2014 North Dakota Award Recipients

Student Readiness Award Recipient: Sam Lim

Photo of Sam Lim A dreamer. That’s how Sam Lim, North Dakota’s Student Readiness Award Winner, is described by his high school counselor, Janelle Stahl Ladbury. In your wildest dreams, could you envision yourself moving from South Korea, to Germany, to California, to … North Dakota? Earning a perfect 36 on the English portion of the ACT even though English is your second language? Or winning a debate competition despite being deaf in one ear? Sam Lim has persevered against adversity and made a commitment to being ready to enter college.

From an early age, Sam was bound for a life full of challenges and learned to overcome them by getting involved in local community activities and feeding his intellectual curiosity.

“Sam has had life experiences that could have limited his ability to be successful in school or ready for the college and career environments,” says Ladbury. “However, he does not see them as barriers to his success. Instead, he is thankful for every opportunity these challenges provided to him.”

When asked for his formula for success, Sam said it’s important to figure out what you’re interested in, and focus on those interests. “Don’t worry what other people think about that subject or how others are better than you. If you always compare yourself to others, you will never succeed in what you’re doing because you’ll just give up.”

Sam has taken advantage of many opportunities to develop his leadership skills and personal confidence. As a member of his school’s debate team, he recently earned first place and quarter-final match titles. In the four clubs he’s involved with, Sam’s taken on numerous leadership roles, including serving as treasurer and vice president, and chairing a large school volunteer project. Along the way, Sam says he has also learned the art of customer service working part-time at a local McDonald’s. On top of his full schedule outside the classroom, he’s managed to excel academically, taking a rigorous course load while maintaining a 4.0 grade point average.

Though Sam’s dream was to attend a highly selective college, he assumed the price tag would make it difficult, if not impossible. However, in the midst of applying for various scholarships, the busy student learned he had been accepted to Yale University and awarded a full academic scholarship. The dreamer student was rewarded for being firmly grounded in his resolve to never give up—and with this latest achievement, he’s excited for what comes next.