Seven outstanding Asian American high school students were honored by Asian American Alliance, Inc. (AAAI) during the Asian Fest at the Indiana State Museum. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett was on hand to present the AAAI Youth Leadership Awards to the students for their stellar achievement in leadership and community service.
The 2018 AAAI Youth Leadership Awards recipients are:
  • Mangtin Par, Sophomore, Perry Meridian High School
    Bullied for her inability to speak English when she first arrived in the U.S. from Burma, Mangtin is now a student assistant and mentors her peers with their math homework. 
  • Ishaan Modi, Junior, Hamilton Southeastern High School
    Ishaan’s community service efforts at HSE helped collect 11,000 pounds of food for the local food pantry and $50,000 for the Riley Dance Marathon, just to name a few. As a member of Young Innovators Quest, he is doing a research on an alternative energy source–waves and natural tides.
  • Crystal Xue, Senior, Carmel High School
    Three-time Scholar Athlete of Carmel High School, Crystal led Carmel DECA and debate team to one of the most successful competitive seasons. She is the first Asian American to be selected to the Hamilton County 4-H Queen’s Court and won the title of Miss Congeniality.
  • Olivia Xu, Junior, Park Tudor High School
    This Cum Laude commendee applied for and received funding for Aspire IT, an outreach program to teach elementary school girls basic computer and robotics to expose them to the growing field of computer science.
  • Sahar Abdullah, Senior, Eman Schools
    Sahar is the Founder/Student Ambassador of her school’s “Girls Who Code”, a non-profit that addresses gender inequality in technology.  She is also actively involved in interfaith outreach to clear up misconceptions about Islam.
  • Armaan Goel, Junior, Carmel High School
    Eagle Scout Armaan is the President and Founder of “Code for Change” that provides pro bono IT consulting to nonprofits. He created a volunteer management platform for Exodus Refugees which won a Lead2Feed grand prize of $10,000 for CHS to donate to a charity of choice.
  • Rahil Thanawala, Junior, Fishers High School – winner of the “President’s Award of Excellence” 
    While playing picture cards with his grandmother who has dementia, Rahil saw significant improvement in her ability to recognized family members. That led him to start his very own non-profit TheSnapLink, at age 14, to provide picture therapy to Alzheimer’s and dementia patients and training for care providers. Rahil co-developed an iOS mobile app in 2016 and distributed it free of charge.
The 11th annual Asian Fest is a fun, family-friendly free event to celebrate the many dimensions of Asian culture through food, music, art, dance, kids activities and cultural exhibits. Every year, the Asian Fest spotlights one Asian country with special exhibits and interactive displays. This year, Burma/Myanmar was the featured country. Indiana has the largest Burmese refugee population in the U.S. The festival provided a great opportunity to learn about our new Hoosier neighbors.
The 2018 Asian Fest was made possible by these generous sponsors: 

Title Sponsors: Barnes and Thornburg, Indianapolis Power & Light, IUPUI

Event Sponsors: Morgan Stanley, Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, Purdue University Asian American & Asian Resource and Cultural Center, Roche, International Center, Indianapolis Foundation, Christel DeHaan Family Foundation

Event Partner: Burmese American Community Institute (BACI)

In-Kind Sponsors: Indiana State Museum, Indy Asian American Times, Asian American Today, Indy Korea