Humans of Harker: Leader and supporter

Taylor Lam raises the standard

%22I+realized+that+I+really+didn%27t+want+to+be+a+quiet+Chinese+girl+I+want+to+be+outspoken+and+overcome+those+stereotypes+and+really+try+to+improve+on+some+of+the+better+qualities.+Who+wants+to+be+that+little+girl+crying+because+she+can%27t+speak+up%3F+I+would+be+so+mad+because+when+I+see+that+in+other+people%2C+I+get+really+mad.+Like%2C+%E2%80%9CWhy+don%27t+you+just+speak+up%3F%E2%80%9D+But+then+I%27m+also+a+little+bit+%5Blike%5D+that+person%2C+so+I+really+try+to+be+better%2C%22+Taylor+Lam+%2812%29+said.
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Humans of Harker: Leader and supporter

"I realized that I really didn't want to be a quiet Chinese girl I want to be outspoken and overcome those stereotypes and really try to improve on some of the better qualities. Who wants to be that little girl crying because she can't speak up? I would be so mad because when I see that in other people, I get really mad. Like, “Why don't you just speak up?” But then I'm also a little bit [like] that person, so I really try to be better," Taylor Lam (12) said.

Jin Tuan

"I realized that I really didn't want to be a quiet Chinese girl I want to be outspoken and overcome those stereotypes and really try to improve on some of the better qualities. Who wants to be that little girl crying because she can't speak up? I would be so mad because when I see that in other people, I get really mad. Like, “Why don't you just speak up?” But then I'm also a little bit [like] that person, so I really try to be better," Taylor Lam (12) said.

Jin Tuan

Jin Tuan

"I realized that I really didn't want to be a quiet Chinese girl I want to be outspoken and overcome those stereotypes and really try to improve on some of the better qualities. Who wants to be that little girl crying because she can't speak up? I would be so mad because when I see that in other people, I get really mad. Like, “Why don't you just speak up?” But then I'm also a little bit [like] that person, so I really try to be better," Taylor Lam (12) said.

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Bright brown eyes and a genuine smile greet the world as Taylor Lam (12) sits in the sun on the Shah patio, discussing her passions and pets. A naturally shy person, Taylor finds that her passion for helping others means she often find myself herself in leadership positions.

“I definitely had to cultivate [my leadership] because I tend to be a more shy and quiet person,” Taylor said. “I don’t want to fall into the quiet Chinese kid stereotype because that was one of my [dramatic interpretation] options, actually, in speech, a couple years ago. After reading that I realized that I really didn’t want to be a quiet Chinese girl. I want to be outspoken and overcome those stereotypes and really try to improve on some of the better qualities.”

Taylor’s high school experience serves as a more-than-adequate testimonial to her success in achieving this goal. As a senior chair from Honor Council, co-president of Future Problem Solvers and a softball team captain, among other positions, Taylor seeks an impactful position in every activity. From friendships to academics, Taylor pours immense dedication into everything she does.

“She’s extremely supportive, and she’s really fierce, in terms of her dedication to everything she does. And she’s fierce in terms of the unwavering and staunch support she provides for all her friends,” Taylor’s good friend from childhood Nikhil Dharmaraj (12) said. “That energy is very contagious.”

In every aspect of her life, Taylor supports all those around her. Close friends see her as a constant in their lives and recall how she goes out of her way to help them.

“I wouldn’t have been able to get through first semester without her support. She’s just always willing to ground you when you’re in a state of emotional sadness,” Nikhil said. “She is like the only person I found who can ground you really fast, and she’s always smiling.

Taylor’s dedication to raising others up makes her a unique and efficient leader. Longtime friend and former ASB Spirit Coordinator Matthew Hajjar (12) reflects on how Taylor inspired him.

“I think that my approach to leadership is one of control, and I need to learn how to delegate more and to relax about things and really trust who I’m working with. A lot of that comes from Taylor because when I when I talked to her in my relationships, and just in the way that she deals with leading TEDx, and all that,” Matthew said. “It’s done in a way that both assertive but also laid back. She gives people guidance, but also room to grow.”

Attend any school meeting, and you can see that Taylor is highly involved in the Harker community. It’s difficult to associate her with one specific activity that she does, but her drive and leadership in all that she does is the unifying factor.

“[She’s taught me] not to underestimate her. I’ve gone through phases over the past four years where I felt like I had to advise her advisor to not try to do too much to not overreach as I do for a number of students, but I think in her case, it’s just kind of who she is. She cares about so much stuff that she’s gonna try all kinds of different things,” Chris Spenner, Taylor’s advisor and upper school physics and science teacher, said. “I don’t think she’ll ever be satisfied just doing one thing.”

Taylor constantly focuses on doing the right thing. From Honor Council, which she has been on for all four years, to the plethora of clubs she’s involved in, Taylor seeks to uphold and spread the integrity that she believed in as a child.

“Through my childhood, I’ve always had a pretty strong moral compass. I always knew right from wrong… I just want to be able to have a say in making all the rules like how we change the Honor Code,” Taylor said. “I always like being a leader, because I feel when I have that position, I’m able to do the most good that I can.”

Wherever she goes, Taylor emphasizes the importance of community and values every member.

“I would like to think that I’m a pretty amicable person, so I try to make people feel welcome, whether it be on Honor Council or on the softball team. I think that it’s really important that everybody feels like what they’re doing is important and helping the cause,” she said. “If anybody in the club or group is having any issues, [I want to be] able to help them through the struggles that can help them overcome obstacles and really let them become the best member they can be.”

In her activity-filled life, striking a balance between is important for Taylor. While she will rise to a challenge, she is also capable of letting go for a game. Over the years, to keep from an overload of stress, Taylor has perfected the art of switching between frivolity and gravitas and between control and passivity.

“She has this rare balance of intensity in what she does but also fun-loving,” Spenner said. “She will laugh at herself and see the situation and laugh at it, but still push it through.”

While her ambition may not lead to change on its own, Taylor’s accountability and ability to follow through makes her reliable and efficient. Even in her care for her myriad pets over the years, from her chinchilla Sparky to her German shepherd Mushu, Taylor accepts the responsibility of their wellbeing, which carries over into her academic mindset.

“Since they’re my pets, I can’t blame anyone else for not cleaning the chinchilla cage or not taking the dog out for a walk,” Taylor said. “I think having pets has really taught me to manage my time and take responsibility for things.”

Taylor brings order and action to the events she organizes and unites teams to bring out their full potential, regardless of the pressure she’s put under, but also knows when to stop before overworking any single project. Spenner recounts the recent STEMnovation challenge, [brief desc.] that Taylor helped organize.

“Within a pretty short time she pulled together all the people who are relevant, [like] the judges and consultants who helped figure out how what the business plan should look like, and she created custom materials where it was needed,” he said.

Taylor’s belief in teamwork and her ability to inspire those around her plays an integral role in her softball career. Matthew describes an impressive 19-point comeback during the girls’ softball senior night and its place as a capstone moment in her high school sports record.

“It made me so, so, so happy for her that she was able to, take this sport that she’s put so much work into — she truly loves her teammates and especially all the other seniors — and make this a beautiful ending and have a beautiful career in softball as she goes off to [the University of Pacific],” Matthew said.

The ambition to make an impact in the world, combined with her altruism and leadership, makes Taylor a unique and dynamic figure in any community she belongs to.

“She does deserve her own verb,” Spenner said.