FRESH MEADOWS, QUEENS (CBS 2) – A trip to the principal’s office turned into a celebration for a student in Queens.

For high school senior Viola Wu, fencing is all about fancy footwork and focus. A captain on her school’s team, she loved the strategy behind the sport.

“It’s more about thoughts. You have to think what your opponent’s doing,” said Viola.

It’s a technique she also applies in the classroom at Francis Lewis High School.

“Through all the distractions you have in high school,” said teacher Francine Weissman.

“Since I’ve known her, she’s done everything she could possibly do to get to this point.”

Including learning English. Viola couldn’t speak speak a word when her family emigrated from China eight years ago.

“The first year was really tough,” she said. “I had to study really hard.”

She said her parents hoped the move to America would give and her sisters an equal advantage.

“We have more opportunity for girls because we’re at the same level,” said Viola. “So that’s why we decided to come here.”

Another opportunity came calling on Thursday when Viola learned she one of just four students to win $100,000 from the Proton Energy Scholarship Program.

Her principal gave her the good news. “And then after that, I couldn’t hear anything that he said because I was thinking, ‘Really? Did that really happen to me,’” she said.

The scholarship means a full ride when she attends the Rochester Institute of Technology to study chemical engineering next year.

“At this point, I still can’t believe it,” said Viola.

And her teachers say it’s well deserved. “She’s the type of student who you know why you took this job,” said Weissman.

And on top of it all, Viola has worked part-time jobs since she was 14-years-old to help support her family.

More than 700 students applied for the scholarship that is open to aspiring scientist.

What do you think about this scholarship? Sound off below in our comments section:

Comments (10)
  1. Z says:

    . A captain on her school’s team, she loved the strategy behind the sport.


    1. Derek Niehaus says:

      Direct quote: …”fencing is all about fancy footwork and focus.” You obviously can’t fence since you can’t focus.

      1. Z says:

        they added that after my comment

        editorial privileges I suppose

  2. kendra says:

    congratulations kidsfor that award.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Way to go Viola. Francis Lewis is a huge school with 4,000+ students. You’re truly an outstanding student. Good luck to you.

  4. VMS says:

    Congratulations to the deserving students who won this scholarship through their academic excellence. And thank you to the non-winners, who I am sure had meritorious entries that did not win the ultimate prize, but had the fortitude to compete. You will all be our future scientists and engineers who will make a difference in advancing technology .

    Finally, a BIG thank you to Tom Sullivan whose generosity in paying for this scholarship recognizes that excellence in math/science education will pave the way for future betterment of everyone!

  5. gwen says:

    great to have awards such as this for those aspiring certain fields. advantages like this definitely comes by diligence. thanks to the generosity of those who give towards endowments, because these recipents help all of our future existence! may God bless all.

  6. Marina Ios says:

    congratulations to her parents and to herself, hardworking, industrious young person deserves the best life has in stock for her
    ps. i have noticed – and i think its not only me- that, generally speaking, more and more asian-background students are doing excellent in school, comparing with other “different backgrounds” students
    it is definitely a matter of culture, as in discipline and meticulousity, also parents who “dare” to say something to their kids- not like most others who do not get involved in their kids education, out of misunderstanding of the “give your kids the freedom of option” nonsense
    good luck young lady, you really deserve it

  7. Teacher says:

    She is a product of good parenting and good teachers, those that cross her path. A well deserved scholarship.

    1. richard Allen says:

      Wat U tlk bout TEECH????

      I gotz me a rekkid on de charts an made a half a mill N i only 19

Leave a Reply