Maryland Young Leaders Awardee Allison
Maryland Young Women Leaders Honoree
10th Grade, Walter Johnson High School, Montgomery County
Nominated by Janelle Ryan, Teacher, Walter Johnson High School
Allison Xu is a straight-A student, with a 4.0 unweighted and 4.57 weighted GPA. She is the secretary of her school's DECA/FBLA Club and won first place in marketing at DECA States, which qualified her for the 2021 international competition. She also participates in Mock Trial and Spanish Honor Society.
Allison is passionate about writing. Her poetry and short stories have been published in several anthologies and many literary journals such as The Weight Journal, The Daphne Review, and Teen Ink Magazine. Her work has been recognized by the New York Times, Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, Bluefire Creative Writing Contest, and more. She is a member of the Youth Advisory Board of the Society of Young Inklings and a journalist for her school newspaper and county online newspaper.
During the lockdown in early 2020, she created a “Story-writing Package for Grades 1-5,” a printable product teaching children creative writing. She posted it on a digital selling website for $7.99 and raised about $600, all of which was donated to the Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center for their Covid-19 patient care.
In early 2021, to fight against anti-Asian hate, she led an initiative, “Reading Books from AAPI Authors,” to build a bridge between AAPI authors and young readers. She collected over 250 brand-new books sent by AAPI authors and donated them to 15 K-12 schools in Maryland for their AAPI Heritage Month celebrations. Her project encourages open mindsets and respect for diversity.
She is now leading a team of high school students on a new initiative called “Simply Soft Skills” which helps teenagers build soft skills such as communication, creativity, and leadership. On their website, simplysoftskills.org, Allison and her team create resources that bring a wealth of tips and expertise on soft skills. She also invites experts with specialties in different areas of soft skills to share their insights on her podcast. Allison was awarded the Dr. Alan Cheung Community Leadership Scholarship for her contribution to community service.
“The seed of hope is always there; someone just needs to be willing to plant it.”
Maryland Commission for Women
51 Monroe Street, Suite 1034
Rockville, Maryland 20850