From humble beginnings, teen learns value of hard work

May 14, 2005
COMING DAILY IN METRO: This is one in a series of stories about members of The Gazette’s Best and Brightest Class of 2005. Phoebe Jiang is her parents’ right-hand girl.
Until they sold their Chinese restaurant last summer, she was an almost daily fixture there. “As soon as I was tall enough to reach the front counter, I participated in the daily workings of our family restaurant,” she said. Jiang swept floors, waited tables and translated for her immigrant parents. She did her homework at a table in the rear of the restaurant, sometimes taking naps there. It was not the life she would have chosen, Jiang said, but the benefits are clear to her. “I understand the importance of hard work and that even if you have nothing, you can achieve so much,” she said. “My dad came to the States with only $1,000 in his pocket. Now we have a house and three cars.” Jiang has a long list of achievements to her credit. She’s particularly proud of the A.S.I.A. (All Students Interested in Asia) Club she founded to help other students understand Asian culture. “From firsthand experience of racism, I understand how hurtful bigoted behaviors can be,” she wrote in an essay. “Many of my classmates cannot distinguish between Asian cultures, creating unintentionally biased and generalized opinions. My goals of promoting unity and discouraging discrimination became intermingled with the purpose of A.S.I.A.” Jiang hopes to combine her experiences to make a difference in the world. She doesn’t know yet how she’s going to do that. “I hope to become a surgeon or doctor someday, but I’m leaving it open to see if I want to be a politician,” she said. CONTACT THE WRITER: 476-4817 or PHOEBE JIANG Liberty High School What’s next: Pursuing a career in biological sciences, possibly the medical field. If you could travel back in time and change one historical event, what would it be and why? To have an ancient civilization continue to flourish, like Egypt, Greece, or Rome. Had they continued and thrived, we would have been hundreds, even thousands of years more advanced than where we are at this point. Other stuff: USAA National Science Merit Award recipient; named in “Who’s Who Among American High School Students”; Memorial Hospital volunteer; founded Liberty High School’s A.S.I.A. (All Students Interested in Asia) Club to promote understanding of Asian cultures; tennis team.
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