Heidi Huynh holds her Maine Principals’ Association award, which she received based on both her academic and extracurricular activities that involved volunteer programs and community work. Chance Viles / American Journal

Westbrook High School senior Heidi Huynh has been selected to receive a 2021 Principal’s Award sponsored by the Maine Principals’ Association.

The award is given in recognition of a high school senior’s academic achievement and citizenship. Huynh, an AP student, member of multiple clubs, hospital volunteer, avid snowboarder and painter, said she was “honored to receive the award,” which puts her in the running for one of 10 $1,000 scholarships to be awarded this week.

“She is a great student and a great leader who has integrated herself into many aspects of the community,” high school Co-Principal Jeff Guerette said. “She’s been a leader in promoting student voice and is influential among her peers, and she has the respect of everyone at Westbrook High School.” 

Huynh started the the school’s Multi-cultural Club, inspired by the Black Student Union founded by her friend Gracia Bareti.

Through dialogue-based meetings, she said, the club successfully created a community and a safe space for anyone in the school regardless of race, religion, creed, gender or sexual orientation.

“There I made some incredible and supportive friends. People really felt comfortable and heard,” Huynh said.

She is preparing for graduation and then moving on Wellesley College in Massachusetts in the fall, and she said she will miss Westbrook High School.

“Our schools have great AP programs that really pushed me, teachers that inspired me. I thought I hated math even until AP math,” Huynh said. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for our teachers.”

Her final two years in school were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but she said she believes the hybrid model that split students into groups and alternated in-person and remote learning days was a safe move.

Still, even the highly motivated Huynh had occasional struggles with the pandemic schedule.

“Some days sleeping in seemed like it would be best,” she said. “I know I have classmates who struggled and it was tough.”

She prefers to look at the positive side of things, though, such as how during the pandemic her circle of friends and her community have stayed intact.

“Westbrook has a lot of memories that I will cherish, it was a great stepping stone for me,” Huynh said. “Now I am going to college and on to that next stepping stone.”

Intrigued since she was young by the sciences, Huynh looks forward to one day being a doctor, though she can see herself possibly finding a new path and changing her plan.

Huynh and other award winners will participate in a Live Virtual Scholarship Drawing Event at 1 p.m. Friday, May 14. Ten $1,000 scholarships will be drawn among the other 100 recipients of the award across the state.

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