Mandarin Immersion Senior Profile: Alex Baron

The Capistrano Valley Class of 2024 will include the first ever graduates of the Mandarin Immersion Program. CUSD Insider asked the seniors to reflect on their time with the program and share what they have planned for after graduation.

Alex Baron

Alex Baron – Mandarin Immersion Program at Capistrano Valley High.
Photo by Steven Georges/CUSD Insider


When did you start in the Mandarin Immersion Program?

1st Grade- 2011

Why did you join the Mandarin Immersion Program?

My mother is Chinese and wanted me to connect with the culture.

What are your plans after you graduate from CUSD?

I hope to attend a Cal State or UC school. I might swim for Saddleback College first, then go to a four-year school after that.

What other activities were you involved with in high school?

I am on the varsity swimming and water polo teams, so I spend a lot of time in the water. I am the first member of either program to graduate from the Mandarin Immersion program, so I take a lot of pride in that.

What was your favorite part of the Mandarin Immersion Program experience?

My favorite part would probably be the people I have met. I have people that I have known from the beginning of it that are in water polo with me, in my classes, etc. The kids in MIP possess incredible intelligence as well as great capabilities when it comes to stuff outside of school. Everyone in my class has been varsity for their established sport for most of their high school career. So the people that I have met are really bright and talented in a lot of walks of life and being able to be in a environment with that has helped me to be like that.

What aspect of the Mandarin Immersion Program surprised you the most?

The fact that it turned out to be one of the hardest language classes that a student can take and the fact that we are going to be making school history as well. It shocked me that this program was actually really hard to push through and most people in their lifetime will never have the experience that we have at such a young age.

How has the Mandarin Immersion Program prepared you for life after graduation?

The coursework is fast-paced and rigorous. I think it has definitely taught us lots of grit, determination and lots of good traits in life. I look back at first grade when we had 34 students in the MIP program. And now we are only down to 14. I look back at all the kids who transferred to other schools and I looked at our class now and realized a huge difference in who was really gritty with it and who really had drive and determination to keep pushing through it regardless of all the early mornings, late nights, failures, nights with only 3-4 hours of sleep and realized most people don’t really have that. Kids in this class are really smart and really gritty. Which distinguishes us from everyone else in our grade due to our sheer will and mentality.

How will you use your Mandarin knowledge in your daily life?

I can use it to speak to my relatives that have been speaking Chinese for a long time. I can network with Chinese people when it comes to the business world as well as big endeavors of life that I embark on.

What advice would you give other students considering joining the Mandarin Immersion Program?

It’s really about grit and mental fortitude and the journey through high school is not an easy one. But I would say if you have the determination and the spirt to push through it and still do well, you’ll be fine. I will say it’s a program for the smartest kids in school. For it will push you to become even better as a person.

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