OUTSTANDING ASIAN AMERICAN HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES IN THE MADISON AREA
By Jonathan Gramling
VERONA HIGH SCHOOL
Alexander Bajoon has explored a lot of facets of high school life while establishing a solid academic foundation at Verona High.
Alexander performed in high school musicals, Shakespeare performances and performed vocal jazz. He competed in track &
field and was active in Red Cross Club, student council, Gender Sexuality Alliance, peer court, and restorative justice.
Alexander has been active in the Internet video game world serving as a community helper and player moderator for Janex
online videos. Alexander is an alumni of Badger Boys State, participated in Stanford Intensive Law and Trial and volunteered
with the Verona Police Department through the Verona Explorer Post. Alexander is graduating cum laude, received a dean
scholarship and will be studying neurosciences and civic engagement at Cornell University where he also hopes to attend
A National Honor Society member, Ragini Bora has been in perfect academic form during her Verona High career. Ragini
competed in varsity tennis. She exhibits a lot of care for students and community as the founder and president of Red Cross
Club, the first in the state. Ragini also mentored students at Sugar Creek Elementary School and did community service
through Interact Club. Ragini has shown an interest in the health field through her volunteerism at St. Mary’s Hospital,
Agrace Hospice and the Alzheimer’s Association. She also volunteered at Horizon Elementary’s summer school and at
Ratneshwari Elementary School in Assam, India. In her free time, Ragini has devoted herself to the study of Indian Classical
Dance, passing Kathak dance, levels 1-3, with distinction and certified for levels 1-3, the Imperial Society of Teachers of
Dancing in London, England. Ragini was named a National Merit Scholar and AP Scholar with Distinction and earned a
Sentry Insurance National Merit Scholarship. She is a Distinguished Young Woman of Dane County and was named an
Outstanding Young Person by the Urban League and Rotary Club Student of the Month. Ragini was a round three finalist in
the New York Times Editorial Contest and received the President’s Volunteer Service Award. Ragini will use Kemper Knapp
and William Vilas scholarships to attend UW-Madison this fall.
Hailey Sao set a course for higher education during her Verona High career. Hailey was involved in College Club and
participated in food drives with Future Farmers of America for three years. She also competed in lacrosse. During her junior
year, Hailey volunteered with the Heartland Farm Sanctuary. Hailey will use a school scholarship to study for a career in
nursing at Madison College.
Graduating magna cum laude, Vinauv Uday has hit the right academic notes at Verona High on his way to a solid
collegiate education. Vinauv performed with the school orchestra all four years. He’s been active in Science
Club, Spanish Club, French Club, Red Cross Club and Interact Club and has performed many hours of community
service through them. Vinauv got a great start on his college career by taking AP calculus AB, biology, language
and composition and human geography. He has enjoyed volunteering at the Verona Public Library and has
helped out with the school’s food and blood drives. Vinauv was named an Urban League Outstanding Young
Person, and was prom royalty. Vinauv will be enrolled at UW-Madison this fall.
A National Honor Society member, Rin Ujikawa has been focused on the needs of others while also
staying focused on academic achievement at Verona High. Through the youth apprenticeship program,
Rin received CNA work experience and took two health-related courses for credit. Rin has been
exhibiting her leadership skills on the student council and received her silver cord for over 200
hours of community service. During her spare time, Rin has volunteered with the Verona Public
Library’s summer reading program, St. Mary’s Hospital and the Badger Prairie Needs Network and
their food pantry. Rin’s excellence earned her an Urban League Outstanding Young Person
recognition and also earned a certificate of recognition at Rotary’s ethics symposium. She is
graduating cum laude and will use the Earl Blizzard Scholarship to attend UW-Madison to earn a
A National Honor Society member, Koby Vongmoukda added an artist’s touch to his academic achievements at Verona High.
Koby immersed himself in art department activities and got multiple pieces of his art work displayed. During his free time, he
would sometimes volunteer in community trash pick-up projects. Koby is going to take a breather before starting his higher
education career at Madison College in 2020.
Ilya Webster has a love of creatures large and small to go along with her love for academic excellence at Verona High.
Ilya was a member of Future Farmers of America during her sophomore year. In her free time, she helps create
blankets for Elizabeth House and make cookies for firefighters. Ilya also works at Monk’s Bar & Grill as a hostess. Ilya
was diagnosed with AMC (leukemia) in 2013 and her illness was covered on several news shows. Ilya will study to
be a veterinarian technician this fall and hopes to one day own her own horse.
WAUNAKEE HIGH SCHOOL
A Member of the National Spanish Honor Society, Kaitlyn Wilhelms has made an academic splash at Waunakee High. A
three-time MVP and team captain of the Waunakee girls swimming team, Kaitlyn holds five school records and qualified
for the state swimming tournament all four years. She also led the team to four North Badger Conference titles. Kaitlyn has
shown her commitment to her school community through Justice League, Pay It Forward and peer tutoring. Kaitlyn has
also been a lifeguard and gives swimming lessons at the school’s pool. In her free time, Kaitlyn has performed with the
Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra for the past seven years, performing at venues from Olbrich Gardens and the
Overture Center locally to halls in Italy and Peru. Kaitlyn’s excellence has earned her Urban League Outstanding Young
Person and Badger Conference Top Scholar distinctions. She earned a Waunakee High Life Science Award and was all
state honorable mention.
WEST HIGH SCHOOL
A National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society member, Niriti Adhikari has explored the world of health during her
West High career. Niriti was active with Health Occupation Students of America and the Public Health Club. She also
joined the Himalayan Club. Out in the community, Niriti enjoyed volunteering at the library and with the Nepali American
Friendship Association teaching students the Nepali language. She also worked at TJ Maxx. Niriti is an honor student and
received a scholarship from the Nepali Association.
Tamsin Engel has marched to the beat of academic excellence at West High. Tamsin performed with
the honor band and enjoyed creating ceramics. Tamsin has been involved in her church and has
held down a part-time job. The U.S. Figure Skating Association gave Tamsin a graduating senior
A National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society member, Steven Gio has excelled academically at West High. Steven
was named a Presidential Scholar.
Neng Lor has heard the call of academic excellence at West High. Neng has been active with Speak and Be Heard Club.
She has prepared for college through AVID/TOPS. In her free time, Neng enjoys volunteering at the Bayview Community
Center and was a member of United Way of Dane County’s By Youth For Youth funding committee. Neng sat on the honor
roll for two years and will begin her collegiate career at UW-Madison this fall.
Yam Maya Gurung became college-ready through her career of academic excellence at West High. Through
the UW PEOPLE Program, Yam prepared for the collegiate level. She performed with the Himalayan Club as
part of Fine Arts Week and helped with the MoMo workshop. Yam explored the field of medicine through
Health Occupation Students of America and was a fashion show participant during All Nations Day. During
the Nepalese New Year, Yam performed with a dance group. She has been active with the Nepali American
Friendship Association’s Deusi Bhailo. Yam also completed a UW Health internship. Yam is the recipient of
a West High scholarship and will enter UW-Madison in the fall as a PEOPLE Scholar to study biology.
A German Honor Society member, Marvin Hsieh has taken a world view to academic
excellence at West High. Marvin was involved in Model UN and won a Best Position Paper
award at a Model UN event. Marvin has also enjoyed volunteering at hospitals.
A National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society member, Kabiltan Kalaichelvan’s academic career has taken off at
West High. Kabiltan competed on the men’s soccer and men’s tennis teams. He was also active in the West rocket club,
often volunteering at elementary schools with the club.
Han Byul Ko’s academic prowess has soared at West High. He has been involved in rocket club and has
volunteered at STEM activities.
Kong Lor has paved the way to higher education through his academic career at West High.
Kong used the UW PEOPLE and AVID/TOPS programs to prepare for the collegiate experience.
Kong completed an internship with the Urban League of Greater Madison in 2018 and worked
as a program leader with MSCR. Kong earned an honor cord and employability skills
certification. Kong will be majoring in biology at UW-Madison this fall.
Graduating magna cum laude, George Yan has been competitive in all phases of his Verona High career.
George competed in cross-country and track & field as well as on the math team. George is possibly
blending his experience in Science Club and Art Club into a future career. He also served on the student
youth court and got involved through Interact Club. George earned a cross-country scholar award and will be
studying civil engineering at UW-Madison this fall.
PaDao Lor has been eager to pitch in for academic excellence at West High. PaDao prepared for the next
phase of her educational career through AVID/TOPS and helped prep for their meetings. She was also
happy to help out with Staff Day. PaDao also competed in soccer her first two years. In the community,
PaDao has volunteered with the Bayview Community Center, planning, leading and participating in
programs. She also participated in a Common Wealth program and was active with United Way of Dane
County’s By Youth For Youth funding committee.
A National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society member, Virginia Quach made sure she
was going to have a collegiate career during her West High stay. Virginia prepared for college
through the UW PEOPLE and AVID/TOPS programs. Virginia explored an education career
through TEEM Scholars. She helped out others through Key Club and was active with One West
and the Frida Kahlo Club. In her free time, Virginia was active with the Simpson Street Free
Press and competed on the Madtown Furies Rugby Club. She completed a biomedical
engineering internship, was active with Mobilizing Youth Voices and volunteered at St. Vincent
de Paul. Virginia’s excellence has attracted a lot of support to get to the next level of her
education. She earned a UW-Madison Chancellor’s Scholarship, a Women in Focus Scholarship,
a Madison Rotary Foundation Scholarship and an Ernie Rothe Scholarship. In addition she
received the PEOPLE Walter Lane Award and an American Legion Award. Virginia will be
studying at UW-Madison this fall.
After achieving academic excellence at West High, Yiyang Wang will begin the next leg of her academic journey at the
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.
A National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society member, Suchin Yang has flourished with STEM during her
West High career. Suchin competed on the girls’ tennis team and in the Science Olympiad. She was also active
in CMPS. Suchin performed a biomedical engineering research internship and volunteered at local hospitals.
Suchin is graduating as an AP Scholar with Honor and will study chemistry this fall at Wellesley College.
Wesley Yin has devised a perfect formula for academic excellence at West High of balance
between academics and co-curriculars. Wesley competed in tennis and the Science Olympiad
through which he earned various state medals. In his free time, Wesley enjoyed performing with
the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra and Music Makers. Wesley will begin his collegiate
career this fall at Washington University in St. Louis.
A National Honor Society member, Gail Macapugay has immersed herself in STEM activities during her Verona High
career. Gail was president of the Sea Perch Robotics Club and active with Science Club and WISE, Women in Science
and Engineering Club. Gail has also been a part of Interact Club and president of PLANT, Peers Learning and Teaching.
Gail earned her silver cord for volunteering at places like SSM Health where she was a lead volunteer and the Badger
Prairie Needs Network. She is a swim instructor at the YMCA and a server at mass in her church. Gail is graduating
magna cum laude and received a principal’s award. She is headed to UW-Madison to study neurobiology before
attending a medical school.
A National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society member, Isabel Rameker has been a long-distance academic
achiever at West High. Isabel competed in cross country her entire high school career and varsity lacrosse for the past
three years. She worked on the school newspaper and was active with community problem solvers. In the community,
Isabel provided childcare at her church and was on the youth governance committee of the Dane County Board of
Supervisors. She also fit in a part time gig as a lifeguard. Isabel’s excellence led to her being named a National Merit
Scholarship finalist. She will begin the next leg of her academic journey at Carleton College this fall.
A National Honor Society member, Ian Shi has hit the exosphere of academic excellence at West High.
Ian has been active with the rocket club and competed in Science Olympiad. Ian was a finalist in the
Intel International Science 4 Engineering Fair. He also competed in varsity soccer and was named to
the first team All-Conference soccer team. Ian has also been active with Green Club. Out in the
community, Ian has volunteered with the Madison Children’s Museum and the Wisconsin Science
Graduating magna cum laude, David Yi has had great designs on a collegiate career since he entered Verona High. David has been
involved in the Prosthetic Hand Club, an offshoot of the Engineering Club that creates prosthetic hands for people who need them.
David has gotten a great start on his collegiate career with courses in calculus AB and BS and AP courses in statistics, physics,
literature, language and composition and world. In his free time, David has volunteered with the Salvation Army and Centro
Hispano and has helped people with gardening and cleaning. David has been named an AP Scholar and will be studying
architecture at Washington University in St. Louis this fall.
A National Honor Society member, Bohan Dong has striven for academic greatness at West High. In his free time,
Bohan has worked on developing his own sharing website.
A National Honor Society and Spanish Society member, Diana Tamayo Morales has stood up for
community while taking care of her academic business at West High. Diana prepared for
college through the UW PEOPLE program. Diana was active with Familia Latina, One West and
Centro Hispano’s [Re]Generación and Escalera programs. She took to the streets, if necessary,
to stand up for people’s rights with Voces de la Frontera. Diana marched the Día sin Latinos
walkout and was present with the ICE in Madison Rally at West. Diana received an
employability skills certificate and is an honor roll student. Diana will enter UW-Madison this
fall as a PEOPLE Scholar to study political science and sociology.