School: Notre Dame Preparatory
Radia Wong’s affinity for synchronized swimming is singular. But simply swimming wasn’t enough for this senior at Notre Dame Preparatory. She’s created an entirely new path for herself in the sport.
“I started synchronized swimming when I was 8 in California,” Wong, 16, said. “I started with a summer camp, and I really enjoyed it because it combined all my passions – dance, music, the water.”
Wong ascended rapidly in the sport. By 2020, she made the top 12 in her age group and qualified for the Olympic Development Team. But she wanted more than her own achievement. She founded a nonprofit, the Tiger and Minky Synchro Foundation, to raise funds and bring awareness to the sport. To date, she’s raised more than $5,700, but the impact she’s had on the sport overall can’t be measured in dollars.
“Now, I’m not so much swimming as coaching,” Wong said. “Synchronized swimming is pretty small nationally, only a couple hundred girls. There isn’t a lot of general funding and awareness. I want to reach a greater, wider audience to bring more teens – girls as well as boys – to start synchronized swimming. The boys are also coming to join – it’s going to be more gender-inclusive.”
Beyond her athletic pursuits, Wong also has dedicated herself to brain tumor research as well as projects to help get critical supplies to the Navajo nation during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m an advocate for the National Brain Tumor Society,” she said. “We’re lobbying and trying to gain more attention and policy-writing to get more support for patients and their families. Last year, we were able to persuade both Senator Kelly and Senator Sinema, their offices, to sponsor the Credit for Caring Act, which increases the financial aid given to patients and their caregivers.”Back to Recipients