Holy Trinity senior keeps piling up awards


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Soyoun (Soy) Choi, a senior at Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy, wants to major in biomedical engineering.

Ernest Arico

The awards keep coming for Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy senior Soyoun (Soy) Choi.

Choi recently was named a 2018 Wendy’s High School Heisman state winner. The 18-year-old Baytree resident is the only nominee or winner in Brevard County, one of only two in Florida, and one of 99 students selected nationwide. Choi will receive a $500 college scholarship and will continue to compete for the chance to become a national finalist or national winner.

In addition, Choi, who is the captain of Holy Trinity’s girls golf team, has been named a semifinalist for the 2019 class of the Coca-Cola Scholars Program.

“It was quite unexpected,” she said. “I was very surprised to receive such honors.”

A Holy Trinity student since the ninth grade, Choi has a weighted grade point average of 4.99. She wants to major in biomedical engineering and develop remote control prosthetic limbs. She is interested in attending Johns Hopkins University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Michigan, Stanford University, Princeton University or the University of Florida.

As far as playing collegiate golf, Choi said it depends on which school she attends. “I would like to continue playing golf in college,” she said. “I think it depends on what school I get a scholarship.”

Her personal best score as a high school golfer was the 75 for 18 holes she recorded at the recent state regionals in Orlando. Choi said her putting is the best part of her game. “I have saved many strokes because of my putting,” she said.

Choi said her favorite professional golfer is South Korea’s Se-Ri Pak. “My parents showed me lots of video of her playing golf,” she explained. “I learned a lot from her.”

She also credits her parents, who are from South Korea, for sparking her interest in golf. “They helped me a lot,” she said.

Besides being on the school’s golf team, Choi serves as student body co-president and president of the National Honor Society. She is a member of the Florida All-State Orchestra and Brevard Symphony Youth Orchestra. She has been named a National Merit semifinalist and AP national scholar, and is a member of numerous other clubs and honor societies. To date, she has completed more than 700 volunteer service hours.

Choi, who plays the violin and viola, frequently volunteers on weekends at numerous Brevard County medical facilities.

“I am part of a musical group of high school and college students that play for hospital patients,” she said. “We knock on patients’ doors and ask them if they want us to perform for them.”

From a total applicant pool of nearly 42,000 high school scholar-athletes graduating with the class of 2019, 99 students were named state winners in Wendy’s annual scholarship competition.

State winners receive a $500 college scholarship and continue to compete for the chance to become national finalists or national winners. National finalists receive a $1,000 college scholarship and the male and female national winners receive a $5,000 college scholarship and a trip to New York City to attend the Heisman Trophy Trust’s annual college Heisman award broadcast on Dec. 8.

To apply, students must be graduating with the class of 2019, have a cumulative high school grade point average of a B (3.0) or better, participate in at least one of the 47 sports recognized by the International Olympic Committee and/or the National Federation of State High School Association and be a leader in his/her school and community.

Choi credits Holy Trinity for making her a good student. “I am academically challenged here,” she said. “There are a lot of rigorous courses. Right now, I am taking a multi-variable Calculus course.”

The Wendy's High School Heisman was created by Wendy's founder Dave Thomas in 1994. Thomas dropped out of high school when he was 15 years old in order to work full-time and went on to become one of the most successful entrepreneurs in history.  While this nontraditional path led to his prosperity, it always worried Thomas that others would follow in his footsteps and expect to achieve similar fame and wealth by not finishing high school or attending college.

Faced with this dilemma, at 61 years old, Thomas enrolled at Coconut Creek High School in Fort Lauderdale and eventually received his General Equivalency Diploma (GED). Inspired by this moment and with a desire to celebrate the outstanding achievements of youth in America, he launched the Wendy's High School Heisman program.

Twenty-five years later, Wendy's High School Heisman has honored more than 600,000 of the nation's most esteemed high school seniors who share Wendy's values of giving back to their communities, treating people with respect, continuing education and excelling in the athletics.

Besides the Wendy’s Heisman award, Choi was named a semifinalist for the Coca-Cola Scholars Program.

Choi was one of 1,896 high school seniors selected as semifinalists from a pool of 95,715 applications from across the country based on their academic excellence, leadership and service demonstrated in school and community activities.

All semifinalists are in the running for 150 college scholarships worth $20,000.

Semifinalists are now asked to complete Phase 2 applications, which include essays, recommendations and transcripts. An independent selection committee will review the applications and select 250 regional finalists by the end of January to participate in online or in-person interviews. About 150 Coca-Cola Scholars will be named in March and come to Atlanta in April for a celebratory banquet and Leadership Development Institute facilitated by program alumni.

Choi said she will write her essay about her golfing experience. “I used to play golf with my grandfather’s old wooden clubs,” she explained. “Now, I use newer clubs. I want to write about that. I have an interesting story to tell.”