Tag Archives: Francis Lewis High School

Francis Lewis supports its ‘Idol’ Heejun Han

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Heejun Han's Yearbook Photo From His Years At Francis Lewis High

Heejun Han can count on his alma mater to keep him in the running in one of the biggest singing competitions in the nation.

The 22-year-old “American Idol” contestant from Flushing survived to advance to the show’s top nine last week, although not without landing in the bottom three for the first time this season.

Now, it’s up to Francis Lewis High School — where Han graduated in 2007 — to secure his seat to the end.

“There’s a lot of energy inside the school. We want him to win because he’s one of us,” said junior Nina Pierre.

An electronic display board outside the Fresh Meadows school reads “Congratulations To Heejun Han. Class of 2007. American Idol Finalist!” And every day — during second and ninth period — Pierre said the school gets on the loudspeaker to announce Han’s progress.

“We make sure to tell everyone to watch and vote and make him the next American Idol,” said Principal Musa Ali Shama. “We’re all very excited about this whole thing. It’s a great community item to share. A student from our school is on ‘American Idol.’ We’re really having fun with it.”

Alumnus Vincenzo Fiorito said he and Han were teammates on the school’s varsity soccer team — and they often shared a bench together.

“We both sucked at soccer, but he was a funny kid,” Fiorito said.

Although the superstar now sings weekly for an audience of millions, school officials said he was not involved in musical programs, and he never took part in a school play.

Richard Hyman, a music teacher at Francis Lewis and head of the school’s chorus and choir teams, said Han took one college-level music theory course with him, but it involved no vocal performances.

“I had no idea he could sing,” Fiorito said.

Han told the Courier last week that he only auditioned for the show as a means to propagate his organization — a group called Milal that assists special needs children. He told judges during his audition that he had never received professional vocal training, and that singing was only a mere hobby.

“That makes me feel more confident about my singing because if he could do it, I could do it too,” Pierre said.

Other students at the school said they were feeling the Heejun Han hysteria.

“It’s pretty cool that someone from our school could actually be representing us on such a big thing like ‘American Idol.’ It really shows Francis Lewis off,” said junior Naib Chowdhury, who said he casts a vote for Han each week. “Hopefully, he gets to the top. He can count on my vote.”

Han has now advanced as far as last year’s Queens contestant, Pia Toscano.

The top nine will perform again on Wednesday, March 28 at 8 p.m. on Fox 5.

Check back with www.queenscourier.com to see if he made it to next round.


— With additional reporting by Billy Rennison and Alexa Altman

Queens high school wins international moot court competition in the Netherlands

| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com


One Francis Lewis High School student’s recent debate accomplishment is far from “moot.”

Pei Ran Zhang, a 17-year-old senior at Francis Lewis, was part of the New York City all-star law team that finished in first place at the International Moot Court Competition at Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands – where the International Court of Justice hears cases.

Zhang, who came to the United States a mere five years ago, delivered the opening and closing statements for her team in their final round showdown against the squad from Caracas, Venezuela.

The city’s team, which competed against students from across the world, also had the pleasure of meeting the mayor of The Hague as well as judges and prosecutors from the International Court.

“It was an honor to go to Europe to be a part of this competition,” Zhang said. “The first day I was so nervous – I was nervous until I got the podium, and then it came naturally. But it was great to win.”


Francis Lewis drills the competition

| smosco@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of Francis Lewis High School

Francis Lewis High School stood at attention and swept the New York City Drill Competition, defeating opponents from schools throughout the five boroughs and Long Island on February 11.

The school faced off and was victorious against Xavier, Theodore Roosevelt, Long Island City, Uniondale, Morris, Wyandanch and Fort Hamilton High Schools in both armed and unarmed divisions.

With four different events, the competition was fierce. The schools took on each other in inspection, color guard, regulation drill and exhibition drill.

Francis Lewis’ two teams, the armed Patriot Guard and the unarmed Patriot Pride, both performed perfectly with the colors standing proudly.

The Armed Inspection platoon came soon after all of the color guard performances were completed. This was similar to the Unarmed Inspection platoon, except for the fact that each cadet had a rifle and had to know rifle commands. In the afternoon, Patriot Guard and Patriot Pride showed off their perfect drill movements, with each movement very sharp and in sync.

Patriot Pride rocked the floors with their sharp, synchronized movements as Patriot Guard spun and banged the floors with their rifles loudly and proudly, making each difficult movement seem simple.  Both Patriot Guard and Patriot Pride swept the board and took 1st place.

Scout gives back to Flushing

| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Scouting 031w

Eagle Scout candidate Justin Lieu is on the verge of earning his wings, with seven years of Boy Scout training and the required 21 merit badges under his belt. He just needs to turn in the paperwork.

Lieu, a Francis Lewis High School senior, used his years in the Scouts to improve his neighborhood.

“The position has definitely taught me a lot about helping and caring for others,” said Lieu.

On Saturday November, 12 and Sunday November, 13, 2011, Lieu initiated a project to clean up the Olde Towne of Flushing Burial Ground, also known as Martin’s Field – an idea sparked by his uncle and Scoutmaster, Evergreen Chou.

At first, Lieu was hesitant about the project. Upon researching the history of the site, he discovered the importance of preserving such a significant piece of land, and decided it would be a great way to give back to the community.

“Cleaning up the burial ground made me feel a sense of accomplishment in the fact I was able to help out my Queens community and especially help out a site which has a lot of history to it,” said Lieu.

In coordination with the Parks Department, Lieu snipped weeds, pruned foliage and cleared walking paths. He removed invasive species of plants hindering the growth of others and placed mulch where it was needed.

“I believe that it is important for young people to help out in their communities because this is how a community survives and grows,” said Lieu. “By helping out and giving back, a community can do more for its residents. More people would [be inspired to] go out and volunteer to ‘give back.’”

The 17-year-old feels one of his biggest responsibilities are continuing the legacy of the Scouts, nurturing younger members and keeping the traditions alive.

“I have learned so much in Scouting,” said Lieu. “It is only right that I help out newer Scouts and teach them what I have learned to keep Scouting alive and strong.”

When he takes a break from Scouting and school, Lieu enjoys being active – playing handball and weight training. He also has a love of photography.

Lieu plans to submit his Eagle Scout paperwork by the end of February, following which he will need to receive permission from the Eagle Board of Review, a group set up by the Scoutmaster and Scout Leaders from the district.

Lieu looks forward to continuing to give back to his community, mentioning that he already has another project in the works, to be completed in April.

Flushing teen missing

| brennison@queenscourier.com

Missing 109 Sqd.

Police are asking for the public’s help finding a Flushing teen that went missing Tuesday, December 13.

Pascal Chiu, 15, was last seen near Francis Lewis High School at approximately 2 p.m. this past Tuesday.  Chiu is 5-feet-4-inches tall, weighs 120 pounds and was last seen wearing a red jacket, blue jeans and white sneakers.

Anyone with information in regard to the above missing is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.