On May 20, senior figure-skating medalist Phuong Dao won the Lexus Pursuit of Perfection Leadership Award, a scholarship worth $10,000.
Dao qualified first as one of the 30 scholarship finalists after being chosen as a “weekly winner” as part of the Lexus scholarship selection process in February. The win was followed by interviews on radio station Fox Sports, local television station Fox News, and the Lexus website.
Juggling the schedule of interviews was no shock to Dao, to whom balancing work and hobbies is second nature.
“I’ve been balancing skating and school since I was a little girl … Since I love skating, it never feels like work or a burden!” said Dao.
Dao’s 14-year skating career was influenced by her older sister, who also took to the ice. Dao hasn’t stopped since, with a lengthy roster of achievements to prove her dedication.
To name a few: Dao is a United States Figure Skating Association [USFSA] Gold Medalist, placed first at State Games of Virginia Junior Level, fourth at the State Games of America in Junior Level, and eighth at the National Showcase Junior Level.
In addition to her time on the ice, she plays both the piano and the harp while maintaining a 4.95 GPA. She served Godwin as senior class president, was a member of both the Math and French Honor Societies, and was awarded the University of Virginia Ridley Book Award.
Dao will be attending Virginia Commonwealth University’s Guaranteed Medical Program, meaning that she’s already been accepted into medical school.
“I plan to become an orthopedic surgeon to stay close to the athletic field,” said Dao.
The Lexus banquet hosted the 30 finalists and their families, and George Whitlow of Lexus of Richmond announced the winner.
“As Mr. Whitlow began the profile of the winner, I was so tense! … As he read the profile more and more, I knew it was me! I was the only piano and harp player and figure skater in the room … I honestly was ecstatic when he announced my name. It was hard staying in my seat when he was reading my profile because I knew I had won,” said Dao. “It was such an honor to receive this award because all of the other contestants were well qualified.”