By Daniel Polonia
Baldwin Senior High School
Emely Ou Feng wants to use her experiences as an outsider to help others.
As a Chinese girl born in the Dominican Republic, Emely knew what it was like to be different. Nothing changed when her parents sent her to China at the age of four to be with her grandmother. Although her first language was Spanish, she had to learn Mandarin. She was in an Asian world but once again was seen as different due to the way she spoke. “It is not okay to be seen as different in China.” Emely said.
“My grandmother is my biggest motivator. She makes me want to be a better person,” Emely said. She stayed with her grandmother until she turned eight, when she returned to the Dominican Republic to be with her parents. With time, she said her knowledge of Spanish had been reduced to almost nothing, so she remained quiet and introverted. “I remember one day, I bumped into a boy at school. I apologized to him in Spanish and he turned around and said, ‘Oh, you can actually speak?’”
After researching online, Emely wanted to seek a better education in America. She was able to persuade her parents to move to Brooklyn when she was 11.
“It was easy,” Emely said of the adjustment. She was no stranger to new experiences, but this time she would not let others see her as the quiet and shy girl that she had been.
As a freshman in John Dewey High School, in Gravesend, Brooklyn, Emely, now 15, became a goalie on the soccer team and made friends. One of them is Alex Chen, who said that “Emely’s biggest priority is school. She is passionate about her success and what she can do for herself and others in the future.”
Emely is also passionate about consuming and creating horror and suspense stories.
This love of writing led to an interest in journalism, where she aspires to create a name for herself covering politics, investigations, recovery from warfare, and social equality. In these areas of journalism, Emely believes she can make an impact. “When I write, I will discuss my first-hand experiences and use my voice to help others who have been in my shoes,” she said.
In order to reach this goal, Emely is participating in the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists.
Emely has learned that she should not be afraid to speak because she was different. She knows that every outsider has thoughts that can change the world, and her goal is to help every one of them – including herself – become an insider.
“I want to prove everyone wrong.” Emely said. “I want to use my voice to help as many people as I can.”