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Thao Ly, who graduated with an associate in science and an affiliate in arts, was the North Carolina Neighborhood University Method Academic Excellence Award recipient for Surry Local community Higher education in 2020-2021.

SCC President Dr. David Shockley met with Ly in a non-public ceremony due to the fact she was not able to show up at the May well 2021 graduation because she was moving to the West Coastline. She was specified a commemorative gold medal and a letter of congratulations from the North Carolina Group Higher education System’s president, Thomas Stith III. Ly had a 4. GPA and was on the President’s Listing just about every semester she attended SCC.

Just about every spring, just one scholar from just about every of the 58 group schools in the North Carolina Neighborhood College or university Technique is regarded for excellence in lecturers. According to the system’s web-site, selection of the academic excellence award recipient is primarily based on a solitary assortment from every faculty. Choice is dependable with Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society standards and incorporates the receiver remaining enrolled and owning done at minimum 12 semester hrs in an affiliate diploma software with a cumulative grade place common of no a lot less than 3.25. Schools may perhaps use extra scholarship criteria beyond these minimum specifications.

Ly’s journey to Surry Local community Higher education was just about anything but common. Her mother, Phuong N. Nguyen and father, Hung V. Dang, amazed her five several years in the past expressing they were leaving their residence in Vietnam to make sure she been given an outstanding education and learning. “One day, my parents just instructed me that we would transfer to the States for improved probabilities and for a much better lifestyle as perfectly as a improved potential,” Ly reported.

“When we very first moved to the States, we lived in Rochester, New York,” she explained. “It was a gorgeous town with vibrant leaves in the autumn and crystal snow in the winter season. It just happened so quickly, so quickly and when I to start with arrived, I had no strategy what faculty I would go to. I try to remember taking metropolis buses with my mother all over the city to locate a suitable large college for me. At the time, it charge extra than $10,000 a yr to attend a private substantial college in Rochester.”

Ly determined to go to a public higher college, School Without having Partitions. In addition to university, she also went to Rochester General public Library to attend totally free English lessons. “And there, I satisfied my everyday living savior, Mrs. Chojy Schroeder, a retired English trainer and board member of the Rochester Metropolis Faculty District,” Ly mentioned.

“She identified my determination to and enthusiasm for education, so she released me to the Regents Tests. I collected apply issues on the net and researched by myself for nearly two months in advance of having the Regents Examinations,” Ly explained. “I handed these tests with this sort of significant scores that I was then positioned in twelfth grade.”

Ly was in tenth quality when she had still left her home in Vietnam. “And like a miracle, I became a higher faculty senior. I skipped eleventh grade.”

Her superior scores on the Regents Tests also assisted her get a scholarship to attend Our Lady of Mercy University for Younger Gals in Rochester. She experienced only been attending University Without the need of Partitions for a couple weeks.

“During my senior year at Our Girl of Mercy, I acquired a prospect to make long lasting friendships and take part in a lot of volunteer activities” Ly said. “I volunteered at InterVol, wherever I assisted kind out, set up, pack, and distribute professional medical provides. I also volunteered at the University of Rochester, exactly where I became a math and chemistry tutor for students in grades sixth through ninth.

“Additionally, during my senior yr at Our Lady of Mercy, I did my senior project on antacids and how these medicines work to minimize heartburn. I acquired a Chemistry Accomplishment Award from American Chemical Culture that yr,” said Ly.

Ly identified herself in Dobson when her mother and father signed a contract with Wayne Farms to provide immigration sponsorship for her family members to go to the U.S. Mainly because her moms and dads do not converse a lot English, Ly was also nervous to show up at a four-yr faculty/university, leaving her parents by itself in North Carolina.

“My mother was a instructor in Vietnam and so, doing the job at Wayne Farms, a rooster manufacturing unit, was mentally a obstacle for her. As she is acquiring more mature now, her wellbeing is not as good as prior to. It would be also selfish of me to depart my mom on your own doing the job at the hen manufacturing facility to go to a boarding college/college or university at that time.”

Ly ongoing, “The instant I determined to remain in North Carolina and show up at SCC was the instant I realized that I genuinely grew up somehow. I’m a female with huge desires and ambitions, but I always make positive to set my loved ones 1st less than any situations. Truthfully, I’m just so grateful for possessing a opportunity to research in the U.S., and for me, we can review anywhere as prolonged as we have a enthusiasm for learning to broaden our horizons.”

She explained how she realized to speak English. “Many folks may possibly think that I attended some form of academy to master English before coming to the U.S.,” stated Ly. “I put in my elementary and center-college several years in the countryside of the smaller province in Vietnam. There weren’t a lot of resources or services for English-finding out alternatives.”

Ly remembers understanding and strengthening her English mainly by viewing videos and Television exhibits these kinds of as “Harry Potter,” “Wizards of Waverly Put,” and “Criminal Minds,” some of her favorites. She also listened to Taylor Swift tunes.

She also remembers learning 20 to 30 vocabulary words and phrases and carrying out English routines by herself just about every day. “I also improved my English abilities by touring to foreign nations with my mother and father,” Ly stated.

Although at SCC, Ly was incredibly active in pupil routines. She was named to The Nationwide Modern society of Management and Achievement exactly where she been given the Countrywide Engaged Leader Award. She was also a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Culture, the Mu Alpha Theta Math Club, and the Golden Crucial Worldwide Honor Modern society. Even though at Surry, she assisted program and coordinate fundraisers and gatherings for businesses this kind of as the Minimal Absolutely free Pantry, the Treatment Closet, Halloween Spooktacular, and the Once-a-year Surry’s Got Expertise.

She also volunteered as a training assistant in the SCC Science Office commencing in the slide semester of 2020. In that function, she assisted the professors and students with understanding product and lab actions in science courses such as typical biology, microbiology, basic chemistry, and natural and organic chemistry.

“Taking on the role of a instructing assistant in the SCC Science Section, I hoped to help students continue to be inspired, empowered, and centered despite the complications and issues in the course of the pandemic,” Ly said. “I also hoped to support the professors preserve a stimulating classroom surroundings through this rough time.”

As component of the application system for the Academic Excellence Award, Ly wrote an essay “My Coronary heart Has Never Been This Full” describing her experiences at Surry Group School stating that they “far exceeded my prayers and expectations.”

“During my time at Surry, I lost, unsuccessful, succeeded, cried, laughed, liked and higher than all, I realized,” reported Ly. “I learned not only new expertise and capabilities, but I also realized how to care for other folks and generate as lots of sizeable moments as possible. Surry has aided me understand that there is a person matter improved than reaching the top rated in lifetime: Achieving down and encouraging somebody else increase to the identical degree.”

She ideas to pursue a bachelor’s degree in biotechnology and a doctoral degree in pharmaceutical sciences at a college or university or university on the West Coastline.

“Since we first arrived to The us, we have been as a result of a large amount, but to me, all these activities have turned me into a more robust person and created me unique in my possess way. Most individuals hate the phrase ‘Impossible,’ but I in particular like this word: If you crack the phrase down, it indicates that ‘I’m doable.’ To me, everything is possible if we set our thoughts to it.”