The importance of education has always been ingrained and valued in my family for as long as I can remember. It is the reason why my parents left everything and everyone they knew to immigrate to the United States in 1988 and the reason why my siblings and I are blessed to have the life that we today.
My story began many years ago in Vietnam. My father was born in the capital city which was once called Saigon. Because of his family circumstances, he had to stop going to school in sixth grade and sold lottery tickets and toys along the roadsides of the city with my grandmother. My mother on the other hand was from a small, poor village in the Central region. There was not a school near her house thus, she had to walk for several miles to learn to read from a teacher who taught from his home. Each lesson was paid for with a small bag of rice. Through imitation, memorization, and determination, she learned to read and write Vietnamese fluently. As parents to six young children, they struggled financially and with very little education and means, they knew that they had to make drastic changes so that we could have a better life than they did.
Through the goodwill and generosity of the United States, my family was granted Refugee Status and was sponsored by Catholic Charities to immigrate to Kentucky in 1989 after staying at a refugee camp in Bataan, Philippines for ten months. In Louisville, Kentucky was where I lived most of life and was blessed with the opportunity to attend both public and private schools. While my parents struggled with the language barrier and were not able to support us as parents of our American peers did, they always pushed us to excel and were always there to celebrate all of our successes. "You have to work hard in school" were the words that were always echoed in our house. They knew that education was the way and the only way for us to elevate our lives and build a better future.
While most of my siblings went into the computer and mathematical fields in college, my heart was always drawn to share my time and knowledge with others. From my volunteer service with my church youth group, I began a deep passion in teaching and helping others succeed as my parents and so many educators have touched and helped me to graduate Baccalaureate from my Catholic high school, Magna Cum Laude with my Bachelor in Arts, and Master in the Art of Teaching at the age of 23. Eight years into teaching, and I am still very grateful of being able to do what I love everyday. I am even more grateful for all the people who have helped me to become the woman I am today, especially my wonderful parents.
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