NEWINGTON - The senior classâ€™ top student credits teachers and family with anchoring his academic and personal success.
Class of 2018 Valedictorian Khang Nguyen graduates from Newington High School this week with a 4.32 grade-point average and big plans. Supporting his journey over the last four years were NHS faculty and family values, he said.
â€śThe teachers here are really committed to their work and a lot of where I am today is due to their charisma and enthusiasm in teaching,â€ť Nguyen said.
He singled out Principal Terra Tigno, history teacher James Kravontka, math and computer science teacher Leslie McClane and math teacher Robert Miller.
Math is one of Nguyenâ€™s specialties. He is set to attend the University of Connecticut this fall to study actuarial science and finance. Heâ€™s considering a minor in political science or business administration.
â€śThe goal is to eventually become an actuary at one of the insurance companies in Hartford and to travel the world,â€ť he said.
Nguyen has relatives in Germany and has already visited that country, along with others in Europe. He hopes to see more of the continent.
â€śI enjoy the people, the lifestyle and culture in Europe,â€ť he said.
He has high hopes, but isnâ€™t letting the future get in the way of the present.
His secret to success? Not focusing too much on the end game.
â€śDoing the work but also spending time with friends and living in the moment,â€ť Nguyen explained. â€śFocusing on things I care about, my passions. Hoping the work speaks for itself.â€ť
His grandparents moved to the U.S. from Vietnam to give their family more opportunities. These sacrifices are never far from his mind.
â€śThatâ€™s where I get the resolve to keep going,â€ť Nguyen said.
Nguyen joined the high schoolâ€™s DECA chapter in his senior year. His project, â€śStart-Up Business Plan,â€ť placed first in the Connecticut Career & Development Conference in March.
â€śA few of my classmates who are also going to UConn want to start a collegiate DECA chapter there, which will be cool,â€ť he added.
He and Salutatorian Jessica Buslewicz received â€śTeacherâ€™s Petâ€ť superlatives from their classmates. Neither was surprised.
â€śThe school has given me a lot in my time here,â€ť Nguyen said. â€śThe highlight was Ms. Tigno becoming principal and her whole initiative with kindness. Thereâ€™s a notable commitment to inclusion. Another highlight was Senior Prank Day.â€ť
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at 860-801-5097 or firstname.lastname@example.org.