Tu, a current student grantee, spoke during our 2017 Annual Meeting & Brunch. Thank you, Tu for sharing your story.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today. I am currently a student grantee in Seattle Milk Fund’s Child Care Grant Program. My son and I have benefited greatly from your generosity in the last year. The grants have allowed me to attend and finish my degree at the University of Washington—Seattle, and for my son to attend after-school care at his elementary school. I will graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a teacher preparation option this summer, which I can follow to receive my Master’s in teaching.
My educational journey begins in Vietnam, where I was born. Throughout my schooling in Vietnam, I was an honors student and received high marks, especially in math and science. However, the schooling system in Vietnam is very competitive, and I struggled with not fitting in culturally. At age 14, I looked into leaving my country and was accepted to a high school in Australia with a full-tuition scholarship.
When my scholarship ended, I returned to Vietnam to attend an international high school for a short time. I applied for a student visa to attend an American college. I was accepted at Green River College and received my high school diploma and an Associate degree in science. I graduated with the highest honor and I received a scholastic award and scholarship to continue my education. This was a glorious moment for my family and me because I am the first person in my family to achieve this level of education.
After graduation, I began an internship, got married, and my son was born. For years, my ex-husband was physically and mentally abusive to me. After banning me from attending school and giving countless threats to deport me without my son, we divorced.
My education journey was stalled after my divorce, because of financial hardship. At one time, I wanted to be a doctor. But, because of my son, I have since decided to become a teacher. He is my passion. I now seek to educate younger generations to help them with their own schooling and to inspire them to become future leaders with good moral character.
As I look back on my schooling. I find comfort and pride that I have prioritized education for my family. My mother taught me from a young age that, “Knowledge from education is the only property that cannot be stolen.” I am a survivor. And, now we are thriving with the opportunities we have been given.
I thank you for supporting my family as I finish my Bachelor’s degree and continue my journey to become a teacher.