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:
Ace Wilson, NOVA High School
“Ace’s compassion and commitment to building community amongst people of all genders, sexualities, class backgrounds, races, and abilities may come from their own intersectional experiences: they are a young person who identifies as mixed-race Black, queer, low-income, and gender non-conforming (Ace prefers to use ‘they/them/theirs’ pronouns, rather than ‘she/her/hers’ or ‘he/him/his’). Ace has had to traverse the barriers of racism, classism, transphobia, and heterosexism, and is devoted to addressing these inequities.”
Aden Bahta, Foster High School
“Aden is a cultural leader. For many years, she has performed around the Seattle area with her Eritrean Dance Group. This year she co-founded the return of the Black Student Union Club, bringing African and African American students together. In her early years at Foster, she attended the Environmental Club to earn community service hours and explored the Youth Ventures program to discuss religious suppression around the world. She loves to sing her church choir. Her involvement in the ‘Making Connections’ program at the University of Washington helped her plan for her future college and career goals in the field of nursing. However, Aden’s favorite activity has been volunteering at hospitals where she can assist others in need.”
June Uiki, Auburn Riverside High School
“June is devoted to the Leadership Program and has been committed to promoting an inclusive atmosphere where all students are valued in the ARHS community. Currently ASB Vice President, June has also served as a Raven Crew Leader, helping support 9th graders in their transition to high school, and as facilitator for ‘Breaking-Down the Walls’ event.
Playing a significant role in fundraising for a senior battling Leukemia the past two years, she also has assisted with drives for the Food Bank through Key Club.
Proud of her Samoan heritage, her family is close and stays connected to extended family where cultural traditions are central to their gatherings. She has been instrumental in coordinating our Multicultural Fair the past two years, which has included booths with students representing various cultures with food samples and items to display from their respective countries. June and other Samoan friends were featured performers at the ARHS Multicultural Fair with their Polynesian dances.”
Ibrahim Perry, NOVA High School
“Being of Filipino and Cham heritage, Ibrahim has done an incredibly extensive amount of research and studying of his peoples’ histories. He is a dedicated scholar of Southeast Asian history with extensive knowledge of Cham and Filipino culture, history, and linguistics, and Islamic and East Asian history that rivals that of anyone teaching at a college level. College professors around the world seek him out as one of the few living authorities on Cham culture and the written and spoken language. He is fluent in Cham and English, and proficient in Vietnamese and Kalinga. He is himself a living embodiment of diversity in his multilingual, multi-ethnic family heritage, and he has passion for world history, current events and social justice activism.”
Kathreen Kumar, Auburn Riverside High School
“Elected as both President and Vice President of the Ibaako for two years, Kathreen represents this club in a welcoming manner. The group is influential in helping to establish a positive climate in this school with posters and various campaigns. Also active in Jesus Club, Kathreen is a loyal friend to many and highly respected by students and staff alike. Reaching out to other students, respecting and appreciating differences, and focusing on what unifies ARHS is key for Kathreen.
Proud of her heritage, Kathreen’s parents were raised in Fiji Island and are of East Indian descent. Her training and experience is in Bollywood dancing, which is part of her culture. She and a group of friends were featured performers at the ARHS Multicultural Fair for the past two years. She enjoys preparing ethnic foods and also served in the Indian booth at the fair. She is conscientious, compassionate, and someone in which her friends can rely. Her servant heart is apparent when working with her, and an example of the concern she displays for others is evident is her dedication to tutoring elementary students.”
Naomi Sanyika Moore, Mercer Island High School
‘In December 2014, Naomi participated in the Black Lives Matter march in Seattle and was inspired to write an article for her school paper, entitled “Ferguson: A Call for Understanding.” On February 28, 2014, she will lead an open discussion about race and social justice at the Mercer Island library to explore the issues exposed by events in Ferguson and elsewhere. In March, Naomi and other teens are facilitating a screening and discussion of the film Fixing Juvie Justice, which documents the use of restorative justice principles in juvenile justice systems.
She is working with school counselors to find ways to incorporate more American ethnic studies into the Mercer Island High School history curriculum. Naomi leads Principal Vicki Puckett’s new Diversity Board, following nomination by several teachers. She and another student started an Amnesty International club at the high school.
The Principal asked her to greet King County Executive Dow Constantine at the high school early this year and participate on a panel related to his call for the first “Strategic Plan for King County Equity and Social Justice.”
She is a mixed-race student in a high school that is over 70% white, over 20% Asian, and only 2.5% mixed-race or black. She suggests, ‘Talk to people around you. Be open and be willing to have an informed opinion…keep in mind that discussing is different than arguing; real progress comes from being open to other views.’” (end)
Peggy Chapman can be reached at email@example.com.