Student Spotlight: Athena Kieu


Athena Kieu

Athena is an extremely involved student at Yorba Linda High School.

Safia Khan, Photo Journalist

Some people miss out on making the most out of their high school experience, but well-rounded student, Athena Kieu (12), will never have an issue with that. She is known to be an exceptional student, a talented musician and artist, and involved in numerous activities on and off of campus.

Athena has been a part of the school’s orchestra program for all four years and had joined sinfonia halfway through her sophomore year. Her talent and dedication had even earned her Orchestra member of the year her junior year. When asked about her experience, Athena says that “it’s been such a fun experience” and “[she’s] grateful for the support and so grateful for Mr. Mortensen and the people who have believed in [her].”

Athena’s passions for music does not stop there; in her sophomore year she founded Yorba Linda High’s Music Club with one of her other close friends. The club intertwines music and community service with their agenda consisting of organized performance trips to nursing homes or organizing a tutoring system for elementary kids that want to learn musical instruments.

This year Athena auditioned to become an anchor for the school’s bimonthly broadcast, Mustang Mix, and got the position. She’s enjoyed getting to know the video productions crew a lot better and being a part of Mustang Mix because it’s “opened [her] eyes to so many opportunities that [she] wouldn’t have experienced without it.” She’s also enjoyed being involved with helping in writing scripts as well as filming YLOn.

Athena is definitely a person who enjoys allowing her creativity to flourish. When asked about her favorite class she chose AP 3D Studio Art because “that class allows [her] to be creative and express [herself] in a unique way.” She’s even had two of her pieces featured in the YLHS Art Show last year. She credits her success to Mr. Hendry for being the one who has always pushed her to be a better artist and always showing his support and care.

It may seem impossible for some to keep up with all of these activities and take intense academic courses, but Athena pushes through by organizing her day with a planner and taking each day one event at a time. It can be challenging at times, but in the end, it’s all worth it to her because “[she’s] so proud of these activities that [she] has the opportunity to be a part of.”

Although a pro at time management now, that was not always the case. Athena’s greatest challenge came sophomore year when she overestimated herself and over did her workload by taking too many difficult classes. This led to dropping grades and her developing anxiety over whether or not her dream schools would accept her. She overcame this challenge by understanding her limits junior year and lessening her workload. Her anxiety had also lessened when she began realizing that some things are just out of her control and started surrounding herself with positive friends who have supported her.

Athena’s motivator is her baby brother, who sadly passed away at five months old in 2012. He had been the driving factor for her to start Music Club to teach children and the reason why she was involved with the Music Therapy program at St. Jude’s. He’s also the reason she studies so hard, so she can make the world a better place for children, like her brother, who have a brief amount of time to enjoy life.

In her free time she enjoys drawing and playing piano, an instrument she has been playing for 13 years. She also enjoys binge watching shows on Netflix. Her greatest feat was conquering 11 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy in three weeks. She still does not know how she accomplished that to this day.

Athena Kieu is a well achieved student, artist, and amazing friend who has a bright future ahead of her.