Super Students

Saturday, February 20, 1999

Name: Lani Chu
Age: 18
School: Sacred Hearts Academy
Favorite subject: Calculus, physiology
Pastimes: Piano, tennis
Future: Engineering, computer science

Working in Dad's memory

Lani Chu succeeds not because she has to, but because she knows she can.

And because her late father would have wanted her to.

"I'm doing this for him," she said. Chu's father was killed in a restaurant robbery when she was 4, but memories of him never left her. His last wish was for her to become a doctor, an idea that barely got past the dream stage.

"As I grew older, I realized it wasn't what I really wanted," she said. She also realized her father wasn't overly concerned with her career choice: "As long as I do it well, he'll be proud of me."

Chu tries to do everything well, including communicate -- Cantonese is her primary language. But despite this difficulty, she maintains a 3.4 GPA and received a scholarship from the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, whose recipients all have overcome great odds to "live the American Dream." Chu also is on the Electric Car Team, in the Internet Club, president of the Science Club and plays varsity tennis for St. Andrew's Priory (though she attends Sacred Hearts).

Former Advanced Placement English teacher Claire Griffin described Chu as a focused, diligent student who, unlike most kids, "bounced back ... in a happy way. She's determined to make something of herself."

Chu said her father's death made her independent and strong. "I only have to live up to my expectations," she said.

By Kimberly K. Fu, Star-Bulletin

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