Fort Worth

February's Excellent Educator Inspires Students With Life Story

This month's Excellent Educator uses her story to inspire students to pursue their dreams.

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Mrs. Tran Nguyen uses her story to encourage her students to push forward despite their circumstances.

She tells her students every day that you can do anything you put your mind to and if you believe you can achieve. But even more powerful, Mrs. Tran Nguyen uses her life story to encourage her students to push forward despite their circumstances.

“Alright people, when you’re working on these, I need you to do the even problems on one paper and odd problems on a different paper,” said Mrs. Tran Nguyen to her trigonometry class at  Fort Worth South Hills High School.  

Ever since she was a little girl, Nguyen has dreamed of being an educator.

She and her family migrated from Vietnam 29 years ago with nothing and a language barrier that she thought would keep her from living her dream.  

“The language, the culture, everything changed,” Nguyen said. “So I pushed that dream away.”   

But she credits her 7th grade English teacher for changing her life, and encouraging her to push forward with that dream no matter where you’re from.

“That’s what I’m trying to transfer to these students. I tell them, 'I’ve been there, done that. I’ve been through hardships, everything. New country, new language,'” Nguyen said.  

Now in her 15th year at South Hills, Nguyen says there’s no other place she’d rather be.

“When I came to South Hills, I seriously fell in love with these students. Students are what keep me coming back every single day,” Nguyen said.  

“There’s no boundaries for us, we can exceed our expectations,” said student, Juan Flores.    

And it’s Mrs. Nguyen’s story that inspires students like Juan Flores who’s parents are from Mexico. Juan already has plans to go to Texas A&M and join the ROTC program, something he didn’t think was possible before.  

“I feel like if she can do it, then we can do it as well,” Flores said.

“A teacher like Mrs. Nguyen who clearly loves what she does,” said Candace Walkington, SMU Associate Professor in Teaching and Learning – specializing in Mathematics Education. “Students can just see that.”

“On behalf of SMU and in recognition of Mrs. Nguyen’s selection of an Excellent Educator, I’m honored to present this check for $1,000 to South Hills High School,” said Walkington during the check presentation.

“There’s a little saying, they don’t care what you know until they know that you care, and that’s just stuck with me,” Nguyen said.

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