Story by: Mike Zitz

When Eastern View High School graduate William Liu, 18, learned in April that he was in the running for a highly competitive national scholarship that would put him through the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science, his first thought was of his mother, Ruixian Huang, who runs Dragon Chef, a Culpeper restaurant.

"My goal is to support my mother, both financially and emotionally, after graduation. She’s worked so hard to care for my brother and I and made so many sacrifices."
William Liu
Germanna graduate, University of Virginia student

This year, William was one of only 60 community college students to receive the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. Over 1,700 students from 448 two-year institutions across the country had applied for the scholarship. The highly competitive national scholarship aims for scholars to complete their undergraduate educations with as little debt as possible. The award, which is last-dollar funding after all institutional aid, can be as much as $55,000 a year. His goal hasn’t changed. He’s focused on taking care of his mother, hopefully by working for NASA or Apple.

Liu has never met his father; his parents divorced when he was one year old. Huang brought her two sons to Culpeper so she could work in the restaurant, then owned by his uncle. She eventually bought the uncle out, and Liu and his brother, Lou Bin Chen, 25, have worked with her for years.

William Liu during an open discussion with the VCCS Chancellor, Dr. David Doré


When William graduated from Eastern View High School last May, he enrolled at Germanna, taking almost all his classes online. He completed two years worth of courses in just one year while working as a driver for Door Dash and as a pharmacy tech at CVS in Culpeper. Despite the workload, William did so well that he’s been accepted for transfer to the University of Virginia engineering program and landed the scholarship.

“This scholarship definitely gives me a head start," William said.

“The Germanna family is extremely proud of his academic achievements and will continue to support him as he successfully transfers to the University of Virginia,” said Dr. Shashuna Gray, Vice President of Academics and Workforce Development. “For William,” she said, “the sky is his limit.”

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