SAY CHEESE! Iris Wu poses with her students in Taiwan.

Photo courtesy of Felicia Yeh

By Cynthia Tran

Senior Iris Wu went on a trip to Taiwan this summer as a volunteer for the AIDS (Assisting Individuals with Disadvantages Summer program) where she spent two weeks teaching English to underprivileged children in remote areas of the country.  She is also in PHHS 10k club, NHS (National Honor Society), Music Honor Society, and has a passion for running.

Out of all of Iris’s memories and achievements, her trip to Taiwan stood out the most.

Iris dedicated all her time to the kids during those two weeks, bonding with them and learning about their culture.

Iris would wake up significantly earlier than everybody else to go run a couple of miles to start her day then wake everyone up to get started.  She was constantly at the school, sleeping in the elementary’s kindergarten room overnight teaching the kids from 9am to 3pm from Monday to Friday for two weeks.

Even after school, she met with the administrators and teachers of the elementary school to plan the next day’s lesson and played with the kids after that. She devoted her time spent in Taiwan to the kids.

“It’s actually funny looking back on it because I think I learned just as much from the kids as they did from me, if not more,” reminisces Iris.  “I loved the kids.  It was a lot of fun just to hang out with them and play games and whatnot.  I think the best part was that it actually made me feel like I was helping make a difference in their lives  .”

Iris is also captain of the PHHS Cross Country team. She immersed herself in running daily since her sophomore year in high school.   “I like running because it makes me tougher. Sometimes during season we’ll be running 40-50 miles a week,” she explains..

“I never really thought I’d be running marathons or anything like that.  Two and a half years ago, I could barely run four miles without struggling to catch my breath,” she muses.   Iris participates in various races such as the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot. She also participates in 10k runs (6.2 miles) and half marathons (13.1 miles).

Iris had ran her first full marathon (26.2 miles) in May this year and placed first in her division (19 and under) with a time of four hours and eight minutes.   She is also planning to run another marathon this coming spring.

As the president of the PHHS 10k club, Iris has a passion for staying fit. She is also an active member in NHS and Music Honor Society.

Iris been playing percussion since the age of four.  She plays in the PHHS Symphony Orchestra, and is currently the principal percussionist of the California Percussion Ensemble outside of school.  Iris have been a member of the Santa Clara Country Honor Band and the California All-State Honor Band multiple times.


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