Diamond BarHigh School

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Tim Huang Named Leo Of The World

By Imani Tate, San Gabriel Valley Tribune Staff Writer


Thousands apply. Few are accepted.


Mentors and friends say his generous spirit, pleasing personality and thoughtful kindness, not luck, earned Tim Huang the unique honor as a Lions International Leo of the World teen.


Jack and Wanda Tanaka, Diamond Bar Breakfast Lions Club liaisons to local Leo clubs, just smile when anyone asks them if there's something in the water helping Diamond Bar teens consistently win the Lions premier honor.


Huang is the first boy and fifth DBHS Leo Club member to achieve Leo of the World distinction.


Meng Meng Zhao, now a student at UC Berkeley, was named one of the world's most active Leo teens in 2004-05. Shahida Bawa, now at UCLA, won in 2005-06. Earning the prestigious status in 2006-07 was Jenny Yu who now attends New York University.


Anantha Singarajah, a freshman who founded a Lions Club at UCLA, was a 2007-08 Leo of the World.


"It's initiative," Jack Tanaka said. "Adults do a lot of guiding and advising. But students must demonstrate more than willingness to volunteer with community, city, charities and nonprofit groups. They must demonstrate initiative and creativity."


"They also must be willing to go the extra mile and lend the extra pair of hands to charities and community," Wanda added.


There is no higher honor for a teen in Lions International youth service affiliate. Thousands are nominated worldwide, but few actually win.


Huang is among 23 in seven are in the United States, one each from California, Illinois, Texas, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Hawaii.



Before he flashes the smile simultaneously charming and comforting, people meeting Huang might think he's a nerd who has no difficulty maintaining straight-A grades. 



His energy and bold initiative immediately alter that first impression, Jack Tanaka said.


"When they come in as freshmen, they're usually very quiet and reserved," Jack noted. "Not Huang. He was engaging and involved. He ran for the office of club secretary, a position previously held only by girls. He aimed to change that and did. He was a junior when he ran for president, also a position held only by girls. He won."


Huang is now Leo District 4-l4 president. The district includes all Leo clubs in Orange, Los Angeles and western San Bernardino counties.


"He has incredible energy," Jack Tanaka added.


Freddie Peng, 17, is the DBHS senior who succeeded Huang as club president. Huang is his best friend.


"Huang has incredible enthusiasm, energy and a passion to serve the community and world," Peng said, his praise making Huang blush.


"He truly serves with his heart," Peng continued. "He does a fantastic job at everything because he believes in what he's doing. He genuinely believes in service and sharing with others."


Wanda Tanaka said the two made the club more family-oriented and created projects allowing teens to have fun while helping others.


"This year has been extra special, so when the seniors graduate it will be hard for me," she tearfully confessed. "Huang is one of the children Jack and I never had. He's our No. 1 son. He has helped in so many ways we can't count them all."


Everyone needs role models whose example and attitude are worth emulating, Huang said. For him, it was his older sister Jessica. She graduated from Diamond Bar High, earned a degree in civil engineering and business from UC Berkeley and now works in international development for Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Jessica always had Huange to listen, volunteer, help, Huang said, smiling.


"She inspired me and helped me realize service is something we should incorporate into all aspects of our lives," Huang said.


Huang is the son of Eddy Huang, an administrative environmental engineer for the city of Long Beach and director of Tetratech's Clean Truck Program, and database consultant Prudence Huang. He was born in Yorba Linda and raised in Diamond Bar. The family recently moved to Chino Hills.


Academically gifted and physically fit enough to run 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter races for the school's track and field team, Huang doesn't volunteer to pad college applications.


A principal's honor roll student for four years and a National Merit Scholarship finalist, Huang has received acceptance letters from USC, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine and UCLA. He awaits word from Harvard, Stanford and MIT.