NAAAP Boston Awards Scholarships as Boston Marks One Month Anniversary of the Marathon Bombings

By Xinming Li,

Boston, May 16, 2013, — The National Association of Asian American Professionals Boston chapter (NAAAP Boston) awarded Dan Minh Chu, Tuan Ho and Kasey Shen of the 2013 NAAAP Boston Future Leader Award. The three exceptional students received a total of $15,000 of scholarships at NAAAP Boston’s Scholarship Gala on May 15 at Hilton Boston Back Bay. The event was coincided with the one month anniversary of Boston bombings that happened just blocks away from the hotel. CNN anchor Anderson Cooper was broadcasting live at the nearby Boston Bombing makeshift memorial when the award ceremony took place.
(Front row L to R)Tuan Ho, Kasey Shen and Dan Chu show off their awards with staff of NAAAP Boston.

According to the organizers, The NAAAP Boston Future Leader Award is the premier scholarship for Asian American high school students in the Greater Boston area. Candidates are evaluated on academic achievements, extracurricular involvement, community service, work experience, and financial circumstances for this prestigious award. The award recipients not only need to demonstrate the highest academic achievement, but also leadership skills and ability to overcome adversities in their lives.

The three award recipients Dan Chu, Tuan Ho and Kasey Shen made short speeches at the award ceremonies. The reflected the journal that they each went through to be able to get the scholarship. They thanked their families for their support and NAAAP Boston for awarding the scholarship to them as they would start a new journey in life this Fall.

Fitchburg Mayor Lisa Wong, the first female Asian American Mayor in Massachusetts, made keynote speech for the evening. She reflected her journey growing up as an Asian American in the greater Boston area, and stressed the virtues of Asian culture, such as strong family values and hardworking. Mayor Wong saw bright future for the three award recipients, and encouraged them to participate in public events and politics.

“Being a leader means using your voice,” Mayor Wong said when asked about youth leadership. She said the voice was more about sharing experiences and ideas with others. Mayor Wong also quoted Chinese teacher, philosopher and politician Confucius’ road map of human development to state her understanding about leadership. “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

Sandy Liang, a 2011 scholarship recipient and current undergrad at Harvard, talked about her experience of winning the award: “The Future Leader Award helped me achieve my first dream to get to college. In fact, it exposed me to a world where I learnt from my peers and it gave me opportunities to try different things.”

Anderson Cooper ended his evening broadcast by pointing to the growing memorial, and said: “this is a remarkable spot of a remarkable city.” Let’s hope the three young award winners will become remarkable persons from this remarkable city.

The following in-depth introduction of the three award recipients is from NAAAP Boston.

$5,000 Future Leader Award Winner: Dan Minh Chu

Dan Chu is a current senior at Boston Latin Academy. He comes from a Vietnamese family in Dorchester. Chu taught children with autism how to swim and tutored one of them in math. On Sundays, he helps educate second grade students in Vietnamese CCD classes. His greatest honor was sitting as the student representative on the Boston School Committee. Chu plans on attending the University of Massachusetts Amherst where he plans to major in computer science. In his free time, he enjoys playing games and talking with friends in addition to imagining grand, fantasy worlds and writing novels.

$5,000 Richard T.N. Lee Future Leader Award Winner: Tuan Ho

Tuan Ho is another winner from Dorchester. He is a Vietnamese student at Boston Latin Academy. Ho, a black belt second degree in Vovinam Martial Art, founded Self-Defense Club. He serves as President for the Asian Culture Club and planned a successful Asian Talent Night event that was able to fundraise over $500 towards Red Cross Asia. Outside of school, he volunteers at Boston Refugee Youth Enrichment Program as a teacher and works as a tutor and youth leader at Viet-AID After School Program. He will be attending Northeastern University in the fall of 2013.

$5,000 Liberty Mutual Insurance Future Leader Award Winner: Kasey Shen

Kasey Shen, a senior student at North Quincy High School, was President of MOON (Math Organization of North) for two years and Secretary as a sophomore. She was also Treasurer of the NQ Band Council, keeping track of fundraising and swear jar money. Kasey participated in the High School Quiz Show team, Academic Decathlon team and Science Olympiad team. She spent a lot time volunteering for Quincy Asian Resources, Inc. as well as for EQCC’s Uplift Afterschool Program. She was a summer intern in 2010 at the Chinese Progressive Association and has been Youth Staff for the past two years, planning, organizing and facilitating meetings to engage peers in community involvement. Shen will be continuing her education in the fall at Wellesley College. She plans to focus on the research aspect of chemistry along with studying tidbits of different areas including math, business and so on.