Delaware Christian’s Zinn focuses on future
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Senior year is going by quick with still lots to do for Delaware Christian School’s Ryan Zinn.
“It’s going fast,” Ryan said, adding that he looks forward to prom and the annual senior trip. As class treasurer, he will be responsible for collecting funds from classmates for the trip.
This year, Ryan is captain of the basketball team, a sport he has played since the fifth grade, when he was living in China.
Ryan and his family moved to China from Ohio when he was in the second grade. While there he attended an international school with students from all over the world. Ryan has also been to Korea, Thailand and about 20 states in the U.S. and “a lot of airports.” He moved back to Ohio the summer before his junior year.
“I admit I miss it,” he said of China. “I miss my friends and the food.” Though coming back to the United States was not a total culture shock for him as his family visited the states every other summer while they lived in China. “So it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be,” Ryan said.
One admitted culture shock, however, involved getting used to a smaller city. His Chinese city is considered small at 7 million.
“We lived on the 11th and 12th floor of an apartment building, while here there is nothing over five stories,” he said.
Getting used to the large number of people in China took some doing. Now, back in Ohio, it is the reverse, with Ryan living in, by China’s standards, a small community.
There is even a change in transportation modes. In China, he would either bike or take the bus. Here, driving is everywhere.
“Ryan Zinn is one of those students a teacher loves to have in class,” said DCS teacher Mary Ellen Tobin. “He is gifted in math (taking AP Calculus this year), works very hard, participates in class and shows respect to all. Even more importantly, Ryan demonstrates excellent character in his everyday life … with his family as well as when he leads his sports teams. His heart is to serve others. He has adapted well to America after living in China and being the son of missionaries. We will really miss him as he goes to college next year.”
Ryan is planning to attend Mount Vernon Nazarene College. He has already been accepted and is now applying for scholarships.
“I’m going to study physical therapy. I’ve always been on the other side of PT with them helping me,” he said. The career choice would also allow him to remain connected to sports, he said, adding he has always enjoyed anatomy.
Ryan explained his attraction to sports physical therapy as a result of something he went through himself. He was injured while playing basketball in China, breaking his left elbow, shattering it in two places. The doctor said he would never be able to play again. Ryan had a splint, with no surgery, for three months.
“I did get a full range of motion back from a therapist,” Ryan said. One doctor told Ryan that he recovered better than most, though he did switch from shooting with his left hand to shooting with his right.
Ryan made the switch to basketball from soccer when he decided to try something new, something maybe he could beat his older brother at. While his brother ruled in soccer, Ryan found his niche in basketball where he was able to beat his brother.
Ryan is not certain if he will play basketball in college. His first priority, he said, is raising money to attend school. If he does not get enough scholarships, a job is a certainty.
Last year was his first year of track as there was no track team at his school in China. He was playing soccer for Delaware Christian when his speed was noted. In track, he made it to Delaware County’s Elite Eight in 100-meter and 200-meter.
He may run track again this year, but is also considering trying out for baseball.
Having been in Ohio the last two summers, Ryan has worked both of them in a metal cutting shop in Kilbourne. This coming summer, while he plans to work as well, he hopes to spend time with his parents as they will be leaving next year to return to China for three years.
But until then, he is busy with classes taking Bible, government, English, advanced placement calculus, anatomy and physics. He has also competed in 4-H for the first time with beef feeders and lambs.
“I learned a lot about farming. I learned a lot at the fair,” he said, referring to two fourth place finishes for his beef feeders.
Ryan also did some volunteer work through 4-H. In China, he would volunteer in the nursery, working mainly with the toddlers.
“I like little kids. They have a lot of energy, and are always smiling,” he said.
He envisions his future to be centered around the central Ohio area with short-term trips to China.
“I think that is where God is calling me,” he said. Returning to work in the country where he grew up will not be a problem as he learned to speak Chinese when he first moved there in the second grade.
Ryan offers others the following advice on life.
“Don’t limit yourself to one world view perspective on life,” he said. With the mix of students from other countries in his school in China, he learned what different cultures are. “People here do not realize what difference cultures are like.
“Also, don’t wish your life away. Make the most of the time you are given now. Sooner or later it will be time to go off to college and you will wonder where the time went.”
Ryan is the son of Ed and Linda Zinn of Delaware.