Shooting for the Stars: A Profile on Archer Yang ’23

Bronx Science senior Archer Yang ’23 is making the most of his high school years by exploring all of his passions.


Photo by Sydney Lee

Archer Yang ’23 is the co-captain of the Boys’ Varsity Swimming team, planetarium director in the Astronomy club, and a member of Congressional Debate.

We’re going in now. .. It’s almost my turn… Finally! 

Before his eyes was a whole new world. Even though he was surrounded by the chattering of his classmates, he couldn’t hear a thing. All he could sense was the beauty of the sight before him.

In grade school, Archer Yang’s school would allow each class to visit the school’s inflatable planetarium once a year. “That’s what I looked forward to the most in school,” said Archer ’23. Students were given the opportunity to explore the planetarium to their heart’s content, and this was where Archer fostered his love of astronomy. 

Now a senior at the Bronx High School of Science, Archer has taken all his passions to new heights. 

The Bronx Science Boys’ Varsity Swimming Team won the City Championships in the 21/22 season and reached the quarterfinals in the current 22/23 season (Photo by Jack Murdock)

Archer is the Co-Captain of the Bronx Science Boys’ Varsity Swimming Team. The team won the City Championships in the 2021-2022 season and in the current 2022-2023 season, they reached the quarterfinals. Archer has always had a passion for swimming. “I have always done swimming, but I became extra motivated to get better in middle school,” said Archer ’23. What started out as a simple hobby from when he was young, became an exhilarating and exciting competitive sport that he is passionate about.

Besides the obvious physical benefits swimming can provide, there are social benefits that keep Archer involved in swimming. The supportive team environment has kept him grounded, making it easier to focus on accomplishing his goals. As the team captain, Archer always takes the time to speak to the other members and give support in any way possible. “It has taught me that you can always make friends anywhere,” he said. While swimming, Archer has gotten the opportunity to meet a lot of different people whether they are new teammates coming in each year or students from other schools during meets. Due to a shared love for swimming, he has been able to befriend a lot of new people. This has earned Archer the confidence to form new bonds with people he meets in whatever environment he finds himself in.

“I feel like doing Congressional Debate has really helped me with my public speaking skills and made me more confident in how to present my ideas in all aspects,” Archer Yang ’23 (Photo by Gabriel McCarthy)

Aside from his passion for sports, Archer is also an active member of the Bronx Science Congressional Debate Team. The Bronx Science Speech & Debate Team is one of the largest and most competitive high school programs in the United States, currently ranking at number one. 

Speaking in front of a large audience and debating with students was never Archer’s forte, which was what motivated him to join debate. Archer said, “I wanted to get better at public speaking.” He aspired to be better able to present his thoughts to the class and have academically rigorous conversations with his fellow classmates. So he decided to challenge himself by joining the team, and the experience has proved very fruitful for him. Archer said that the greatest thing he has learned is that “sometimes there are multiple different ways to arrive at the same conclusion.”

Archer notes that the benefit of debating is constantly being challenged by the other speakers. Through this, he is forced to think: “why am I presenting the ideas that I am and why should the other people in the room agree with me?” This allows him to gain a better understanding of the overall topic as well as how to voice his ideas in a persuasive way. At times these challenges can become discouraging, however Archer uses this as an opportunity to show his flexibility. He would adjust his argument to nullify the opposing side’s argument and gain supporters of his legislation, which is the objective of the debate.

In the astronomy club, those who are interested in astronomy are able to learn new information about it through presentations, discussions, and trips to the planetarium. (Photo by Katelyn Chiao)

Even with his interest in swimming and debate, astronomy is still Archer’s main priority. He is currently the planetarium director of the Astronomy club in school. “The Astronomy club is where you can learn about astronomy. Usually there are lessons and slideshows about different topics,” said Archer. As the planetarium director, Archer has access to Bronx Science’s planetarium. “I take everyone in the club to the planetarium once a month and show them different phenomena.” Another important responsibility of his is giving tours around the planetarium to people during events such as open house and school tours.

To Archer, the class astronomy and astrophysics was a major stepping stone in learning about the multidimensional aspects of astronomy. (Photo by Nora Torok)

Archer also took a course in Astronomy and Astrophysics with Mr. Farley in his junior year. He credits this course as being a very fruitful experience and said, “I learned a lot about topics ranging from Cosmology to calculating distances in the Universe.”

Astronomy is as vast as the celestial objects and phenomena that it studies which is exactly what has kept Archer interested in astronomy. He said, “Astronomy has made me more invested in the different topics and applications there are in this field.” Archer believes that astronomy is an incredible field of study that beautifully weaves together biology, physics, and geology in order to explain the evolution of stars, space, and celestial bodies. This interdisciplinary study has allowed him to understand the history of our universe, ways to predict how the universe will look like in the future, and the ways physics operates under conditions outside of Earth. 

Archer is certain that astronomy is the major he wants to pursue in college. He said, “I am pretty set on majoring in Astronomy because it is something I am passionate about and am interested in further exploring.” He also mentions how his high school life has impacted his life and has prepared him for life after graduating. Archer said, “I was able to learn to not be afraid of failure when I put effort into what I am doing. I learned how to manage my time and study for tests properly. Lastly, I learned how to have fun at school while studying seriously. In terms of affecting my future endeavors, I’ll be more outgoing and try many new things. I’ll balance my life well with academics and hobbies.”

“I was able to learn to not be afraid of failure when I put effort into what I am doing.”