Newington valedictorian is UConn-bound

Published on Wednesday, 20 June 2018 19:38
Written by Erica Drzewiecki


NEWINGTON - The senior class’ 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.

“The 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,” 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 Nguyen’s specialties. He is set to attend the University of Connecticut this fall to study actuarial science and finance. He’s considering a minor in political science or business administration.

“The goal is to eventually become an actuary at one of the insurance companies in Hartford and to travel the world,” 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.

“I enjoy the people, the lifestyle and culture in Europe,” he said.

He has high hopes, but isn’t letting the future get in the way of the present.

His secret to success? Not focusing too much on the end game.

“Doing the work but also spending time with friends and living in the moment,” Nguyen explained. “Focusing on things I care about, my passions. Hoping the work speaks for itself.”

His grandparents moved to the U.S. from Vietnam to give their family more opportunities. These sacrifices are never far from his mind.

“That’s where I get the resolve to keep going,” Nguyen said.

Nguyen joined the high school’s DECA chapter in his senior year. His project, “Start-Up Business Plan,” placed first in the Connecticut Career & Development Conference in March.

“A few of my classmates who are also going to UConn want to start a collegiate DECA chapter there, which will be cool,” he added.

He and Salutatorian Jessica Buslewicz received “Teacher’s Pet” superlatives from their classmates. Neither was surprised.

“The school has given me a lot in my time here,” Nguyen said. “The highlight was Ms. Tigno becoming principal and her whole initiative with kindness. There’s a notable commitment to inclusion. Another highlight was Senior Prank Day.”

Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at 860-801-5097 or

Posted in New Britain Herald, Newington on Wednesday, 20 June 2018 19:38. Updated: Wednesday, 20 June 2018 20:06.