Debby Truong

How am I growing in my own awareness of my strengths and weaknesses?

Unity Fair

By being in charge of making the backdrop for the Unity Fair, I have grown aware of my ability to be in charge of large projects. Indeed I have been a leader by being president of Earth Club, but this was the first time I was able to lead in terms of directing and having my own vision of what I wanted, rather than have set instructions by teachers or others. I had not realized that I was capable of doing something so large-scale on my own. At first I doubted myself and was unsure what I was getting myself into when I raised my hand to volunteer to take responsibility for the backdrop, and this is one of my weaknesses. Now that I accomplished this, I have more certainty in myself and hopefully I get another opportunity to work on a large-scale project again.

Excercise

Throughout the summer, I pushed myself by getting more exercise. I tried out activities such as power walking and increasing my speed and stamina more and more each day, modern dancing, and also jogging. In the past I felt very unhealthy and unmotivated, but I know how to keep myself from slipping back into my old lifestyle. I usually like to lead a simple lifestyle, and I know that it is a weakness that could keep me lazy and unproductive. Now I know that when I have free time, I could either use it to be productive by helping myself or helping others, so that is a strength that I am aware of.

What challenges have I been through?

Unity Fair

I have gone through challenges of working with others whom I have not been familiar with. This has been an ongoing challenge, but this semester I took up the challenge of being part of a dance for the Unity Fair. I was in Asian Unity’s modern dance, which involved a lot of synchronized choreography, and that takes a lot of effort to establish, especially if one is not familiar with the others. We practiced at least three days a week, from after school until the sun was setting. In addition, I am not a professional dancer, so the moves took a bit of getting used to and memorized. Still, I enjoyed dancing and the thrill of performing in front of people.

E-Waste

In the summer, I went through a challenge with my own body because I did not know how to balance a good diet while exercising. However, throughout the months I learned how to balance my exercise and make myself feel healthier instead of focusing on losing weight. During the E-Waste, I had to interact with adults. In the past, it has been very difficult for me to talk to adults because I was timid and awkward. However, I tried to suppress my shyness and approached them professionally when asking for contact information for their electronic waste.

In what ways have I started new challenges?

Unity Fair

At the Unity Fair, I worked at the Asian Unity booth, and it was the first time I served food and drinks to those that ordered. It was a new experience for me since it was a fast process, and I had never had a job before, so it was a challenge to be able to work fast and efficiently to serve others. Hopefully this is a skill that I could develop and the challenge would turn into one that I would find in a job after I graduate.

Covina Parade

During the Covina Parade, I volunteered as a Runner and my job was to guide other volunteers to the right location of where they are supposed to help for the parade. I acted and spoke like a leader to those that did not know me and gave them directions that were passed onto me by the parade directors, and it helped in the parade running smoothly. I also started participating in the recycling program with BioClub, adding another activity to my list, and also developing more skills for the task such as moving quickly to collect efficiently.

In what ways have I developed new skills?

Earth Club at Blankets of Love

This year, instead of taking my small group of friends and myself and participating in the Blankets of Love, I added the Blankets of Love onto Earth Club’s agenda to get the entire club involved in making blankets for young cancer patients. This is a new skill for me in that I was able to take charge and add something new to Earth Club’s agenda besides doing the usual activities such as clean ups. This helped me develop the skills of organization and communication as I tried to get the word out about the program. By participating in the modern dance for Asian Unity, I have also developed skills such as working with others and dancing, and also developing my patience in learning.

Earth Club

I have learned how to make and organize meetings through agendas for Earth Club. In the past, I only had to read the topics and announce them, but I have to think and organize them myself now. I can communicate better with teachers now from my interactions with them from clubs. My communication skills are developing. I also had the chance to learn how to deal with money during the Philippines fundraiser.

In what ways have I shown perseverance and commitment to my activities?

Unity Fair

As I was in charge of designing and creating the backdrop for the Unity Fair, I stayed after school for 3 days until it was dark outside, working with a few of my friends on painting and outlining the backdrop. We worked long hours on our own, and at one point I injured my back from sitting and bending over for a long period of time to paint. However, the work paid off and the backdrop added a nice touch to our stage at the event. For Earth Club, I participated in campus clean ups and wrapped ink cartridges on days where they clashed with dance practice. I mended the situation by participating in both, even encouraging the dance group members to help out for the first time.

Unity Club

I volunteered to give up my lunch time to go and collect donations for Unity Club’s fundraiser for the Philippines. During campus clean ups, I have gone out to show the new Earth Club members where and how to pick up the trash. There was one time where I became sick during the day and stayed afterwards to help out at campus clean up despite not feeling well.

In what ways have I worked collaboratively?

Working With People Who Aren’t Friends

I have worked collaboratively by learning to dance in unison with others for the Asian Unity modern dance, which took many hours and days of practice with people whom I was not friends of prior to the activity. After this dance, I made several new and trustworthy friends. I also worked collaboratively by working with some of my friends and some others on the backdrop for the Unity Fair. For Bioclub, I have worked collaboratively by going around with others and collecting recyclables. I offered to be in charge of carrying the bags, and thus we parsed out individual responsibilities to make collecting quicker and efficient. Working the E-Waste and participating in campus clean ups for Earth Club allowed me to work collaboratively as well because we worked together to clean the parking lot and the campus.

Earth Club

I have worked together with the vice president of Earth Club to run the meetings. I also worked with other students during Earth Club activities such as campus clean ups and the E-Waste. During Unity Club, I worked with Mrs. Wilcox and other students to finalize a decision on a fundraiser for the Philippines Typhoon. I helped out the ASB students with the rally preparation work. I traced and painted some of their work while starting on new pieces that were needed.

In what ways have I been engaged in issues with global importance?

Environmental Family Night

For Environmental Family Night, I ran an activity that taught kids of the elements of the Earth that they had to protect, such as the forests and oceans. This spreads the message of protecting the environment that we live in to protect the future and provide a safe place for everyone and every organism to live. I also helped with the Sharing Our Humanity dinner by setting up the event and cleaning up, and this deals with global importance because the dinner was held to donate clean water to third world countries. The Unity Fair also deals with issues that have global importance because it is an event that unites all ethnic groups together, promoting the idea of getting along with those who are different than us culturally. It develops worldwide respect and appreciation.

Typhoon Fundraiser

For the Philippines Typhoon fundraiser, I donated and collected donations from classrooms to help provide to those that were affected in the typhoon that wiped out their homes. It is giving aid to those in a time of great need.

What are the ethical or moral implications of what I’m doing and learning?

Remembrance Walk

Setting up the Remembrance Walk and participating in it is important because it is ethical to respect those who have been lost and to remember them with others. By working on Blankets of Love with Earth Club through cutting the blankets at Cedar Grove and creating the blankets with other members, I am developing the good morals that had been taught to me by my parents. I have always had the influence of giving to those who are in need and by participating in activities like these, I am able to speak for myself and grow into an adult with my own motives. Helping with Sharing Our Humanity to provide water for others also adds to this because we were able to provide clean water for those who did not have access.

Fundraiser Typhoon

For the fundraiser for the typhoon, I am giving to those who are in devastated situations. Even though often times we may think that we are suffering in a bad economy, there are others who are suffering in worse conditions, so we should help them because we have more to give. For the E-Waste, recycling wastes that could potentially be toxic can save the lives of many animals and also the environment. Protecting the environment means protecting the future of all species on Earth. Volunteering at the temple allows me to help others by doing small, but helpful tasks. It teaches me that no matter how small the action, it may be greatly appreciated by others.

Service 5/31/2013

I attended the Sharing Our Humanity Dinner that was held to raise funds for children in South America to have surgery for cleft lips and palates. Being at the dinner made me realize all the more how thankful I should be that our society and country has better opportunities and resources than other under-developed areas. I also learned about the culture of South America and the superstitions they believed in that caused the cleft lip. It disheartened me to see some of the children struggling and their family not being able to help. However, the representative that came to speak inspired me because he provided his story of working to help the patients. As the dinner ended, I bought a t-shirt to help the club raise more money for great causes. The dinner further motivated me to continue to participate in a program that could help the less fortunate people after high school is done.

On April 27 and 28, I came to the school parking lot to help with the E-waste event. When I first arrived, I cleaned the parking lot by picking up the trash with a friend. When cars arrived to drop off electronics, I spoke to them and collected information. I always find it awkward and difficult to communicate with adults and especially those that I am not familiar with, so this event made me learn how to speak with them properly. It is always a good skill to learn. On the second day I held a sign out to inform cars driving by about our event. I also bonded with other students and received great advice from a senior during this event. Afterwards I helped with cleaning school parking lot again. I found out what a clean parking lot looks like since it is littered most of the time. It was a nice view, and I hope that we could always keep it clean by not littering.

On May 11, Charter Oak students went to Huntington Beach to pick up trash for a few hours. What I discovered while cleaning the beach was that there was way less trash than expected. There are hundreds of different people who come to the beach everyday, yet it is more clean than the school campus. My friends and I still did our best to pick up even the smallest of pieces and disposed of them correctly. I hope the beach can always remain clear of garbage so that the environment can stay safe.

Action 5/31/2013

In early April, I went on a hike along Walnut Creek with Earth Club to participate in a clean up. Mrs. Heins was also present on that day. My friends and I hiked along the trail and picked up bits of trash that were left behind by other hikers. Most of the trash and litter had made its way into the water though, so we waded through to collect them. It was a challenge to climb several places and over rocks to pick up trash, but with the help of other club members, the job was done. Although most of us got wet and were tired by the end, it was a happy kind of tired. We try to return each year to the creek to lend a hand to the environment.

Creative 5/31/2013

I volunteered to help ASB prepare posters and metal frames for the Spring Rally. I came to help ASB finish up posters and decorations before the day of the rally by painting, retrieving paint and supplies that were needed, setting up chairs on the field, and putting together frames to hold up the class posters. With my help, some tasks were completed quicker. I worked together with my friends to help them trace over drawings with marker and tape. It was fun to put in the effort. The posters were put up the next day and made the rally very vibrant and cheerful.

I helped at the Barnes and Noble book fair in second semester by volunteering with Earth Club. Earth Club was there to encourage the kids to help the environment by learning about the water cycle and water pollution. To help kids understand the water cycle, I used the different colored beads to help represent each aspect and put them together. As for the water pollution, we set up a lake made with blue tape and little bits of trash inside of the lake. This taught kids to fish trash out of the water to keep organisms in the water surviving. It was a creative way to get others to learn a concept in a simple manner, and it was fun to see the little kids enjoying the small activites while learning at the same time.

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Service 5/22/2013

Throughout this whole year, I have been Earth Club’s vice president and I have been hosting the meetings alongside the president of the club. However, there were few new things that happened this semester that differed from last semester. First, the president was absent a couple of times during meetings and so I had to hold the meetings by myself. I learned how to organize my thoughts quickly to host a short and informative meeting. These meetings got more people to come to our campus clean ups to help keep our school clean. There was one meeting where both the president and Ms. Foy was absent! I felt like I was being put to the test that day, but I pulled it off well and got all of the information out to the club members. This shows me how much I have improved with public speaking and it also shows me how much I have learned leadership. Now I am able to approach new people comfortably. I also just got elected Earth Club president for next year! I’m excited to see how I can run meetings next year and how I’ll plan events with the other officers.

I have been to every campus clean up that happened this semester. They are held almost every other Thursday after the Wednesday Earth Club meetings. Through these clean ups, I have gotten familiar with more members of the club and have become friends with them while helping clean our campus. I’ve picked up so much trash that it now bothers me to see pieces of trash in my path and not pick it up. Whenever I can, I pick up as many pieces as possible on my own time since it has become a habit. This helps maintain our school’s image and keeps the world healthy as well.

I also picked weeds at one of the planters at school. It takes a lot of effort to clean the planters since there’s always so much trash in them from the people that litter during lunch. In addition to the trash, there are bunches of weeds that we must pull to keep the plants neat. My friends and I worked on the planter for an hour, but the results did not turn out as drastic as we hoped. Still, it was a great experience as I made a friend and shared great laughs while pulling out unwanted litter and weeds.

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Action 5/22/2013

This year in February was the first time that I attended the Remembrance Walk for Charter Oak. I volunteered with Earth Club to help set up some of the trash cans and recycling bins that were placed around the football field. I also took part in counting and tallying how many laps everyone did as well as walking the track with my friends to help raise money for the seniors while honoring those who have passed on. After the event was done, I helped clean up and bring in the bins that were set out. The cleaning up was what made me sweat the most, but I liked the feeling of working and perspiring because it tells me that I am doing something right. It was a great day and I enjoyed spending my morning for a great cause, helping out alongside friends.

I attended the Unity Fair in March and helped clean up the area afterwards. An extra pair of hands helps fold away chairs and tables quicker and I felt that if we get to benefit from sitting and eating at the chairs and tables, then we have to at least help put them back. I did not want to leave everyone else to do the job of cleaning up while I had fun.

I helped at Cedar Grove after school on May 2nd by setting up stands and sets for the 4th grade play. Although it appeared to be an easy task, when I got to doing it, I broke a sweat. I learned how to use a staple gun also.

Creative 5/22/2013

I participated in the Blankets of Love program this year with several of my friends. This taught me a new skill and I realized how easy and simple it was to make a blanket, but at the same time it meant so much to others. I hope people know that it’s that simple to make another person happy. We spent one whole day together to make 6 blankets for the needy children, and we had fun while doing it.

I made a flyer and also helped with a poster for the publicity of the Unity Fair. This got me to think of all the aspects of different cultures that I had to consider while making the flyer. As I am not an artistic person, I tried my best to come up with something that was vibrant and eye-catching while relating to cultures around the world. At the end, I felt proud of my work and I hope to make more flyers in the future.

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Creative 1/21/2013

“I volunteered after school to help ASB draw and make posters and cut-outs for the fall rally. Before helping out, I did not know how much effort it took to make the posters and decorations that we see around school. I learned that it takes time, patience, and creativity to perfect the details that students often over look when passing by a poster in the hallway.
On December 26, 2012, I volunteered to help decorate a float for the Rose Parade. Although it was very cold, I had a lot of fun volunteering with friends and getting to experience what it was like to participate in the making of such a huge event. I got to see how difficult and time-consuming the job was; it took a lot patience to finish the details on just a tiny portion of the float.”

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Service 1/21/2013

“I am the vice president of Earth Club. Over the summer, I met up with the other officers of Earth Club and we planned the activities for the school year. I also counted up the amount of trash Earth Club has picked up to keep track of how much we need to do to reach our goal. This helped me gain experience in organizing events and important dates.

During Earth Club meetings at lunch, the president of the club and I run the meetings and choose educational activities based on the members’ opinions and interests. Through these meetings I have improved my ability to speak in front of a large audience. I also learned how to quickly organize my thoughts and speak clearer.

I have participated in many campus cleanups for Earth Club in my past years of high school. This year I have only participated in a few, but each time I pick up trash on our campus, I feel disappointed in the students that don’t take the time to put their trash in the bins. Often times the trash I pick up is not that far away from an available trash can. I feel proud that I can be mature enough to place trash where it belongs.

During the Charter Oak Book Fair at Barnes & Noble, I volunteered along with Earth Club to make bracelets and play games with the children for the afternoon. This helped me build my confidence in being able to speak to people whom I’m not familiar with, because I can be timid and shy. I also had fun with the children and made them feel comfortable.

On October 13th, I helped out at the Covina Center of the Performing Arts. I welcomed guests at the door and worked in the kitchen for the evening. This gave me a fun job experience and I learned how to work with others that I was not familiar with. The guests were very satisfied and I felt satisfaction within myself for accomplishing that.

On October 27th, I volunteered to help out with the E-waste for Earth Club at our school. I stood on the curb of the sidewalk and held a sign to attract people who wanted to recycle their old electronics. When there were no people, I went around the parking lot to pick up trash. While working with my friends, I learned that each of us contributed to a healthier environment by simply picking up several pieces of trash and recycling hazardous materials, and it made me feel good about myself.

In November, I volunteered for Environmental Family Night at Cedar Grove Elementary School with Earth Club. I manned the bingo game and played with the kids there. I also helped set up and clean up in the cafeteria before and after our event. What I learned about myself was that I have a lot of confidence when it comes to interacting with children, and I also have a strong voice. This could help me with public speaking in the future, and I hope my confidence would work its way to speaking to adults as well.

I volunteered with Earth Club at the beach clean up at Bolsa Chica. We hiked along the PCH and picked up trash along the way, and once we reached a ditch near a small river where fish and birds live, we had to make our way down to clean the area. Although it was dirty and hard to get down and back up, I picked up a lot of trash such as Styrofoam and plastics. There were many cigarette butts as well. This taught me that not many people are aware of where their trash ends up, and it motivated me to keep the environment clean and to inspire others to make a difference, because our world needs to be healthy and safe to live in.

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