GWUOHS Student Profile – Luca Lim

Ashley H., Contributor

“There’s a saying about short track speedskating: ‘It’s NASCAR on ice’. I believe that it really lives up to this, and much more.” Luca Lim, an 11th grader at GWUOHS has been speed skating for seven years this May. “Some very long, although well remembered, years,” he describes them, noting that he did get a head start on the ice when he took up hockey at the age of four. “What I really love about speed skating is the racing – it is one of the most exciting things to be a part of. Even though the training is extremely difficult – both physically and mentally challenging – I set a goal for myself after skating for a few months.” That goal was: “I want to get to, and medal in, one of the Olympic short track events.” These events include 500 meter, 1000 meter, 15000 meter, and 5000 meter relay. To get to that goal, he currently trains around 6 to 8 hours a day on week days, with 3 or so hours on the weekend, maxing out at 43 hours a week. Training is split into a morning and evening session, spreading the load while maintaining enough training hours. “Both sessions consist of off-ice training – what we call ‘dryland’ – and ice training.” Luca also trains outside of the U.S., “so that I may improve further in order to be a viable competitor on the world stage.”

With such a rigorous training schedule, flexibility is a must. That’s how he came to GWUOHS in 9th grade. “I wanted to find a school that would provide for more individual attention, flexible schedules, and an interesting curriculum. I had long held the view that a traditional American public school would be inadequate in flexibility, as well as demoralizing and uninteresting.” As an eighth-grader in a Montessori school that could not support a high school, Luca began searching with the help of his fantastic teacher at the time. “It soon became obvious that an online school would be the best option for high school. After a couple months of research and filtering out schools to find the best, we realized that GWUOHS had the best probability of being a suitable school for myself and my sister. What I really enjoy about GWUOHS is the flexibility and the supportive staff, whether teachers or otherwise. I’ve rarely been unable to solve a problem – schedule- or curriculum- wise – within a few days.”

Around school, Luca can be found in the Medical Team, which he finds “extremely interesting, as well as useful, as I plan to become either a cardiothoracic surgeon or a veterinarian.” He takes German as a class and is learning Korean for personal needs; though he’s not particularly talented at languages, he enjoys them and finds them also “extremely interesting, considering the challenges they bring to the table”. Outside of school, in free time that varies based on the season – competition, off, etc. – he keeps himself busy with a “well sized pool of interests” . On the art side, he takes joy in his weekly singing lessons with Mr. Victor Lopez of Reston, Virginia, as well as passing the time sketching. On the tech side, he spends time tinkering with computers. “I built myself my own system back in January of 2016. I tend to work more with hardware than software, although I do plan to expand. Gaming is also an area I take great interest in, although I’m more centered around real time strategy and historical games.” And as if speed skating were not enough, on a recent return to the U.S. he took up fencing, another activity that brings him joy. Finally, leaving the U.S. for training has necessitated the development of “what little cooking skills I had.” He finds the cooking area “very entertaining and interesting – that is, both the creativity involved and the need for exact measurements.” Overall, Luca has a wide range of interests and activities.

As to the hectic life that he leads, Luca says, “I must include that none of what I’m currently doing would be remotely possible without the unconditional support from family and the closest of friends.”

That’s all for this month’s Student Profile! Check back next month to meet another classmate – and who knows, you might make a new friend.