The Sino American Youth Collaborative – Focus on the Pacific

Category:  YVOC High School 2016
519 Votes
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Video Subject & Artist Statement (this may be publicly posted): In this video, three San Marino High School seniors ask President Barack Obama to bring together, in Hawaii on an annual basis and for at least the next ten years, a group of fifteen American high school students and a group of fifteen Chinese high school students. This group of thirty would reside for a one-week period of time at the University of Hawaii and while there learn about: The effect of climate change on Hawaii and the Pacific Pollution and how it affects Hawaii and the Pacific Overfishing of the Pacific Pacific marine habitat destruction Pacific acidification Rising Pacific sea levels After the annual meeting, the American and Chinese youth would be expected to return to their homeland with a plan-in-hand designed to (1) help protect, preserve, and conserve the Pacific and (2) broaden understanding and build trust between the people of the United States and China through education, philanthropy and collaboration. The name of the annual meeting: The Sino American Youth Collaborative - Focus on the Pacific. This video includes great words of support from Jon Huntsman, the former US Ambassador to China (2009 to 2011).
Team Member(s) Name: Stephanie Don, Matthew Derrick, Brent Barker
Anything else you'd like to tell us:
  • Vote for our San Marino High School Seniors’ Sino-American Collaborative! Good going, Titans!

    • Stephanie Don

      Thank you for your support, Ms. Wadsworth!

    • Matt Derrick

      Thank you so much!

  • Lauren Gan

    Such a creative idea! Wish I could go on this exchange! Best of luck to you guys!

    • Matt Derrick

      Thanks Lauren! Glad you liked it.

  • Matt Derrick

    A few weeks ago, Senator Carol Liu (CA 25-D) had this to say about our project: “I strongly support this project and wish you the best of luck . . . I think bringing together you and your Chinese counterparts (the way you are proposing) is a very exciting experience and having you spending time to try to solve some vexing problems of our time and your time is really important. With the knowledge of the past and your engagement with the present, you’re trying to bridge a gap and form relationships. I really support all of you not only in what you’re trying to do, but also with your creative minds.”

  • Stephanie Don

    Recently, Mike Eng (former California Assemblyman and Monterey Park mayor) had this to say about our project. “I too think this is a great project. Not only is Hawaii a beautiful place for people to come together from (these two) countries, but I also think that this is really the time to do it. A lot of people are concerned about global warming, the lack of clean, portable water, etc.”

  • Matt Derrick

    Dennis Kneier (former San Marino mayor) just emailed us to say that what we are proposing “is right in line with the format and general objectives of the SED and its successor. It’s therefore brilliant and timely.”

    In explanation, he offered up the following: “I’m now reading a book “Dealing with China” by former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. Some of the book deals with the Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED), which was initiated in 2006 by President Bush and President Hu Jintao. The format was for top leaders of both countries to meet twice a year to mutually talk about a number of issues. The US team was led by Paulson. There were five meetings between 2006 and 2008. The SED was expanded under President Obama and renamed the U. S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.”

    In other words, our proposal is “is excellent and well done,” he said.

    “I wish you my best wishes for success with your proposal.”

  • Stephanie Don

    We just received word from Chris Norgaard (SMUSD Board Member.) Mr. Norgaard had this to say about our video. “I could not be more proud of our students and their project. Here is a bridge across the Pacific and a stairway to the future.”

  • Matt Derrick

    Amanda Roraback, the past president of the California Council for the Social Studies, has this to this about our project: “What a great, innovative project! Tomorrow’s leaders working to bring the world a little closer together through conservation and preservation – I support this and I think everyone else should too.”

  • Akbar

    Such a great idea. Moving to see students wanting a better Asian-american relationship. From a SMHS senior.

    • Matt Derrick

      Thanks Akbar!

  • Stephanie Don

    Last week, I sent a letter to Governor Jerry Brown. My letter started off as follows:

    Dear Governor Brown:

    My name is Stephanie Don and I am a San Marino High School senior wondering if you would be willing to send me a letter in support of the 3:00 minute video found at:


    In this video, I, and two other San Marino High School seniors, ask President Barack Obama to support our call to bring together, in Hawaii on an annual basis and for at least the next ten years, a group of fifteen American high school students and a group of fifteen Chinese high school students.

    From there, I described our project in more detail.

    I sent a similar letter to US Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer and to California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.

    No word back yet, but I am hopeful.

  • Stephanie Don

    An article describing our video now appears on the website.

    The article was written by our US Government teacher, Mr. Peter Paccone and includes our video in its entirety.

    Edutopia is filmmaker George Lucas’s website and it seeks to celebrate and encourage innovation in K-12 schools.

  • Oscar Wang

    Go Titans! This is awesome πŸ™‚

  • Oscar Wang

    As a former SMHS student, so proud to see my alma mater involved in this!

    • Matt Derrick

      Thank you Oscar! Glad we can make you feel proud.

  • Kevin S. Diaz

    Fascinating idea! I’m glad to see fellow Titans following their dreams! I know The Sino-American Youth Collaborative project will inspire others to follow their own dreams! Keep up the hard work! – SMHS Senior Class President Class of 2016

    • Matt Derrick

      Hey Kevin! Thanks for showing support!

    • Brent Barker

      Thank you Kevin. This means a lot!

  • Ava Hargett

    from an SMHS junior– such an awesome idea, and such an important issue! great job and good luck guys!!

    • Matt Derrick

      Thank you Ava! So pleased you like our idea.

    • Brent Barker

      Thanks Ava! Your support means a lot!! Thanks for watching πŸ™‚

  • Devon

    WOW!! Great video and fantastic idea!! How could anyone not support such an inspiring and opportunistic exchange? -An SMHS senior and Brown University Class of 2020

    • Stephanie Don

      Thanks, Devon, for your support!! We appreciate it!

    • Brent Barker

      Thanks for the support!

  • Chaz Davis

    As a fellow classmate of Brent, Matt, and Stephanie, I can greatly vouge for the fact that they deserve to win as they are extremely qualified. All of them are compassionate, hard-working, intelligent, and a pleasure to work with.

    • Stephanie Don

      Thank you so much Chaz!

    • Chaz Davis


    • Brent Barker

      Thanks for the support Chaz!!

  • Matt Derrick

    “As a former Legislative Aide working for the California State Legislature I commend Stephanie, Matt, and Brent for their forward thinking proposal to bring attention to the the critically important issue of climate change and the preservation of the Pacific Ocean. Collaboration between the young ambassadors of our respective countries will not only generate significant discourse to work towards a sustainable future we can all be proud of, but will embolden the leaders of today and tomorrow to take meaningful steps to address the matters at hand. I wish the contestants much luck in making their dream into a reality, and am optimistic that President Obama will give their proposal positive consideration, and eventual approval. Climate Change is real and its effects are detrimental. Happy to lend my full support!” From Hrag Kitsinian

  • Meredith Roberts

    Ever since I’ve known Matt Derrick, he’s always had a passion for marine life and ocean conservation. With everything he’s told me about this project, I’ve seen so much drive. This group is so passionate about what they advocate for and they are so determined. This team absolutely deserves to win not only because of their strong argument, but because of how much they truly care about the issue at hand.

    • Matt Derrick

      That’s so nice of you to say! Thank you so much for backing our idea!

  • Charlene Wu

    WOW! I’m so inspired by the creativity and thought that you guys put into this and I think it sounds like a wonderful idea. The Sino American Youth Collaborative seems like something that would definitely better the connections between the US and China and I really wish I could go to this exchange. Good job, guys!! – A SMHS Senior

    • Stephanie Don

      Thank you Charlene!! Your support means a lot to us!

  • Colin Chao

    I think it’s a great idea to do a cultural exchange through learning about the environment, especially when pollution is such a pressing issue in both China and the United States today. Congratulations for making it to the semi-finals. I wish the three of you the best of luck.

    Student from School of Science and Technology in Oregon, Class of 2016

    • Matt Derrick

      So crazy that you heard about our project from an entire different state! Thank you so much for showing your support.

  • Valerie Wang

    This project is amazing, and I’m so proud of my fellow peers for working hard towards their personal views. Can’t wait to feature these intelligent Titans in the newspaper! -a senior SMHS Editor-in-chief

    • Matt Derrick

      Thanks Valerie! I’ll look forward to the article.

  • Danielle Besen

    So proud of my fellow classmates Matt, Brent, and Stephanie for creating such an amazing idea. I’m in full support of what they are trying to promote and can’t wait to see where this project goes for them. -SMHS Senior

    • Matt Derrick

      Hey thanks Danielle!

  • Cyndy East

    VOTING…for Stephanie Don, Matthew Derrick and Brent Barker

    • Matt Derrick

      Thanks Cyndy! Glad to know we have your support.

      • Cyndy East

        You all are wished Good Luck. So very proud of your accomplishments.

  • Michael Ossen

    This project is well thought out and highly intelligent. It will build new relations between the US and China and while working towards the common goal on preserving earth. I highly stand behind this.

    -Michael Ossen (SMHS 9th Grader)

  • Stephanie Don

    This just in from Doug Berry, our school’s Assistant Principal:

    β€œIt is always a powerful experience when students go beyond the classroom and thoughtfully examine global issues which is the initiative students from San Marino High School are taking as they raise their concerns all the way to the White House and current President Barrack Obama.

    It is a very well made (video) and the students clearly express their desire to address an environmental issue which affects millions of people.

    I congratulate all the students who were involved in the making of this video and their desire to change the world around them to the benefit of millions of people.”

  • Erika Sizemore

    Inspirational!! Go get them, Team!

  • Stephanie Don

    Today, Assemblyman Ed Chau sent us this letter:

    “I would like to congratulate you on your initiative, the Sino-American Youth Collaborative: Focus on the Pacific.

    The Sino-American Youth Collaborative has the potential to help shed vital information on the environmental issues affecting the Pacific Ocean and Hawaii. The environmental changes occurring in the Pacific have the ability to deeply impact both the United States and China. Moreover, the initiative will serve to bridge cultural gaps and promote harmony amongst our countries. I strongly commend you for having created an initiative that will allow our youths and their Chinese counterparts with the opportunity to work on such a pressing and important issue.

    On behalf of the California State Assembly 49th District, best wishes to the future success of the Sino-American Youth Collaborative: Focus on the Pacific.

    Warm Regards,
    Ed Chau”