Indian Hill High School student creates global initiative
Posted on 10/04/2018
IHHS student Diana Yue

At Indian Hill High School, Junior Diana Yue stands out as a global leader; the Brave student has already established an international nonprofit organization that first began as a high school project.  

“My parents grew up in a remote village in rural China, and even today many of my relatives still live in rural China,” said Yue. “My father once told me when he was a 15-year-old coal miner in rural China, his coworkers smoked with handmade cigarettes stuck together by the thick plaque in their teeth. When I visited my mother’s hometown, my 6-year-old distant cousin also once told me she has never brushed her teeth.”

These stories spoke to Yue’s heart; she made a decision to make a difference.  

“I initially joined nonprofits and clubs to raise awareness about the need, however, circumstances made it clear that there was a need for a program focusing solely on oral hygiene,” explained Yue. “So, what was initiated as a high school project in 2017 turned into the international organization it is today.”

That organization is BEST, or Better Education for Stronger Teeth. Since the summer of 2017, Yue has devoted a substantial part of her time towards moving the project forward. Yue prepares class materials, recruits volunteers, and does fundraising for oral hygiene.

“With the help from individuals and corporations, such as my friends and Procter & Gamble, I have been able to achieve what I have done today,” said Yue. “Although BEST is still a growing organization, I am already extremely shocked and grateful for the support I have received from everyone.”

More than 7,000 children have been helped through BEST in more than 40 schools in the United States, China, and Cambodia. Yue has also engaged with other organizations to produce dental tablets that don’t require any water; this helped with shipping costs to rural areas within China like Bijie – where BEST visited in 2017; there schools rely on a single truck of government-supplied water each week.  

“The Indian Hill School District has been an extremely supportive and inclusive community,” said Yue. “When I first delivered BEST to my teachers and counselor, they encouraged not merely with words but with solid actions. For example, Mrs. Donita Jackson and Mr. Jeff Damadeo put in the extra effort to contact schools and professionals who could help on my behalf. The same goes for my peers and friends who have supported the cause from day one and volunteered numerous hours with passion.”

Photo caption: Indian Hill High School Student Diana Yue in China working with her international nonprofit organization to raise awareness of the importance of oral hygiene.