Written by Megan Trinh
I was excited to be the senior emcee for the Asian American Heritage Council’s scholarship event. I enjoyed the emcee meeting before the ceremony to gain an understanding of the program and learned the process that goes into the event every year. The board members of the council dedicate a lot of money and time to incentivize the next generation of Asian leaders to pursue the path of diligence and Asian preservation. As a member of a generation that is actively trying to connect back to their cultural roots, I felt a sense of importance and felt that I was part of something bigger. Harvard’s recent issue with affirmative action shows that there are obstacles that Asian Americans still face that limit their dreams, but now that Asian Americans are gaining more media attention and paving their own paths, there will be nothing standing in the way of them achieving their goals. The ceremony was carried on with efficiency and I am glad I got to meet Amber Wei, my co-emcee. She is two years younger than me and I already know that she will have a promising future. This was a great opportunity for me to practice my public speaking. I even want to emcee UCF asian organization events in the future, if possible. Ms. Fontanilla who acted somewhat as a mentor for Amber and I said that I have a strong voice and could do great emcee work in the future.
More information found here: http://www.aahc-cf.org/scholarship.html
Written by Alex Tao
I started dragon boating around mid July, linking up with C.H.A.R.G.E and practicing with them almost every Saturday morning. Although it was grueling to wake up at 6 in the morning on the weekend, I still decided that I was going to make the commitment and try it out. Since I wasn't able to dragon boat last year due to my age issue, this year was my first year as a paddler at the festival. It was an amazing experience to compete in an actual race with my fellow REACH members. Although we didn't place, we were still able to make it into Division B, seeded at 24. It was impressive to see a team full of high schoolers take on teams that had professional dragon-boaters. At the final race I was approached by Anthony, one of the team captains, he told me that I was going to have to drum in the last race, something that I had never done before. Since a girl had not shown up and we had to keep the gender ratio balanced, the boat seating had to be moved around. I weighed light enough for them to choose me to be the drummer. I was really nervous in the beginning, but came to realize that being the drummer was actually quite fun. Overall, it was a good first time experience for me and I definitely plan on coming back next year!
Written by Tak-Kai Wong
Dragon boat is a great, fun experience that I would recommend to anyone! I paddled in REACH's 2018 Dragon Boat team for the Dragon Boat Festival/Asian Expo. Honestly, I was honored to actually paddle with the team. Dragon boat, to me, is a great way of keeping touch with my Chinese cultural heritage. Even so, everyone participating in Dragon Boat were friendly and helpful. Dragon boat, as a whole, taught me many new values that I would keep to heart. It taught me commitment and perseverance. Honestly, at the beginning of paddling, I was not a very good paddler. I'm still not even that great at it. But the feeling of passing the finish line, the feeling of wanting to accomplish a goal, is something that no one ever wants to forget. What's a better feeling than crossing the finishing line with your team? Rather than stick to the bottom, I loved the feeling of the team sportsmanship I encountered in Dragon boat. The teamwork in Dragon boat intrigued me. There was a variety of different characteristics in the people paddling for Dragon boat, but somehow, a group of teenagers from different schools banding together and synchronizing, utilizing their own strengths were able to create the REACH team. If given the chance to take up the paddle again and again, I would do it as many times as I am able to.
By Jesson Medenilla
Personally I was really excited for this event. Having to participate in the 1st annual REACH out as a high school coordinator for the organization was a blast in my opinion and having to take part of the 2nd REACH Out field day was truly an honor. This event helped me become more open towards other people, shaping me into a better person in a way, realizing that the world we live in isn’t always so gloomy. That we high school students (and even high school graduates) can always have fun and still meet new people that’s outside our respective realm. Personally this event is a great gateway for new members to understand the “human” side of REACH, having to interact with past and present members in games is always a joy in my opinion.
The event’s main purpose is to have members interact with other members, getting to know each other through playing games and/or simply just interacting with one another. This event is a pretty good gateway for fresh, new members to come into the organization and meet the current officers of REACH. Personally, this is the closest thing you can have as a family reunion with having games, food and fun, and being part of REACH already feels like having a second family, helping one another no matter who you are, it’s literally REACHing out.
Being part of this event and participate in it for 2 years always feels like an honor. I highly suggest new members to participate in it and to show the “human” side of REACH. This is a great way for relationships to build up with one another and a great way to improve one’s social skills and add up in those confidence points. Overall, 10/10 would do this event again, and will be excited for next year’s version of it.
First Time Paddlers
As this was my first time attending the Duanwu Dragon Boat Festival, many of the things we did were new to me. With the help of my fellow REACH and friendly CHARGE members, I was able to learn the basics of rowing. During the races, there was a friendly, competitive atmosphere and that made the races extremely fun and exciting. Additionally, I was able to learn quite a bit about the traditions of the dragon boat festival through the many trivias and games we played. Throughout the event, I met a lot of new faces and connected with many different people. Overall, the Duanwu Dragon Boat Festival was an amazing experience and I look forward to attending it in the years to come.
The Duanwu festival was a interesting and cool experience. It was a great opportunity to learn about parts of Chinese culture like Dragon Boat. At the festival, I learned how to paddle and ended participating in a fun race. I also got to try some delicious sticky rice and play a rock-paper-scissor game with water. Overall, it was a fun experience that allowed me to try new things and meet new people. I would definitely go to this again!
Although I have volunteered at many REACH events over the past few years, I recently attended the Duanwu Festival for the first time. Through the festival, I paddled for the first time, ate zhongzi, played games, met new people, and got to hear about the history and story behind the festival. I enjoyed being able to finally paddle and race after watching REACH paddle numerous times. The festival was a great experience for me as a new paddler to not only see how Dragon boat works, but also to see how I needed to improve to join the REACH Dragonboat team. Overall, the Duanwu Festival was a great experience, and I look forward to attending more!
By Justin Chu
Misallocating my time. Because of this, I’ve stretched myself too thin on extracurriculars and did not allocate enough time to effectively prepare for my classes. This was a major issue I had not only during senior year but throughout high school. Sophomore year I had my first major GPA drop because I did not have the stamina to keep up with my academics along with marching band/Wind Ensemble and being part of a conference planning committee. It will only diminish as I was not willing to let go of my extracurriculars. As a result, I graduated high school with a 2.78 GPA and did not receive my IB Diploma. Despite my poor academic performance, I was fortunate enough to be accepted to UCF by the recommendation of my Guidance Counselor.
I needed to make up for my failure back in high school. From the beginning of freshman year, I learned how to utilize my calendar to time block my day, practice deliberately studying for 45 mins increments and taking 15-minute breaks in between. Through trial and error, I was able to build up my academic foundation and manage my extracurriculars/internships more effectively.
To the students entering their senior year or advancing a class in high school, start valuing your time more. Consider your opportunity cost when deciding on your next task. Once you have a better grasp of your time, enjoy your high school experience. Enjoy not having any serious obligations and find something that will bring you joy. If you can’t find what brings you joy, actively searching for your passion counts. Have something that makes you so good that people can't ignore you. And if you end up graduating poorly like me, it’s not the end of the world. Post-high-school will be an opportunity to reinvent yourself. It’s honestly what you make out of it at the end of the day, and the dividends will show.
By Sarah Joe
Writing a college application is probably the last thing you want to do when you’ve already written countless essays and studied an insane number of hours for standardized tests. But fantastic applications make the job easier for the admissions officers, get you scholarship money, and force you not to slack off your senior year (oh, and did I mention getting you into college?). That being said, here are a few things I found helpful when coming up with my application.
My advice to you
Hello! My name is Joanna He and I will be sharing some tips and tricks that might help you better prepare yourself for junior year. First off, I’d like to mention that what they say about junior year, is true. Yes, it will be your hardest year in highschool and yes it can be VERY stressful. There are multiple factors to junior year that you need to keep in mind and in fact, they all actually connect with one another.I’ve definitely learned a lot throughout my junior year, so these words of advice are actually based on my own personal experiences.
One key point that I have to mention is to NOT PILE SO MANY AP/IB CLASSES ONTO YOURSELF UNLESS YOU KNOW YOU CAN HANDLE IT!!! Trust me, I know this from personal experience. Last year, I thought that I could handle 4 AP classes, but in reality, it was way too overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, I do know people that are fully capable of taking multiple AP classes and do perfectly fine. Just know what you can handle. Taking a lot of AP classes won’t mean anything if you don’t pass them, so make sure you’re aware of what to expect from each class.
SAT help or help in general
This category, in general, is one that I struggled with the most. When you are a junior, there are 2 things that are very important. Number 1: Maintain a good GPA and number 2: Getting a good SAT/ACT score. Different people study in different ways. There are some people who start prepping for these exams as early as their freshman year. But, there are also people, like me, who don’t start until about half way through their junior year. ( I do not recommend this haha.. It didn’t turn out well and is now haunting me) Regardless on whichever method that you choose, I HIGHLY recommend getting that extra help if you need it. When people tell you to study for the SAT, they tell you to take multiple practice tests but what they don’t tell you is that the SAT is not material based, it’s knowing HOW the test is structured. A lot of students find it more beneficial to study by themselves with a practice book. However, for me, I preferred having someone who was experienced in taking the SAT help me. Every time my mom asked if I needed an SAT tutor, I said no, simply because I didn’t want to look dumb in front of my friends or looked like I needed the extra help. As my junior year was coming to an end, I started to realize that I have not started studying, my score stayed the same and I was applying to colleges soon. That’s when it hit me that I needed to get help. My mom and I did some research on a couple of different places that I could go to and found one that had everything I needed. Ever since I finally reached out and got the extra help that I needed, I started to see some progress. I took a practice test and noticed that my score increased by 200 points!! If you think that you need help on the SAT or just your classes in general, reach out and get the help that you need!! Ultimately, this is your future you are building so don’t feel ashamed if you need a little extra help than your friends.
Above everything make sure you sleep!!!
Whether you are completing an assignment you put off or simply lost track of time doing homework, always make time for you to sleep! Sleeping is especially beneficial to students as sleep helps restore energy that we can use the next day. A good night's sleep also helps your body to fight off common infections by releasing key hormones while you sleep. Some tips and tricks I have to help achieve a good night’s sleep is to practice your time management, try to avoid having all nighters, don’t take naps during the day, and don't leave all of your assignments for the weekend to complete them all. Most of these things that I just listed I’m guilty of haha. BUT, I don’t want you guys to ruin your sleep schedules. Sleep is important!!! I hope this helps you guys! Junior year will be the toughest year yet for most people and you will feel like giving up at times but just remember that even if you fail, as long as you gave it your all, that’s truly what matters the most. Good luck! You’ll do great sweetie! :)))
Junior year is going to be your hardest year in some shape or form. Mentally, physically, emotionally, even schedule wise it will be your most challenging year yet. Junior year is the last year colleges look at for admissions, everything you've done up until this point, slack or shine, has come to one big battle royale of a year. However, as much as academics are important this year, its just as important to make sure you do some cathartic activities as well. If all you do is academics, you will pull yourself apart faster than a lvl 5 hurricane would tear a palm tree out the very ground its rooted in. What do I mean by cathartic? Do something you've always wanted to, workout, draw, make a video, go to a theme park, do something other than school when the stress is at an all time high. Of course hold your academics above all else, but make sure you take care of yourself too!
Start looking into your future, I know it's scary at times, especially if you're not sure what you want to do yet, but just start looking. You must look before you find. College, careers, artistry, travel, whatever the case, start thinking now, start planning, because if you start later you're already at least a year behind where this lightning fast world expect you to be.
SAT and/or ACT
Take it as many times as possible. Prepare for it now other than later. Ask your counselor (or maybe a counselor) if you're eligible for free SAT or ACT tests.
Take all your classes seriously, whether it be IB, AP, Honors, Regular or Intensive, be resourceful and smart. Work smart not hard.
If you haven't already, join a club or sport! This can be one of your cathartic things and it can also give you that push towards an interest or a little extra kick you need for college. Clubs are a great way to meet people and help you be resourceful.
Calm down! Stop taking everything so seriously and enjoy high school! You’ve only got 4 short years to take it all in. Life will be stressful at times, but the best thing we can do is try our best and learn from the mistakes we make! Go out and make a name for yourself! Stay strong, you’re gonna do beautifully.
Alex De Guzman
Junior year, a frightening year for some and an exciting year for others. Junior year is one of the most crucial years where your academics should be taken seriously, as college begin to look at you. So here’s some tips to help you rising juniors take on junior year.
Plan everything out, as far as a month ahead. Try to figure out what next month is going to look like, whether it’s family events, birthdays, or big projects. Having everything set out in front of you helps you have an outlook as to where your focus should be for upcoming events. Knowing what’s coming up for you helps you not stress out because you already know what’s going to happen and trust me, stress comes around a lot during junior year.
Learn to balance academics and school with relaxation. Yes, it’s important to focus on academics and making sure you pass classes. But going out with some friends every once in a while helps relieve stress that’s put on your body from school. I’m not saying go out every week or study everyday, but just have a general sense of when you need to study and when you need to spend time with friends to help relieve stress.
Lastly, enjoy junior year! As scary as the word, “junior year” sounds for some, it’ll be a great time. You’re almost done with high school, which is horrible for some people to know but it helps to know you’re almost there. Go out and have fun, explore new things that you’ve never done. School is important, but let it take over your life, so don’t forget to have fun!
After wishing my dad a good day at work, I grabbed my tea and backpack, and got myself out of the car onto the overcast, humid, bustling parking lot of Fashion Square mall.
I arrived at the festival at around 8:40 AM, about 20 minutes earlier than my set time of 9 AM, but regardless of my early arrival, I found myself getting a headstart on the work of the day. In one fell swoop I shotgunned my tea, threw my backpack to the vendor check-in desk, strapped on my fanny-pack, and began my long day ahead.
After helping carrying the initial wave of vendors goods, tables, friers and other commodities, I finally remembered to go sign in, turning my 20 minutes early, into 10 minutes late. After I took the time to finally clock in, I rushed back to my job of Vendor check-in, my backpack still at the base of the table thankfully, sat down, pull out some lychee jellies I had packed the day before and took a quick shot of 1, whilst offering them to the team working at vendor-check in. Managing the check in and arrival of vendors is a vigorous job, as the vendors relentlessly arrive with legions of wagons, cars, vans, trucks, both of the moving and pick up variety, filled with their precious cargo of food, electronics, cosmetics, clothing, jewellery and other commodities they planned to sell or exhibit during this festival. Wave after Wave, Horde after Horde of vendors rushing in, pounding us with questions, forms and requests of volunteers.
The vendor check-in team, consisting of Incharges Me and Alex De Guzman, along with the ardent and diligent volunteers: Rohan Savalani, Sandy Xia and Takkai Wong, with the aid of a man named Roy and 2 others that I unfortunately did not get the name of, stood our ground well against the hundreds of vendors coming at us. The waves of vendors came in ready to rock while we, were ready to roll, and hastily guided them to their spots and made last minute changes and arrangements, while still maintaining REACH’s trademark hospitality and surprising maturity that many have come to love and embrace. Even with spots of disputing and confused vendors, the check-in process was a vigorous task but successful nonetheless, with all the vendors being set-up and ready to go for phase 2 of the day: The Festival.
Me and Alex sent the team off one by one to go on their breaks, as the arriving vendors grinded to a halt, eventually leaving me sitting at our table. I cleaned up our table, laden with pens, markers, boards, maps, forms and lists amongst other things, and before I got my lunch for the day I took one last round and ensured that all vendor’s needs were met, and unfortunately found a problem. The gigantic Orlando Korean Cultural Center booth, with their cooking stations, televisions, speakers and other electronics had blown out their plug! We quickly told them to move locations, first to the end of the hallway, and had fully set up their larger cooking section only for that socket to die out as well! We had told them to move 2 times more, the power going out over and over and over, again and again again! I must have carried jars of Kimchi and Korean Radish (Mu or 무) so many times that I must have gained the smell of the two mixed together. Eventually we settled on placing different sections of the cooking sections around the festival which eventually worked out for them. The disgruntled volunteers with OKCC eventually found themselves dealing with the same problem, or rather blessing everyone else has been, swarms of guests. After dealing with that headache, I finally was able to take my break and eat my lunch, graciously provided to us by Thai Island. Alex, Sandy and I ate together, eating delicious curry chicken and pad thai. We found ourselves in a grace period, a grace period where falling asleep seemed to be a very attractive option. But alas, we knew that falling asleep would be an unwise decision, and instead relaxed before being separated off into different jobs for the day.
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