Skylor Sun

  • Age

    17

  • School

    Palos Verdes High School

  • City

    Palos Verdes Estates

  • Photographed by

    Shane O’Donnell

  • Special Section

    Making Their Mark

“I want to utilize the common and beautiful language of music as a bridge to promote peace and goodwill in our communities.”

What do you believe is your mission in life?

“To lead by example, live a balanced life and leave a legacy.”


What is your special talent?

“I am well-rounded in music, sports, academics (I have a 4.94 GPA and am currently enrolled in nine classes) and community service. I strive to excel in everything I do.”


Tell us about your volunteer work.

“I have earned eight consecutive President’s Volunteer Service Awards—including six gold—by volunteering more than 100 hours each year since 2016 for various nonprofit organizations. My volunteer work includes serving as a junior taekwondo instructor, AYSO soccer coach, feeding the homeless, helping the elderly, making paracord bracelets, writing thank-you cards, assembling hygiene kits for veterans.”


Describe your musical endeavors.

“I am a first violinist, assistant manager, assistant teacher and prospective concert-master for the Palos Verdes Regional Symphony Orchestra. Realizing the loneliness  senior citizens endured during the pandemic, I reached out to local senior homes and offered free live classical music performances by young musicians from the orchestra. My project, which I named Music for Seniors, brings joy to seniors and motivates the musicians to continue to practice, perform before a live audience and earn volunteer hours. It is a resounding success. One senior home, Merrill Gardens, has us hold monthly performances at their facility.”


What sports do you play regularly?

“My athletic journey started at age 5. After having tried a variety of individual and team sports, I narrowed my interests down to two taekwondo and soccer. At age 10 I earned my third-degree black belt from the World Taekwondo Headquarters (Kukkiwon), and at age 15 I became one of the youngest athletes to earn a fourth-degree black belt. I am a starter on my school’s varsity soccer team and continue to play with FRAM Soccer Club. I also enjoy snowboarding, basketball, tennis and working on cars.”


How have you turned the pandemic into a positive experience for yourself and those around you?

“From the start of the pandemic, I assisted my 95-year-old neighbor with weekly grocery shopping without fail—58 weeks total!”


How can we fight discrimination and promote inclusivity?

“Before we pass judgment on anyone, we should all ask ourselves How would we want to be treated if we were in that person’s shoes? We should focus on our similitudes instead of our differences. 

This is one of the reasons I founded Music for Seniors. The young musicians in my orchestra are mostly Asian Americans. In the advent of the 339% increase of hate crimes against Asian Americans in the last year, I want to utilize the common and beautiful language of music as a bridge to promote peace and goodwill in our communities.    

Music serves as an ambassador to heal discrimination, dismantle all walls and reconcile differences. It is a vehicle to bring everyone together to focus on the positive interaction of artistic expression.”


Tell us about the awards and honors you have received.

“Before high school, I received high honors from the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, was a Gifted and Talented Education student and graduated middle school as a valedictorian. I have been inducted into several honor societies, and as a freshman I earned a Congressional Award Gold Medal for voluntary service, personal development, physical fitness and exploration. 

In my sophomore year, I founded and led a team in the national Stock Market Game (SMG) and won first place. SMG is an online simulation of the global capital markets that engages students in the world of economics, investing and personal finance. Participating teams are given $100,000 in virtual money to invest in the actual stock market, and the teams with the highest yields by the end of their sessions are awarded national recognition. 

To pursue my intended college major of finance or economics, last summer I worked as a research intern for a professor of economics at the Harvard Business School. At the same time, I also completed courses at the University of Southern California and Columbia University. Due to my team’s success in SMG and with the goal of promoting financial literacy, I founded two school clubs this year the 100 Grand/InvestWrite® Club (an official authorized affiliation of SMG) and the Social Economics Club. I also won many competition awards over the years for violin and taekwondo.”