This week's NY1 Scholar Athlete of the Week always puts others first, unless she's running against them in a meet. Anthony Pascale filed the following report.
For Stephanie Loo, everything comes back to giving back. The Townsend Harris High School senior says her desire to help has motivated her to take on some impressive challenges.
“Freshman year, I was kind of crazy, I decided to train for a half-marathon on my own,” said Loo.
Loo has run a half-marathon every year since with Team World Vision, raising thousands of dollars to provide clean water for children in Africa.
“When I run the half-marathon, I just feel so fortunate that I am able to run, that I am able to drink clean water,” she said.
Her speed and dedication caught the attention of Townsend Harris' track coach, who asked her to run for the school. She now captains the cross-country team and participates on the indoor and outdoor teams.
“Stephanie is a true leader, she is the organizer of the team,” said Tim Connor.
“Just encouraging them, motivating them during workouts, and during meets and it's just been amazing seeing how much they've all improved and seeing myself improve,” Loo said.
Teachers say Loo's positive influence extends beyond the track. She is the president of the school's Christian Club and a teacher's assistant for Dancing Dreams, helping young girls with physical or mental disabilities learn to dance.
“Students are really, they respect her and they want to follow whatever she's leading in. So if it's in track or if it's in studying for calculus or if it’s in an after-school club, they want to do what she's doing,” said Assistant Principal Ellen Fee.
“She is one of the ideal students you want to have in a classroom, really just delightful,” said AP Calculus teacher Sara Liu.
Her extracurriculars and A-average in class have earned her a spot in the University of Pennsylvania's prestigious Wharton School, where she plans to put her philanthropic drive to good use.
"I'll be studying business, but eventually, I am really interested in doing non-profit work,” said Loo.
So, for always going the distance to make a difference, Stephanie Loo is NY1's Scholar Athlete of the Week.