October 02, 2014

‘I try my hardest in everything that I do’

Tiger Woods Foundation scholar Henry Tsang’s parents emigrated from China to the United States in 1993 looking for a fresh start. 

“They were farmers in China, and came because they wanted me to have a better life. Farmers don’t have a lot of opportunities.” 

With his parents as his motivation and drive to attain success, Henry is breaking the cycle of poverty while attending Harvard University, where he studies biology. 

Read on to see how Henry’s childhood is inspiring him to make a difference in the world.

In 1993, my parents left their comfortable home in Guangzhou, China, for the cold streets of Boston. “I left China — my home, my life — because I knew there were many more opportunities here in the United States for you,” my mother always used to say to me in Chinese. With their limited knowledge of English, my parents struggled to find work. When I was born in 1995, we lived in a tiny apartment in the middle of Chinatown. Even as a young child, I knew that we were not as economically well-off as other families.

Yet despite these obstacles, my parents did their best to raise me. They took me out to see different parts of Boston on the weekends. They tutored me and gave me math worksheets to complete. They read to me in English every night. Their love for me and dedication to my learning had no bounds. As I look back on my childhood, I now realize how important my parents were to my educational success. They taught me how to be curious, how to ask “why” and how to learn by questioning.

I try my hardest in everything that I do, not to please my parents, but to please myself.

Seeing my parents sacrifice simple luxuries in their lives for my own comfort has only increased my drive to attain success. The curiosity that my parents instilled in me has led to my interest in economics and chemistry. Both disciplines help me answer “why” on different levels: economics — why money is important to our society; chemistry — why our world is the way it is. My parents have indirectly led me to my academic passions! 

When I was four, we moved to the South End. I attended the Boston Chinatown Tutoring Center for over six years. Being around students like me, hungry to learn, further whetted my academic appetite. My tutors taught me so much, not only how to subtract fractions, but how to live life. They were my role models, giving me advice inside and outside of school. They inspired me to take leadership in community outreach to younger children. Having a mentor was important to me, and I want to be a role model and mentor to other children. I tutor fellow students at Boston Latin and have returned to the Boston Chinatown Tutoring Center to teach younger, elementary school students. It is my way of giving back to the community for what the community has given me.

Within my school, being around smart and talented students has motivated me to achieve at an even higher level. Seeing my friends do amazing things has driven me to work harder. The friendships and bonds that I have formed throughout my high school career will stay with me forever. In the future, I know that I want to work in a profession that includes collaboration while helping others. 

I hope to attend medical school after college and become a physician. Being a doctor would allow me to exercise my passion for the sciences while letting me give back to my community by helping others. It would be an enormous achievement for me. I would call it success because isn’t success loving what you’re doing? I, for one, think it is.