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Lathrop High junior aims for Harvard
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Megan Cai has her eyes set on attending Harvard University to study law and journalism.

It’s not an either-or choice of a career path as far as the 18-year-old junior at Lathrop High School is concerned.

“I hope to become a lawyer or political speaker/writer to defend those who are innocent, and to inform the public of issues in the world and within the United States,” said the Hong Kong-born daughter of Angela Cai who came to America when she was four years old.

Her mother, an accountant and now a businesswoman, had been in the United States before that as a student. She graduated from the University of Hawaii and then went back to British Hong Kong where she worked for various international corporations before her family came to the United States for good. Megan is the younger of her two daughters. Older daughter Priscilla Parker, an alumnus of University of California, Davis, works for a law office outside Sacramento.

Megan Cai has already tested the waters of public engagement on a controversial issues. When she was a freshman, she led a letter-writing and petition campaign in support of her former teacher at Joseph Widmer, Jr. Elementary School who was being accused of sexual improprieties involving three of his students. Cai, who strongly believed in her third-grade teacher Michael Bergthold’s innocence, wanted him to be given a fair trial. Bergthold’s plea deal last year was set aside by a judge who agreed that the now unemployed teacher was not adequately represented by his former defense attorney. That means his case will go back to square one for a fresh trial with a different attorney.

The young Lathrop teen-ager, who has a current GPA of 4.15, is active both on campus and in the community. She is currently the president of her school’s Film Fanatics Club and vice president of the French Club. She was also the secretary of her freshman class. As a member of the WASC committee of Lathrop High, she participated in helping her school earn its accreditation and assisted in the creation of the school’s mission.

Extracurricular activities and interests include playing the guitar which came in handy when she entertained the elderly at the San Jose nursing home – Golden Heritage – where her maternal grandmother is currently staying. She has also helped raise funds for the Film Fanatics and French Clubs at her school, and was involved in the Give Every Child a Chance after-school tutoring program.

She also has an interest in singing, and enjoys “writing about my own philosophical and political opinions sometimes.”

She added, “I also like acting and doing impressions of people – I love making people laugh and smile.”

As for Lathrop High School, she said she likes it “because the students are relatively courteous towards each other – bullying is not much of an issue. There are also many talented performers at my school.”

As for being a resident of San Joaquin County’s youngest incorporated city, she said, “Lathrop itself  is a great place to live. The people are great and the community feels like one big family. I enjoy the small-town feel.”

Her role models, she said, are her mother and political satirist, comedian and television host Stephen Colbert.

“My mother for her strength, kindness, wit and keen insight. Stephen Colbert – not necessarily for his political views – but because he is sharply humorous and raises political awareness through entertainment.”

Last year, after discovering that they were related to one of China’s most illustrious filmmakers and internationally renowned directors, Cai Chusheng, mother and daughter traveled to Beijing and other regions of the communist country to get acquainted with relatives they have never met and to visit the museum and other places of honor dedicated to Angela’s uncle. Cai Chusheng was the brother of her late father, Cai Lusheng, a former editor of a daily newspaper in Hong Kong before his family moved to the United States.