Josephine Lee

Passion Paves the Way


Josephine Lee at her Monte Vista Cross Country meet with her friends, Eliza and Christina, who are supporting her.

Claire Chu, Staff Writer

   Countless students fight to make a change for others, but one student creates a long term effect for many whilst participating in multiple activities.

   For most people, five miles a day isn’t even close to their daily exercise, but Monte Vista freshman and Mount Diablo Heat runner, Josephine (JoJo) Lee, dashes miles through the tracks everyday. In her fourth year of cross country for Mount Diablo, Lee has now begun running for the Monte Vista cross country team.

   “I really enjoy being part of a team and I like how everyone supports each other,” she said.

   Her passionate spirit fuels her to great success and her teammates always have her back.

   With Lee’s determination, she is able to maintain a 4.0 GPA through every semester. It certainly takes a lot of time and energy to pace activities on a daily basis, especially as a high schooler. Lee is on her third year of playing the violin: three years at Diablo Vista as concertmaster and her second at Oklahoma Youth Orchestras (OYO).

   “I try to set aside a half an hour each day for practicing, which honestly isn’t half as much as I need,” Lee said. “Completing all my homework isn’t too much of a problem as long as I focus.”

   Senior Justin Chang was a fellow concertmaster at Diablo Vista, like Lee.

   “It’s definitely hard to be amongst the top in the violin group,” he said. “You need to put a ton of hard work into learning the violin and playing it beautifully, especially with additions of schoolwork and other activities.”

   In comparison to Chang, Lee puts in 110% of her efforts to accomplish the needs of a concertmaster. As a tennis player on the Monte Vista Varsity Team, Chang also understands the effort needed to play the violin well on top of extracurriculars.

   “It can be overwhelming, but I persevere and the hard work all pays off in the end,” he said.

   Admiration comes from her classmates, teammates, and coaches as well. Freshman Caroline Chu is on the Monte Vista Junior Varsity Water Polo Team, Monte Vista Women’s Ensemble, Danville Girls’ Choir (DGC), Mustang Soccer Revolution, and National Charity League.

   “Conflict is the hardest because then I’ll have to choose between other activities and still have a lot of homework to do,” she said. “I just have to be efficient and finish homework between practices.”

   Furthermore, one of Lee’s cross country teammates, Amy Bao, said that having the right mindset is important, which also includes knowing when to relax. Besides being a dedicated person, Lee likes to calm her brain down by playing piano, writing, and being a “bookaholic”. It is tough to manage everything, but finding the right solution is key.

   This is just the start of Lee’s busy life. She continues her long schedules by serving others as a member of NCL, a mother-daughter volunteer organization, in the Rolling Hills Chapter. She frequently works at the soup kitchen to serve those who are in need of food and directly impacts their lives.

   “I will continue to encourage everyone that another person’s life is just as important as yours,” Lee said.

  From her endless work of providing for shelters, she received a mother-daughter award for two years of completing thirty hours of philanthropic work alongside her mom. With this astounding achievement, she is hoping to continue this path and hopefully inspire others to do anything they can, no matter how busy life gets.

   Sacrificing time into completing something so voluntary and optional can just be a short term activity. However, Lee plans to work alongside other peers and create more attention to this organization. In the next few years, she hopes to be happy and surrounded by family and friends.

   “I’m going to keep doing what I love,” she said.

   Many will question how Lee is able to accomplish all of these activities she enjoys. There are challenges, but to Lee, they are totally worth it when love and passion are involved.

   “The hardest thing is prioritizing all your different activities, deciding which one you can do that day, because you know you can’t do them all,” Lee said. “Free time becomes an abstract, unattainable concept.”

   Especially for NCL, schedule conflicts build up constantly, but Lee chooses to serve others because that is so important to her.

   Improving has always been the perspective Lee looks towards. In her first year in Oral Interpretation, Lee is enjoying it so far.

   “I’d definitely like to become a more confident speaker and person in general. Hopefully, oral interp will help me with that,” Lee said.

  As a well-rounded person like Lee, looking for ways to get better in a certain area is valuable to realize. For piano, she is looking forward to starting more advanced pieces in piano in order to excel in that field.

   Though not everyone can be a Josephine Lee in this world, taking the steps to find a life-changing passion and extend it will become special. Lee’s actions will leave a lasting impact on others, and prove to be a driving force for others who understand her message.