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2021   Honoree 

John Leong


As an only child living in New York City, John Leong was constantly at the center of his parents’ attention, being exposed to a wide array of activities from swimming to art classes. At the age of 2, John’s parents introduced him to the piano, an instrument that John quickly grew a fondness for, often playing in his free time. He also showed a deep appreciation for numbers and would find himself fiddling with different puzzles that his parents had purchased for him.


At the age of 4, John was diagnosed with a Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA) and was unable to continue his academic and extracurricular endeavors. However, with the support of both his therapists and his parents during his rehabilitation, John was able to regain some level of function in his arms and legs. He was able to return back to first-grade with a strong sense of determination and perseverance. Wanting to continue his efforts in piano again, John was treated at the Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine on a weekly basis for the next nine years, honing in on his piano skills and participating in performances that showcased his piano skills in both classical and pop music. Alongside physical and occupational therapy, music therapy worked diligently with John, who made large strides in improving his hand and leg mobility, and which helped him to move more naturally and perform more complex tasks involving both of his hands.


With this newfound commitment to piano, John found himself excelling in other areas of his life as well, receiving near-perfect grades in school and continuing to pursue different activities like coding and chess. Currently, John has entered his Senior in high school and shares the same passion for math and piano as he did when he was younger. He participates in music performances and his school’s Math and Science Bowl Teams .He continues to be a strong chess player.

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