Student Spotlight on Daniel Suh '20: A Love of Learning and a Compassion for Others

Gretchen Lee

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”  - Gandhi

Daniel Suh will attend the University of California, Berkeley in the fall.  His journey there began at SRDS as an international student in 8th grade. It was clear from the start that he was determined in his endeavors, whether academic or altruistic, and possessed wisdom and a compassion for others well beyond his years. He began his study of formal English education at the age of 13, considerably later than most of his peers. When he arrived on the SRDS campus, he was not prepared for the rigorous nature or pace of a challenging college-preparatory curriculum. However, by the end of his freshman year, he had qualified for advanced level classes, spoke and wrote practically flawless English, and developed a love for history.

Daniel is also blessed with ingenuity, intuition, and a strong desire to learn for the sake of learning. The struggles he faced when he began his life in the U.S. shaped the way he looks at the world – with hope, optimism, and a strong work ethic. He also possesses a rare combination of compassion for others and a logical mind. He has been volunteering at the Hana Mission in Paterson, NJ, where he serves meals to the homeless and teaches soccer to the young children at the Mission. During his time there, he felt great empathy for those he met and developed the idea of something he calls a Pocket Pal – a small animal that is soft and fuzzy with a mechanism inside that provides a solar powered light. The goal was simple: it would bring the patrons of the Mission comfort. Daniel has already designed the prototype and filed the patent, but is currently working on plans to secure monetary support from corporate donors… all because he saw a need. 

Of his time at Saddle River Day School, he says, “I feel like SRDS helped me acquire not only the basic knowledge that schools are required to teach, but also fundamental skills that would actually be useful in society after I graduate. The school has allowed me to understand what it means to ‘Act as if what you do makes a difference’ (author William James). I would like to thank SRDS for guiding me throughout my years and for not only giving me the knowledge to achieve at the next level, but also allowing me to develop as a person.”

Daniel was accepted to Cooper Union, Boston University, Northeastern University, George Washington University, and New York University. He will be attending University of California, Berkeley in the fall of 2020. Although his path is not yet determined, one thing is certain: his strong engineering talents combined with his heart for those in need will no doubt guide him to help solve serious problems in the world.