BERNARDS TWP., NJ - Christine Wang, a Ridge High School senior, was roundly applauded at last week's Board of Education meeting after giving a formal oral presentation about her prolonged recovery following a brain aneurysm in 2015.
Christine, captain of the women’s tennis and golf teams in 2015, recalled the ups and downs of work and determination in months of occupational, speech and physical therapy.
Standing poised and professionally dressed before an audience of several hundred people at the meeting, she talked as photos of her in the hospital room and at various stages of recovery were flashed on a screen.
Afterwards, the audience rose to give her warm applause for several minutes.
'My clock literally stopped' when aneurysm
As a 17-year-old in 2015, “my clock literally stopped,” she said, when the aneurysm burst on March 18, 2015. She related the story of laying in a coma in intensive care, how she had to battle being sad and depressed.
Her success came incrementally – first words, then sentences, then a whole paragraph, she said. As she strengthened, six months following the injury she wrote with her left hand, opposite to previously. In October, she tied her shoes again, and in November began to run. A year later, she was playing golf and tennis.
“I believe everyone needs a goal and a path,” she said.
Christine returned to school forensic team competition in March of this year, a tribute to her battle against aphasia, a language disability caused by a brain injury.
She made her presentation as a prelude to the introduction of dozens of award-winning fellow forensic team students. As has been his practice, forensic team advisor David Yastremski instructed the audience to give one single clap for each student as he read their names and accomplishments.
Other students cited for accomplishments
Dozens of other high school students were cited for their accomplishments in other disciplines.
Award-winning Latin language students from the William Annin Middle School and Ridge High were introduced, including five who recorded a perfect score on the National Language Exam. They are high schoolers Oliver Abrams, Annika Helgeson, Katelyn King, Austin Segal and Caroline Sha.
Eighteen math students, called “mathletes,” were introduced as high scorers on various tests and contests.
Another 30 students who excelled in extracurricular academic competitions in biology, physics and chemistry were bought before the audience.