ABC7 Top Scholar: Michael Yu

June 19, 2013 5:51:47 PM PDT
Every year, ABC7 chooses seven Bay Area high school seniors as our "Top Scholars." Each one gets a $1000 scholarship. The honor is based on exceptional achievements in academics and extracurricular activities.

Top Scholar Michael Yu attends Piedmont High School. This fall, he is going to U.C. Berkeley to study integrative biology.

For the past 11 years, Michael Yu trained in the Chinese martial art known as Wushu. He says, "The hardest thing about Wushu is probably really understanding the technique, and by understanding the technique, you have to understand the culture for sure. Like in a lot of the Wushu forms, there are a lot of animal style forms. So, you really have to look back on the culture and see how did they come up with this form? How did they come up with these moves?" he told ABC7 News.

That kind of thoughtful analysis helped make Michael a national champion. "I've won the All Around Grand Champion title, which is when you beat everybody in your age group in that competition, for seven years now," he said.

Michael is also an outstanding student with a 4.4 GPA and he loves to dance. Michael is vice president and choreographer of a break dancing club. He doesn't do anything halfway.

Counselor Ashley English says Michael "sets his mind to it and does his absolute best. And, he does it to perfection. And, he doesn't seem particularly stressed out. It just seems that's who he is."

But life has not always been so stress free. When Michael was just 9-years-old, his father died of a brain aneurysm. Michael remembers, "I really learned to mature a lot faster through that situation because I had to become the man of the house at 9-years-old."

Michael is one of three children. His older sister was named an ABC7 Top Scholar two years ago. All three siblings are Wushu stars. The Yu house is filled trophies. Michael estimates he's won at least 150 himself. "A trophy is a trophy, but what we see behind it is all the hard work and dedication we put behind it," he said.

That dedication to being the best should help Michael with his next goal -- a career in medicine. He'll be working on that in memory of his father and the doctors who cared for him. "Seeing how much of an effort they made trying to save him, you know, how much care they gave him, it was so inspirational to me," he said.

Join ABC7 on Sunday, June 30, at 3 p.m. for a special on all seven of this year's Top Scholars.


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