Global Whiz Kid Michelle Socher

Taking awareness beyond Greenwich.

Global leadership comes naturally to this  senior Michelle Socher. As the president of the school's Israel Club, Socher ensures that local students are not only learning about Middle East issues through speakers and emissaries, but also supporting Jewish charities here and abroad. The club is facilitated by the United Jewish Appeal of Greenwich.

Socher is also a champion for Children Against Mines Program (CHAMPS) bringing awareness of land mines internationally to her GHS peers. She first organized a school assembly as a sophomore, repeated the event last year and is seeking a global hat trick her senior year.

In her spare time, Socher is a heavy-lifter on the Debate Team, writes for the Beak (GHS student newspaper) as the "Middle East correspondent," was a participant in Girls' State this past summer and has a passion for sailing.

For her outstanding leadership as well as academic achievement, Socher is one of only 34 Fairfield County students who have been awarded the 2011 Future Global Leader Award by the Stamford-based World Affairs Forum.

Being an international force is literally in Socher's blood. Her father Hylton Socher hails from South Africa. Socher is interested in pursuing education in stats, math, science, genetics, human behavior and yes, middle eastern politics. Look out world, here comes Socher!

1. Who is your hero?

My maternal grandparents are the strongest and bravest people I know. My grandmother was incredibly caring and compassionate and I always admired her wit and steadfast resolve. Even her battle with cancer could not rob her of the dignity and the strength that defined her. My grandfather is also a hero to me and is a remarkable person. He is strong and independent while also remaining gentle and caring.  I aspire to emulate the strength, selflessness, and courage of my grandparents and I strive to be the type of person that would make them proud.

2. If there is one thing you could change about your school what
would it be?

I am very grateful for the amazing opportunities I have had at Greenwich High School. I have had remarkable teachers who have sparked my interest in subjects across the disciplines. My teachers have been dedicated, insightful and just generally fun to work with. The breadth of courses offered at GHS is also very impressive. I have been able to take classes as specialized and diverse as China Today, Statistics, and Economics. I think it is very impressive that GHS can offer these classes to high school students. Though some people talk about the benefits of being at a smaller school, I think that GHS uses its size to good advantage. With such a large student body, the school can maintain over eighty clubs and it is through such after-school activities as the Israel Club, Debate Team, and the Beak (the school newspaper) that I have been able to pursue my passions and expand my knowledge on a variety of different topics.

So, considering everything GHS has to offer, there is only one thing I would change about the school. I’m not usually fully conscious until after 10:30 in the morning so I certainly wouldn’t mind having a later start-time.

3. If you had a day to yourself, what would you do?

My perfect day would actually start the night before, staying up late with my friends and watching our favorite sci-fi shows. It would then involve sleeping late and waking up to a breakfast of my mom’s delicious pancakes (a specialty of hers). On my ideal day, I would spend the afternoon with my family and my friends from Philly (where I used to live), watching the Eagles football game. Of course, because we are from Philly, when I say “watching football” I really mean screaming at the screen, high-fiving at regular intervals, eating chips and dip, and just generally having a great time. I would follow that up with an evening game of soccer or football outside. The day would end with me curled up in bed with a good book.

4. If you could be a character in any novel you’ve ever read, who
would you be and why?

While some of my favorite novels include The Power of One, East of Eden and The Lord of the Rings, I have always loved the American cultural icon and alien from another planet, Superman. The Superman stories have fascinated cultural theorists since they were first released in the '30s. The comic-books and novels have either documented or commented on social issues such as gender equality, race, immigration, corruption, morality, national identity, and international politics for the past 70 years. More than the intriguing cultural analysis or the ability to fly, I would choose Superman because the character is symbolic of my core belief in the power that each of us has to make a difference in the world. In addition to Truth, Justice, and the American Way, for me Superman symbolizes the ‘power of one’. My father grew up in South Africa and it is because of that unique heritage that I have come to truly believe that only by standing for our principals and following our conscience will we, as individuals, be able to affect positive change in the world. Superman is a hero not because of his powers, but because of how he chooses to use those powers. And while we might not all possess super-strength and x-ray vision we each - as individuals -have a responsibility to use the powers we do have to effectuate a better world.

5. What is your favorite place in Greenwich and why?

One of my favorite places in Greenwich is the beach. I am so fortunate to live in an area with the beach close-by and I have certainly taken advantage of it. For the past few years I have sailed at Tod’s Point during the summer and I am certified in Advanced Sailing and Advanced Racing Technique. I love the feeling of the wind in my hair and the sun shining above me as the boat flies across the water. It is an exhilarating experience! The beach can also be a very relaxing place and I love to bring a book and just sit by the water in the sun. I have always loved science fiction and fantasy books – ever since my dad read me Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings when I was in kindergarten – and the beach is one of my favorite places to lose myself in a good book. During the off-season, it is a lot of fun to bring my dog Simba to the beach for a long walk with my family.


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