Compiled by staff
Northwest Asian Weekly
At the end of each school year, we run this column, which features some exceptional Asian American students that have made the most of their high school careers, whether it’s through academics, volunteer work, artistic endeavors, or athletics.
A cleaner world
“The environment is an important part of my life, as I try to actively reduce waste, restore the wildlife, and appreciate the biodiversity of the world. I want to be able to find a way to reduce pollution and convince people to try to participate more actively in environmental restoration just as I have done. But most of all, I want to make myself, my family, and my community happy and feel that my life was lived to its fullest.
“My areas of interest are Japanese and math. I have also participated in a variety of community services related to those areas of interest.
“I volunteered at John Stanford International and at the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival, where I used my knowledge of Japanese to teach the visitors different types of Japanese crafts, the history of traditional Japanese toys, and simple introduction to the language. I used my knowledge of math to tutor fifth grade elementary school kids who were struggling in math, and I’m currently tutoring freshman at my school in Japanese course.”
— Justin Agus, graduate of Roosevelt High School with a 3.95 GPA, will attend the University of Washington
“Obaachan, which means grandmother in Japanese, is now 86 years old, and has Alzheimer’s disease. She hates taking her pills, taking baths, and taking orders. …
“Denying the downward spiral of Obaachan’s situation, I never gave her the time of day to sit down with her for five minutes and simply talk about the weather or the vegetables I helped Ojiichan (grandpa) grow in the garden. …
“Coming back from Gear-Up, a summer dentistry program at the UW, I happened to be in the kitchen where my grandmother was also sitting at the end of the table. One quality that Obaachan and I still share is the appreciation of the excellence of fine cuisine.
There, before us, lay a bountiful selection of foods that we attacked with relish. After, a full thirty minutes of what seemed like fifteen, bringing our numerous dishes in the sink, Obaachan spoke softly saying, ‘Thank you for eating with me, Hisano. It seems like everyone in the house ignores me.’ I stood perfectly still, as sadness and guilt washed over me.
“I decided that very day, standing in the kitchen with Obaachan, that I would not forget or abandon the grandmother I loved, even if it meant accepting that she would not always remember what I said, or did or, at times, even who I was.”
— Sophie Hirai, graduate of Garfield High School with a 3.72 GPA, will attend the University of Washington
Face for a cause
“I traveled to Tibet for six weeks with Where There Be Dragons, trekking the mountains, living with host families, and staying at an orphanage. I spent every afternoon in classrooms surrounded by children. But in a place where there was barely any electricity, no running water, and no parents — teaching them English didn’t seem like enough. Out of 98 kids, only one had ever been to a doctor. I’d always wanted to be a physician, but for what? These kids gave me somebody to fight for.
“This summer, I’ll be traveling to Indonesia for six weeks with an organization that is giving me a scholarship to work with environmental NGOs before college. …
“I will pursue a major in International Political Economy with minors in Studio Art and Environmental Issues. Afterwards, I would like to attend the University of Washington School of Medicine before beginning my journey with Doctors Without Borders.”
— Mandy Huang, graduate of Garfield High School with a 3.72 GPA, will attend Colorado College