2023 Students of Distinction

Liliana Chew leaned on faith, family to persevere through tragedy

Posted on May 12th, 2023 By:

Gig Harbor Now is posting profiles of each of the Students of Distinction being honored by the Greater Gig Harbor Foundation. The students will be honored during a banquet from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 17, 2023, at Ocean5, 5268 Point Fosdick Dr.

Student: Liliana Chew

School: Gig Harbor High School

Category: Overcoming Adversity

Lily Chew knows that her strong bond with her family and her faith can help her overcome even the most difficult obstacles.

When her older brother was just 15, he committed suicide. He was her best friend, and she “lost a piece of myself” when he died. She fell into a deep depression and, because she kept her grief bottled up, her grades began to falter and her relationships with her friends and family started to fray.

Liliana Chew

Then, on her 17th birthday, she dreamed about him. “I saw him, saw his face and his glowing smile,” she said. “I knew I had to turn my life around because I wasn’t living the way he would want for me.”

Appreciation for life

She began reaching out to others and got more involved with her church’s youth group Slowly but surely, Lily regained her equilibrium. She learned the importance of self-forgiveness and perseverance, with a new-found appreciation for life. That every day is a gift.

Her grades have improved, and she will graduate with a 3.76 GPA, after having taken tough AP courses in psychology and environmental science. She also earned honors in UW anatomy and physiology courses that turned out to be her favorite things “because of all the dissections we get to do,” she said. “That class was such a fun challenge for me and I loved being able to have the opportunity to take complicated science courses.”

Bible Study Club

Those courses will serve her well next year when she heads to Montana State University to study animal science. She wants to be an exotic animal veterinarian, she said.

Another activity that has given her a great sense of pride is starting a Bible Study Club. “It’s an inviting place for anyone who wants to join and I hope it will be build a strong sense of community where students can feel a sense of safety and belonging,” she said.

Young Life leader Christin Flynn calls Lily “a hard-working young woman who shows initiative and compassion for others. She stands out from the crowd with her determination to include others and work hard to accomplish her goals. She is friendly and inclusive, humble and honest and looks for the positive in difficult situations.”

Lily’s advice to students just starting their high school careers is to “enjoy high school while you can because it goes by fast. Get involved with school and don’t be afraid to venture out of your comfort zone to make new friends and have fun. And use the many resources GHHS has to help with school work.”

Lily Chew

GPA: 3.76

Parents: Byron and Mary Chew

Accomplishments/activities: AP psychology, environmental science; UW anatomy and physiology honors; volunteer work with Little League and Freedom River Outreach; founded Bible Study Club called “Found”