By Somi Jun
Print Managing Editor
For her 16th birthday, senior Denise Huang asked her friends not to buy her presents and instead donate the money to “charity: water,” to provide safe drinking water to people in developing countries. Whereas many high school students perform charitable acts to decorate their resumes, such generosity is a daily lifestyle for Huang. Whether it be organizing the Walking Shield drive or tutoring her peers in math, Huang puts careful thought into each act she performs for others.
“Denise has an essential goodness about her that people trust, [that is] recognized by her peers. She’s a visionary, she’s an organizer, and she brings out that essential goodness in other people, too,” Ms Diane
Huang is a leader on campus, as a Chief Officer of varsity Virtual Business, president of Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), president of Art Reach, and an Academic Coach of three years. Her leadership style is characterized by firm guidance instead of intimidation, as she carefully organizes activities for her fellow peers to get involved in. As an Executive Producer of the TEDx conference last year, Huang organized a task force of 200 students to create a community-oriented, educational salon.
Outside of school, Huang channels her crafting expertise into enriching the lives of those around her. Her friends have the privilege of tasting her homemade pastries on their birthdays and her teachers have been hardcore gifted, such as Mr. Andrew McGough, Huang’s Calculus teacher who received a skateboard last year. The board was spraypainted to read, “I don’t always skate, but when I do, I find the area under the curve.”
“You’d never guess [Mr. McGough] was a skater boy, and I wanted him to know that I really do appreciate him and give him something he might actually use,” Huang said.
After volunteering at MACH 1 and Home of Angels over the past two years, Huang has decided to pursue a career as a physical therapist. MACH 1 and Home of Angels both provide physical therapy for people with mental disabilities. Huang describes her experience has impactful, because she got to witness a physical change in the people she worked with.
“Even for me, there were times [during TEDx] that got really discouraging, and [Denise] was always positive about people,” Shires said. “She is a respected ethical leader.”