ARLINGTON, Texas - Stella Hong of Cerritos, California, has been chosen by the International Bowling Campus Youth Committee as the Annual Zeb Scholarship recipient for 2021.
The Annual Zeb Scholarship recognizes a United States Bowling Congress Youth member who has achieved academic success and gives back to his or her community through service. The recipient, who must be a junior or senior in high school, receives a $2,500 scholarship.
Hong is a senior at Gretchen Whitney High School, where she has challenged herself with a variety of Advanced Placement and honors classes on the way to a 3.9143 GPA and induction into the Science National Honor Society.
Her excellence at the AP level has earned her an AP Scholar Award - AP Scholar with Distinction - granted to students who receive an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP exams and scores of 3 or higher on five or more exams.
The 18-year-old's academic success will lead her to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where she'll major in molecular and cellular biology and continue her journalistic endeavors, while her bowling experience has taught her about teamwork and camaraderie. Medical school, being a physician and ultimately working in volunteer service to help in low-income areas are her long-term plans.
She started bowling in third grade when her local bowling center offered a summer program that allowed her to bowl nearly every day.
"I am very excited to be receiving this award," Hong said. "Bowling has been a really important thing for me since I got a bowling pass at the local center. Bowling has taught me about working with people. Despite any differences in age or gender, it has helped me learn about being a team player. It has helped me learn to pick myself up and know others will support me, even if I make a mistake or miss a pin."
Hong also has excelled at balancing a very busy schedule that includes overseeing a staff of more than 60 in her school's newspaper club, working at The Korea Daily newspaper, serving as president of her school's National History Club, interning for her local congressman, participating in the model United Nations, captaining a team in the CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Education Program and participating in a variety of other science- and technology-related activities.
She is incredibly active in the local community, with a simple goal to motivate her - give back more to the community than she gains from it.
One of her most rewarding ventures is her role as president of the Buena Park branch of Young Leaders of Orange County, a group focused on tutoring low-income elementary and middle school students. Even with the recent challenges of COVID-19, Hong was able to continue the tutoring virtually.
She also has been instrumental in an annual local book drive, worked numerous roles as a volunteer with BlindStart of America and been a Big Buddy, Little Buddy ambassador for students new to her school.
Her efforts and dedication have earned her many awards. Recently, she earned a Congressional Award Gold Medal. She also has been a recipient of a United Nations Association Ambassador Award and a President's Volunteer Service Gold Award, presented to students who log more than 250 service hours.
"A lot of my motivation comes from working with people who motivate me, but I always make sure to find time for the things I'm most passionate about, like journalism," Hong said. "People joke that I spend more time at school and doing clubs than I do at home, but we use these extra-curricular activities as our way of hanging out, so it doesn't ever feel like work."
Hong's time at The Korea Daily allows her to share her own voice, while also mentoring young journalists. She can help in the creation and editing of their stories and share in the pride of seeing them in print, while helping to grow the overall voice of Asian Americans in journalism.
Along with adapting her tutoring strategy in light of COVID-19, Hong has done her best to continue doing the physical activities she enjoys, too.
With California's bowling centers being completely closed for most of the last year, she has spent more time running to stay fit. She also has found a way to virtually practice with her school's JAWS dragon boat team, allowing her to keep her form sharp.
Hong will be recognized as the Annual Zeb Scholarship recipient in April during the virtual 2021 USBC Convention.
This year's award ceremony, which includes a variety of awards for youth and adult bowlers, will take place virtually April 28 from 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Eastern.
A similar presentation will be held at the same time April 27 for award winners from 2020. The 2020 Convention was canceled due to COVID-19.
Hannah Vaughn of Fredericktown, Ohio, was the Annual Zeb Scholarship recipient in 2020.
The scholarship is named for Jim Zebehazy, who served as executive director of the Young American Bowling Alliance (YABA) from 1996-2004 and later as a regional manager for USBC. Zebehazy is a member of the 2020 USBC Hall of Fame class.
Visit BOWL.com/ScholarshipsAwards to learn more about scholarship opportunities for youth bowlers.