Adam Zheng is a 16-year old senior at Williamsville North High School, currently living in Western New York. His love for filmmaking began during the onset of the pandemic, and he has since spent hundreds of hours mastering its art. He enjoys creating films to educate, to raise awareness, and to document memories.
As an independent filmmaker, Adam’s work has earned him Best Young Live-Action Director in the Don Bosco Global Youth Film Festival, two category awards in the Golden Lion Awards High School Film Festival, Finalist in the New York Times Coming of Age in 2020 Contest, and more. Filmmaking and engineering are his two greatest passions, and although he is planning to pursue a career in engineering, creating films will always be an important part of his life.
Beyond filmmaking, Adam is also an avid runner, a violinist, an Eagle Scout, a Regional Champion in Science Olympiad, a National Merit Semifinalist, and an AP Scholar with Distinction. With his multitude of interests and abilities, he hopes that, no matter what he pursues, he will one day be able to make a positive impact on the world that will last to benefit generations upon generations into the future.
Watch Adam’s Winning PSA Below:
Our Interview With Adam
Was this the first time you entered the contest?
Yes, it was.
How did you hear about the contest?
If I’m remembering correctly, it was through a scholarship website called Fastweb.
What inspired your work?
Well, I have always felt strongly about the importance of talking to people with different backgrounds and understanding their opinions. So it was only natural for me to combine it with my love for filmmaking to help others grasp its importance as well.
What did you learn while creating your entry?
While creating my PSA, I had to carefully ponder the reasoning behind why civil civic conversations are so important. It is because our own views tend to be limited by our own experiences, and so in order to gain a more all-encompassing view, we need to understand the opinions and experiences of others by communicating with them.
How do you plan to spread the word this year to your peers about the importance of the U.S Constitution?
Many of my peers are taking US government classes right now, so I like to talk with them about the importance of the Constitution because it is often very relevant to what we are learning in class.
How do your friends respond to history or talking about the Constitution?
I think that some of them do enjoy talking about history and government, but some of them aren’t all that interested, and would rather just leave it for school classes.
What do you love about U.S. History and the forming of our government?
I enjoy learning about the past history of our country because it allows me to understand how we got here – how we went from a motley group of colonies to the country that we are today.
Which U.S. historical site would you like to visit?
I would love to go to Philadelphia and visit Independence Hall. It would be absolutely incredible to stand in the same room where, centuries ago, the Founding Fathers convened to debate and adopt both the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution.
Which American historical figure is most influential/inspirational to you?
This is not a very unique answer per se, but I would have to say George Washington. He led the fight for American independence, and then served as our first president, admirably stepping down after just two terms when he easily could’ve gone on longer.
Who is your greatest role model?
I would say my mother. Among her many other laudable attributes, I have always admired the hard work and dedication she has put forth as a stay-at-home mom to raise me and my two siblings.
What in your life are you most passionate about?
To be honest, probably running. I have run almost every day for the past three years, and it has come to be one of the greatest joys of my life. Even though it can be difficult at times, I love the challenge of it and the satisfaction I get from overcoming its challenges and improving.
How do you spend your free time?
I like to run, create films, play chess, learn about science, and spend time with my family.
What are your plans for the future?
Next year, I’ll be going to college to study engineering. I’m not completely sure which specific field yet, but I’m currently thinking about mechanical or aerospace engineering. Through my undergraduate (and likely also graduate) education, I hope to gain the skills that I will need to establish a career as an engineer. And although my career focus will be in engineering, I do hope to also continue my passion for filmmaking on the side.
If you could do one super impactful thing to help people, what would it be?
I suppose the entire purpose of my engineering endeavor is to do “super impactful things” for the world. One of the most important things I would like to do is to design solutions to help preserve the Earth and keep it as the rich, bountiful home it has long been for humans, as well as millions of other species.
Why is the Constitution relevant today?
Obviously, the Constitution is and has always been very relevant to American society, as it is the supreme law that governs our government and our laws. It functions to preserve the rights and liberties of American citizens, serving an invaluable role in our lives.