By Peggy Chapman
Northwest Asian Weekly
It was an evening of excitement, anticipation, education and great food when over 45 students arrived at the New Hong Kong Restaurant Friday evening to see if they were awarded scholarships. Many were accompanied by their families, teachers, and counselors from their schools, and even other classmates who came to cheer them on.
Every year the Northwest Asian Weekly Foundation awards scholarships to 10 students from a wide variety of schools around the Puget Sound region. Its mission is to honor outstanding high school students who have worked to promote and contribute diversity in their community. This year was the 20th anniversary of the scholarship. All honorees were awarded with swag bags (as well as family members too). The top five finalists receive $200. The top winners receive $1000.
The emcee for the evening was Thach Nguyen, CEO of Thach Real Estate Group.
The evening started out with a full-course menu that included everything from mixed vegetables with tofu to prawns with honey walnuts and the requisite fortune cookie. After the feasting, the audience was treated to an informative question-and-answer session with three prominent community leaders: Bruce Harrell, City Councilmember; Tina Soike, Director of Engineering, Port of Seattle; and Chef Will McNamara, chef/faculty, South Seattle College.
Northwest Asian Weekly Publisher Assunta Ng took over the microphone to ask the questions. And they included some provocative, and sometimes amusing questions.
Sample questions: How did you deal with failures? McNamara responded, “There are little things you can correct.”
How did you find your passion? “The strongest voice is the voice in your own head” Harrell said.
Last bit of advice? “Education, whether it’s college, vocational college, or culinary institute” Soike responded.
The one question that generated the most shock and titters was “How much do you make?” (Answer: We are not publishing! But it did give students an idea of how much they could earn if they chose to work in the panelist’s field.)
After the panel, all the student nominees were assembled for a photo, and then it was time for awards announcements.
The five finalists (recipients of the $200 award) were Sitara Nath, Olympia High School; Aden Bahta, Foster High School; Lauren Anglin, Holy Names Academy; Kairy Meza, Edmonds-Woodway High School; Kathleen Chen, Interlake High School.
The five winners (recipients of the $1000 award) were Jerome Siangco, Eastside Catholic High School; Leah Shin, Henry M. Jackson High School; Jonathan Flores, Kentridge High School; Ibrahim Perry, Nova High School, and Paula Watanabe, Ingraham High School.
The evening ended off with more group photos (and delighted scholarship winners). It was an informative and inspiring evening. Congratulations to all the students. It doesn’t take a scholarship prize to prove that you can make a difference. All the nominees are winners in our book. (end)
Peggy Chapman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.