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  • Nicola Venturini

Josh Lee: Peace and Perseverance

When someone mentions Joshua Lee, you’d probably think of one or all of these things: STEAM, the drama club, Humanities or Honors Choir.



Voted as the student who never sleeps, Josh has been one of the most committed students at EC (losing much needed rest in return for his hard work).


I am thankful to meet so many people with so many backgrounds and worldviews...

Josh has expressed his gratitude for all of the experiences he has been able to partake in: “I am thankful to meet so many people with so many backgrounds and worldviews. I am thankful for all of the homecoming games I watched, the concerts I performed in, and for the high school experience that broadened my worldview as a whole.”


I was definitely not the most skilled writer, the most talented singer, or the smartest student, but I worked hard and improved for my sake.

When he looks at his high school career, Josh says, “I am really proud of how I was able to do a lot of classes and extracurricular activities both inside and outside while never dropping out. (With the exception that the only class that I dropped out was Calculus II because I already got accepted to college and also I think it's obvious based on the course name why Calculus II would be the class I dropped). I really worked hard on all of my projects and activities that I was a part of even if I was not the best at them. I was definitely not the most skilled writer, the most talented singer, or the smartest student, but I worked hard and improved for my sake. Looking back and seeing how I was involved, I am proud (and low-key scared) at how much I accomplished over my high school career.”


I learned that there are people who may not like you, and that's okay. What matters is the people who embrace you for who you are as a person.

According to Josh, “I learned that the most important person in my life is myself. I came to EC for the first time as a freshman, and I was rather desperate for making friends. I acted like someone I was not, and I was trying to please others to satisfy myself. It was only a year later that I did not have to act like a people pleaser for people to like me. There are many people I met that appreciated my genuine self rather than someone who faked it. I learned that there are people who may not like you, and that's okay. What matters is the people who embrace you for who you are as a person.”


Josh’s favorite memory of EC was during an Honors Choir trip to perform at Carnegie Hall in his sophomore year. “I was personally really excited to perform, but I suddenly got food poisoning, got incredibly sick five minutes before the performance, and had to sit out of the entire performance. It was probably one of the most embarrassing and dramatic moments of high school because I was crying a lot, but looking back into it was pretty funny to look back and also quite memorable. Though I was not able to perform, I was able to bond with my class while exploring New York and having a good time. Our teacher Dr. Yoder lived in New York, so we visited many famous areas with her helpful guidance. I felt really connected with peers those three days. The students and teachers that I befriended at EC are so genuine and funny. Though I never want to throw up in a Carnegie Hall bathroom ever again, that trip was honestly (and surprisingly) my favorite EC trip.”


There are so many people who have made a positive impact on Josh during his time at EC; he cannot list them all. He says, “As I already mentioned, high school as a whole is a very challenging time to be in. If I had to choose some people, I would say that the three people who were with me all four years of my high school career would be Mrs. DeRooy, Ms. Okma, and Ms. Van't Slot. Mrs. DeRooy was really genuine with me and helped me with a lot of issues from a headache to a rough day. She motivated me to become a nurse myself by how I saw her being so determined yet compassionate toward others. Ms. Okma gave me the opportunity to be an actor on stage, which was something I always wanted to do. Though she only directed for two of the four shows, she helped with my artistic passion all the way from freshman year. Finally, Ms. Van't Slot helped with my STEAM project for four long years. Her encouragement and humor made me persevere through some of the hardest parts of the experiment. Without her help and her guidance, I would have never succeeded. There are so many other people that made my life so enjoyable at EC, but those are the three that were consistently in my academic life the longest.”


EC, from Josh’s perspective, has shaped him to be a more independent person who works for success rather than just dreaming about it. “When I was younger, I expected life to be really straightforward and simple. However, that is obviously not the case. EC gave me a lot of challenges that I had to overcome in order to strive for excellence. When I mean "independent", I don't mean "do everything by yourself.” I mean learning responsibility and maturity in setting up mentor meetings, handling a long-term research project, and exploring internships. I learned to be more independent and responsible for learning how to achieve my goals through teamwork and determination,” Josh states.


Josh’s faith, although rocky at times, has been strengthened by the end of his time at EC. “In high school, it is very easy to get lost in the stress of deadlines, performances, and assignments. I learned to reach out to God as a source of peace and security. By meditating on His Word, I learned how to find stillness in His name.” On a lighter note, Josh wants people at EC to know that “If you heard me screaming in the halls really loud for an extended period of time, I sincerely apologize.” Josh mentions that as a freshman, he struggled with his appearance and self-worth on a daily basis. He says, “I sometimes looked at myself a few years ago and screamed internally. As a victim of bullying from a young age, I was worried about my looks so much. I would often check mirrors often to make sure I didn't look ugly, or I would not check mirrors at all because I was too scared to see how I looked. Even though I am still learning to love myself to this day, I would say I have definitely improved. I can now look at mirrors without screaming LOL. The community here supported me no matter how I looked, and I greatly appreciate that.”


When asked what he will be majoring in, Josh states, “My major will be nursing. When I was young, I had no clue what I wanted to be when I grow up. I remember that I wanted to be a doctor, but I wasn't very interested and medical school horrified me. That is when I took a career quiz for fun and got nursing as one of my results, and that really stuck with me. I chose to become a nurse because of how nursing can directly affect a patient's life. When I was in the hospital for pneumonia, the nurses there really made me not only keep my mind intact but also made me feel secure in a scary time. By interning through WINGS and other opportunities, I learned the precision and empathy needed to do nursing. I believe that nursing is a very intense yet rewarding career that I want to pursue.” Josh wants to be remembered at EC for his perseverance. “I would like to give hope to the next generation that though I was not the most athletic or the smartest person, I persevered through the challenges and succeeded. I genuinely want people to not feel hopeless based on comparing themselves with others. It is so important to see your own beauty and worth and turn it into something amazing.”


I genuinely want people to not feel hopeless based on comparing themselves with others. It is so important to see your own beauty and worth and turn it into something amazing
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