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Thao Ly, who graduated with an associate in science and an associate in arts, was the North Carolina Community Higher education Procedure Educational Excellence Award recipient for Surry Group University in 2020-2021.

SCC President Dr. David Shockley satisfied with Ly in a non-public ceremony due to the fact she was not able to attend the Might 2021 graduation mainly because she was transferring to the West Coast. She was presented a commemorative gold medal and a letter of congratulations from the North Carolina Neighborhood College or university System’s president, Thomas Stith III. Ly had a 4. GPA and was on the President’s List each individual semester she attended SCC.

Just about every spring, one pupil from each individual of the 58 community colleges in the North Carolina Group College or university Procedure is recognized for excellence in academics. According to the system’s internet site, selection of the academic excellence award receiver is centered on a one assortment from every single university. Variety is regular with Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society criteria and involves the recipient remaining enrolled and acquiring accomplished at the very least 12 semester several hours in an affiliate diploma system with a cumulative grade place ordinary of no considerably less than 3.25. Colleges may use additional scholarship requirements outside of these least specifications.

Ly’s journey to Surry Community University was nearly anything but typical. Her mom, Phuong N. Nguyen and father, Hung V. Dang, astonished her five a long time back indicating they ended up leaving their residence in Vietnam to make absolutely sure she acquired an superb instruction. “One working day, my mothers and fathers just instructed me that we would transfer to the States for better probabilities and for a superior lifestyle as perfectly as a superior long run,” Ly claimed.

“When we 1st moved to the States, we lived in Rochester, New York,” she said. “It was a wonderful town with colourful leaves in the autumn and crystal snow in the winter. It just occurred so rapid, so abruptly and when I 1st arrived, I had no notion what faculty I would go to. I remember taking town buses with my mother all-around the metropolis to uncover a suitable substantial school for me. At the time, it price tag much more than $10,000 a year to attend a personal large faculty in Rochester.”

Ly made the decision to go to a public high school, Faculty Without Walls. In addition to school, she also went to Rochester Public Library to go to totally free English lessons. “And there, I satisfied my lifestyle savior, Mrs. Chojy Schroeder, a retired English trainer and board member of the Rochester Town University District,” Ly said.

“She recognized my dedication to and enthusiasm for education and learning, so she introduced me to the Regents Tests. I gathered practice troubles on the internet and researched by myself for just about two months in advance of using the Regents Tests,” Ly said. “I passed these exams with this kind of higher scores that I was then placed in twelfth quality.”

Ly was in tenth quality when she experienced still left her house in Vietnam. “And like a wonder, I turned a large university senior. I skipped eleventh grade.”

Her large scores on the Regents Tests also assisted her acquire a scholarship to attend Our Woman of Mercy Faculty for Young Women in Rochester. She experienced only been attending Faculty Devoid of Partitions for a handful of months.

“During my senior yr at Our Lady of Mercy, I received a prospect to make lasting friendships and participate in a lot of volunteer activities” Ly said. “I volunteered at InterVol, in which I served type out, organize, pack, and distribute professional medical provides. I also volunteered at the University of Rochester, where by I turned a math and chemistry tutor for pupils in grades sixth through ninth.

“Additionally, throughout my senior yr at Our Girl of Mercy, I did my senior challenge on antacids and how these medications function to decrease heartburn. I obtained a Chemistry Achievement Award from American Chemical Modern society that yr,” reported Ly.

Ly observed herself in Dobson when her dad and mom signed a contract with Wayne Farms to provide immigration sponsorship for her family to shift to the U.S. For the reason that her mother and father do not communicate considerably English, Ly was also anxious to attend a 4-12 months school/university, leaving her mothers and fathers alone in North Carolina.

“My mother was a trainer in Vietnam and so, doing the job at Wayne Farms, a chicken manufacturing facility, was mentally a obstacle for her. As she is getting older now, her overall health is not as fantastic as prior to. It would be also selfish of me to leave my mom alone doing the job at the chicken factory to attend a boarding college/school at that time.”

Ly ongoing, “The instant I decided to remain in North Carolina and show up at SCC was the minute I recognized that I actually grew up by some means. I’m a woman with big dreams and ambitions, but I generally make positive to set my spouse and children initial under any conditions. Honestly, I’m just so thankful for obtaining a possibility to examine in the U.S., and for me, we can study any place as extensive as we have a enthusiasm for mastering to broaden our horizons.”

She defined how she discovered to converse English. “Many individuals may possibly assume that I attended some type of academy to study English ahead of coming to the U.S.,” claimed Ly. “I invested my elementary and middle-college decades in the countryside of the compact province in Vietnam. There weren’t many assets or services for English-learning alternatives.”

Ly remembers discovering and enhancing her English typically by observing flicks and Television demonstrates these types 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 researching 20 to 30 vocabulary terms and performing English workouts by herself each individual day. “I also enhanced my English abilities as a result of traveling to foreign nations with my parents,” Ly claimed.

When at SCC, Ly was pretty energetic in student things to do. She was named to The Countrywide Modern society of Leadership and Success where she acquired the National Engaged Leader Award. She was also a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Culture, the Mu Alpha Theta Math Club, and the Golden Key Global Honor Society. Whilst at Surry, she assisted approach and coordinate fundraisers and events for organizations these kinds of as the Minor No cost Pantry, the Treatment Closet, Halloween Spooktacular, and the Once-a-year Surry’s Acquired Talent.

She also volunteered as a training assistant in the SCC Science Department beginning in the fall semester of 2020. In that position, she assisted the professors and students with studying substance and lab routines in science lessons including common biology, microbiology, basic chemistry, and natural chemistry.

“Taking on the job of a training assistant in the SCC Science Department, I hoped to enable students continue to be impressed, empowered, and centered regardless of the complications and challenges for the duration of the pandemic,” Ly explained. “I also hoped to assistance the professors preserve a stimulating classroom environment in the course of this difficult time.”

As element of the application system for the Tutorial Excellence Award, Ly wrote an essay “My Coronary heart Has By no means Been This Full” describing her experiences at Surry Local community College or university stating that they “far exceeded my prayers and anticipations.”

“During my time at Surry, I dropped, failed, succeeded, cried, laughed, loved and over all, I acquired,” explained Ly. “I learned not only new information and skills, but I also acquired how to treatment for some others and create as lots of major moments as feasible. Surry has aided me understand that there is a single detail greater than reaching the leading in daily life: Achieving down and helping a person else increase to the same level.”

She plans to pursue a bachelor’s diploma in biotechnology and a doctoral degree in pharmaceutical sciences at a university or university on the West Coast.

“Since we 1st arrived to The united states, we have been by a ton, but to me, all these activities have turned me into a more robust man or woman and built me distinctive in my own way. Most people today detest the word ‘Impossible,’ but I particularly like this phrase: If you break the phrase down, it indicates that ‘I’m doable.’ To me, anything at all is doable if we set our thoughts to it.”

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