2017 Asian Pacific Islander Award

By McKenzie Potter-Moen and Jennifer Singh

The Asian Pacific Islander Award hosted its second annual recognition ceremony for a grand total of 23 students from all public high schools in PPS. These awards are given to recognize the marginalized voices that are Asian/ Pacific Islander for the excellence they accord to their community. It is meant to honor their leadership and accomplishments, and two Seniors from Cleveland had the merit to receive this award. Derek Chen and Ngoc Nguyen graduated from the 2017 school year taking this accord along with them. These graduating seniors made an impact on everyone.

Nguyen earned the award through her brilliance, as she was presented valedictorian. Eric Levine, a Cleveland teacher who taught both awarded seniors this past year, discussed the impact they had on him. “She is one of the most responsible students I have ever worked with,”  described Levine. “I’ve had other responsible students as well, but never seen anybody sort of achieve at a higher level.” She was “an ideal student, really deserving of any awards or scholarships that might come her way.”

Chen gained the recognition through his passion for universal health care. “I see him solving the health care issues that face this country. I mean he’s really good. He’s brilliant, and he’s really focused on this idea of health care; he’s passionate about it and making it universal.” He acquired so much knowledge on the topic that Levine described him as “a stinkin’ genius. Derek Chen is going places.” Chen also plans on attending Stanford in the fall.

There is more information regarding the award and recipients on the PPS website. Cleveland is proud of them, and honored to call them alumni!