The latest Health Plus/NY1 Scholar Athlete of the Week is overcoming a language barrier to become the top student in his class. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.
High school is daunting to begin with, but for Christian Sugiarto, it started out as even more of a challenge. He's only been in America for two years and came here speaking almost no English.
"It was pretty hard, but I managed to learn it faster with the help of my teachers. They always helped me during after school and lunch, especially in class I always asked questions when I didn't understand," says Christian.
Christian's academic success at Newcomer's High School, a school for immigrant students, is remarkable. He's the valedictorian, and he's achieved his high grades in challenging Advanced Placement Courses.
"He's highly, highly motivated and you know he's just great to have around," says Christopher's AP U.S. Government and Politics teacher Christopher Gill. "It's amazing to see the ability that he has, and how he is using his abilities and how he's following through on everything. So that success is just around the corner for him, it's just a matter of time."
"Probably about the best student you can hope for, that any teacher can hope for," says Christian's music teacher, Jordan Sandke.
Christian was a member of the volleyball team last year but because of age restrictions he can't play this year. But he's staying involved by working as a manger for the squad.
"He showed so much dedication last year that we really want him around. He's a pleasure to be with the team, hard working. So whether he could help the team on or off the court would be a great thing," says Newcomer's High School Athletic Director Louis Llull.
It's hard to overstate Christian's role as a student leader. He's president of the student government where he organizes dozens of charitable endeavors like the penny harvest, breast cancer walk and more.
"Whenever students see me, they will take me as an example, every community service is fun, I just love to be part of the community and help," says Christian.
Christian has fully acclimated to American society and he gives his teachers and Newcomer's High School much of the credit.
"When I first got here I think I'm gonna hate it, but after I've been in this school for one year, I become more open, I love being here as part of the diverse community," says Christian.
So, for embracing his new country and being a leader to his fellow students, Christian Sugiarto is the latest Health Plus/NY1 Scholar Athlete of the Week.