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Harvard University

Helping kids find their voice

Helping kids find their voice

It was in the summer between seventh and eighth grade that Gordon Liao "figured it out." "I was riding my bike in the neighborhood, and I just decided, 'I am going to be cool,'" he said. As he maneuvered his way through the streets of Park Forest, he devised a multi-point plan to transform himself from a mercilessly teased Asian-American immigrant of small stature who wore thick glasses to a confident, successful student who could hold his own in any circle, including the "cool crowd." Liao would go on to graduate from Rich East High School in 1993 as a top athlete, top theatrical performer and valedictorian. At the ceremony, several friends paid...