National Honor Scholarship: Liu

When Farragut High School senior Alice Liu graduates in May, she will leave behind a legacy as a National Honor Society Scholarship recipient and as a student of volunteer service.

“It kind of felt like, ‘wow, everything I’ve done, it’s accumulated to this award, especially all the little successes that we’ve had in National Honor Society (at FHS) and the little things I’ve done for the school and for the clubs that I’m in,’” Liu said about her initial reaction upon receiving the news. “It just felt like ‘OK, now I’m being recognized for my commitment to the pillars of National Honor Society — scholarship, leadership, character, service, all that’ — so, it felt really great.”

“I really encourage these kids” to apply for the scholarship, said Allison Maldonado, world languages teacher who is an NHS co-faculty sponsor. “This year, from Farragut, we had a lot of applicants apply.

“She’s a student who not only takes rigorous classes of (Advanced Placement), but she also takes classes for enjoyment, which I love,” Maldonado added about Liu. “She’s a tremendous artist and a real academician.

“She sits in class, and she pays attention all the time. She asks questions for clarification, and she’s incredibly humble, which is also super-nice.”

Liu is president of NHS, president of the school’s National Art Honor Society and a member of Spanish Honor Society — she’s taken five Spanish classes from Maldonado.

“She does things that come from the heart,” Maldonado said about Liu. “She’s also up for the Presidential scholarship.”

Last summer, Liu volunteered at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. She’s involved with the NAHS Empty Bowls project, in which art students make bowls then serve soup at a local restaurant in the spring.

Liu recalled she received an e-mail, the same one Señora Maldonado got, that said “Aloha, you’re one of 600 students in the nation to win a National Honor Society scholarship.’

“That night when I got it, it was during Chinese New Year, and so we had called my grandparents and my distant relatives in China, and I was able to share the good news,” Liu said. “It was such a lovely, festive time to receive that sort of information … it was just so exciting and it was something we could celebrate, as well, during the holidays.”

While the scholarship award was for a few thousand dollars, she said what was more special about the award was, “I’m able to join a whole legacy of National Honor Society scholars … there’s so many accomplished people and there are so many projects and non-profits that everyone’s doing. So, to be able to join that community is such a privilege.”

Liu said her parents, Yaohua Liu and Inglong Gong, have supported her throughout her journey with the NHS, as well as her academic journey.

“They were, obviously, elated,” she recalled. “… It was such a glorious time.”

Liu was encouraged to apply for the scholarship by Maldonado and her parents.

She remembered she submitted the application “pretty late in the day,” and did not expect to be a recipient.

So, upon seeing the e-mail from Ronn Nozoe, CEO of the National Association of Secondary School Principals, who gave her the news of the scholarship, she said, “I was in shock.”

Then, “wow, I really did win the scholarship.”

While she has plans to attend college, seeking degrees for a career in social work or the medical field, Liu is undecided on a college.