An Important Message of Pandemic Hope from Clairbourn Alumna Tiffany Chang

Nancy Ward
Tiffany Chang, from Clairbourn’s Class of 2018, sees the opportunities embedded in every crisis. She credits her elementary school, Clairbourn, for the optimistic thoughts that inspired an award-winning video she made for the Center for Future Global Leaders (CFGL) Young Artist Competition. She says, “I will always be grateful to Clairbourn as the school has always taught me to look at the positive side of every situation and to stay optimistic even during the most difficult times. I will never forget the important life lessons Clairbourn instilled in me.”

Over a period of about 2 weeks, fueled by her positive-outlook habits and motivated by her own optimistic actions while staying at home, she scripted, animated, and recorded an artistic video on the topic of “Hope” for the CFGL competition. Her “Leaders of Tomorrow Video During the Pandemic” project was designed for parents and students, and reveals a path out of hopelessness by making a point of looking at the brighter side of the stay-at-home-order and disruptions to normal routines. 

After addressing the world-wide toll on health and the derailment of education in the era of COVID-19, she uses the powerful and repeated reframing question, “What if?” “What if this generation is advanced because of this pandemic?” Tiffany’s project presents 18 reframing questions in total that provide ample reasons for optimism in the face of great hardship. As a result, her project not only delivered on the intended inspiration, but it also won her a $300 prize and a top spot as a national finalist in the CFGL competition.

We invite you to watch her video, read the transcript that follows, and then learn more about Tiffany’s impressive record of philanthropy and community service. 

Leaders of Tomorrow Video During the Pandemic
“As the unprecedented COVID-19 Pandemic continues to send shock waves across the globe, the number of cases has continued to increase rapidly, and it has taken a significant toll on people all across the globe with unforeseen challenges. Most governments around the world have temporary closed educational institutions in an attempt to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. These nationwide closures are impacting almost 70% of the world’s student population. Several other countries have implemented localized closures impacting millions of additional learners.

If schools are closed for the rest of the year, students would miss approximately 9 months of education. Many people are concerned about students falling behind. They might fall behind when it comes to classroom education, but what if? What if instead of falling behind, this generation is advanced because of this pandemic?

What if they are more engaging, compassionate, and empathetic—sharing their knowledge or helping younger siblings to learn to read, write, and solve math problems? What if they enjoy the simple things in life like quietly sitting in their own back yard reading, writing, and reflecting more often?

What if they gained the opportunity to challenge themselves, take risks, and learn something new—learn a new language, learn a new culinary technique, tackle other creative endeavors to entertain themselves?  What if they learned to find balance in a fast-paced world by connecting with nature, to enjoy the fresh air, and to notice the birds and frolicking critters? 

What if this generation learns their sense of responsibility in keeping their homes in a good order by learning to cook, organize, and do their laundry? What if they learn to stretch a dollar and understand the concept of limited resources? What if they learn to budget and plan shopping trips and meals at home? What if they learn the value of family bonding, eating together, playing board games, and finding the joy of reaching out to loved ones?

What if these are the children that learn the power of emotional resilience during these uncertain times—that take part to brighten the dark days of the pandemic? What if they are the ones to place great value on the previously invisible and essential support workers such as truck drivers, grocers, cashiers, and healthcare workers who are taking care of us while we are sheltered in place?

What if these are the children with the ultimate training ground giving them an early start to learning life skills for when they no longer live at home? What if, in this generation, a great leader emerges who had the benefit of a slower pace and a modest life to to truly learn what really matters in this life? What if they are ahead? These will be the children that share hopes and dream of our futures. They are the ones that say, we can control our attitude. We can control our levels of kindness. We can control our consumption. We can control our lives, even during these uncertain times. 

Things may never seem normal, but what if the new normal are the changes that we make? Prepare yourself today for tomorrow. What if we focus on what we can change? We can either conform or divert away, but the continuous cycle of feeling hopeless does not help in any way. Take control and use your voice and your platform. We are not a lost generation. we are the leaders of the tomorrow. What if it is worth a try?"
More About Tiffany:
Tiffany Chang is currently a sophomore at Westridge School for Girls in Pasadena, California, she is a young philanthropist who has helped to raise over $22,000 for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA)’s COVID Emergency Response Fund, and she is the founding president of the Madhatter Knits Foundation (co-founded by fellow Clairbourn alumnae Christie Huang, Kathryn Huang, and Kimberly Chang and inspired by teacher Mary-Kaye Halferty’s knitting elective) which provides knitted hats to premature babies in the neonatal intensive care unit. Tiffany recently expanded her COVID-19 service work through a Madhatter Knits partnership with Tzu Chi Foundation to provide Maternal Protection Care Kits to the community.
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