By Shaima Ahmad, VA High School Program Coordiantor
Photos Courtesy of Ari Pak, AALEAD Staff
When asked to reflect on their experience at the College Preparation Conference in one word, AALEAD high school students said: enlightening….informative…more comfortable…knowledge…excited…clear! These few sentiments reflect the insights provided at this conference for high school students hosted by the George Washington University Vietnamese Student Association.
16 AALEAD youth participated in this day-long event, which comprised of workshops about financial aid, college essay writing, and college life in general. Our youth also engaged in a panel discussion with a number of college students from around the DMV. This enabled them to ask questions and get more insight into a day in the life of a college student. The VSA arranged for all attendees to receive the latest Kaplan SAT Prep book and one participant won a Kaplan SAT Prep Course.
In addition, our students entered a scholarship essay contest for which they had to describe what their name would stand for, if it were an acronym. Pauline T. (MDHS) and Jehee N. (VAHS) were awarded first ($100) and second prize ($50). We are so proud of our AALEAD youth for eloquently sharing their thoughts. Pauline said:
The initials for my name are PAT for Pauline Anne T. If my name were an acronym, it would stand for Passion and Thought. I have always wanted my life to be based on serving, giving, and using my passions in life to inspire others. I always find myself having the desire to help and be an encouragement, especially with younger youth. Receiving opportunities and doing activities that would help benefit others are useless without the true thought that is put into it. Like a present, it is not a gift unless your thought is into the person, and less of the quanity, quality or size. Having passion for others is putting them before yourself, and to me that is the best thing a person can experience. Not only do I get to see their growth and happiness, but I too grow in joy knowing I impacted someone’s life. I think this world needs more of that Passion and Thought. Being concerned and lending help to those in need can lead to so much more peace, understanding, and love. For the many blessings I received, I want to give it all back in full abundance. PAT has worked within my relationship with my friends, my family, and school. I am also very passionate when I sing, dance, and draw. In every performance I put thought into what I sing, and a passion for me to share my voice with others. When I choreograph, every move is developed thoughtfully, and I use the passion of expression through every step. I define art as self expression and self meditation to convey a significant meaning. Passion and Thought shouldn’t be boastful, but a loving gesture with integrity.
A special thanks to the George Washington Vietnamese Student Association for hosting this informative event.