Are you an Asian American student graduating from high school or college? You may be eligible for the Northwest Asian Weekly’s Outstanding Graduates column.
To qualify, you must have a minimum GPA of 3.6, have overcome personal adversity, or are an outstanding athlete, community volunteer, or artist.
Mount Tahoma High School
“I have come to understand that everyone wishes to have assistance and when life gives me opportunities, I take them. I can proudly say that these golden experiences have definitely inspired me to continue to give back in society and take pride in all my actions.”
For Hong Truong, life is all about building momentum for success.
Although she was born in the United States, Truong said she came from a very traditional Asian American family.
Academics were most important to her, though her parents faced an English language barrier and were unable to help her with schoolwork. Instead, they cheered her on to do well in school.
But perhaps cheering was all they needed to do — Truong’s self-determination led her through two Advanced Placement classes at her high school as well as three honors classes. Outside of academics, Truong took a swing at golfing and landed on her high school’s varsity team.
Truong volunteered through her high school’s Key Club and Metro Parks Tacoma. She would clean up parks in her neighborhood, prepare food for families in need, and tutor middle school students.
Truong graduated with a GPA of 3.98 and will be attending the University of Washington.
Ballard High School
“I made compost and recycling signs for the Bon Odori Festival last summer. The city requires composting and recycling at public gatherings now, so my church asked me to do this project.”
Nolan Kozu may play varsity basketball at his high school, but the point guard isn’t just watching the ball — his eyes are on a career as a businessman in the sports industry.
Kozu has volunteered at basketball camps over the summer, teaching kids about the sport.
But Kozu isn’t all about fun and games. In high school, he was a member of the National Honor Society and Scandinavian Club. He was also co-section leader for the clarinet section of his school’s pep band.
In summer 2008, Kozu designed compost and recycling signs for the Bon Odori festival. The event was part of a Japanese tradition where people honor their ancestors.
Kozu recently received the Varsity Coaches’ Award at his high school and the Above and Beyond Service Award for completing more than 180 hours of community service. He earned an Eagle Scout award through Boy Scouts of America.
Kozu graduated with a GPA of 3.86 and will be attending the University of Washington.
Lakewood High School
“I helped two Chinese exchange students when they just came here because I knew how hard it was to start with everything. We still keep in touch and I’m doing my best to help them with any problems.”
Shuqi Qu’s education in the United States had a rocky start, but she rose above the English language barrier that held her back and has only soared from there.
Qu immediately enrolled into ESL classes at Everett Community College (ECC) after emigrating from China in 2007. She said she had to work harder than others to do well in school because of her poor English and sought to quickly remedy that.
Progress came swiftly and Qu entered the Running Start program at the college, which allows students to take college courses for high school and college credit. Qu said she has maintained a GPA of over 3.8 at ECC.
In her spare time, Qu enjoys painting, drawing, and swimming. She completed a painting for her senior project.
Qu has helped two Chinese exchange students adjust to living in the United States because she could relate to them.
Qu graduated with a GPA of 3.62 and will be attending Everett Community College. She hopes to transfer to a four-year university to study engineering.
Roosevelt High School
“When I draw a picture, I always think about the special techniques that others use and I come up with a different way of drawing.”
When it came to picking his favorite subject, YuMin Chung said he would always change his mind — until he took a biotechnology class during his senior year.
Chung has since registered for the Northwest Association for Biomedical Research’s 2009 Student Bio Expo. He has connected with a mentor in the biotechnology industry.
In school, Chung served as president of his high school’s Taiwanese club. He said the club puts on traditional Taiwanese performances and sells food during the school’s diversity week each year.
Chung has volunteered for the Wilderness Inner-city Leadership Development, a youth program that works on community-building projects in Seattle’s International District. He recently helped with a gift drive that brought winter essentials, such as jackets and blankets, to the elderly.
Chung admits to not being artistic — a revelation that came to him in the sixth grade. But he still enjoys making art on his own terms.
Chung graduated with a GPA of 3.8 and will be attending the University of Washington. ♦