The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Sophomore Pursues and Excels in Multiple Passions

One passion requires hard work. Three requires a special level of dedication applied by few. For sophomore Andrew Lee, that same dedication has allowed him to pursue his three passions—violin, taekwondo and math—and to excel in every single one.
Andrew has been playing violin for nine years and takes lessons through the Pre-College Division of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, which represents a community of musicians and friends to him.

“In terms of violin playing, it’s taught me how to be a better orchestra player as opposed to a solo player [because] in an orchestra you have to learn together,” Andrew said. “A lot of the values we learn in orchestra are applicable in real life, not just in the music world. [Some of the things] I have learned [are that] hard work and dedication translate into success.”

Currently, Andrew plays in the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, which is comprised of more than 100 of the Bay Area’s best classical musicians.

In addition to the violin, Andrew has also been participating in taekwondo for ten years. Currently, he holds a second degree black belt in taekwondo and practices poomsae, a form of taekwondo that focuses on fixed routines rather than sparring.

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Recently, Andrew has been competing in the synchronized pair division for poomsae with his older sister, senior Elaine Lee. The pair participated in the 2014 U.S. Open Taekwondo Championships, a highly prestigious event, and placed seventh in their division. Later on in the year, Andrew and Elaine went to state championships and ended up winning gold for the pairs division.

The success did not come without its share of sweat and struggle.

“I still remember spending countless minutes in front of the floor-to-ceiling mirror at our studio, repeating movements over and over until they matched,” Andrew said. “I [was] privileged to be able to work with someone so close to me. Through our experiences, we have become much closer.”

The mental endurance required for taekwondo has helped Andrew excel in other activities as well, such as math.

For the past two years, Andrew has qualified for the American Invitational Mathematics Examination, a prestigious math competition.

“[Math competitions] are a fun and challenging way to apply math in areas that we normally don’t learn about in school,” Andrew said. “I like…the problem solving aspect, where you are given a problem and there’s no straightforward way to solve it. You have to resort to ingenuity and it allows you to be creative.”

Andrew believes that pursuing his three passions has allowed him to develop valuable life skills such as cooperation, discipline and creativity. In spite of all that he has learned, Andrew remains humble about his achievements.

“Even when I achieve my goals, I am reminded that there is always more room for improvement,” Andrew said. “Seeing how far I’ve come allows me to set…goals for next time so that I can constantly challenge myself. My achievements motivate me to work harder.”

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