Over the last 19 years, Dr. Thomas Shieh has made an indelible impact on the island sports community, sponsoring volleyball tournaments and awarding one of the most coveted sports prizes on island – the Shieh Su Ying Scholar Athletes.
From a competitive field of applicants, he whittled the choice down to 11 finalists – all of whom are school leaders that exemplify the ideals of excellence in citizenship, athleticism, service and academics. All boast a slew all-island selections, medals and championships while juggling a full class load of Advanced Placement and honors classes.
"This year's class of Shieh Su Ying Scholar Athletes gathered over 90 AP and honors classes," Shieh said, commending the hundreds of hours of community service shared by all the athletes whose GPA averages 3.99.
"How do you choose among these 11 outstanding scholar athletes when they all excel in sports, academics, citizenship and service?" Shieh asked. "Among them are top graduates of their class and many all-island Most Valuable Players and champions, ... dozens of all-island first and second teams, gold and silver medalists in their respective sports."
Shieh acknowledges the difficulty in choosing, but is eager to reward them for their hard work.
"I am extremely proud to honor Guam’s finest scholar-athletes," Shieh said.
All finalists received an iPad. Tonight's dinner, sponsored by Shieh, will name the top two scholar-athletes, both of whom will receive a $2,000 prize and a MacBook Air.
Before tonight's dinner, The Guam Daily Post wanted to get to know finalists.
Here's a peek into the minds of the island's top scholar-athletes.
Brian Anderson, Macalester College
Dream occupation: physical therapist
Advice to incoming freshmen athletes: The road to success may not be easy, but the hard work you put in will pay off.
Aspirations: I aspire to complete higher education, pursue a career that I enjoy doing, support myself independently with a stable job, and give back to my island in any way, shape, or form.
Three words that describe me: respectful, self-driven, resilient
Personality quirk: I like to eat a lot.
A principle I live by: Always try to do your best in everything that you do.
Alexia Brown, University of Mary-Hardin Baylor
Dream occupation: nurse in mother-baby unit
Advice to incoming freshman athletes: My advice for incoming freshman athletes is to never settle with what they accomplish in their respective sports. Always keep striving to improve upon your performance by not only bettering your physical performance but also your mental.
Aspirations: My main aspirations after high school is to pursue my dream of becoming a nurse and to work my way up in the Army to become a colonel.
Three words that describe me: outgoing, passionate, dedicated
Personality quirk: I am a very superstitious person when it comes to anything with sports.
A principle I live by: “The pain might hurt now, but it will pay off later.”
Danica Cabrera, University of Guam
Dream occupation: physical therapist
Advice to incoming freshmen athletes: If you wish to succeed, remember that student always comes before athlete. Being a proactive student allows you to access unlimited knowledge and being a dedicated athlete allows you to gain discipline and a sense of leadership. Find a balance between both worlds. Continue to be passionate and inspire others.
Aspirations: I aspire to become a youth advocate who will use sports as an outlet to teach kids about the beauty of diverse relationships and the importance of giving back to their community.
Three words that describe me: observant, determined, passionate
Personality quirk: When I feel awkward or nervous, I stick my tongue out.
A principle I live by: The will to want a better future continuously encouraged me by reminding myself that “I’m already halfway there, so I might as well finish.”
Mason Caldwell, Colgate University
Dream occupation: orthopedic surgeon
Advice to incoming freshmen: Respect your coaches and love the game. It’s much easier to work hard when you love what you’re doing.
Aspirations: I want to help lead my college tennis team as well as future jobs.
Three words that describe me: competitive, easy-going, motivated.
Personality quirk: I can blow bubbles out of my mouth.
A principle I live by: If I enjoy what I do, then I can accomplish so much more.
Matias Calvo, Dartmouth College
Dream occupation: A lawyer involved in professional sports representing athletes or a sporting organization.
Advice to incoming athletes: Focus on your academics, because you have to make the grade to play sports. The offseason is a time to improve both physically and mentally.
Aspirations: To make the starting lineup on the Dartmouth rugby team and earn collegiate All-American honors.
Three words that describe me: tenacious, loyal and optimistic.
Personality quirk: I need noise to fall asleep.
Principle I live by: To always focus on growth. I try to remember that there is always something to learn academically, athletically, and spiritually.
Nyah-Kimani Chamberlain, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Dream occupation: civil engineer
Advice to incoming freshmen athletes: You will not always get gold, but what matters is that you never give up and always work on becoming both a better player and person.
Aspirations: Give back to the local community all the time for the effort they put into me.
Three words that describe me: compassionate, ambitious, generous
Personality quirk: I would rather solve hundreds of math problems than write an essay.
A principle I live by: Stop. Breathe. Try again.
Alyssa Dumlao, Chapman University
Dream occupation: film director
Advice to incoming freshmen athletes: Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Branching out to new sports and activities allowed me to create lasting bonds and led me to new passions – so avoid complacency and embrace the discomfort that comes with trying new things. I guarantee you will not only grow as an athlete, but as an individual.
Aspirations: Continue to play soccer in college and beyond. Graduate from college and slowly (but surely) make my way into the film industry.
Three words that describe me: Decide. Commit. Succeed.
Personality quirk: I can be really bad at conversing. If I know I'm going to be talking to a person alone, I try to plan ahead of time and think of topics to talk about. Obviously, I can't be ready for every conversation, so if we're ever speaking and it looks like I'm thinking really hard, it's probably because I am.
Principle I live by: Use your time wisely. I've done well balancing academics and my extracurricular activities because I know my priorities and I utilize my time properly.
Chris Morikami, Moorpark College (transfer to the University of California – UCLA or Berkeley, etc.)
Dream occupation: entrepreneur, financial analyst
Advice to incoming freshmen: Make the most out of your high school years. Try new things, be active in school, make friends, and just have fun. Don't take it for granted because once you graduate, you will be thrown in the real world and wish you can go back and enjoy your times in high school.
Aspirations: To establish financial stability,to invest into real estate, to explore and travel and to be happy.
Three words that describe me: tall, skinny, white
Personality quirk: I am able to think and reply in three different languages and even combining three languages into a sentence when I speak to my family.
Principle I live by: Perseverance. Life is full of challenges and we learn from those challenges. Life is a process and success does not come overnight. It is gradual and requires effort. Effort and determination is the driving force in achieving success. My high school has been filled with hardships and failures, but I stay motivated to do my best to achieve my goals.
Jaeryong Noh (J.R. Noh), Emory University
Dream occupation: hospital operational administrator
Advice to incoming freshmen athletes: Start working hard early because everything becomes less difficult as you go on through High School.
Aspirations: Be an individual that can take risks when given an opportunity.
Personality quirk: Hears words wrong most of the times.
A principle I live by: Working hard and pushing through the challenges early, while everyone else isn’t.
Isla Espinosa Quinata, University of Guam
Dream occupation: ultrasound technician
Advice to incoming freshmen athletes: Do your best in all you do and don't be afraid to make mistakes. Be resilient and keep in mind that mistakes are necessary to build character and shape you into the person you push yourself to be.
Aspirations: My aspirations include earning my bachelor's degree in sonography in order to pursue a career as an ultrasound technician. I hope to advance in my career and eventually open a pregnancy center where I could assist women ... throughout the processes of pregnancy and childbirth.
Three words that describe me: hardworking, active, outgoing
Personality quirk: I carry a $2 bill in my wallet all the time.
A principle I live by: Time management is very vital to me when it comes to juggling school and athletics. When you prioritize what’s needed, it gives you the ability to focus on not just one thing, but other aspects of your life. Being able to handle the demands of academics and enduring the hectic schedule of being an athlete all at the same time is difficult, but also rewarding. With that, you’re able to excel and strive in your academics and at the same time enjoy playing the sport you love most.
Richelle V. Tugade, University of Guam
Dream occupation: veterinarian
Advice to incoming freshmen athletes: If you feel like quitting, remember why you started. Mental strength is important.
Aspirations: To be an Olympian.
Three words that describe me: ambitious, humble, dedicated
Personality quirk: I’m a pianist.
A principle I live by: “The will to win, shall never be greater than the will to prepare to win.”