Juniors Guo (Raymond) Yuan Li, Elizabeth Mintz and Samantha Leon from General Douglas MacArthur High School were recently recognized with a citation from elected officials and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Long Island for their efforts in building bridges across communities and creating a more civil society. Guidance counselor Patricia Mirando and one of the student recipients, Yuan Li, attended Nassau County’s Yom Hashoah program at the Mid-Island JCC to receive the honors.
Yuan Li was born in Venezuela, moved to China and returned to Venezuela before arriving in the United States when he was in fifth grade. At this point in his childhood, he had learned Spanish and Mandarin in school and spoke Cantonese at home. He arrived in the Levittown School District as a seventh grader needing English as a New Language services to improve his English. In ninth grade, Yuan Li spearheaded an English Language Learner club. As a student who benefited from ENL support, he wanted to share with others how he was successfully transitioning to the American culture and educational system. Yuan Li has shined as a leader in many organizations such as International Club and Key Club and volunteers at New York Presbyterian Hospital which has solidified his desire to pursue a career in Medicine.
Mintz is a strong academic student that has always found a way to compensate for her disability. Having experienced and witnessed discrimination and negative attitudes towards individuals with disabilities, she was motivated to use her experiences in the Girl Scouts as a way to reach out to the community to educate the younger population. Her goal is to connect with local elementary schools to speak with classes and educate them on various topics. She plans to read age-appropriate books and share some of her publications. Mintz has been a Girl Scout for ten years and is working on her Gold Award Project.
Leon is a model student and community member. She received her Girl Scout Silver Award in 2017. Her project was to find a way to help the homeless population in the community. It began by making blankets, collecting food and making more than 500 sandwiches to donate to the Interfaith Nutrition Network in Hempstead. Leon and her Girl Scout troop then created care packages and distributed them personally to the homeless on the street. While doing this, they engaged the individuals and heard their stories. Putting a face and story behind the mission made this effort much more impactful and had a lasting impression on her.
The Levittown Public Schools congratulates all three students on their dedication to others and their outstanding recognition.