Top Teens 2017
Meet the 12 winners of our Extraordinary Teen Awards
(page 1 of 12)
Senior, St. John’s College High School
PHOTO BY EDGAR ARTIGA
“When I was younger, everybody was taking Spanish, and I wanted to be different,” says 17-year-old Darian McGhee, whose fascination with the Chinese language took root in sixth grade. He now feels so strongly about Mandarin Chinese that a year ago he created an online resource center to entice other African-American students to study the language and broaden their career ambitions.
Darian, who lives in Silver Spring and is a senior at St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C., says many students of color lack exposure to Chinese in school or the financial means to study it independently. Burgundyforchinese.com, the website he created, highlights online courses, summer programs and institutes and universities that teach Chinese as well as provides links to social media resources. (He chose the site’s name because he felt the dark red color referenced both Chinese and African-American cultures.)
When Darian transferred to St. John’s his sophomore year, he continued studying Chinese through a Johns Hopkins University online program because his school did not offer Chinese classes. “I want other students to realize that Chinese opens up many job possibilities and boosts your college appeal,” says Darian, who has attended several selective Chinese programs, including a federally sponsored Chinese immersion program called STARTALK at the University of South Florida in the summer of 2014.
Darian is a National Honor Society member and a defensive lineman on St. John’s football team. Through his church, he regularly prepares and distributes meals to the homeless in parks in downtown Washington. Barbara Younger, his sophomore year counselor, says Darian has stood out as a strong athlete and well-rounded student. “He knows who he is, and he carries himself as though he does,” Younger says.
In college, Darian plans to study business or engineering, and wants to play football. He also hopes to visit China someday.