This week's Health Plus/NY1 Scholar Athlete, Richard Xia of Queens' Cardozo High, is at the top of his class but he leads his fellow students and wrestlers in a humble and unassuming way. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.
Richard Xia is about as successful as a student can be. He is the valedictorian at Cardozo High School in Bayside, Queens and a highly regarded member of the school community.
But it wasn't easy, as Richard didn't learn English until he moved to America as an eight-year-old.
"At first I felt like an outcast because I couldn't fit into any groups in school. I didn't understand what the teacher was saying," says Richard.
It's clear Richard overcame every challenge he faced. He put his A-plus average to use out side the classroom also as the captain of the school's Science Olympiad team.
His teachers rave about his inquisitiveness and desire to learn.
"What I like about Richard is that he asks questions, and if he wasn't sure, he might not raise his hand in front of everyone, but he's stopping and thinking about what he doesn't know," says English teacher Brian Shea. "And when he doesn't know something he'll fill in the gaps by coming to someone and asking."
"They all know Richard's capacity and they all know that he's the valedictorian, and yet he's such an unassuming, kind, warm-hearted young man that no one feels intimidated to him," says English teacher Lauren Testa.
Richard is the captain of the wrestling team and his coach says he leads by example. He also uses his analytical abilities as a wrestler, often outsmarting his opponents.
"There's a lot of technique that's involved. There's over 100 moves that you can use that apply to wrestling, he know them all," says wrestling coach Chris Milani. "He's the type of athlete, you show him once, he'll have it forever."
During the summer, Richard volunteers at the Beijing Chinese School, helping to mentor younger kids who are also adapting to life in a new country.
"When I just came here, my cousin tutored me in math and English and helped understand," says Richard. "I wanted to help the other kids who were having trouble with English and math."
Richard is not sure where he' is going to college yet but he is looking at a number of Ivy League schools. He knows he wants to be pre-med and ultimately become a pediatrician.
"I love working with kids, and kids also love me. We get along," says Richard. "I think being a doctor will suit me well."
So, for helping others adapt to their new country while planning to continue helping people as a doctor, Richard Xia is the latest Health Plus NY1 Scholar Athlete of the Week.