The Diversity Makes a Difference scholarship program 2008 celebrates young people who are committed to reaching out across cultural lines. This newspaper believes that diversity is an asset to our community, and so we encourage young people to take action to instill this belief in others.

This year, the Northwest Asian Weekly Foundation will award five winners with $1,000 scholarships, with finalists receiving $200 each.

Winners will be announced at the Diversity Makes a Difference awards banquet on March 28 at 6 p.m. at Jumbo Chinese Restaurant in South Seattle.

For tickets to the event or to learn about sponsorship opportunities, call 206-223-0623.

2008 Scholarship winners R-Z

2008 Scholarship winners A-P:

Jerry Alvarez
Senior, Mount Vernon High School
Nominated by Julie Wilson

Jerry has consistently demonstrated an ability to make a difference across cultural and ethnic lines. A participant in the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program for four years, he is also involved in several clubs and organizations that promote cultural diversity, including the MECHA Club and working at his church where he takes care of 26 bilingual elementary-school-aged children. Last year, Jerry was selected to attend Boys State in Olympia, a prestigious honor that goes to young men who have exemplified the ability to work with people from “all walks of life.”

Jonathan Amosa
Senior, Rainier Beach High School
Nominated by Dan Jurdy

Jonathan is the president of his school’s ASB. He participated in the Multicultural Scholars program, which took him through a civil rights tour of Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama to learn about the civil rights movement. He has volunteered for the last four years at the Union Gospel Mission and has also traveled to Mexico for the past four years to do missionary work building houses, working in schools and organizing Bible studies. He is a reading coach for Team Read in local elementary schools and is involved with Math, Engineering & Science Achievement. According to his counselor, Jonathan is able to bring in his own Pacific Island culture to all his activities while also seeing from the perspectives of other cultures.

Khalida Arif
Senior, Shorecrest High School
Nominated by Jill Goetzmann

Khalida was chosen as representative for her school’s Vision Leadership Team, working to create a more personalized and engaging atmosphere for all students. She was identified very early as a potential peer leader and was selected to serve on Shorecrest’s highly successful Link Crew, a group charged with the task of guiding and supporting incoming freshmen classes. She applied and was accepted into the Summer Search program, due in part to her strong leadership qualities. She will be the first woman in her family to attend college.

Serena Au
Senior, Bellarmine Preparatory School
Nominated by Jim Knudson

Serena has been president of her school’s Diversity Club for the past two years and was instrumental in orchestrating International Night, an annual celebration of dance, music and art from the different nationalities of the student body. She herself is a Lion dancer. She was instrumental in helping establish the Asian American Summit for students from Jesuit high schools. She is a member of a selective marine chemistry program where students take an extra course each year to develop research skills. Serena’s independent project for the program, which she will enter in national science competitions, is a paper on MRSA bacteria and its prevalence in the high school population.

Keity Hernandez Bernal
Senior, Chief Sealth High School
Nominated by Jol Raymond

Keity is active in Chief Sealth’s MECH/LA Club and has had the opportunity to attend several regional and national conferences. She has given presentations on violence and child abuse prevention. Last year, Keity was selected by Washington state’s Ambassador Student Knowledge program to represent the Seattle area. For several years, she has tutored elementary-aged students in math and reading. Last summer, she attended a summer course at the UW to increase her own math skills. She has also volunteered at El Centro de la Raza with support programs for homeless people.

Nyima Bhutti
Senior, Nathan Hale High School
Nominated by April Linder

Nyima, who is Tibetan and spent time in India with her family before coming to the United States, is always reaching out a hand of friendship across all borders. She is an active participant in Diversity Club, Nathan Hale High School’s largest club. She is also on the school’s basketball and softball teams. She wants to be a pediatrician and has taken a rigorous academic track to prepare for college.

Shelley Byron
Senior, Squalicum High School
Nominated by Terri White

Shelley grew up in Botswana until the fifth grade, when she moved to Seattle. During the summers of 2006 and 2007, she returned to her native country to volunteer at a clinic as part of a team researching the transmission of HIV/AIDS from mother to child. Currently, Shelley participates in the Health Care Services program, where she studies medical terminology, anatomy and physiology. She earned first place in the U.S. Constitutional Essay contest, has been Rotary Volunteer of the Month and was recognized as a top scholar and citizen as a Masonic Scholarship finalist.

Alicia Doo Castagno
Senior, Edmonds-Woodway High School
Nominated by Angela Bond

Alicia is the founder and president of a club for multiracial and mixed-heritage teens, Mixed. Last year, the club volunteered at Hoopin’ for Life in partnership with the American Bone Marrow Registry. This year, rather than volunteering at another pre-planned event, Alicia and the club decided to have their own event. She arranged a meeting with the Stevens Hospital board of directors and ran a bone marrow drive, the only high school group in the state to do so this year.

Alice Cheung
Senior, Franklin High School
Nominated by Cathy Sheridan-Green

Alice is highly motivated to work in her community — she has been a member of Key Club, Asian Student Association, Fun and Sober Team, and the Jefferson Community Center. Because of her strong academic record, she is also a member of the National Honor Society. She possesses strong math skills and has set her future goals to succeed in the business industry.

June Choi
Senior, Sehome High School
Nominated by David Hageman

June is an active member in her school’s engineering club. Last summer, she was selected to attend the Women’s Technology program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she studied electrical engineering and computer science. Last year, she was on the Sehome math team, which took first place in the regional competition. June has also tutored at two elementary schools to help young children build their math skills. June came to Bellingham without her family and has lived with three different host families during her high school career, demonstrating cross-cultural sensitivity and good communication skills.

Cheuk Chum
Senior, Ingraham High School
Nominated by William York

Cheuk is a tutor with Team Read, helping elementary students with their reading skills and also volunteers at the Secondary Bilingual Orientation Center. She has expressed and demonstrates a keen interest in helping Asian immigrants adjust to American culture without sacrificing the moral strengths of their native cultures. Her benevolence and confidence were recognized by her peers when she was elected president of Ingraham High School’s Chinese American Club.

Lily Clifton
Junior, Nathan Hale High School
Nominated by Anthony Renouard

Since her freshman year, Lily has been an active member in her school’s Diversity Club. This year, she stepped up to take a leadership role. Almost single-handedly, she planned and executed the Tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. assembly this year. She is now hard at work helping to bring about the next big Diversity Club event, Bite of Hale. Lily is also an active member of the Mayor’s Youth Council and recently put together a forum for local students. The forum was widely attended and very successful.

Mycal Ford
Senior, Foster High School
Nominated by Sue Pike

Mycal is a charismatic leader at Foster High School. On January 18, 2008, he was the featured speaker at his school’s Martin Luther King Jr. assembly. He acts on the stage, performs and instructs on the dance floor, solos in band on trumpet and guitar and delivers the news as anchor on his school’s station, KFHS. He is the recipient of the Discover Card Tribute Award, and recently represented Seattle as a Seafair Ambassador in Kobe, Japan. He is class president and serves on the Interact Club, Environmental Club, FBLA and on the Tukwila City Teen Council. Most recently, he was offered an internship with U.S. Rep. Adam Smith.

Roxana Garcia
Senior, Highline High School
Nominated by Lori Box

Roxana is her school’s ASB president, as well as the Latino Club president. The Latino Club has been very active under Roxana’s guidance, outreaching to parents who need translations, working on gang prevention and creating an all-Spanish bulletin board for Spanish-speaking students. Her senior project is to host a multicultural fair for the school district. She has worked with the city of Burien on Latino outreach. The city now produces all of their brochures and pamphlets in both Spanish and English. She also led an immigrant rally last spring for her high school. Roxana is also a member of the Highline School District Cultural Competency Committee, where she helps steer how the district trains staff around issues of diversity.

Julie Gardner
Senior, Washington High School
Nominated by Dawn LaSalle

Julie created Future Leaders of the World at her high school, an organization that is dedicated to serving the needy in third-world countries through fundraising and collecting supplies. In addition to outreach, FLOW aims to educate students at Washington High School about the war and poverty that affects so much of the world’s population. Julie is also the vice president of Key Club, vice president of National Honor Society, president of the Math Team, a Patriot Crew leader, a cheerleader, and a member of Spanish Club. She has completed more than 2,500 hours of volunteer service on her own time, of her own initiative, helping such organizations as the Boys and Girls Club, Charlton Assisted Living Center and Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital.

Menglin Guo
Senior, Roosevelt High School
Nominated by Roselyn Lane

Menglin came to Roosevelt High School from China, where she was the student body leader and has stepped into an active role here as well. She joined the International Club and her interest in racial and sexual inequality incited her to participate in the White Privilege Conference in Colorado last year. Upon her return, she helped present a role-playing demonstration of those issues during the Diversity assembly. This year, as a member of the Student Equity Council, she has been a leader in the Summit and RSVP activities to increase student participation and to give voice to student concerns.

Dianna Hoang
Junior, Squalicum High School
Nominated by Terri White

Dianna has logged many hours participating in volunteer projects through her church, at elementary schools and nursing homes. Recently, Dianna has been tutoring English Language Learner students at a local elementary school. Dianna felt she would like to help these students because her first language was Vietnamese, and she went through the ESL program in elementary school herself. She also participates in the Health Care Services program at her school. This is usually a program that seniors are invited to, so being chosen as a junior is quite an honor.

Joshua Holguin
Senior, Shorecrest High School
Nominated by Usa Gastaldi

Josh has a passion for people and a desire to make the world a better place. He has participated in several immersion programs and volunteer missions to Mexico to learn more about his cultural background and keep his Spanish language skills fresh. He is a veteran member of the Woodland Park Zoo-Corps volunteer program, and a committed mentor who takes the extra effort to ensure even the shyest participants are fully engaged.

Esther (Seung Lim) Hyun
Senior, Sehome High School
Nominated by Jessica Schlicting

Esther has been at Sehome for only a year and a half, but has made a huge impact. She helped found the Global Awareness and Outreach Club to increase awareness about global issues. After learning about the plight of children in northern Uganda, the club decided to participate in Schools to Schools, a project to help fund schools in a combat zone in Northern Uganda. Thus far, they have raised $2,500 to help their Ugandan peers gain access to education. Esther is bilingual in Korean and takes special pains to help new Korean students feel at home at Sehome.

Evaline Hsu
Senior, Sehome High School
Nominated by Vicky Chaney

Drama is Evaline’s passion, and she has worked in several productions in children’s theater with the Missoula Children’s Theater. She has also helped younger students become better readers by volunteering at a local elementary school. Most recently, she performed in Sehome’s production of “Cyrano de Bergerac.” For her senior project, Evaline is creating an English script of a traditional Chinese folktale to be performed at senior centers. Evaline is bilingual and bicultural and loves to help people better understand the culture of Taiwan.

Khadro Jones
Senior, Chief Sealth High School
Nominated by Jol Raymond

Khadro first came to this country from Somalia 2 1/2 years ago. She often escorts other students to the school counselor’s office to help them ask questions they are too timid to ask themselves or to help interpret. She also takes many immigrant students under her wing, helping them negotiate the system, as well as providing tutoring assistance, in spite of the fact that she must dedicate hours to her own tutoring.

Laura Jones
Senior, Gig Harbor High School
Nominated by Dave Burmark

Laura spent four weeks in Israel two summers ago and last summer spent six weeks in Ghana volunteering at an orphanage. She plans to return this summer to serve at a refugee camp for families from Liberia and Sierra Leon. For her senior project, Laura has completed 70 hours of community service setting up an auction to sell the pictures she took in Ghana and will be donating the proceeds to supply villages in Ghana with livestock. Laura is also a very active athlete: She has been a pole-vaulter on the track team the last four years, is the captain of the dive team, played varsity soccer her freshman year and wrestled on the JV boys’ team her sophomore year. She also founded Gig Harbor’s photo club.

Pardeep Kaur
Senior, Sehome High School
Nominated by Lindsay MacDonald

Pardeep has volunteered for the last two years at Saint Joseph and now does orientation for new volunteers. She also works a part-time job, but manages to find the time to also work with Sehome’s Multicultural Club. Pardeep’s warm personality helps make new students feel comfortable, and her friends include people from all different groups and backgrounds. Her work at the hospital has taught her about health care careers, and her goal is to become a pediatric nurse. She plans to use her bicultural/bilingual skills to increase access to quality health care for Indian children and their families.

Ashley Kilgore
Senior, Garfield High School
Nominated by Leanne Hust

Ashley is involved in African American Scholars, Urban Scholars, Black Achievers and the YWCA Girls First leadership program. Ashley always pushes herself to do the best she can, and this determination has won her a number of recognitions, including the African American Scholars Most Inspirational Award, the Ku’Onesha Award for Academic Achievement, and the YWCA Girls First Leadership, Confidence and Dedication Award.

Elizabeth Kim
Senior, Edmonds-Woodway High School
Nominated by Valaree VanderMolen

According to Edmonds-Woodway staff, Elizabeth is so well known she is simply referred to as EK. Incoming staff is told that if you want something done and done well, you should ask EK, sometimes without the mention that EK is a student. EK speaks fluent Korean and is very involved in her culture, having completed more than 150 hours of community service, partially as a helper at Northwest Korean Association as an event planner and translator. She also helps organize an annual toy drive and helps children at her church’s nursery. She has initiated researching domestic violence in Korean homes and acts as a facilitator to students in abusive domestic situations.

Seung Kim
Senior, Eastside Catholic High School
Nominated by Marjorie Hayton

Since arriving from South Korea, Seung has spent his years at Eastside Catholic learning with and about students with different cultural backgrounds as well as different abilities. He has worked with students in Eastside’s program for developmentally disabled students, helping them integrate as much as possible into the mainstream curriculum. Seung also participates in Eastside Catholic’s Integrated Social Science and Humanities course, a college-level course. He is an incredibly mature, respectful, intelligent student who is anxious to go beyond his comfort zone and become involved in whatever new opportunities come his way.

Beatrice Krause
Senior, Edmonds-Woodway High School
Nominated by Brad Serka

Besides her successful academic background as a full IB student, Beatrice is involved in many clubs, such as Key Club, Book and Movie Club, Spanish Club and Multicultural Club. She has also been a member of Pep Band for four years and is on the track team. She has been involved in her church most of her life, volunteering as a helper in Sunday School classes and helping with many fundraisers. She also spent a summer building houses with her youth group in Mexico. Her goal is to be a missionary in a Spanish-speaking country.

Amina Kulmiye
Senior, Ingraham High School
Nominated by Paul Franklin-Bihary

In her senior project class, Amina gave a presentation on her volunteer work with the Seattle Young People’s Project, detailing her involvement in numerous projects with this organization. She has worked to reduce homophobia in the community by helping to increase understanding and compassion for GLBT youth and their challenges in our current climate. She worked to decrease discrimination in education by focusing on the inequalities inherent in the Washington State Assessment of Student Learning and trying to get the state government and the Seattle School board to reconsider the use of the WASL as a graduation requirement. She has invested many hours volunteering for this organization and has shown she is already an enthusiastic conduit for change.

Emily Landau
Senior, Sehome High School
Nominated by Mark Kerr

Emily chose to work in the English Language Learners class at her school because she wanted to support the integration of ELL students into the life of Sehome. She has extended an upbeat and friendly hand to them, contributing to the inclusive climate of her school. Last semester, she traveled and studied in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana for five months, learning and improving cross-cultural communication skills. She is also an active member of Sehome’s Global Awareness and Outreach Club.

Christy Suelki Lee
Junior, Washington High School
Nominated by Greg DeJardin

Suel seeks out people and situations that will keep her connected to her Korean heritage, yet remains fully immersed in leading peers from an array of backgrounds. She has been known to translate for people everywhere from in a grocery store line to a sick elderly lady in a hospital. She spent a summer teaching Korean to elementary-aged Korean students and has herself studied Japanese, proving to be a helpful resource and guide to her high school’s exchange students from Japan and Korea. Last year, Suel founded a new club called Future Leaders of the World. This club’s aim is to raise awareness about global issues, such as hunger and health care.

Melody Leung
Sophomore, Arlington High School
Nominated by Gina Burrill

Melody is proud of her Chinese heritage and has the confidence to speak to others about it. Having been bullied at a young age because of her ethnicity, she’s learned to not only stand up for herself, but for other people’s skin color as well. She is an active member of Key Club and recently helped raise funds for building a school in Sri Lanka. She took it upon herself to explain the economic reality that people living in Sri Lanka face to students who did not understand.

Jing Wen Li
Senior, Rainier Beach High School
Nominated by Aurora Escame and Carolyn Mar

Jing Wen entered Rainier Beach High School last year and quickly became invaluable. She uses her bilingual language skills to interpret for new immigrant students and also works with her high school’s registrar to recognize student and staff birthdays by designing posters, which are displayed throughout the building, promoting good will. She also volunteered at the Kin On Nursing Home during the past year.

Lan N. Ly
Senior, Ingraham High School
Nominated by Tamara Brewer

Lan is the chapter president of Family Career and Community Leaders of America. She has also led the school blood drive campaign for the past two years. Lan is a person who has adjusted to intercultural experiences her entire life. The child of immigrants, she bridged the language barrier for her family from a very early age. She holds a job in addition to maintaining excellent standards in her schoolwork, and she uses her time wisely to study or to contribute to community service.

Elise Santa Maria
Senior, Holy Names Academy
Nominated by Alice Tanaka

Elise is fascinated by other cultures, especially American Indian and Japanese, even sometimes styling her hair to look like an anime character, Yuhi Kurenai. She plays the flute for relaxation and does karate for exercise. Elise has attended WOLF (Wilderness Outdoor Living Foundation) camp for the past four summers learning survival skills, such as how to use plants for medicine, as well as a respect and love for nature. Elise has served as a leader in the Earth Services Corps Club and would like to pursue a career as an animal behaviorist or a veterinarian.

Samuel Martin
Senior, Rainier Beach High School
Nominated by Dan Jurdy

Samuel, a product of the foster care system, is passionate about creating sustainable change at the policy level so that all foster care youth can have a chance at success. He has testified before the Senate subcommittee that oversees the foster care system. He also writes for the Mockingbird Society, which runs a publication by and for foster care youth. Samuel is also involved with Mathematics, Engineering & Science Achievement and Team Read, where he tutors elementary school children, and Steps Up, a leadership development and youth mentoring program.

Brittney McKenzie
Senior, Franklin High School
Nominated by Cathy Sheridan-Green

Brittney’s teachers comment on her ability to master new skills quickly with initiative and leadership. She has participated in many extracurricular activities at Franklin, including girls’ soccer and track and mock trial. One of her proudest accomplishments was being elected the 2007-2008 National Honors Society secretary. She also received the Howard Book Award this year. Brittney aspires to be a biomedical engineer.

Betelihem Mulubirhan
Senior, Chief Sealth High School
Nominated by Jol Raymond

As associated student body president, Betelihem has really increased the school spirit and positive climate of her school. She is an active member of Key Club as well as Making Connections and the Dream Project, both college prep programs sponsored by the University of Washington. Last spring, Betelihem helped organize and present a multicultural dance with other students from East Africa. She was also selected as one of 10 students for Chief Sealth’s China Exchange program and will spend two weeks this fall in China. Outside of school, Betelihem tutors elementary-school-aged children in reading skills. She also volunteers at a local daycare, working with toddlers.

Thanh-Hoa Nguyen
Senior, Bellarmine Preparatory School
Nominated by Julie Campbell

Thanh-Hoa has been involved with two service projects at Bellarmine Preparatory School, Phoenix Housing and Operation Keep ’Em Warm and Fed. For Phoenix Housing, a program that provides temporary housing for families that would otherwise be homeless, Thanh-Hoa volunteered her time to make dinner for the families and spend time with the children, helping them with their homework. And for Operation Keep ‘Em Warm and Fed, she accompanied her English teacher in downtown Tacoma, serving food to the homeless people on the street.

Luke Passalacqua
Senior, Arlington High School
Nominated by Gina Burrill

In the spring of 2004, the town of Arlington experienced a shocking incident of cross-burning. The home targeted was that of Luke’s best friend. Luke used his anger for productive means and proposed the idea of a community march and rally. The rally was a success, garnering national attention. Luke and his friends continued to meet to discuss the incident and ways to combat hatred. These meetings eventually became Arlington High School’s Respect Team. Luke has served as the team’s president the past two years. The team organized and presented at the school’s 2008 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. assembly.

Sara Pendergast
Senior, Squalicum High School
Nominated by Debbie Granger

Whether grabbing a microphone at an all-school assembly, working in the trenches to organize communitywide Martin Luther King Jr. events, or working hard as a team player on her basketball team, Sara inspires everyone at her school. According to her career counselor, when Sara speaks, everyone listens with respect. A difficult childhood has given Sara the resolve to contribute to her community and world. She is involved in a number of activities at her school, including FBLA, DECA and ASB government.

Marita Phelps
Senior, Garfield High School
Nominated by Leanne Hust

Marita was a key individual in developing the African American Scholars program at Garfield High School and has helped it become one of the most popular programs at the high school. Marita is also on the board of Global Visionaries, which educates youth on peace, justice and environmental issues. She leads workshops for both peers and adults on these important social issues. She has traveled to Guatemala through this group in order to learn about the process of making coffee and the place coffee has in our international economy. Marita has performed in several stage productions and volunteered with Relay for Life, Special Olympics and the Central Area Community Festival.

Dan’a Platts
Senior, Bainbridge High School
Nominated by Maria T. Rivera

Dan’a is currently the secretary of United Brothers and Sisters, Bainbridge Island’s unity club. She encourages other students to become aware of diversity and get involved, not just in school, but in the community as well. In 2007, she received the NAACP’s runner-up award for the best new branch across the nation. That same year, she was also given the NAACP Salecky Award, presented by Gov. Chris Gregoire, for her work with the local NAACP findings on health disparities. Her list of volunteer activities includes working with International District Community Health and Services, the Multicultural Advisory Committee, the NAACP training conference and the One World Now Chinese Immersion Camp.

Northwest Asian Weekly, Seattle Chinese Post and the Northwest Asian Weekly Foundation sponsor programs year-round which serve Asian youth.
Get involved!

Diversity Scholarship Gala
Deadline for application: Jan. 30, 2009
Award Ceremony: Friday, Mar. 27, 2009
6-9 p.m.
Jumbo Chinese Restaurant

Lunar New Year Art Contest
Deadline: Feb. 4, 2009
Theme: The Year of the OX
Draw the characteristics of the ox
Prices: $100, $50, $25
Color or black ink on a 8 1/2 by 11 paper

Summer Youth Leadership Program
June 29-July 2009 (Monday to Friday, 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m.)
High School Juniors, Seniors and college freshmen
Place: ID Chinatown Community Center

Special youth issue
Deadline to submit articles: July 30, 2009
Publication date; Aug. 27, 2009

Northwest Asian Weekly Scholarship

For more information about the Diversity Makes a Difference Scholarship awards, call 206-223-0623. Grades are not part of the scholarship criteria. Inquire about this year's deadline for the 2008 "Diversity Makes a Difference" nominations. James Tabafunda can be reached at info@nwasianweekly.com. Also try Career Center.

Please click on the link below to download the new Diversity Nomination form for 2010:

Download our new 2010 Diversity Nomination Form!

Deadline to submit nomination form is Jan. 29, 2010 (Must send in photo and present to win. Failure to do so will result in disqualification.)

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