2003 Outstanding Youth Award Recipients

Greater Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area

Esther Chou     周 恩 如

I am a junior at Chantilly High School with various skills and interests. At the age of three, I began piano and dancing. These eventually became the foundation to my interests and all my activities. In dance, I enjoyed the challenging and beautiful techniques that I learned in Ballet, but my real interest was in my more active and fun side, which was shown in Jazz. As a sophomore, I joined my high school Dance Team and won the Top Gun Kicks medal for having one of the best kicks on the East Coast during a four-day camp at the University of Virginia. I was also recognized for my outstanding techniques and flexibility. Over many summers of continuous studies in dance, I have studied Ballet under an internationally honored dancer fromRussia in a Master Class. I have also taken other Master Classes through invitation with many award-winning college Dance Team coaches. I was also selected to dance with our local Washington Redskins’ Redskinette Cheerleaders.

For piano, I studied with two teachers beginning with Mrs. Wang and finishing with Mrs. Rei W. Shyu. Among my years of study under Mrs. Shyu, I participated in many recitals and competitions achieving recognition for my efforts. I also have experience as an accompanist for my middle school concert choir and for my father as he sang at many weddings. I also have been asked to play piano for service at my church on many occasions.

Ever since the elementary age, I have been a hard working student achieving an Honor Roll standard in my schools. Aside to my extracurricular activities and my academic honors, I am also very active in in-school activities. Beginning in seventh grade, I have been very active in the Student Government Association. In ninth and tenth, I served as the Publicity Officer of my class. I was the most direct contact to the students in my class and was the one that relayed their opinions to my fellow officers to help make our class better. This year I was elected the Historian of my class. I am also a part of my entire school’s Student Government Association where I have and will continue to be a part in helping to organize school events. I really enjoy taking the role of a leader because I am able to help guide those who cannot lead themselves. I was also the Activities Coordinator for the Asian American Society, and now I serve as the Secretary. I enjoy being a part of a culture club because it helps gather pride and unity amongst our race when there seems like there is none everyday when walking through the halls or sitting in class.

For my whole life, I have been a constant member of the Taiwanese Association. My parents are very active in the program, so as a child, I participated in the Taiwanese Association Conference/East Coast (TAC/EC) annually. I have served as a Junior Counselor for many years at the camp. I also attended a Taiwanese school for five years, and participated in their dance program. Each year there, I had the opportunity to perform at the Washington DC Freedom Plaza for a special culture day that is now dedicated to Taiwan. I particularly like attending Taiwanese American events because I can relate closely to my peers while learning a lot about each other and what it means to be a Taiwanese American.

Esther Chou is the daughter of Mr. Robert Chou & Mrs. Yu-Jung Chou. (周仕培, 胡玉蓉 夫婦)


Ici Li  李 奕 晞

I am currently a junior at Thomas S. Wootton High School. Throughout my life, my parents have taught me that learning is the most important thing. A strong advocate of education, I do my best in whatever I seek to accomplish and strive to achieve at new levels. I am truly thankful of my family and people who have taught me to taste the joy of success.

Born to a Taiwan-rooted family, I am proud of my Taiwanese heritage - that is why I still learn Taiwanese and Mandarin. Over the years, I have contributed to the Taiwanese New Year festivals hosted at a variety of locations in my community by sharing with others the joy of playing the violin as well as performing tricks on the Chinese yo-yo.

After an instrumental music demonstration hosted by my kindergarten teacher, I knew I wanted to play the violin. After convincing my parents, my dad purchased my first instrument at age seven, and I started playing consistently. I am currently a first violin in the Maryland Classic Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, where I have been playing for the past two years. In addition, I was a part of the New Jersey State Youth Philharmonic Orchestra for two years as well. Places I have performed in include various prestigious halls in New Jersey, as well as at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall with the MCYO, and earlier this year, I won third place in the Maryland State Music Teachers Association Competition.

Besides musical interests, I enjoy the art of writing through my involvement with the literary magazine and various scientific organizations. Last year, my poem “Nature” was published in the 2001 National Poetry Journal. Additionally, my paper “Robotics and Real Life Applications” was published in the 2002 National Robotics Conference Anthology. Last but not least, in conclusion of my summer internship at Johns Hopkins, a research paper on Neurosurgery was recently submitted to the American Academy of Neurology.

Last year, our Robotics Team won first place in the DC Regional Area, and our Math Team placed second in the county. My fascination with physics has kindly rewarded me the first place title in the county science fair; and for this, I was invited last summer by the CIA to personally visit the headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

These events marked a milestone in my life, a milestone with a clear message: a lesson that family ties and self-sacrifice always prioritize on the path of goals and dreams. During the passage of my young life, I like to take challenges. If the possibility arises, I wish I would be able to work in Taiwan as a summer intern to gain more acquainted with my homeland. I hope through my experiences I have gained from education, music, and life, I am able to become a better person and further serve my Taiwanese community.

Ici Li is the son of Mr. Dan Li and Mrs. Alice Li (李讚麒, 劉美華 夫婦)


Ivy Chow  周 拮 如

Currently, I am a junior at Westfield High School, Fairfax, Virginia. Dance has been a very important part of my life. I have studied dance for the past ten years including ballet, modern, and jazz. However, classical ballet has been the main focus of my training. I have been trained at the Russell School of Ballet since I was six-year old and have danced in the Senior Company of the Fairfax Ballet for more than two years. Being in the senior company, the expectation and commitments are extremely high. I dance on a daily basis, totaling to at least 14 hours a week. With rehearsals for performances and classes, I usually dance for 20 hours weekly. For the past two summers, I attended the American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensive Program, a very competitive and elite program that requires audition. Dancers around the country and from Canada are competing in the audition for limited spaces. I was placed and danced in the highest level for both years. In addition, I was invited to perform as a Cappie dancer in the 2001 Cappies Gala in the Kennedy Center where a competitive audition was also required.

With a very demanding practice and rehearsal schedule of dance, I still try to do the best I can academically. I have been on Westfield’s honor roll since my freshman years. Also, I am a member of the National Honor Society and French Honor Society.

I was born and grew up in the Taiwanese American community of the Greater Washington DC area. From the second to fifth grades, I attended Taiwanese Language School of Washington DC and participated in the dance program taught by Mrs. Dang. I attended the Taiwanese American Conference - East Coast (TAC/EC) for five years and helped out with the junior program for two years. For the coming TAC/EC 2003 conference, I will be the co-director for the junior and junior high program. Since the summer of 1999, I had attended the weekly programs in August sponsored by the Taiwanese American Foundation (TAF). I served as junior counselor of the Mid-west regional TAF program for 2000 and 2001. The experience of being a counselor was extremely rewarding and exciting. By participating and helping in the TAC/EC and TAF conferences, I have learned a lot, especially in responsiblilty, leadership, communication and Taiwanese identity. I am also an active participant of various events sponsored by the Taiwanese Association of America - Greater Washington DC Chapter (TAA-GWC) and Formosa Association of Public Affairs (FAPA) fundraisers.

I plan to stay actively involved in the Taiwanese American community in the Washington DC area and around the country.

Ivy Chow is the daughter of Mr. Ming-Hong Chow and Mrs. Pei-Pei Chow. (周明宏, 龔斐蓓 夫婦)