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Shihao Hu '14 Published in Boarding School Survival Guide

Ambitious Phillips Academy Andover sophomore Justin Muchnick, who wrote the book Straight-A Study Skills, was working on his second book last summer and was looking for contributors. “I wrote The Boarding School Survival Guide because it was the exact type of book that I was looking for while researching and considering the boarding school experience,” said Muchnick. “I struggled to find ‘real’ information about boarding schools, outside of what school websites or admission officers provided. I figured if I could help answer questions with a book written by students for students, I could bring helpful insight, advice and answers to those interested in boarding school life."

The news of the book reached South Kent School last Spring through English teacher Matthew Winkler, who sent out an e-mail for any students interested. Muchnick was hoping for different perspectives from students all over the country and world. Each chosen contributor would write a chapter of the book.

“I immediately thought of Shihao Hu (class of 2014), a rising senior and school prefect, as the perfect candidate for such a challenge,” South Kent English teacher Keenan Sheridan said. “Shihao rose to this challenge brilliantly. I worked closely with him and Justin Muchnick throughout the summer of 2013 to help plan and revise his chapter on being an international student at an American boarding school.” Hu is from Hangzhou, China.

Hu, now a recent graduate, appreciated the dedication that Sheridan put into the project. “Mr. Sheridan not only introduced me to this opportunity, but he also helped me a lot in correcting my grammar and sentence structure,” Hu said. “We exchanged emails discussing the tone and rhetorical strategy of the essay. I wouldn’t have made it if he wasn't there to help me.”

Beyond the logistics, Hu’s reason for wanting to participate was one close to his heart. “I recalled the difficulty I encountered in applying to American boarding schools, and thought it would be good to pass my experiences and teach a lesson to future applicants,” Hu said. “I really enjoyed writing my story.”

Once the chapter was submitted, all Sheridan and Hu could do was wait and hope for the chapter to be well-received by the author and publisher. “We were thrilled when Shihao’s chapter was accepted! I can't wait to see the final product when it is published,” Sheridan exclaimed.

“My favorite part was when I heard from Justin that my part was selected and would be published,” Hu said. “I knew there was plenty of competition, including students from Phillips Academy Andover, The Taft School, The Hotchkiss School, Kent School and other students from South Kent. I appreciate South Kent for providing me with this opportunity.”

The book will be published by Peterson’s and comes out on June 10, 2014. You can find it on Amazon here.

Congratulations to Shihao Hu ‘14, on his accomplishment of being a published writer!


To read the official press release, click here.

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