July 8, 2020

Tony Shu: the Wellesley legacy attributes part of his success to the town

Madelyn Peng ’21, Staff Writer

"There were so many incredible staff members at Wellesley who not only supported my growth as a student, but took the time, care, and love to support my growth as a person and citizen," said Shu. Photo courtesy of Tony Shu.

Tony Shu ’17, currently in his third year at Harvard University, has become a household name in the Wellesley community. In 2018, Shu co-founded Breaktime, a cafe that provides jobs for people struggling with homelessness in Boston. The cafe is not solely aimed at aiding these individuals experiencing homelessness in a financial sense but also mentors them toward their desired future. Breaktime helps homeless youth launch into future employment. 

During high school, Shu studied acting, became captain of the Academic Decathlon Team, and served as class president from 2013 to 2017. He benefited from such activities because they grew his diverse knowledge and increased his participation in unfamiliar communities. Shu considers trying different classes and unfamiliar activities to be the key to maximizing the opportunities that the high school provides. 

“There’s no need to have everything figured out in high school, but there is also no excuse not to try things that are totally different than what you are used to. When I tried something new, my goal was to devote myself full-heartedly to it and always go the extra mile,” said Shu.

Ms. Janet Sozio, Shu’s former guidance counselor, spoke fondly of his ambition.

She described Shu as having “sought out opportunities at WHS and in the town where he could contribute to the betterment of the community. I am so proud of him for taking steps to make that vision a reality!”

Even though he immersed himself in many new experiences, Shu claims that caring for his wellbeing was the most important choice he made at the high school. He values self-care of mind, body, and spirit, so he made sure to sleep well, eat healthy, exercise, and meditate.

“While these are not things that necessarily happened in the classroom, these choices and habits that I began to build during high school have had direct long-term positive impacts that I can see in my life today,” Shu said.

Shu also learned an important lesson on the inequality of the world through his time at the high school. He believes that Wellesley offers incomparable opportunities, with its academic excellence and rich resources, but he was able to recognize that not everyone shares the same privileges.

“I challenge students at Wellesley to more deeply explore the world around them, engage in service projects that are sustainable and impactful, and grapple with how they can use their opportunities to serve and support others,” said Shu. 

Shu continues to make a name for himself beyond Wellesley. He wishes that his legacy serves as an inspiration for social betterment and a dedication to others

“I truly hope that I was able to encourage students to treat each other with kindness and to deeply engage in service to our community,” said Shu.

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