Barrhaven rower commits to Queen’s for Engineering Physics

Focus on Youth

By Phill Potter

Name: Isabelle Ngo

Age: 17

Address: Barrhaven

School: Longfields Davidson Heights Secondary


Parents: Kimberly Loi and Quang Ngo

Brother: Allan (23) at UBC, pursuing a MSc in Finance

Pet: Dog named Sunny

Pet Peeves: “Hypocrites, and stubborn people who can’t admit when they’re in the wrong.”

Part-time Work: Teaching trombone lessons

Favourite Subjects: “Physics is my absolute favourite. However, I love all subjects! This year, I’m taking Physics, English, Accounting, Advanced Functions, Music, French, Calculus, and Chemistry.”

What do you enjoy reading for pleasure? “I enjoy reading news articles about space exploration and reading the classics. I just finished 1984 and Brave New World.”

Who is your favourite author? “My favourite author is George Orwell. I find the dystopian worlds that he wrote about in the early 20th fascinating, as I believe they have predicted how our society is today.”

What is your greatest accomplishment? “My greatest achievement is winning Bronze at the RowOntario Championships in July 2019, which was my first rowing race! After struggling to learn to row earlier that season, I was so proud that my hard work and determination paid off.”

School Activities: “Throughout high school, I’ve participated in a wide range of clubs and activities, including Band, Sports, Charitable Clubs, Academic Clubs, and Grad Committee. Some of the highlights have been Band, Sports Teams, and the Business Club.

“Since Grade 7, I’ve been the lead trombone of my school’s Concert and Jazz Bands. We’ve earned many gold medal standards at both regional and national music festivals. Unfortunately, band is unable to happen this year, and I am missing rehearsals and the opportunity to showcase our hard work at festivals. Luckily, we’re all staying connected as a family through Virtual Socials, Workshops, and Check-Ins.

“Sports competitions are also cancelled this year, which is especially heartbreaking for me. After catching the flu in the fall of 2019, and missing my chance to qualify for OFSAA Cross Country, I was prepared to redeem myself this year. With strong teammates, the Senior Girls’ Team at my school was also hoping to be our school’s first Cross Country Team to make OFSAA.

“In Grade 11, I co-founded the LDH Interact Business Club, which is tied to the Rotary Club of South Nepean, to teach students basic business skills and to help our community. Last year, we hosted charitable events, such as a local Sock Drive to collect socks for the homeless, and Bingo Night to raise money for the Shepherds of Good Hope. Furthermore, we volunteered with Rotary members at Bottle Drives and Blood Drives. This year we’ve been learning and improving our business skills – virtually. We hope to apply them when planning our next fundraiser.”

Other Activities/Interests: “Outside of school, I’m a competitive rower and runner with the Ottawa Rowing Club and Ottawa Lions Track & Field Club respectively. We’re currently doing our training at home with the occasional virtual strength training, but I’m looking forward to rowing on the water in the spring, and running with my teammates again on the track!

“Last summer, my friends and I established a virtual peer tutoring organization called Auxilium, which now consists of 300+ students across Ottawa. I know that the new learning model is challenging for some students, so I thought this program would be a great resource to help students academically and socially. As an executive member and a mentor myself, I’ve seen first hand how this organization has impacted students. Mentors and mentees have mentioned gaining leadership skills and seeing an improvement in grades respectively.

“I’ve also been involved in city-wide jazz bands such as the Nepean All City Jazz Band, the Ottawa Junior Jazz Band, and the OCDSB Grade 8 All Star Jazz Band. I’ve had the opportunity to travel with my bands and play at both the Ottawa and Montreal Jazz Festivals. I am disappointed that this year’s season was cancelled, as it was my last chance to play in a big band before heading off to university. It was especially heartbreaking that our trip to MusicFest Nationals in Calgary last year was cancelled, as we were looking forward to showcasing our hard work and visiting Banff.”

Career Goals: “I have accepted my offer to Queen’s Engineering Physics and signed my letter of intent to row for the Queen’s Rowing Team. After I finish my undergrad, I hope to pursue a Ph.D. in Physics. My career goal is to become a research physicist, and hopefully discover something new!”

Comment: “I’ve been at Longfields since Grade 7. It’s an amazing school! I love the community and the support that everyone provides one another. Teachers care about their students and want to get to know them. I’ve never been one to develop close relationships with teachers, but they’re so welcoming that it happens naturally. I want to thank all of my teachers for everything they’ve done for me, especially my music teacher and band conductor, Ms. Godfrey, who is there for all her students – like a mother hen. She has created a safe and loving environment within the Longfields music department that feels like home, and it’s one of the things I’m going to miss most about high school.

“I also admire the diversity of people, clubs, and sports at Longfields. The school offers everything, from religious clubs to sports I’ve never considered before – like Nordic Skiing. Longfields has exposed me to so many new things.

“In terms of the new learning model, I’m enjoying it more than I thought. I like focusing on one class at a time, and having lots of spare time. However, I am disappointed that classes like physics and math no longer have the extra time to go beyond the curriculum, and explore topics that challenge our thinking. Overall, I’m not as busy as usual. It’s strange having so much free time to pick up new hobbies – like baking and graphic design.

“Lastly, I want to thank my parents for everything they’ve done for me. From driving me across town for practices and rehearsals, to encouraging me to pursue my passions, I am extremely grateful that they’ve supported me in all my activities.”