Kadena High School
Kadena High School Valedictorian earns $180,000 scholarship
OKINAWA, Japan — “Roxanne Roman is an exceptional young lady ― very mature, dependable, hardworking and reliable with outstanding interpersonal relationship skills,” said Dr. Craig R. Colby, a Kadena High School teacher. “You can depend on her to get a job done no matter how much effort or time it takes.”
Those qualities and a positive attitude helped Roxanne Roman overcome the difficulties of being a military-connected kid such as frequent moves and lengthy separations from a parent due to deployments just to name a few. Yet Roman rose to the challenge by becoming the valedictorian of Kadena HS’s class of 2013 and earning a $180,000 scholarship to attend New York University Shanghai in China, NYU’s newest portal campus.
“I think what NYU was really looking for, especially with this inaugural class of 300 people, was someone with a very diverse background,” said Roman. “So when applying, I really talked about how this life as a military child has changed me for the better. I had to put the ‘star’ in starting over in every place we’ve moved, including a move right before my senior year.”
During spring break this year, NYU flew Roman to Shanghai where she met the NYU Shanghai faculty and talked with John Sexton, the president of NYU.
“It was probably the best spring break of my whole life,” said Roman, a native of Edwards Air Force Base in California who has moved five times. “I had the opportunity to meet people from all over the U.S., Europe, Middle East, and I was the only one from the Japan area.”
According to Colby, Roxanne is a rare and very sophisticated young lady who is 17 going on 37.
For Roman, responsibility is second nature. She refers to her many accomplishments over the years as “my bucket list” which included JROTC, National Honor Society, International Thespian Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta Mathematical Honor Society, school musicals and plays, student council—all four years, Red Cross club, Harvard Model Congress, Far East Drama, California Girls State, track and field, golf, cheerleading, marching band drum line, jazz band, and serving as a Vacation Bible School teacher for four years.
“I am the way I am because of my parents,” said Roman, whose parents emigrated from the Philippines. “I could ask them for support, and they’ve always given me that. My life has been so blessed compared to what they grew up with. Knowing this, I’ve taken advantage of those opportunities I’ve been given.”
Roman was further inspired by a visit to see her family in the Philippines at age 13. She has cousins there who are the same age but do not have the same opportunities, and she felt it was important to do her best for them and her whole family, stating that “it would be a shame if I didn’t reach my potential.”
“They are the greatest people I’ve ever met and were so happy to see me,” said Roman, as tears welled up in her eyes. “At that moment, I said, ‘You know what, I am going back to 8th grade and I am going to do my best for the rest of this year and enter high school with a vision to complete four years of school and show that I have been thinking of you. I am going to help you guys out someday.’”
Her caring personality, ability to adapt to change and thrive, and academic ambitions serve as a beacon for the next steps in her journey: positively impacting not only her family but people around the world.
About DoDEA Pacific:
The first organized schools for the children of U.S. military personnel serving in the Pacific were established in 1946 during post-World War II reconstruction. Throughout the decades, Department of Defense schools evolved to become a comprehensive and high-performing K-12 school system solely dedicated to educating the children of America’s heroes. Today, DoDEA Pacific’s 49 schools serve over 23,500 children of U.S. military and eligible DoD civilian personnel families stationed throughout the Pacific theater. The DoDEA Pacific teaching, administrative and school support team includes more than 3,300 full-time professionals. The schools are geographically organized into four districts: Guam, Japan, Okinawa and South Korea.