VOLUME 28 NO. 13 | MARCH 21 - MARCH 27, 2009

Diversity Makes a Difference
Part 4

Last updated 3-19-09 at 8:24 a.m.
From left to right, top to bottom: Phuong Truong, Alejandra Barrera, Balpreet Kaur, Lauia Lamositele, Marilin Moul, Ashley Vasquez, Daniel Nguyen, Ben Phillips, Neama Said, Daniel Park, Sarah Wright, Roderick Sherman, and Leslie Tran.

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 fourth and final installment of the nominees. The following nominees are in no particular order.

Phuong Truong
Senior, Ballard High School
Nominated by Dina McArdle

Phuong Truong is a first-generation American, having emigrated from Southeast Asia. A strong student, she is the recipient of the Advance Placement Scholar Award. She has donated more than 200 hours to volunteer at both the VA and Swedish hospitals. She has tutored elementary school students and has worked at the Children’s Museum. Additionally, she is certified by the Washington state Department of Public Health as an interpreter. She speaks four languages fluently. She has studied abroad in China as a cultural ambassador with the American Field Service. Truong wants to pursue a medical degree and become a nephrologist.

Alejandra Barrera
Senior, Sehome High School
Nominated by Lindsay MacDonald

Alejandra Barrera has high expectations for herself and is always willing to help her fellow students. She is willing to take on extra responsibilities because of the current hardships that are happening within her family. Despite her struggles, she is able to keep taking rigorous courses. This year, she has participated with the Health Services Focus program and hopes it will bring her closer to her goal of being a pediatrician.

Balpreet Kaur
Senior, Squalicum High School
Nominated by Aramis Johnson

Balpreet Kaur is vice president of the Multicultural Society at Squalicum, where she works to create a positive school environment. She helped organize the school’s Martin Luther King Jr. assembly as well as the MLK conference held at
Whatcom Community College. Her passion involves increasing AIDS awareness in her community. She organized an AIDS Day in Bellingham, where she recruited speakers, one of them being Bellingham’s mayor. She believes that AIDS is not a problem for “other nations” but is a disease impacting our own communities. This is why she strives to educate and inform people.

Lauia Lamositele
Senior, Sehome High School
Nominated by Nancy Barga

Lauia Lamositele was the founder of the Gay-Straight Alliance, a group that raises awareness about the harassment of GLBTQ students. She has attended conferences from Mount Vernon to Seattle and has connected with state organizations. She has conducted research on how schools can benefit from having a Gay-Straight Alliance and has participated in a community forum at Western Washington University as a high school representative in the anti-harassment and bullying movement. She is proud to share her Samoan heritage with her peers and community. Lauia is an active member in the Multicultural Club and the Combining Literature and Arts at Sehome High (CLASH) Club. Next year, she will be working with the City Year program of the Americorps, where she will be providing mentoring and guidance to inner city youth.

Marilin Moul
Senior, Garfield High School
Nominated by Susan Battin

Marilin Moul has high expectations and goals for herself as a student and as a member of society. She has been involved with College Access Now, a program that helps prepare students for college. She also had the opportunity to work with Team Read, where she is able to tutor elementary students. Marlin is currently volunteering at a children’s hospital and has participated in a research regarding eating habits of teenagers. Her arrival to the United States in 2005 did not inhibit her goals or personal expectations. Rather, she has continually been a hard worker and an ambitious student.

Ashley Vasquez
Senior, Sehome High School
Nominated by Jennifer Styer

Ashley Vasquez believes in raising awareness among students about the heritage and current struggles of Latinos. She has displayed her leadership through her involvements. This includes being a founder of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA) Club, participating in tutor programs, and scheduling motivational speakers. She was able to organize two conferences that were dedicated to encouraging and facilitating Latinos to strive to attend institutions of higher learning.

Daniel Nguyen
Junior, Franklin High School
Nominated by Fina Marino

Daniel Nguyen is part of the UW Upward Bound program, a college prep organization for economically disadvantaged students who are the first in their family to go to college. He is Franklin High School’s junior class president. He serves on the Asian Student Association, Reclaiming Black Manhood Group, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and Key Club. Through the Asian Student Association, he has volunteered at the Tet Festival in Seattle, the Wing Luke Asian Art Museum, and Seattle Center Guiding Lights. He participated in the recent African American Legislative Day, where he delivered a speech to more than 3,500 people. He became a member of Franklin’s Gay/Straight Alliance in hopes of ending homophobia at school. In Key Club, he collected donations to help AIDS victims in Swaziland, Africa. Nguyen also helps his single-parent family financially through his internship at Stoel Rives law firm, where he gains experience toward his dream of becoming a criminal lawyer who will represent economically disadvantaged people of all races and cultures.

Ben Phillips
Senior, Sehome High School
Nominated by Todd Leita

Ben Phillips is the ASB Vice President of his high school. He has earned top state recognition as a drama student for his performance as a mime. He has reached out to struggling students by providing them with encouragement and academic support. Phillips is a friendly and outgoing student who appreciates the diversity that his school has to offer.

Neama Said
Senior, Garfield High School
Nominated by Kenneth R. Courtney

Neama Said is a devoted student who strives to become the first of 14 children to graduate from a four-year institution. She has been involved with programs such as Upward Bound, Math, Engineering and Science Achievers (MESA), and Can Access Now (CAN). She was the president of her class in 10th and 11th grade and is currently the vice president of the Muslim Student Association. With the help of some friends, Said was able to raise $5,000 for the remodeling of a mosque. She was also selected to go to the National Student Leadership Congress in Washington, D.C., and was nominated by CAN to go to Bowdoin Bound in Maine.

Daniel Park
Sophmore, Kentwood High School
Nominated by Aida Fraser Hammer

Daniel Park has organized the annual Kent School District’s Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration for the past two years, providing input to the school district board of education as a community member on the Alliance for Diversity and Equity. He mentors and tutors students in Kentwood’s Student Minority Achievement Success Team and organizes diversity summits, dances, and other extracurricular activities. He is also a member of the school’s ASB. He was honored by Kentwood High School as a Champion of Diversity in 2008.

Sarah Wright
Senior, Sehome High School
Nominated by Lindsay MacDonald

Sarah Wright is deeply connected with her heritage and believes in helping her community. She had the opportunity to be involved with the Traveling School, an organization that allowed high school students to have a cross cultural connection with countries such as Ecuador, Bolivia, and Peru. She is a member of the Multicultural Club and the MEChA Club at her high school. She has an interest in learning more about the Andean region and hopes to continue her studies at the Pitzer College.

Roderick Sherman
Senior, Olympia High School
Nominated by Matthew H. Grant

Originally from the American South, Roderick Sherman moved to the Northwest and fit in easily with his new classmates. Known as a great communicator, Sherman is a singer in his church choir as well as an emcee for Olympia High School’s Martin Luther King Jr. Assembly last year. He was also emcee for the nonprofit group TOGETHER’s awards banquet “Champions for Kids” and a speaker at an inaugural ball for President Obama sponsored by the Black Men in Leadership and Cielo. This year, he organized a power-point presentation for the student body about the civil rights movement, which he also narrated. Sherman was invited by the school’s ASB president to join the student government cabinet and, as a result, brought more student inclusion to assemblies.

Leslie Tran
Freshman, Chief Sealth High School
Nominated by Marta Sanchez

Leslie Tran is an energetic and charismatic student who is involved in many aspects of her school. She is a member of the Key Club, Earth Service Corps and the Seeds of Compassion Club, and was elected as an ASB officer. Despite her busy schedule, she is still able to maintain a solid grade point average. She was the winner of the City Year, which was sponsored by the Martin Luther King Jr. Express Yourself Contest. In her free time, she volunteers at the library, counseling office, and main office. Leslie is also a youth leader at her local church, where she helps organize retreats and encourages the younger members to strive to become a youth leader. (end)

Scholarship winners will be announced on March 27 at a dinner banquet held at Jumbo Chinese Restaurant. For more information about the event or to buy tickets, 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

King County Council Member
Keynote Speaker

Professional Speaker & Master of Ceremonies

Title sponsor:

Prime sponsors:

Corporate sponsors:

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