By Brenda Crowell
A Milford High School senior has been chosen as Milford’s representative for the Jewish War Veterans of the United States’ 67th annual “Classmates Today – Neighbors Tomorrow” brotherhood program.
Stephanie Wong, daughter of Henry and Cindy Wong, said that she was “a little shocked” to find out she had been selected as one of three first-place winners, who will receive a $1,000 scholarship, a gift card, and a certificate from the Jewish War Veterans.
“The program honors students across the Commonwealth who have demonstrated excellence in scholarship and an unwavering commitment to community service,” said Milford Public Schools Director of Grants, Technology, and Media Nancy M. Angelini.
Fifty-two Massachusetts schools participated in the program. While the Massachusetts Jewish War Veterans did not hold a ceremony due to COVID, the organization still awarded three first-place winners and three Honorable Mention recipients.
“We are so proud to see Stephanie recognized for her extraordinary service to our community,” said Milford High School Principal Joshua Otlin. “Stephanie is a remarkable young woman who has excelled in every conceivable domain at Milford High School.”
While academics play a big part in the selection process, Stephanie noted that the application gave priority to community service.
“The counselors came together to nominate me,” she said. “I submitted a resume that asked for my grades, but it was more about service and community involvement.”
Stephanie is an active participant on the Inter-ethnic Youth Advisory Board (I-YAB), a group that’s part of Boston Children’s Hospital Trauma and Community Resilience Center. I-YAB’s focus is youth extremist and targeted violence prevention. Her other activities include Pen-In-a-Box, which raises money for school supplies for impoverished countries, and National Honor Society.
“She has been actively engaged in athletics, performing arts, and a multitude of service and leadership activities, all while excelling academically in the most rigorous program of study,” Otlin added. “Her compassion and commitment to improving the lives of others, however, is what really sets her apart and what the Jewish American War Veterans were able to see. We have been so fortunate to have her grow in our school over the past four years and we know that she is going to make an incredibly positive impact in our society as she goes forth from Milford High School.”
Stephanie, who said that her classmates have been very supportive, hasn’t chosen a college yet; she’s heard back from three schools but is waiting on word from 12 more. She plans to major in biology as an undergraduate and then go to dental school to become a dentist.
She enjoys music and hanging out with her friends, adding that her community service work has never been about awards.
“I like engaging,” she said. “It’s fun to meet people and learn their backgrounds.”