Along the Way: Profile of Former Priddy Student, Victoria Sun
Born in China, Victoria Sun moved to Quebec when she was six and a half years old. She spoke Chinese and French fluently. Then, in the summer of her sophomore year of high school, Victoria and her family moved to Boonton Township, New Jersey. “It was a culture shock,” says Sun, now 21 and studying economics at UC Berkeley. “I knew immediately that I needed help.” Having been raised in an all French-speaking environment for over ten years, Sun knew little English. She wanted a smooth transition into her new—her first—American school.
A friend recommended Priddy Learning Academy. That summer, Sun and her father lived in a hotel in Morris County so that she could attend PLA everyday. Michael Priddy, founding director of PLA, worked with Sun one-on-one, practicing her fluency in English. “I wanted something intense,” says Sun. “I was anxious about starting school.” Her lessons comprised of comprehensive exercises that targeted grammar, syntax, and complex vocabulary—components that were not emphasized in the English classes Sun took in Quebec.
In addition to English, Sun also worked with co-founder Dr. Fangjie Liu to familiarize herself with American math vocabulary. “Priddy helped tremendously,” says Sun. “It went above and beyond my expectations.” The transformation was remarkable. Sun was fluent and confident when she started Mountain Lakes school. Her French accent disappeared, and she was ready for new challenges. When it came time to place Sun in an English class, her guidance counselor suggested she take regular English, despite her wish to take honors. “It’s harder to go from regular to honors,” notes Sun. Knowing Priddy was there if she needed helped her decide to try honors. “I knew that if I did struggle, they’d be there.” Sun recalls it was the hardest class she took in high school, but she “aced” the class and continued to take AP Literature and Language classes.
The summer of her junior year, Sun volunteered time teaching group and private math and English lessons at PLA. “I wanted to give back,” she says. “It was an amazing time. I really appreciate the relationship I have with Mr. Priddy and Fangjie. They’re my life mentors.”
This past summer, Mr. Priddy and Fangjie visited Victoria in San Francisco. “Priddy isn’t just a tutoring academy,” adds Sun. “It’s a long-lasting friendship with Mr. Priddy and Fangjie.” The three enjoyed their time together, and still keep in touch. “We’re still friends,” says Sun. When Sun has important news, she keeps the Priddys posted.
As for Sun, she’s looking forward to a summer internship in the Global Technology group of the Investment Banking division at Credit Suisse in San Francisco. She likes to travel and learn about different cultures and languages. Her budding career has allowed her to travel throughout Italy and California. Her confidence, independence, and experiences will continue to illuminate her already bright future. We can’t wait to catch up with Victoria again!
Carly Susser is the Communications Assistant and Writing Coach at Priddy Learning Academy. To share your story, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org