Xixi Hillman, Class of 2022 Valedictorian

Xixi Hillman is Fort Worth Country Day’s Class of 2022 Valedictorian. She will attend The University of Texas at Austin and double major in Biochemistry and Plan II Honors. Her long-term goal is to earn an MD/PhD. A National Merit Commended Student, Hillman has been a part of the FWCD family since fifth grade. “I chose Fort Worth Country Day because the community was welcoming when I visited,” Hillman said. “I was paired with a student of Mr. [Dan] Bloch [H’06], and ironically, in my fifth-grade year, he became my advisor.”
Xixi came to FWCD from an elementary school in Keller ISD. She and her mother, Yan, had recently left their native Beijing. Yan wanted a quality education for her daughter and there were limits placed on education as a result of the hukou caste-style registration system of the People’s Republic of China. “I was in second grade and did not know any English,” Hillman recalled. When it was time for Hillman to go to Middle School, Yan spearheaded a search for the best school in Fort Worth for her daughter. They were led to FWCD. Both Hillman and her mom were drawn to the college-preparatory academics and the community atmosphere. 

The 3A’s are a given at FWCD. Hillman’s chosen fine art was orchestra; she plays the violin, which she played at the School through Middle School. In Upper School, she chose to play outside of school through the Fort Worth Youth Orchestra so she could take an additional academic class each year. 

Inducted in the Cum Laude Society as a junior, Hillman completed eight of the School’s 11 Honors-level courses and 11 Advanced Placement courses, which more than doubles the average number of AP courses completed by an FWCD student. She embraced Jamie Ringgenberg’s Robotics Club in Middle School, which sparked her profound interest in STEM. She learned to code freshman year and ultimately created an app, “Anagrams,” for which she was honored with a Teen Inventor Award from MIT App Inventor. In this app, the goal was to get as many different words as possible in under 45 seconds from a base word. There were three levels of difficulty with five unique words for each level. “I love seeing letters and then rearranging them to make new words,” Hillman said. “My friends and I frequently play word games to de-stress.” 
Some of her favorite classes were AP Computer Science, AP Chemistry, AP Physics, AP English Literature and Composition, Multivariable Calculus, and AP Music Theory.  “It’s really hard to pick a favorite class or a favorite teacher here because all of the classes and all of the teachers are engaging,” Hillman said. “But I enjoyed Dr. [Heather] Peace’s flipped classroom to work on challenge problems in Multivariable Calculus and Mr. [Jon] Shipley’s roundtable discussions that break down music into an almost math-like structure..” 

Volleyball and basketball were Hillman’s athletic choices, which she played from grades 7-10. This year, due to COVID-19 restrictions,  she managed the girls basketball team and was blown away by the five-girl team so much that she sometimes found herself wanting to jump in and play just to give them a rest, since there were no substitute players. “Managing the team made me respect the game and the athletes from a different vantage point,” Hillman said. “I saw everyone playing the game and working together. Even though I wasn’t on the court with them, I felt part of their team, and I was proud of their incredible fortitude.” 

Hillman is a founding student of the Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity and Affinity (IDEA) student group that brings programming and education to the entire Upper School community. The highlight of her summers involved working with the Breakthrough Fort Worth team as a Teacher’s Assistant, Math Teacher, and Chemistry Teacher. 

Hillman attributes her dedication to her education to her grandmother, who still lives in China, and her mom. When she found out she was Valedictorian, her first call was to China. “My grandma did not go to college because of the revolution,” she said. “My mom left China to provide me with a strong education and stable life. All of this is possible because of my mom and her love for me. I wanted to embrace every opportunity.” 

4200 Country Day Lane, Fort Worth, TX 76109
Phone: 817.732.7718
Fort Worth Country Day (FWCD) is a JK-12 private, independent, coeducational, nondenominational college-preparatory school located on approximately 100 acres in Fort Worth, Texas. The mission of Fort Worth Country Day School is to foster the intellectual, physical, emotional, and ethical development of capable students through an academically rigorous college preparatory program that integrates the arts and athletics.