I was born in a little town in Vietnam called Ben Tre. At the age of five, my family immigrated to America and has since resided in Dorchester. I attended elementary school at the Richard J. Murphy with only two English words in my vocabulary “hello” and “thank you”. Despite of the laughter regarding my accent, I never hesitated to raise my hands to participate in class. I did not spend my childhood playing sports or going camping, but instead I spend it studying and helping my parents take care of my little sister. As the oldest, it was my duty to call the phone or the electric company when there were discrepancies in the bills. I was also my parents’ translator when they go to the doctor or the dentist. When someone call the house speaking English, they would automatically pass the phone to me.

My first great achievement was being accepted to Boston Latin School. I remembered actually crying when I received my acceptance letter. During my time at Latin School, I was drawn to multiple clubs; Vietnamese Students Society, French Club, and Wolfpack, all of which I continued with until senior year. It was at these clubs where I found my foothold at Latin School, met some of my closest friends and discovered my passion for volunteering. Throughout high school, I volunteered twice a week tutoring elementary children at my local library. Those kids taught me as much as I taught them. They taught me to be on time because when I was lately, they were harsher on me than the librarian. I also learned to be patience and to listen. Each child learns differently and as a tutor I must adapt myself to their learning style.

In ninth grade, on a whim, I participated in Arabic Summer Academy, which is an intensive one month Arabic course that unveiled to me a whole new world of Arabic culture. I fell in love with the language, the music and the food. What I admired the most was that the teachers at the program were of different ethnicity not necessary Arabs, but they all profoundly love the Arabic culture and they enthusiastically want to spread the wonderfulness of it to us. In junior year, I applied for a scholarship to CIEE Leadership Program, sponsored by a Latin School alumn, Mr. Fallon. To my surprise I was accepted to their Amman, Jordan program. This program not only gave me the opportunity to travel, but it combined language study classes with leadership seminars and volunteer services. Through the volunteer services, I started asking questions about the Jordanian Government. All the Jordanian youths were unhappy about their government because they feel that their elected officials do not care about their constituents and bribery is a big issue. I was unhappy about the way Jordan is handling issues regarding education, quality of life, and gender equality but I realized that I, myself  knew little to nothing about my own government.

I returned to Latin School and to America eager more than ever to learn about my city; what are they going that is good or bad. I want to know more so that I can help improve my own city and cities around the world. I took Ap Government to understand the functioning of the federal government. I also took Ap European History, which to my surprise also did help me understand the surfaces of some of the many conflicts occurring in the Middle East.  After seven rigorous years at Latin School, I’m excited to be starting college at Boston University in the fall. I foolishly thought that I could escape the BLS ties by going to college but I realized that is impossible especially if you work in City Hall. I am beginning to appreciate the Latin School connection and be proud of it. Many alumni before me have given back to Latin School, which has created many wonderful opportunities for students like me. I will not take my blessings for granted and hopefully I will do Boston Latin proud.