Photo by Alec Vick ’15 — Yuxuan Wu ’15 is the Class of 2015 Man of the Year. Wu is especially known for his academic prowess and mathematic and linguistic capabilities.
By Gabe Morrison ’17 and J.P. Hajjar ’16
While most students spent their sixth-grade year focused on middle school academics, athletics and social lives, The Roundup’s 2015 “Man of the Year” recipient Yuxuan Wu ’15 contended with a different issue: learning English.
Wu moved to Phoenix from Guangzhou, a large city in southern China, when he was 12.
Wu said that though he had studied English in China, only when he reached Brophy did his English language skills improve drastically.
Ms. Hollie Haycock, who has taught Wu Latin for three of the past four years, said she remembered that at the start of class during Wu’s freshman year, the class was being rowdy and noisy. Without prompting, Wu turned around and asked the students to be quiet out of respect for the teacher.
“That’s the kind of stuff that he can do, and some kids couldn’t get away with that, but everybody listened to him and did what he said,” Ms. Haycock said. “And I really appreciated that as a teacher… He was not afraid to say that to his classmates at that age.”
Ms. Haycock said Wu is not afraid of being judged by his classmates.
“He has his own mind, and he makes his own decisions, and he doesn’t care, maybe, about what his peers think about it,” Ms. Haycock said. “And I think his peers respect him for this.”
Ms. Haycock also said Wu is as smart as they come.
“He’s brilliant, obviously, he’s one of the smartest kids, just bright and intellectually curious, that I’ve ever taught,” Ms. Haycock said.
Wu said an example of his curiosity being sparked was when he learned about “The Cave” in Plato’s “Republic,” which he studied in Living the Paschal Mystery taught by Mr. Tim Broyles.
“When he (Mr. Broyles) taught us about Plato’s “Republic,” it taught me to start to look at my own authentic desires and it began to make sense to me that the way I lived my past life and now has been to society’s norms and rules… It made me realize that I wasn’t really doing what I wanted to,” Wu said.
Mr. Broyles said that Wu got a lot out of that specific lecture because he is bicultural, and being accustomed to two cultures helped him understand Plato’s message.
Mr. Broyles added that Wu was inspirational in class.
“His simplicity and his wisdom and intelligence are inspirational, but he’s also very chummy and friendly and very down to earth,” Mr. Broyles said. “As bright as he is, there’s no arrogance in the kid.”
Bobby Doris ’15 said Wu distinguishes himself from other students through his kindness.
“I think he has a good combination of really good work ethic and genuinely kind personality, which these days is kind of undervalued,” Dorris said.
Dorris also said that Wu was always willing to teach him challenging mathematics and physics topics during their seventh period study hall.
“There is a big group of us who goes down to the Info Commons and discuss Physics and Calc or stuff like that and he always makes himself available,” Dorris said. “He always says I can text him if I have any trouble.”
Wu said his main goals are to become a doctor of some sort, be an authentic person and be confident around people, which he believes he has in the past four years. He said he was humbled by even being in the Man of the Year conversation.
“I’m really happy that I was even nominated by my teachers and classmates,” Wu said.