A Chinese student at an elite U.S. boarding school realizes excellence is not enough when he tries out for a leadership position no international student has ever applied for.
Xiaoyu is a Chinese student attending the American Westmoreland boarding school. He works as a dishwasher for the school's lavish dining hall and aspires to be Maître D', something no other international student has ever applied for. His friends Mei and Gang poke fun at his ambition. Current Maître D', Allen, sees his interest and helps him try to prepare for the tryout to replace him while Headmaster Gustafson also encourages him to try out. His studying creates a rift with his friends who see him as being too high class to hang out with them.
The evening of the tryouts begins and Xiaoyu handles the announcements efficiently. However, when he approaches the table where Mei and Gang are seated he loses his composure and struggles to remember the names at the next table. Allen pulls him aside and tells him that the tryouts are over, but Gustafson tells him that it is easy to make mistakes and orders that Xiaoyu finish for the night. He manages to regain his senses and becomes very sociable with everyone; even getting the support of his friends.
Afterwards, Xiaoyu goes to thank Gustafson for giving him a second chance, but overhears him telling Allen that it doesn't matter how he did as long as his Chinese background gives them support for more international students. Distraught over hearing this, Xiaoyu makes one final announcement to everyone about how he realizes that it is not about being excellent, but how you bring excellence to others. He begins to sing "Island" by Xueran Chen with Mei and Gang going up and joining him. Gustafson orders everyone out of the dining hall while Allen smiles at Xiaoyu's rebellion.
- Qi Sun as Xiaoyu
- Briana Liu as Mei
- Ben Wang as Gang
- Harry Jarvis as Allen
- Ray Wise as Headmaster Gustafson
- DeJean Brown as Randall
- Leann Lei as Mother
- Ty Doran as Guy
- Deacon Ledges as Mr. Mayer
- Jim Nieb as Mr. Williamson
- Judy Kain as Mrs. Gustafson
- David Chattam as Mr. Johnson
- "Island" when translated into English reveals that the lyrics are about feeling low and weak, but not caring and forging your own path from it.