Class of 2020: The Sweet Sounds and Science of Ayumi Tsuyuki


courtesy of Ayumi Tsuyuki

Ayumi Tsuyuki, a multiple inductee into the Titan Wall of Fame, will be attending Duke University.

This Titan has spread her musical talents and brain all across Loudoun County and even across the country and world traveling to places such as Orlando, Florida and South Korea.. For the class of 2020, Ayumi Tsuyuki is a veteran member of the Titan Wall of Fame for a multitude of accomplishments: a perfect ACT composite score, a perfect score on the SAT Math 2 subject test, All-National Violin, and she is also a National Merit Scholar. In the fall, Tsuyuki will be traveling to Durham, North Carolina to attend Duke University. 

Tsuyuki has been involved in the band for all four years of her high school career, displaying her talents through four instruments: clarinet, saxophone, bass clarinet, violin. “It’s been fun because it introduced me to a lot of my really close friends,” Tsuyuki said. Her experience in Marching Band reached further than just Dominion, “it also taught me a lot,” she added, “I was the clarinet section leader and like the soloist and it taught me [that] I had to be responsible, I couldn’t keep procrastinating things because there are people relying on me.” 

She described her musical talents as her proudest moments at Dominion, specifically getting into All-State band on bass clarinet and All-National orchestra for violin. During November of her senior year, she traveled to Orlando, Florida with her family for All-National orchestra. She explained, “I got the chance to meet some really incredible players [and] it was overall just a really fun experience,”adding, “It was really bonding because everyone loves music and we were like all in this together.” 

Even more impressive, Tsuyuki only spent half of her time at Dominion, as she spent half of her high school career at the Academies of Science (AOS). She said of her experience, “I got so many opportunities to do research and to learn science and math in a different way,” she added, “I’m planning on going into something STEM-related, and I probably wouldn’t have if it hadn’t been for AOS.”

While at AOS, Tsuyuki applied and worked on a research project in collaboration with two students from South Korea about Parkinson’s disease. “We did this project where we fed some flies, who had Parkinson’s disease with these two antioxidants,” she added, “We tested them to see if you know if their Parkinson’s disease, got better or if like it could prevent Parkinson’s disease and then we compare the results with the South Koreans.” 

Through this project, Tsuyuki and her partner from AOS had the opportunity to travel to South Korea to continue their research. While in South Korea Tsuyuki also had the opportunity to travel the country. She said, “On our last few days we got to go to Seoul. My partner and I, we got dressed up in traditional Korean dresses and stuff, it was really fun.”

Ms. Menickelly has taught Tsuyuki for all four years of high school throughout different English classes: Zero Period 9, Zero Period 10, AP Lang, and now AP Lit. Menickelly described Tsuyuki as, “a dedicated, kind, and diligent student who is a natural writer. She’s also a warm, funny, and supportive friend to her classmates.” 

Menickelly also described Ayumi’s writing style, “Tsuyuki is perhaps one of the most well-read students I’ve ever encountered, not many students could rattle off Austen from memory as a freshman. Her writing reveals what her calm, respectful behavior in the classroom often conceals: a razor-sharp wit and sense of humor.” 

Tsuyuki described some of her favorite high school moments being in her English, band, and history classes and having class parties at the end of the year. She said, “I really liked everyone coming together, bringing their own individual food to contribute, and then we’d all eat it together.” She also said, “I like the extracurricular stuff like marching band, I had some great moments in marching band, the show, especially my senior year, this last year.”  

If all of that isn’t enough, she also mentored freshmen through Link Crew, “I think it’s a really good experience for people to have both as freshmen and Link crew leaders,” she continued, “It does teach you a lot about how to bond people and how to get people excited [and] enthusiastic about coming into high school.” 

Tsuyuki described why she chose Duke, “When I went and visited there, the campus was so nice. I was like, wow, this is an incredible place to be”. As it came down between UVA and Duke she said that, “I just wanted to branch out a little bit”. As far as a major, “I was thinking of either doing neuroscience or physics like astronomy,” she said.