Compiled by Peggy Chapman
Northwest Asian Weekly
Each year, the Northwest Asian Weekly Foundation offers scholarships for extraordinary students who contribute and play a part in promoting diversity in our community. Here is a sampling of a few of our many exceptional nominations:
Sitara Nath, Olympia High School
“I have never felt ‘trapped’ by my background because it has truly made me see the value of diversity and impartial towards the cultural practices I have encountered.
Growing up eating Indian curries with my hand, watching my grandmother light a
prayer lamps daily, and rubbing coconut oil into my hair on weekends are only a few Indian traditions that put me in a different category. On the other hand, like Americans, I love eating PB&J sandwiches and lighting fireworks on the fourth. I might add that my parents were raised in East Africa so naturally African Masai statues decorate my home and sometimes the smell of yucca root and chili powder dominates the kitchen. So, in this muddle of cultures, what am I? Trapped? Certainly not.”
Lauren Anglin, Holy Names Academy
“Lauren is a diligent, hard-working student and she has challenged herself appropriately during her years at HNA. She has maintained a busy schedule outside of the classroom, ranging from swimming and track, to her elected position as Senior Class President, to a number of different volunteer and service activities. A particularly meaningful activity to Lauren is her four-year commitment to the HNA swim program. She was a state qualifier in both 2011 and 2013, and she will undoubtedly continue with this beloved activity during her college years and beyond. Lauren is also an active leader in HNA’s Multicultural Student Union and she is particularly proud of her involvement in planning our school’s recent Martin Luther King Jr. assembly.”
Kairy Meza, Edmonds-Woodway High School
“The quality or state of having many different forms or types, that is the dictionary definition of diversity. It is not a complicated statement, nor is it difficult for a community to fulfill the requirements of being diverse. All that is needed is a collection of different backgrounds or cultures. Still it is a concept that is lacked in many places. We encounter areas dominated by one idea far too often, whether its race, gender, or thoughts. It appears that everyday there is more attention being given to racial diversity in our communities. This attention has shed a light on many controversial topics and the negativity that comes with them, but rarely do we discuss the positive sides of diversity.
In my opinion, one of the most beneficial parts of having a diverse community is the knowledge. There is so much to learn from the culture of others. Learning about the traditions of others, the ideas they have grown up with, can help you understand someone on a deeper level.”
Paula Watanabe, Ingraham High School
“Paula’s mother used to be a diplomat and helps people with immigration issues so from a very young age Paula has been to taught to appreciate cultural diversity. She witnessed her own parents actively promoting diversity and advocating for cross cultural understanding in our community. This has inspired Paula to do this as well. Paula has a very diverse group of friends and lives in a diverse community as well. At school Paula is involved with various clubs and groups and works to promote cross cultural awareness and understanding. She is a mentor for our freshman mentoring program and involved with our Black Student Union. Students, staff and community members trust and respect Paula. She is actively involved in her community.
During Paula’s junior year she volunteered at Beacon Hill International School for an after school tutoring program for elementary aged students. Kids brought their parents with limited English skills so their parents could get support in helping their kids do homework that is in English to help promote English acquisition. They also worked on helping families of different cultures teach their kids study skills to be successful in school. Paula’s role-teacher would say something in English and Paula would translate to Spanish. Paula helped to be a liaison between school staff and parents.” (end)
Peggy Chapman can be reached at email@example.com.