DIVERSITY MAKES A DIFFERENCE


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 A-P

2008 Scholarship winners R-Z:

Tim Ramos
Senior, Bellarmine Preparatory School
Nominated by Annette Michaelson

Tim came to the U.S. six years ago, when he was 12. Now, he is a Eucharistic minister at his school, one of 20 seniors selected to serve at weekly and all-school masses. As a minister, he commits to 15 hours of community service as well as quarterly service projects with other Eucharistic ministers. Last spring, Tim served on the junior Magis crew, and he served breakfast at Nativity House, the local homeless shelter. He also volunteers with Bellarmine’s football and basketball camps for younger children. He is president of his school’s Honor Society, and he oversees a group of 175 students who have committed to tutoring their fellow classmates.

Kyle Rapinan
Senior, Shorecrest High School
Nominated by Sondra Wilson

Kyle was nominated for the 2008 Martin Luther King Jr. Award for Seattle and met the mayor as one of the top 20 candidates. He recently returned from the Students of Color organizing training in Atlanta, Ga. He also spent part of his summer in Philadelphia as part of the Gay, Straight and Lesbian Education Network National Jumpstart Leadership Conference, where he attended 70 hours of workshops and gained skills in the areas of leadership and social justice. He’s put those skills to work as president of his school’s Gay-Straight Alliance. He also facilitated a climate survey, led a staff training and organized the first-ever Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Erin Reep
Senior, Mount Vernon High School
Nominated by Stacy Levine

Erin is an effective and successful leader, whether as a group captain in her leadership class or in front of a student body of nearly 2,000 people. She has created many school assemblies, taking charge of everything from designing the backdrops to choosing a guest speaker to writing scripts. In January, she facilitated the most successful “Mix It Up” campaign for the Martin Luther King Jr. assembly that Mount Vernon has ever had. She recently received an Outstanding Leader Award, chosen by her peers in the leadership class.

Mori Kurose Rothman
Senior, Mercer Island High School
Nominated by Susie Brown

Mori’s counselor’s letter of recommendation to colleges ran three pages long, she had so much to cover. Mori is the senior class president, a member of the ASB leadership program and a BRIDGES (Building Relationships in Diverse Groups to Empower Students and Staff.) leader. Each year, he plans, advertises and carries out Mercer Island’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. assembly. He is a member of the Washington state Legislative Youth Advisory Council and a board member of the Japanese American Citizens League Seattle Chapter. He was the lead organizer of Aki Kurose Middle School’s annual cleanup.

Plinette Sanchez
Senior, Shorecrest High School
Nominated by Britt Harris

Currently serving as a senior class senator, Link Crew leader and lead ambassador, Plinette puts in countless hours of service to her school. As an ambassador for the school, she works closely with the principal’s office, meeting with and introducing new families to Shorecrest. She is also the captain of the Hip-Hop Dance Team, a National Honor Society member and a member of Key Club and choir. Plinette is also a member of the UW Filipino American Dance Troupe and volunteers at Tahanan, the local Filipino community center for senior citizens.

Ivory Solomon
Senior, Rainier Beach High School
Nominated by Aurora Escame

Ivory has a beautiful singing voice and has participated in numerous assemblies including the Martin Luther King Jr. assemblies during the past four years. He has been an integral part of the Multicultural Dinner, where his eloquent speaking skills helped enrich understanding and promoted good will among his peers and staff. He has sung with the Paul Robeson Orchestra and performed at the Moore Theatre. This summer, he won a lead role in the stage production of “Dream Girls.” He has volunteered at Team Alive for several years on a weekly basis.

Marsailles Solomon
Senior, Rainier Beach High School
Nominated by Aurora Escame

Marsailles is known for his incredible dancing. He won a leading role in the “Dream Girls” stage production this past summer and won rave reviews from The Seattle Times. He has participated every year in the Multicultural Dinner and the African drum performances. He currently dances with the Rainier Beach Bubblin Brown Dance Team. Marsailles’ own dance team, Kutt‘N’Up, has performed to a sold-out crowd at Carco Theatre. He has also danced in the New Holly Fund Fest. He has volunteered more than 200 hours at Team Alive, an organization that promotes community pride and involvement.

Glynis Startz
Senior, Garfield High School
Nominated by Leanne Hust

Glynis has been a member of Garfield’s Gay/Straight Alliance for four years and co-chair for the past three. Last year, she organized a citywide event with other GSAs. She is a National Merit semifinalist and AP scholar with honors. She began gymnastics at the age of 4 and progressed rapidly, but she resisted the temptation to become focused only on gymnastics and has also turned out for the dive team and has played rugby for the past two seasons. Having played the flute since the fourth grade, Glynis taught herself the oboe in the 10th grade and has played in the school orchestra since.

Alejandra Suazo
Senior, Mount Vernon High School
Nominated by Brian Hanrahan

Alejandra has coupled her knowledge of Spanish with her compassion for helping others to bridge gaps between peoples of different races and different socio-economic backgrounds. Last summer, she worked as a translator for a health care program that provides medical services to rural communities in Honduras. Closer to home, she has worked on a joint venture between SeaMar Community Clinic and Skagit County Community Action to test migrant workers and their children for tuberculosis. She continues to work for Skagit County Community Action, acting as a translator for an initiative to inform migrant parents about the importance of child car seats. She is committed to helping groups of people all too often forgotten in our society.

Andy Tang
Senior, Garfield High School
Nominated by Leanne Hust

Andy emigrated from Vietnam with his family in 1994, when he was 4 years old. He traveled back to Vietnam in 2005, a trip he describes as a “life empowering experience.” Andy currently works for the Seattle Public Library as a student assistant. In the 10th grade, he was awarded the City of Seattle Recognition for Outstanding Leadership through his involvement with Teens in Public Service, working with homeless children and victims of domestic violence and/or substance abuse. This past year, he was recognized for Outstanding Achievement in Understanding Chemistry, a pretigious honor at Garfield High School.

April Telan
Burlington-Edison High School
Nominated by Laural Ringler

April is currently taking college-level classes at Skagit Valley College through the Running Start program. She intends to become a nurse practitioner. She arrived at that career choice through her service work with the Key Club and Medical Club. She also has taken leadership positions with these clubs and serves as co-president in each. She is multilingual, having studied Spanish and sign language, and speaks Tagalog at home with her family. She uses this knowledge to help people in her weekly volunteer work at Skagit Valley Hospital.

Nick Tezak
Senior, Arlington High School
Nominated by Gina Burrill

Nick was deeply affected by a cross-burning incident in this hometown in the spring of 2004. Within 48 hours of the crime, Nick had helped organize a “Community for Unity” rally and march. Nick received the Washington Youth Activist Award from the ACLU and the Snohomish County Youth Challenge Award in 2004. He has been a member of his school’s Link Team, which helps new students connect, and is currently the ASB vice president.

Shatara Tiller
Junior, South Kitsap High School
Nominated by Karen D. Vargas

Shatara is the student leader for her school’s Youth Builders program. She encourages other students to dance and perform with the dance team Silent Praise in order to overcome their fears. Shatara was selected to represent Kitsap County at the National Youth Leadership Training and Conference held in Minnesota and Philadelphia with former President Clinton. Shatara was appointed NAACP youth president of the Bremerton branch, as well as regional youth president. For developing a team to address the health disparities in communities of color, she received the Washington state Salecky Award.

Arianna Toussaint
Senior, Franklin High School
Nominated by Cathy Sheridan-Green

Arianna is involved in her school’s Public Service Academy. This academy is designed to deepen the students’ understanding of the American government and the role of public service in the 21st century. Since her freshman year, Arianna has participated on the mock trial team, where she received an Outstanding Attorney Award. She intends to go into a law career. She has more than 194 hours of community service hours, far more than the 60 required by the district.

Amanda Tran
Senior, Franklin High School
Nominated by Cathy Sheridan-Green

Amanda is captain of Franklin’s golf team, a member of many clubs and programs such as College Access Now, National Honor Society, Asian Student Association and One World Now, and secretary of the Chinese Club. She has exceeded the 60 hours of community service hours required by the district and completed more than 165 hours in various places such as the First Tee (teaching young people golf), One Reel, Youth Volunteer Corps and the Denise Louie Education Center.

Trong Hieu Tran
Senior, Squalicum High School
Nominated by Mark Galvin

Though Hieu spoke little English, she encouraged her fellow students in a World Geography class to share their stories and shared her own stories of her life in Vietnam. Her confidence and support gave other English-learning students the confidence to open up and American students a new perspective. Hieu went on to tutor new students from around the world and joined a leadership class, where she quickly became a leader among leaders. For her senior project, she tutored adults from around the world. Three days a week, she worked with these adults through a Goodwill program.

Sophia Tsang
Senior, Franklin High School
Nominated by Cathy Sheridan-Green

Sophia is very proud of starting her school’s Anime Club and of being a member of the National Honor Society. She is also a member of the Korean, Chinese and Japanese Clubs and finds time to participate with Franklin’s Lion dance team. In addition, she has received a certificate for completing one year in a program called One World Now and a certificate of excellence in tutoring for the Team Read program. Sophia has completed more than 100 hours of community service, volunteering for programs such as Team Read, Sakura Con, Jefferson Community Center and Orca Elementary School.

Tran Van
Senior, Bainbridge High School
Nominated by Maria T. Rivera

Van was forced to learn English very quickly as an eighth-grader when her family was in a serious car accident and she was left to manage the household, including filling out medical and legal forms. Van hopes to one day build an orphanage for the many children in her native Vietnam who are orphans. She is currently taking Japanese in anticipation of a trip this coming spring. She is also the co-chair of her school’s United Brothers and Sisters Club and instrumental in making the “Mix It Up” lunchtime activity, which promotes tolerance between students by inviting them to meet new people, a huge success through her organization and kindness.

Kimi Waite
Senior, Edmonds-Woodway High School
Nominated By Valeree VanderMolen

Kimi has traveled around the world in service. She has worked in India for two weeks with Rustic Pathways to help Tibetan refugees and also spent an entire summer in Thailand, working in a rural village. She has been a tutor for the Rotary Hispanic Center, is a member of the Multicultural Club, a junior counselor for a local camp, a member of FCCLA, a volunteer at Teen Hope and has also volunteered for the Union Gospel Mission as a kitchen assistant and for Lifting Lives as a secretary.

Kirsten White
Senior, Mount Vernon High School
Nominated by Boni Killion

As co-editor-in-chief of her school’s newspaper, The Bulldog, Kirsten has earned the respect of her staff, the faculty and administration. In all stories, she strives for the truth with fairness and objectivity and goes the extra mile to get the full story. She has also been the co-vice president of the Peace and Justice Club, where she was instrumental in leading a theatrical commemoration of the fourth anniversary of the Iraq War. Her senior project will involve organizing more than 400 students and teachers for “Challenge Day.” As a student coordinator, Kirsten’s mission is to unite many polarized groups in her school, a project she hopes will be repeated yearly.

Elizabeth Wilke
Junior, Edmonds-Woodway High School
Nominated by Courtney Cossey

Elizabeth is the vice president of the Mixed Race Club and an active member in Students Together Opposing Poverty. She proposed and helped organize a hunger banquet simulation at Edmonds-Woodway, which included a dinner, presentation, film and discussion, bringing together three different school clubs to rally behind the cause of world hunger. The 100 dinner guests were randomly divided up into three groups, plain rice, beans and rice, and a three-course dinner. When asked about her motives for organizing the “poverty dinner,” Elizabeth responded, “Since this experience, I have often felt that to be one of the lucky among so much poverty is not to be lucky at all. It is not human to witness the easily preventable deaths of so many and do nothing about it.”

Kayla Williams
Senior, Olympia High School
Nominated by Matt Grant

Kayla spoke with such passion at a Martin Luther King Jr. event that she was asked to help lead other projects about the difficulties minority groups face. Kayla administered a climate survey to hundreds of students and helped organize a forum for the student body, featuring the stories of her peers. According to the principal of her school, this experience transformed the way the students and faculty interact with each other. Kayla then took the lead in planning more schoolwide forums, including a powerful assembly on violence, and in creating an “inclusive school” committee, whose function is to highlight the interests of students considered “outside the mainstream.” A Tumwater High School educator noticed Kayla’s leadership and asked her to help put on a workshop at a Washington Education Association conference. Kayla is also a key member of the Institute for Community Leadership, which educates young people about the work of Dr. King, Gandhi and other champions of non-violence. She has spoken on the steps of the Capitol and to state politicians and the Olympia City Council. Her efforts have helped lead to the adoption of a city-wide resolution to declare Olympia an “inclusive community.”

Jocelyn Wu
Senior, Bellarmine Preparatory School
Nominated by Christopher Garin

Jocelyn was the driving force behind the founding of her school’s string program. She and another student developed a proposal and she was given the opportunity to be one of five orchestra musicians. Her responsibilities centered on recruitment, quality and coordination with the instructor for sustaining the program. She has more than tripled the program’s enrollment, has built an allegiance so that multiple performances, including senior citizens’ benefits, have been scheduled, and the teacher has consistently relied on her for mentoring. She worked with her school’s National Honor Society tutoring project and was first to sign up for an after-school writing lab to assist others with their work.

Jimmy Zourkos
Senior, Squalicum High School
Nominated by Cheryl Picolet

Jimmy is the president of his school’s Multicultural Society. He is a strong voice for the wide range of cultures at Squalicum and readily shares his own Greek culture and language. Through the Multicultural Society, Jimmy has organized potlucks, movie nights and a schoolwide multicultural day, which have all helped to develop a sense of family among the students. Besides being president of the Multicultural Society, he is also the student body president and part of the Leadership Calls, regularly organizing schoolwide activities to bring the student body together.

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.

Deadline is January 30, 2009.


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Northwest Asian Weekly
P.O. Box 3468 • Seattle • WA 98114
Tel: 206.223.5559 • Fax: 206.223.0626
Email: info@nwasianweekly.com
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Diversity Makes a Difference


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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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