Student in the Spotlight: Amy Mao, Fencing and Flourishing

by Sarah Li ’25 and Julia James ’25

Source: Amy Mao ’23

Published Oct. 16th, 2021

As a dedicated member of the fencing team, MHS junior Amy Mao knows all the ins and outs of hard work and determination.

For Amy, fencing is an outlet from the daily hassles of her academic life. “Honestly school gets pretty overwhelming at times, especially at an extremely competitive school like Montgomery… [and] I genuinely think that balancing academics and your social life is extremely important,” she says. “To me, fencing has kind of been a really great way for me to de-stress and take a break from school work and just socialize with friends.” 

Amy has come a long way since the beginning of her high school fencing career. “I feel like I’ve definitely become a better team player,” she says. “I’ve learned the importance of supporting my peers and what it’s like to be part of such an amazing and inclusive community. Actually I remember at the beginning of my freshman year, during pre-season, I think I was actually a bit shy,” she recollects. “But by the time the season started, I think I was like one of the loudest.” 

Flourishing into a better team player is not the only thing that fencing has taught her, however. Through fencing, Amy has learned the value of both patience and perseverance. Whether it’s learning new skills or improving old techniques, “patience is a big part of fencing.” Amy also admits that she often struggles with a lack of motivation. But whatever it is, she always manages to push past these inner obstacles. 

Despite being 23rd in the nation, Amy values the process of improvement over the ranking itself. “Just being brave enough to challenge myself and continue pushing myself… is an accomplishment in itself,” she believes. 

Through fencing, Amy has not only become a better sword fighter, but has retained lessons of hard work and determination she’ll carry on for the rest of her life. Although Amy recognizes that her future is indefinite, she knows she wants to continue “talking to people, caring for people… just anything that involves interacting with people.”