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  • I'm 16 years old, and my name is Shahruz Ghaemi.

  • My father came from Iran,

  • and my mother came from China.

  • I speak some Chinese,

  • I understand some Farsi,

  • and, recently, I've started to study Spanish.

  • I attend one of the most competitive schools in the city,

  • if not the country.

  • The educational system is validly criticized

  • as being broken and dysfunctional.

  • The primary goal should be,

  • like the internet,

  • as a great leveler.

  • It ought to be able to provide everybody

  • in America with opportunity,

  • but an administrative culture that focuses on

  • standardized testing does us no good at all

  • because there is a difference

  • between knowledge and understanding.

  • My jazz piano teacher has really shown me

  • new ways of thinking about learning.

  • Jazz really required me

  • to use a different set of skills

  • than I'd been using for classical piano

  • because I had to infuse music with my own touches.

  • It's one thing to regurgitate

  • a fancy maneuver you've learned,

  • but it's another thing to be able to improvise

  • a harmonically stable piece by yourself.

  • And, if you truly understand something,

  • it's far more important to you,

  • it's more likely to be retained,

  • it's far more likely to have some sort of meaning to you.

I'm 16 years old, and my name is Shahruz Ghaemi.

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