One of Richmond’s best-known student events is RichCity Idol, where students from different high schools come together to compete on stage to see who is the best singer - but who is the person behind the stage that makes it all happen?
Natasha Jung, co-founder of RichCity Idol (RCI), was a grade 11 McNair secondary student in 2003 when she and best friend, Martin Hui, decided they wanted to unite students from different schools in a singing contest.
“We started it because we were involved in student leadership in high school (…) we were also part of the mini school program at McNair secondary and were very passionate about connecting with other students from other schools,” said Jung.
The idea was first sparked when Jung was attending voice lessons and her vocal coach told her about singing competitions between schools in the Philippines.
She then consulted with Hui and the plan was presented to the Richmond School District.
RCI was more than just a competition for Jung and Hui - it was a plan to build a community and team leaders where students could explore creative arts and performance arts.
“When you’re young, you kind of just do whatever is fun. However, when you do something that other people connect with or has impacted other people in a way where they want to continue doing it, that to me, is really humbling,” Jung said.
Jung, now a media and education consultant, has stepped back from RCI, but is still involved at an advisory level. She continues to be the person of contact between the Richmond School District and the students.
“I call (the students) my bosses, because they tell me what their challenges are and I guide them, rather than me telling them what needs to be done.”
Jung’s main focus is now on Cold Tea Collective, a new media platform based in Vancouver that shares stories, perspectives and experiences of North American Asian millennials.
Cold Tea Collective has allowed Jung to connect with people like the cast of Crazy Rich Asians and talk to them with what it means to be part of the Asian community.
“Taking a look back, what’s always been important for me is connecting and building a community,” said Jung, adding that being “creative and authentic” are her core values – her guiding principles – that has allowed her to continue her career in uniting Asian millennials across North America and even internationally.
“A lot of what I’m able to do today is because of what the Richmond community allowed me and invited me to do.”