2006 Taiwanese American Outstanding Youth Awards

Greater Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area

Michael Tzeng  曾 上 仁


I am currently a junior at Winston Churchill High School. With the loving support of my family and friends, I have been able to achieve very many things in the areas of music, leadership, academics, athletics, and Taiwanese heritage.


My music career started at the age of four when I began taking piano lessons. Intrigued by classical music, I began taking percussion lessons in the 3rd grade, allowing me to join the school band. Since then, I have been an active participant (and often the Principal percussionist) in many orchestral groups, including the Maryland All- State band, the Maryland Classic Youth Orchestra, the Montgomery All- county band, and the pit orchestra for my school¡¦s ¡§West Side Story¡¨ play production. In school, I have always been a leader in the top- level bands. I am the founder and president of the school drumline club. At County and state- wide music festivals, I have always received Class I ratings (best) for excellent performances.


I also strive to achieve academic excellence. In school, I have always achieved top grades in rigorous classes. I am qualified to receive commendation on an excellent PSAT performance, and am a National Honor Roll member. I am a member of the math team, as well as the president of the Civitans club, a renowned community service club. I am also an officer of the Asian American club, and a member of my class executive board. In addition to leadership and academic excellence, I am also very athletic. I have participated in the school cross- country team, the Varsity co-ed volleyball team, and I love to play tennis and ping- pong.


I believe it is important for one to contribute to his heritage. In this sense, I have donated money after the few deadly earthquakes in Taiwan, and after the recent tsunami that ravaged Asia. I have attended numerous Taiwanese events, including events at the new TECRO culture center, and a peace rally in Washington DC. To help my community, I have volunteered at nursing homes, served as a counselor- in- training at a children¡¦s summer camp, and volunteered with the American Red Cross at the National Naval Medical Center, qualifying myself for the community service scholarship award.


I am so proud to be Taiwanese- American. Even though I was born and raised here in the US, I feel connected to Taiwan through my family and friends, as well as through interactions in the local Taiwanese community. I have attended the Washington School of Chinese Culture and Language for 14 consecutive years, and speak fluently; this allows me to communicate with family members and other people in Taiwan when I visit. Back at home, I am proud to say that I will always hold on to my Taiwanese heritage that has helped shape my life into what it is now.


Michael Tzeng is the son of Dr. James and Dr. Li- Mei Kuo Tzeng.  (曾修堅郭麗美 夫婦)

Yen-Chung Tseng  曾 彥 中


Greetings. My name is Yen-Chung Tseng, but I prefer to call myself Yong because it echoes with both the Hanji character bravery and my parents' desire for me to be strong.


I am currently a sophomore in Winston Churchill High School, and I constantly try my best to achieve academic success within my five Honors and one AP courses.  I am also a member in the Mathematics, Science, and Technology Academy and the Math Team.  Besides school subjects, I also take great interest in guitar and computers.  For instance, during eighth grade, I received third prize in graphics arts for one of my projects from Maryland Instructional Computers Coordinators Association.


Being in America does not draw me farther from Taiwan.  I participated as a drummer in Independence Day parades of USA and Taiwan.  I joined the annual sports event and won second place in 1600m for TECRO. I was also a member of the TECRO basketball team, which had won high awards in the past two years. These activities make me feel as a part of a larger community, and I am thrilled to see that Taiwanese people are working as a group to achieve higher goals.  I also participated in many Tzu Chi benevolent events, which gave me a chance to return what I obtained from society.


Adaptability and flexibility are two important traits of mine that enable me to sustain changes, such as moving to different places at high frequency.  Since my father is a Taiwanese diplomat, my family moves with him to San Francisco, Solomon Islands, Taiwan, Palau, Tuvalu, and currently Washington D.C.. The constant change of environment, culture, and people did not bring me a disadvantage.  Instead, I learned to be elastic like a rubber band, able to withstand varying pressures.  Along my journey, I met many people that created great impact on me.  For example, my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Ikelau, had pushed me to the limits and made me a mentally tough student.  Besides mental training, my mind broadened to the outside world. The limit of my vision was now beyond my circle of friends and neighbors.  I also saw more of the world, such as the small country of Tuvalu, where global warming nibbles the land away.


All these countries had given me macroscopic view of the world.  I became more aware of the people around me and even became more empathetic and thankful.  My unusual experiences have strong influence in my view on all matters, especially on the attitude towards life itself.  I regard life as a long road that I will enjoy to its fullest, and with every step I take, I gain more insights to the infinite steps that, with firm footing, I will go on.


Yen-Chung Tseng is the son of Mr. Larry and Mrs. Annie Shen Tseng. (曾瑞利、沈慧娟夫婦)

Mindy Lin  林 幼 晴


My parents and my Taiwanese background have instilled competitiveness, perseverance, and scholarship in me since as far back as I can remember. Throughout my education, I have always been determined to be the best, and this determination has influenced my performance in and outside of school.


Academically, I have always worked hard and strove to be on top of my class. At Frost Middle School, I received the Frost Scholar Award for achieving straight A¡¦s throughout my middle school career. In the eighth grade, I was honored by the American Association of University Women¡¦s Math and Science Award for my excellence and passion in these subject areas. I have also twice been awarded the Maryland Senate Citation for Academic Achievement. I challenge myself at Wootton High School, where I am a junior, by taking rigorous AP courses while maintaining a straight-A record. I never back down from an intellectual challenge and am always determined to rise above expectations.


I have many interests and achievements outside of the academic arena. I have been playing the viola in the Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras since sixth grade, and I had the honor of participating in the Maryland All-State Junior Orchestra for two consecutive years. I will also be participating in the 2006 Maryland All-State Senior Orchestra. An active athlete, I play on Wootton Varsity Tennis where I hold the number 2 singles spot, helping the team complete this past season with an excellent 10-2 record. My favorite extracurricular activity is probably dance, and I have danced with my current dance troupe since I was eight years old. Through dance I share my cultural background with others by performing several times a year, and in the year 2000, I had the privilege of performing with my dance troupe at Disney World in Orlando as part of the Disney Magic Music Days celebration.


Leadership roles and community service are also huge parts of my life. I serve on the Executive Board of Wootton¡¦s National Honor Society and I am the Junior Vice President of Wootton¡¦s Science National Honor Society. I tutor as part of the Physics Club and 9th Grade Scholars Program at my school, and I tutored Asian immigrants at a Saturday tutoring program for two years where I am now a coordinator. Whenever the opportunity arises, I use my strengths to try and help others succeed.


My parents have always taught me the importance of hard work and perseverance and supported me in all my academic and extracurricular endeavors. I am more than proud to credit them with my successes, and I know that what they have taught me will drive me to continue to try my hardest to excel throughout my life.


Mindy Lin is the daughter of Mr. Chung-San and Mrs. Huey-Ing Lin. (林中三林惠瑛夫婦)

Christopher Lin  林 敦 義

I am a son and a brother, a student and an athlete, a musician and an artist.  When asked to talk about who I am, to define myself, I am lost. I am asked to talk about my accomplishments, my activities and my interests¡Xbut these things do not define me.  It is not out of arrogance that I pass such accomplishments or awards off, nor is it that that I am short of those.   And so I diverge to talk of how I see myself through my art¡Xwhat I believe to be the greatest part of what defines me.


A small sandy strip separates me from seeing myself.  It is a reflection in a pond, an image that echoes only the inconsequential features, a forgery of me.  The idiosyncrasies that lie deep within are lost in this murky, vacillating representation.  It is when I see the white of a canvas, the white of possibility, that I see me¡Xnot just an image, but every facet of my personality shines with freedom.  I am no longer trapped in the rigid world of the mirror, but am freely flowing, formed through layers of paint.  This reflection is never permanent, always changing, always me. I thrive in the emptiness; I thrive in possibility.  I see myself not only in portraits, but in every brush stroke that licks the dry canvas with oily paint, the quick, sharp piercing reds, the soft, lulling blues.  Passion and misery are projected from my images, reaching out from behind the colors, no longer trapped by an insincere reality.  This is my new world.  Actions and reactions, feelings, meanings, and dreams are no longer replaced by what only seems.  The idea of me becomes visible.

               I am the blushy crimson that dapples my cheeks and the hint of thinned cerulean that glistens, wet and diaphanous on my eyes.

               I am the silky mass of ivory black that flows, flips, and skirts at the crown of my skull.

               I am the cool weary hues that retreat into the depressions of my face and clash with the vibrant warmth of yellows that shine of youth.

               I am the quick, energized stroke and ethereal highlight that complete the smirk on my face.

               I am raw sienna and permalba white. I am cadmium red and chromium green.

               Colors swirl, dance, and mold my face, viscous, then permanent.


               Red, orange, and yellow burn and inspire radiance, piercing to the core.

               Green leads by its own right, arbitrarily inspiring the strangest of notions such as life, sickness, and the frog.

               Blues dance in the sky, pensive and cold. But blue can¡¦t bring me down.

               Purple is warm but cool, silly and confusing. Where does it go?

               White gurgles and smacks, it shines and dulls. It is purity.  It is innocence.  It is death?

               Black is dead, dark, and curious.  It beckons with alien quality.

               But grey is nothingness.

               I command the armies of color.


All of this is projected onto a blank, barren canvas by the will of my hands.  My brushes, pencils, charcoal, conte, and erasers uncover a more tangible, truer world.  Lines and strokes define me.  I am not a helpless observer to the image; I shape it.  I mold how I see myself.  Empowered by art, the fight for personal change is made that much easier when translated into an image.  I see my flaws, but like a dried mark on paper, they are easily covered up and reworked.  The small kneaded eraser, soft and malleable, is my safety net, quick to hide any traces of missteps or failures.  I look at a finished canvas and see an expressive reflection of me, vibrant with surreal colors and marks, full of personality and style. I look in the mirror and see the anti-truth, cold, dull, and artificial.  Reality cannot be captured in empty hard lines.


               I am the director of my life.

               I am a clay figurine in perpetual stop-motion animation.


Christopher Lin is the son of Dr. James Sowsei and Mrs. Nancy Yu-Yen Tung Lin. (林叟生童玉英夫婦 )