VOLUME 28 NO. 12 | MARCH 14 - MARCH 20, 2009

Diversity Makes a Difference
Part 3

Last updated 3-12-09 at 1:57 p.m.

From left to right, top to bottom: Insun "Sunny" Maria Choi, Satinder Haer, Leonardo Rozal, Alexander Shigemi Honjiyo, Monyrith Chhen, Duron Jones, Anne d'Aquino, Alejandra Pinon, Christine Yamaguchi, Rosario Medina, and Jairo Flores Torres.

By Staff
Northwest Asian Weekly

Every year, the Northwest Asian Weekly Foundation gives five deserving high school students a $1,000 scholarship. Since 1994, Northwest Asian Weekly has sought out students who are champions of diversity and take action to increase cross-cultural understanding and awareness in their communities. 
All nominees will be recognized at a dinner ceremony at Jumbo Chinese Restaurant in Seattle on Friday, March 27. 
Continued from the last issue, this is the third installment of the nominees. The following nominees are in no particular order.

Insun “Sunny” Maria Choi
Senior, Edmonds-Woodway High School
Nominated by Vicki Clark

Insun Maria Choi is a member of the Multicultural Club at her high school. In 2007, she participated in an immersion program in Mexico, where she delved into the Mexican culture. During that time, she took salsa dancing lessons, cooking lessons, and spent much time in the Mexican museums. She also lived in a Mexican orphanage, teaching the children English, sharing meals, and engaging with them during play times. Her aspiration is to become a pediatrician who is able to communicate with her patients in their native language. Choi challenges herself by taking rigorous courses in the International Baccalaureate program. She coaches a third grade basketball team and enjoys the diversity that is on her team.

Satinder Haer
Sophomore, Kentridge High School
Nominated by Roselyn Robertson

Satinder Haer is the secretary of the Multicultural Club at her school. She has helped implement a lesson plan designed for the entire school. The plan aimed to foster an appreciation for the diversity at Kentridge. The lesson included a spectrum of diversity, ranging from religion, sexual orientation, race, and social status. She has been involved in developing multiple events, such as the “Mix-it-Up” day and the Martin Luther King Jr. assembly. She enjoys assisting those who are in need of help and believes that recognition is of little importance. Satinder is an active leader who is dedicated to her work.

Leonardo Rozal
Senior, O’Dea High School
Nominated by Jeanne M. Eulberg

Soon to be the first member of his family to attend college, Leonardo Rozal has been an officer of O’Dea’s ASB for all four years of high school. Rozal is in the first graduating class of a Seattle mentoring program called Rainier Scholars. It’s a program that requires students to invest extensive time. Rozal went to night, weekend, and summer classes. After completing the program, Rozal became a student adviser for the program, and he is a mentor to 10 children who look to him for advice and support. The top student of his class, Rozal takes the most rigorous courses that are offered.

Alexander Shigemi Honjiyo
Senior, Woodinville High School
Nominated by Jodi Ritter

Alexander Honjiyo is active in Woodinville’s Spanish Club, where he serves as Spanish Club Officer. In the fall of 2009, Honjiyo organized a “Latino Parent Night” because he felt it was crucial for Spanish-speaking parents of the students to understand all the requirements for graduation. Honjiyo has volunteered his time in helping other ELL students. He is proficient in Spanish and is currently learning Japanese.

Monyrith Chhen
Senior, Foster High School
Nominated by Sue Pike

Monyrith Chhen is a dedicated and tenacious student who is working to become the first person in his family to graduate from college. He is able to speak three different languages. He is in the National Honor Society and is the spokesperson for the Hero Program. He was elected as the treasurer of the Interact Club and a new member of the Breakdancing Club. His has volunteered more than 150 hours toward organizations such as the Tukwila Food Pantry, the Red Cross, and victims of the genocide in Darfur. He was named the Student of the Quarter at the Puget Sound Skills Center and the first place winner in Regional Electronics Competition at Devry University. Chhen is a determined and caring individual.

Duron Jones
Junior, Chief Sealth High School
Nominated by Marta Sanchez

When the Seattle School District decided to relocate Denny Middle School with Chief Sealth High School, Duron Jones informed students about the change, organized student protests, and spoke at school board meetings in opposition to the change. Once the change was finalized, Jones continued his work, informing his peers by holding student meetings. Jones is the only student member of the Building Excellence Design Team committee, a group comprising people responsible for rebuilding and remodeling Seattle schools. Jones is a mentor in the pilot Summer Bridge program and a residential adviser for the Northwest International Dormitory summer program; he also co-founded the nonprofit group Committee of Educational Support. Jones is a student representative of the Building Leadership Team and is the president of the Black Student Union. Jones is a freshman mentor in a program coordinated by the in-house YMCA program director.

Anne d’Aquino
Senior, Squalicum High School
Nominated by Mark Galvin

Anne d’Aquino is a supportive and encouraging individual to her peers. She has been involved in coaching young children about the game of tennis and has helped lower-income students with their academics. She is a strong believer in doing the right thing, despite what others might be saying.

Alejandra Pinon
Senior, Olympia High School
Nominated by Matthew Grant

Alejandra Pinon has a willingness to listen and focus on solving whatever problems that may come her way. She was one of the students who delivered original essays geared toward promoting unity and preventing classism, racism, sexism, and discrimination based on sexual orientation. She has participated in local events such as the doorbell campaign for the food bank. Pinon has a strong leadership role within her school, and she has an eagerness to start college.

Christine Yamaguchi
Senior, Lindbergh High School
Nominated by Carrie Wong and Mike Yamaguchi

Christine Yamaguchi is the vice president of ASB and the president of the National Honor Society at Lindbergh High School. For the past four years, Yamaguchi was an officer in student government and encouraged fellow students to rise to the task of leadership. She is also a part of Tri-High, a consortium of officers from the three high schools in the Renton School District, in which the goal is to unite Renton area schools. Yamaguchi is also a gymnast and a hurdler.

Rosario Medina
Senior, Garfield High School
Nominated by Chief S.K. Labi

Rosario Medina believes in sharing her Mexican heritage with the local community. She has helped co-found Garfield’s Raza Unida, a club that seeks to unite Latino students and press for their educational advancement, group cohesion, and general academic success. With her involvement in the Math, Engineering, and Science Achievement (MESA) group, she was able to win a scholarship from Boeing Sense. She has volunteered at a local church, where she was responsible for organizing events, cooking, and teaching traditional Mexican dances. Medina plans to major in Chicano studies and international relations, and she hopes to be an accomplished Chicano professor.

Jairo Flores Torres
Senior, Foster High School
Nominated by Andrea Gamboa and Brian Seigel

Jairo Flores Torres immigrated to the United States from Mexico in 2006; he knew little of American culture and could not speak English. Torres soon adapted and became a leader to his peers. Excelling in mathematics, Torres proactively reaches out to his peers of all backgrounds to help them bring up their grades. For the past three years, Torres has been involved in the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano/a de Astlan (MEChA) chapter, a student organization dedicated to promoting the understanding of the Latino community through education and activities. Torres ran for co-chair and was elected by his peers; he strives to make MEChA a part of the greater community. (end)

The last set of Diversity Makes a Difference nominees will run next week. Scholarship winners will be announced on March 27 at a dinner banquet held at Jumbo Chinese Restaurant. For more information, please call 206-223-0623.


2009 Diversity Scholarship Banquet


Friday, March 27


Jumbo Chinese Restaurant
4208 Rainier Ave. S.
Seattle, WA 98118


Guests of nominees: $20
Others: $40


Northwest Asian Weekly
412 Maynard Ave. S.
Seattle, WA 98104

Member Keynote Speaker

Larry Gossett
King County Council

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