Concern for others, creative endeavors and plans for a career in communications consume much of the schedule of this week’s Valley Sun All-Star.
The girl with the big heart and dreams is Elaine Park, a junior at Flintridge Preparatory School.
Park is the daughter of Austin and Cecilia Park of La Cañada. She has a brother, William, 15, a student at La Cañada High School.
She was born in Glendale, lived in Montrose, and attended Learning Castle in La Cañada and then first grade at Monte Vista Elementary School, before moving to La Cañada in time for second grade at Palm Crest Elementary School.
After attending La Cañada High School 7/8, she transferred to Flintridge Preparatory School.
Park enjoys school and is currently on the dean’s list. This year, she was voted by her peers as one of about 16 youths — four in each grade — to be part of a conduct review group at the school.
She’s also a member of the school’s varsity swimming, water polo and tennis teams. And she sings in the school chorus.
She has been playing the piano since she was about 5 years old and regularly performs with a group of friends at area retirement homes and schools for disabled children. She also plans to use her musical talents together with brother, Will, who plays the violin, in August to provide a musical benefit concert to help North Korean refugees.
Cecily Young, of Glendale, has been Park’s piano teacher for the past five years. Young said she’s impressed with Park’s talent, as well as her ability to excel at a variety of activities and academic endeavors. “She is very advanced, but she doesn’t know how talented she is,” Young said, adding, “Not only is she an academic high achiever, but she has broad interest and knowledge of social issues. And she’s not afraid to show who she is. She doesn’t expect to be perfect, but she pushes her limits and wants to do her best in all areas.”
Friendship also is important to the youth, as is being respectful to her parents, teachers, and others in leadership positions, Young said.
Park is a member of Holy Trinity Korean Catholic Church, where she serves as a commentator and helps lead the mass, by reading from the Bible, making announcements and performing other necessary roles.
Being in front of a crowd comes naturally for the youth, who recently was one of four students to compete in the Crescenta Cañada Lion’s Club speech competition at Verdugo Hills Hospital. Park’s speech for that competition reflected her personal concerns with environmental issues and water conservation.
Park’s love of reading — and decision to not watch television at home — has given her the opportunity to keep abreast of world and environmental issues through devouring magazines and newspapers. The 16-year-old regularly reads “Time,” “Newsweek,” and other news magazines, her mom said, adding, “She loves to read anything and does a lot of reading.”
Elaine Park confirms she’s “a bit of a bookworm.”
“A lot of kids don’t like to read, but I just got into reading as a child and I read whenever I can,” she said.
Her childhood dream, she said, is to someday become a news anchor. However, she plans to also pursue a degree in business.
Her awareness of environmental issues was enhanced last year when she traveled to Singapore for a Stanford University summer program with classes on globalization and the new economic order.
She’s also involved in Assisteens, the Assistance League of Flintridge’s youth community service club, which provides blankets, goodie bags, and other items for underprivileged kids. Park said she and other youths in the club also plan to help out with a dinner this week at a homeless shelter in Pasadena.
IF YOU’D LIKE TO NOMINATE an exceptional young person who lives in La Cañada or is a student here to be a Valley Sun All-Star, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.