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.
Forest Ridge School of the Sacred
“I am a person of many interests, talents, and hobbies with an affinity for sports, music, and teaching.”
Jillian Chong says she is driven to satisfy her insatiable curiosity.
Chong is a scholar, an athlete, and a philanthropist.
In 2005, Chong made her high school’s honor roll and continued to strive as she became a member of the National Honor Society. She was recognized for excellence in her religious studies, music, and Spanish classes.
Chong received a U.S. Lacrosse All-American honorable mention and was captain of her school’s team. She led her school’s varsity swim team and volleyball team as captain — twice.
In addition to making goals as a soccer player and working as a soccer referee, Chong made waves as a lifeguard and swim instructor.
When she’s not active on the field, on the court, or in the pool, Chong is busy giving back to her community. She was a ‘big buddy’ mentor for young swimmers and has helped critically ill children at the Ronald McDonald House.
Chong graduated with a 3.55 GPA and will be attending St. Mary’s College of California.
Mountlake Terrace High School
“At times, I wanted to quit, but I never gave up … I learned that nothing ever comes easy, and it takes hard work and dedication if I want to reach my goal.”
As the youngest child in her family, Cheryl Arquillano never had the chance to care for a younger sibling. But she created that opportunity for herself by starting a library program that helped beginning readers.
Called “book buddies,” Arquillano hopes that teens would volunteer to read to second- and third-grade students or help with reading.
Arquillano says the experience helped her grow while serving as a role model.
Perhaps caring is what Arquillano was meant to do. She said she wants to study nursing in order to become a certified registered nurse and work with children.
She is on her way to success. She was a member of the National Honor Society and served as a representative in her student body. She worked part-time during high school.
Arquillano graduated with a 3.6 GPA and will be attending Shoreline Community College.
Mount Tahoma High School
“In retrospect, my experiences helped me become more and more passionate toward my goals in life. I am able to set higher goals for myself and believe that I can achieve what I set my heart on.”
In middle school, Channy Ouk would walk past a sign hanging in her school hallway. It said, “Education is the key to success.” To this day, this is the mantra that Ouk lives by.
Ouk was recognized as the Tacoma South Rotary Club Student of the Month and was given the superintendent’s scholar award in her school district.
This scholar is also a philanthropist. Ouk has been a member of the Mount Tahoma Key Club since she started high school and says that she is proud to be involved.
Ouk wants to become a member of the Kiwanis of the Greater Tacoma Community someday. The group founded her high school’s Key Club chapter.
With the economic crisis in mind, Ouk said she wants to become a certified public accountant in order to help families with their financial goals.
Ouk graduated with a 4.0 GPA and will be attending the University of Washington.
Xin D. Cai
Roosevelt High School
“Adapting [to] the busy coursework at the University of Washington will become my next obstacle. I have met and conquered challenges before, and I am eager to meet the challenges standing in my future.”
After immigrating to the United States in 2004, one of Xin D. Cai’s obstacles was overcoming the language barrier. He worked hard to pass his ESL classes.
It wasn’t long before Cai attended Seattle Central Community College. He entered the Running Start program, which gives high school students an opportunity to take college courses and earn college credits while they are still in high school.
The Alki Lodge No. 152 recognized Cai as one of his high school’s outstanding students.
Education has always come first for Cai. Giving back to his community was his next priority.
He helped to develop a translating glossary for ESL students and volunteered at his school library.
Cai has successfully built lasting relationships throughout his community and he hopes to someday build his own engineering firm that will focus on research.
He wants to get a master’s degree in civil engineering.
Cai graduated with a 3.9 GPA and will be attending the University of Washington. ♦