1996 Outstanding Youth Award Recipients

Joanne Chi

I enjoy challenges in life and have always kept myself active and busy. Since childhood I have been participating in many activities and playing a variety of sports. I started taking dance lessons when I was young and continued on and off for about eight years. In elementary school I joined the Jump Rope Team and performed all over Virginia and performed at a convention in Georgia. I began dancing with a Chinese dance troupe when I was eight years old, and over the course of eight years, we have performed at the Kennedy Center, many universities, multi-cultural festivals, and numerous places around the area.

I participate in many school based activities. currently a member of the McLean Varsity Cheerleading Squad, my afternoons and evenings in the fall and winter have been spent in cheerleading practices and games. During the spring season, I play lacrosse, a sport which requires a five mile warm-up run every day to stay in shape. Last year the McLean Lacrosse team won the district and regional titles, and was eligible to play in the first state girls lacrosse competition. I also belong to extracurricular clubs including Keyettes, Interact, Teens for Transplant, the National Honor Society, the Spanish Honor Society, and the Asian Student Association.

Another activity that has consumed a great deal of my time is volunteering. I have been volunteering in the Arlington Hospital Pediatrics Department since my freshman year. In hope of learning more about the field of medicine and to help me decide which path I would like to choose in the future, I have continued to volunteer there whenever I have free time. I have also volunteered at Country Day School, Dolly Madison Library and Arleigh Burke Nursing Home.

Having the influence of two cultures has greatly affected my life, and has often times been a guiding factor in the directions I have chosen to take. Since my parents are typical Taiwanese parents, I was ecouraged play violin and piano. I have played violin for three years and piano for nine. I have attended yearly Taiwanese community activities since childhood, the attendance of these activities has allowed me to be exposed to a culture I am not exposed to daily. I am currently a member of the Taiwanese Youth Group and I have gone to and enjoyed TAC. Although at times I complain about the pressures of the two conflicting cultures, I know that in the future I will be appreciative of the influences that the two cultures have played on my life.

The most difficult part of juggling all of these activities is maintaining my grades. So far I have been satisfied with my academic achievement and continued receiving good grades while taking the most challenging courses available to me. Hopefully I can pursue an active path in the future, but my main goal in life is to be happy.


Leslie Liao

Leslie Liao was born in Idaho Falls, Idaho on July 22, 1979. Currently, she is a senior at Magruder High School in Rockville, Maryland. Her interests include dancing, playing volleyball and basketball, playing the piano, painting, and singing. In school, Leslie is a member of the National Honor Society, Magruder Pompon Squad/Dance Team, Asian American Club, Youth for Christ club, and Students Against Drunk Driving. Outside of school, she has been involved with the Taiwanese Presbyterian Church Youth Group and Youth Choir, and Taiwanese Youth Group of Washington D.C. However her greatest commitment has been to the Magruder Pompon Squad/Dance Team. From Ninth grade to the present, Leslie has been an active member. The squad has been very successful, winning the Division I Montgomery County Championship since 1993 (the first county competition) and the first-ever Maryland State Championship in March of 1996. As a junior on the squad, she was elected treasurer, and currently, Leslie is one of the captains on the team. She hopes to continue her dancing in college and beyond. Other leadership roles include being the treasurer of the Taiwanese Youth Group of Washington D.C. from 1993-94, and the vice-president of the Magruder Asian American Club this year. In addition, Leslie has consistently been on the school's Honor Roll and has received the Scholar Athlet e Award since her freshman year.


Nelson Liu

My name is Nelson Liu, Liu Chih-Hung in Chinese and Lau Tiehoong in Taiwanese. I am the second son of Mr. Kuen-Rong Liu and Mrs. Hsiu-Yen Liu. I have an older brother, Frank, and a younger sister, Julie. This is my junior year at T.S. Wootton High school. I am sixteen years old and currently reside in Rockville, Maryland.

The year of my birth was 1980. I was born in Taiwan, Taiwan, on April 30. Being the second son and naturally skinny, I didn?t receive much attention as my brother did. Not much was done by me to attract attention, either. I was the quietest of the three siblings and rarely cried as a baby. My mom would tell me that when I was a baby, I would always fall asleep in the middle of a meal with food in my mouth, then in a few hours when I woke up, would resume chewing on the food. Sort of like a cow. When my sister came along, I got even less attention. As one would notice when he browses through our family photos, there are barely any pictures of me in my early days.

Though I was quite reserved as a baby, which is abnormal, I turned out okay as I entered kindergarten in a local Taiwan YMCA facility. My fondest memory of kindergarten was the first day of school. I was so afraid of going to school that I hid in the bathroom and pretended to be in great pain. This strategy worked to perfection, at least until my mom found out that the door wasn?t locked and stormed into the bathroom to snatch me. Although it was twelve years ago, the memories of YMCA are still colorful and vibrant whenever I reminisce.

After YMCA came elementary school, I attended the Yung-Fu (Forever Fortune) Elementary School in Taiwan. I was a student at Yung-Fu from first to fourth. It was mostly all hard work in elementary school. After the completion of fourth grade came the fateful summer. I learned that my family was moving to the U.S. It felt like the world was ending to me; in a way, it was. I was leaving behind all my good friends and relatives, the delicious food, and our old house.

The second chapter of my life began poorly. I didn?t know any English, and was mocked by a few students. However, my fifth grade teacher and some kids in the class helped me overcome my language barrier and adapt to the new system. The reason I can speak fluent English was due to the dedication of my teacher.

Coming to the U.S. helped me change as a person, I learned to interact with people more than ever and the many opportunities for extracurricular activities helped shape my all around interests. In junior High school, my third year in the U.S., I was already taking a third language, German. I joined the school band by playing clarinet and began playing basketball in seventh grade. I?m currently still taking German and playing the clarinet. Basketball is still my favorite sport and I?m on our school?s varsity team. Science, for the first time, seems interesting to me when we did labs in seventh grade.

So maybe the U.S. isn?t that bad after all. Our coming here is as much a gain as a loss for me. I?ve become well adapted in the American culture, and still keep the Taiwanese traditions. The second chapter is coming along just fine. The rest, they say, is history.


Hung-Lin Sandy Chen

My name is Hung-Lin Sandy Chen, daughter of Cheng-Tyng and Ai-Ing Chen. I am currently a junior at Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore, Maryland.

I participate in several activities at school, including Newspaper, Asian Awareness Club, Students Sharing for the Homeless, the North Atlantic Invitational Model United Nations, Model Congress, the Student Health Advisory Committee, the School Basketball and Lacrosse teams, and Choir. I am the Front-page and News Editor of the school paper, the Quill, one of two junior representatives at Harvard Model United Nations, and one of the founders of Model Congress and the Student Health Advisory Committee. Last year I was in Camerata, the highest auditioned singing group for ninth and tenth graders at my school. I am also taking art electives such as Ceramics.

I am actively involved in violin studies at the Peabody Preparatory outside of school. Currently I take lessons, chamber, music, and orchestra. I recently received the Peabody Amateur Chamber Music award last year as a result of my work in my quartet. I am currently first violin in my Mozart Quartet. This year I won a place in the first violin section of the Peabody Sinfonia, the most selective orchestra at the Peabody Prep. In addition, I have been a participant in the Maryland All-State Orchestra since seventh grade. I have also been very active in the community at the Institute for Academically Advanced Youth. have received the full Goldsmith and Holland scholarships for the IAAY's summer programs. I took a Computer Science course at UMBC on scholarship from IAAY. This summer I worked in the Cervical Cancer Lab at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions under the direction of Dr. T.C. Wu. I received the Henry N. Wagner Jr. Science Award for excellence in the sciences as a result of my supplemental science studies.

In college, I plan to major in computer science and pre-med. I also wish to continue to play violin, sing, and participate in Model UN, Model Congress, Newspaper, community service, and Tae Kwon Do.


Vivian Chao

Vivian Chao is a senior at Mount Vernon High School in Alexandria, Virginia.. She is currently an International Baccalaurerate Diploma candidate and is involved in a variety of activities. Last fall, she was a member of her high school’s marching band as a Color Guard captain and plays the clarinet in symphonic band. She also plays the piano for her church. However do not be deceived into thinking that she is brilliantly musically inclined!

Vivian is a member of several honor societies and clubs. Among her favorites are the Young Democrats Club and Biology II club. She enjoys playing lacrosse on both an indoor and outdoor team and has played a number of other sports for her school such as, tennis, soccer, track, and gymnastics. During her rare moments of free time, she likes to hang out with her friends and sleep.

Vivian would like to give special thanks to her parents Felix and Julia Chao, and her sister Angie. She would also like to thank the TYAF for providing the opportunity to receive such an award.