Hispanics. Asians. Africans. Germans. Greeks. Filipinos. All these ethnicities and more live in Utah.
In today's world, ethnic minorities, when added together, are slowly transforming from a small group into a future majority. Diversity scholarships for teenagers, like those from the Somos Foundation or Luisa Mallari Fellowship, are being created especially for minority students who work hard in their academic, athletic or musical fields.
Across the United States, first-, second-, and third-generation Americans are excelling in what they do, preparing to succeed and improve the world, whether it be by composing a symphony, discovering the cure for cancer, or winning a World Series.
To celebrate some of these teens from different backgrounds who work so hard, let's meet a few students from Top of Utah high schools and junior high schools who share their passions and their goals for the future.
Ethnic background: "I'm Mexican, Indian and Guatemalan."
What is your passion? "I'm really good at medical stuff. I went to compete at state HOSA and I placed."
What is your goal in life? "I want to become a reconstructive plastic surgeon to fix the cleft lip."
Ethnic background: Latino
What advice do you live by? "My mentor, Randy Rahe, the WSU basketball coach, has always told me, 'Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm and your attitude will determine your altitude.' "
How do you serve your community? "In eighth grade, I started teaching taekwondo to kids in my community at the taekwondo gym, and I've also done community service for two years now at the Christmas Box House in Ogden."
Bear River High
Ethnic background: Mexican American
How do you apply yourself to your passion? "My passion is music. I teach viola to several kids, I participate in an orchestra group at Weber (Bonneville Youth Orchestra), and I take piano and viola lessons privately."
What are three words you use to describe yourself? "Passionate, dedicated and involved."
Sam Ann Gray
Ethnic background: Filipino and Irish
What is your passion and what drives you? "My passion is art and I devote hours upon hours of time to this hobby. Art is just too much fun for me to ever quit doing it. I also like the challenge of creating a good piece."
What is the best advice you've ever received? "I remember being told something along the lines of, 'The world is always fun through the eyes of really fun people.' The world is far more interesting if you can make everything fun."
Ethnic background: "My father is Peruvian. He came from Peru when he was 8. I also have some Spanish in me, and on my mother's side I have German."
What drives you? "What drives me would have to be my family. My mom is great at supporting me and my dad has always made me feel that I can rise above myself and be something more than the world thinks I can."
What do you do in your spare time? "I do judo. I love exercising in general -- running, swimming, dancing. Anything I can do to move my body and sweat. I also read. I like to go online and learn new things."
Mound Fort Junior High
Ethnic background: Latino
What do you do in your spare time? "I spend my day studying very hard and getting good grades because I will be going to college to study sports psychology. Also, I play soccer every day. I've helped my soccer team go to state championships the last four years in a row, and we always come within two games of winning state."
How did you discover your passion? "I remember watching pro soccer on TV and I was amazed. I played every year after that. Then two years ago I (watched) Cristiano Ronaldo, a professional, play, and I said, 'I am going to be like him.' "
Ethnic Background: Chinese American
What is your passion and what goals do you have regarding it? "Playing violin. I want to be the best. I will probably end up playing in some symphony. A solo career would be nice, but I don't know how good I will be after college."
Who is your idol? "Itzak Perlman. On Facebook he was doing a question and answer video thing. People would comment on his post and he would choose some of the questions and he happened to choose mine. A few months later I had the opportunity to meet him in Sun Valley, Idaho."
Ethnic background: Hispanic
What is the best advice you've ever received? "Believe in yourself, you are your higher power."
What do you do with your spare time? "When I'm not at school or tutoring children at Wasatch Elementary, I enjoy stargazing, reading, surfing the 'Net, hanging out with friends, hiking and attending rock concerts."
Ethnic background: "My dad is from Boston and he's Irish and English. My mom is from the Philippines; she was born there."
What drives you/inspires you? "I think it's that I'm strong-willed. I grew up in a house where my mom was strong-willed, so I guess it rubbed off."
Who is your idol? "I admire Scott Gustafson, Thomas Kinkade and Glenn Clovis, and a little bit of John Lasseter, because he has a big house. He's head of Pixar."
Ethnic Background: Half Korean, half Filipino
What is your passion? "My passion is martial arts. When I was about 5, my best friend convinced me to try a class and I was instantly hooked to it. I work at my karate studio, so I go every day from 4:30 p.m. to at least 7:30 p.m. When I'm not teaching, I practice all my routines over and over. Usually around tournament time my coach has all the competitors line up and we do our forms all out so that we can see what needs to be worked on."
What are three words that describe you best? "Spontaneous, outgoing and determined."