way to get to practice with others while sharing our similar interests. 

I also enjoy playing tennis, and although I have just started to play again the past couple of years, it has really been a sport that brings me joy. Besides learning different techniques, tennis has also helped me develop many skills outside of the courts, especially mental toughness, because it is such an essential part of playing matches. Playing on the tennis team at my old school and here at Emma has been a wonderful experience and helped me build a sense of community within others. My coaches were very encouraging, and all my teammates were so supportive of each other and showed good sportsmanship. I hope to continue to play lots of tennis over the summer, and I am looking forward to tennis season next fall!


Two students holding tennis rackets taking a selfie.

Sophia and Inzhu U. '27 at tennis practice. 


On skiing…

I would like to get into skiing more. I have only skied once with my family before, but I want to get better at it because it is such a fun sport.


Three student pose for a photo in formal wear.

Sophia at the Palentine's Dance with Esmé A. '27 and Keemayaa J. '27.


On Emma traditions…

There are so many traditions I love at Emma, but I think Ring Siblings is such a sweet tradition and I look forward to participating in it once I become a junior. I loved seeing the costumes during Ring Week, and the excitement leading up to Ring Dinner. This tradition truly shows the everlasting friendships made at Emma that will last a lifetime.


Two students on a stairway taking a selfie in formal dress.

Sophia and Lillian H. '27 at Revels.



Find more interesting stories about Emma Willard School on our Newsroom page.