BHS Class of 2020 salutatorian Becky Yu, 18, is the daughter of Yong Zhao Yu and Yan Xia Chen, better known as Jesse Yu and Lisa Chen, owners of Asian Garden restaurant in Bandon. She has one sibling, her brother Andy who was in the BHS Class of 2017.
During high school, Yu was involved with the girls golf team, concert band, jazz band, Surfrider's Club and was president of both the Kiwanis Key Club and the Rotary Interact Club and was co-captain of the BHS Speech and Debate Team. She is graduating with a 3.95 GPA. Yu has been named outstanding freshman, sophomore and junior female scholar in biology and Spanish and overall excellence in physics. She has also been involved in many community service activities.
Yu plans to attend Bryn Mawr College, a small liberal arts college located in Philadelphia, to major in political science wth a pre-professional emphasis on law. She hopes to pursue a career either an an in-house lawyer or an immigration lawyer. As a first-generation college student and is hoping to have a "non-traditional" college experience, where she can explore other majors, career pathways or programs. She is excited about the sense of community Bryn Mawr offers, which she feels is similar to what she experienced at Bandon High.
Yu was born in Ashland, moved to Portland, then to Coos Bay, North Bend, Coquille, then Bandon. Moving around so much influenced her work ethic because when she transferred schools, she was at different levels because every school's curriculim was different. She hated the term "new kid" because it showed that whoever was new was an outsider.
"I think that it's also shaped a lot of what my personality turned out to be," Becky said. "Before I moved to Bandon, I didn't have a lot of friends due to the fact that I was really shy and awkward. I won't lie, I'm still really shy, but because of my friends and extracurriculars, like speech, I know that I'm less shy than I was years ago."
Some of her fondest memories of high school have been the bus rides for band, speech and debate or golf.
"The bus rides to band competitions were definitely excruciating at times, but some of them gave us the opportunity to bond with the students of the classes above us, or at least play board/card games," Yu said. "I loved the speech/debate bus rides because there's an unexplainable energy to them. With golf, it's different from both band and speech. The golf bus/van rides to tournaments included less people, considering that there were also less girls on the golf team than band or speech. I loved going on these rides because it was hours of jamming out to random music, creating some really weird inside jokes, or sitting in silence because everyone was asleep from being worn out from the day."
Yu is proud that the Class of 2020 won Homecoming Week competitions all four years, but not without hard work.
"Even though our halls looked flawless each year, we also had really strong participants in each of the break or lunch games," Yu said. "I actually really loved decorating the halls each year and I will have to say that it's one of the things from high school that I will miss the most."
She credits her brother Andy with influencing her during her high school years, advising her and inspiring her to work harder. Her teachers also have influenced her and she feels BHS has many compassionate teachers who take notice when a student puts in extra effort.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused seniors to miss out on many end-of-year activities and to Yu feels almost like an alternate reality. But Yu is thankful the BHS administration has come up with plans to have an in-person graduation and parade instead of having a virtual one or canceling the ceremony.
"Of course, it isn't our ideal graduation, it's definitely better than no graduation," Yu said. She even wrote her salutatorian speech, just in case.
Her words of advice to her fellow classmates: "My words of advice are to try your best in everything you do. You don't have to like whatever you're doing, but give it your all so you can say 'at least I tried it,' and then move onto something that you enjoy doing, because life is supposed to be enjoyed and cherished."