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Senior Spotlight: Allen Tu

By Lucy Jaffee ’22
Senior takes advantage of opportunities to grow and explore new experiences.

Inspired by the supportive art community and diverse perspectives on campus, Allen Tu ’21 discovered an unexpected love for the arts during his Upper School experience.

When he entered La Jolla Country Day School as a new student freshman year, Allen had strictly classified himself as a STEM student, only choosing to dabble in ceramics due to an elective requirement. What began as a mandated course soon served as a positive, creative outlet for Allen, where he spent hours in the studio, motivated by the prospect of producing something with his own two hands. Since then, he has continued to practice ceramics, taking advantage of the open studio space each Friday. Allen has also aided in organizing VAPA open houses and produced zines for the Hope Conference in 2020—two events he feels especially proud to have been involved in considering their profound impact on the community.

“I think the faculty members are really constructive, really supportive, and the community is very vibrant,” Allen shares. “You see very different perspectives that show up in their artwork, which you can learn something from.” He noted that he frequently collaborates with classmates and will draw inspiration from a peer’s creation (e.g., a piece of digital artwork) and transform it into a medium of his choice (e.g., a clay sculpture). 

Furthermore, the Aaron’s Grant program offered in the Upper School provided Allen with the opportunity to take a virtual course focused on art, business and law with Sotheby’s Institute of Art in summer 2020. Allen connected with professional artists and auctioneers and learned about the inner workings of gallery and museum operations. 

Now, Allen plans to pursue art history or a combined art and history focus in college, a path that would surprise his middle school self. “You don’t want to have a tunnel vision mindset where you are thinking, ‘I have to be this, or else I won’t be successful,’” Allen advises. “Things change, and you change. You’re always changing, so there is always more room to grow.”

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