Posted by: BPSOS | February 3, 2009

Tin Tức – News: Talented Scholarship Applicant Linh Dan Do Honors General Ngo Quang Truong

young-truong-1General Ngo Quang Truong as a young man.

February 3, 2009: Last summer, applications were solicited for the Ngo Quang Truong Memorial Scholarship for Vietnamese-American Undergraduates in the United States.

The scholarship honors the memory of General Ngo Quang Truong, whose dedication and military genius helped prolong liberty in South. Another objective of the scholarship is to encourage young Vietnamese Americans to learn about Vietnamese history and the general’s achievements. Finally, the scholarship is designed to inculcate the following values, symbolized by the life of this famous general, among young Vietnamese Americans: loyalty, fairness, self-sacrifice, leadership, integrity, and humility.

The panel that reviewed the applications was particularly impressed with the essay of Linh Do (click here for biographical details) and requested that it be posted online where other young people might read it and be inspired:

When my parents founded the Vietnamese Heritage School two years ago, I was excited to teach and share my love of learning and Vietnamese culture. After all, my parents shared with their children a love of learning and Vietnamese culture from as early as I can remember, and I grew up steeped in Vietnamese literature, history, and culture.

After dinner, when we were very young, my father gave slideshow presentations of Viet Nam that gave us our first glimpse of our parents’ country. Later, he started collecting Vietnamese antiques, Bronze Age artefacts, and vintage stamps and postcards. My mother studied Vietnamese culture and history and wrote several books herself, so the house was filled with books that she used for research. From her seemingly endless collection, I read everything from folktales and legends to twentieth century literature to history books. It was in high school, when I was doing a research project on the Vietnam War that I first read about General Ngo Quang Truong. His sense of duty to Vietnam inspired me, and since then, I have always strived to contribute to my community, in the same way that he dedicated himself to his country.

Vietnamese culture and community service continue to be an integral part of my life today. For two years I have taught a class at the school each Sunday morning. The curriculum includes basics like spelling, dictation, and grammar as well as geography, history, and literature. For holidays like Tet Trung Thu and Tet Nguyen Dan, we organize celebrations at the school for the students. For example, for Tet Trung Thu, the children made con giong (small animals made of dough), carried the colorful lanterns, and listened to the storytelling of Chu Cuoi. For Tet Nguyen Dan, the students learned about the customs associated with the holiday, ate the foods traditionally prepared for Tet, and listened to the story of banh chung and banh day, the foods made of rice and made to symbolize the earth and sky.

During the summer, I teach an arts and crafts class. The projects range from salt dough relief maps of Viet Nam and models of the traditional Vietnamese home to drawing to open-ended projects where the children experiment with paint, different colors and textures of paper, foam, and other materials. The classes provide the children with an opportunity to develop their skills, creativity, and imagination. In the arts and crafts classes, I feel like I am sharing with the children a moment of imagination and creation. In fact, I am constantly surprised by how each child views the world in his or her way, by the inventive ways in which they interpret the project and make it their own, and the joy with which they create.

Outside of the classroom, I illustrate and translate the folktales and legends that I grew up with, and the books are printed and given to schools and libraries across the country.

Throughout my life, I have been fortunate to have parents, family, teachers, mentors, and friends who inspire and encourage me. I hope that by performing the community service of teaching, I am helping others as so many people have helped me and that I am living up to the ideals exemplified by General Ngo Quang Truong. The Vietnamese American community has an amazing number of cultural and community-building organizations, of which the school where I volunteer is one, and I am proud to be part of this collective effort to preserve our Vietnamese heritage and create a strong community.

– Linh Dan Do


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