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UE High School Student Published In New York Times

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A Union-Endicott High School senior can add yet another accomplishment to a long list. Out of 300 entries, Jeffrey Yu's essay was selected to be published in the New York Times. Originally his college application essay, Yu's is one of 5 winning essays for the contest. His inspiration? His Dad.

"I wanted to write about my dad, who's been one of the biggest role leaders in my life," says Yu.

Wei Fu is a stay at home dad, dedicated to giving his kid all the support he needs to succeed. And Jeffrey has certainly done that. The 17 year old is valedictorian, accepted to Yale University, an athlete, an amazing classical musician, and a chicken farmer. That last one was dad's idea. Wei Fu grew up in China, working as a farmer on a commune. He wanted his son to be well-rounded, so he introduced him to a bit of his own upbringing.

Embracing these differences, my dad has introduced me to diverse experiences, from molding statues out of toilet paper plaster to building greenhouses from the ground up.

"I think, I've really been incredibly blessed to be able to experience both sides of a spectrum," says Yu, "My mom's a doctor and my dad's a stay at home dad who's an engineer. I play classical piano while the chicks we raise are in the next room."

It's those juxtapositions that Yu says have made him a stronger person. He credits his dad.

"Someone like my dad with these incredible and brilliant ideas can just sacrifice it all and do something selfless by helping someone like me," says Yu.

He wishes everyone saw it that way. In his essay, he writes:

My family is a matriarchy in a patriarchal community. Accordingly, I’m greeted with astonishment whenever I try to explain my dad’s financial status. “How lazy and unmotivated he must be!” Many try to hide their surprise, but their furtive glances say it all. In a society that places economic value at the forefront of worth, these assumptions might apply to other individuals, but not to my dad.

Wei didn't think twice about the decision to stay home with his son. "Asian culture, we really highly value education, so I just... We don't really see it as a big deal," he says.

Dad may not think he's a super-hero, but to his son he's everything. The closing line of Yu's essay says it all:

All too often I’m left with the seemingly unanswerable question: “What does my dad do?” But the answer, all too simply, is that he does what he does best: Inspire his son.

To read Yu's essay and the other wining submissions here.