The Rapidian

Living life anew - Phuong Nguyen's journey to graduation

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

Phuong Nguyen was encouraged and helped to break through language obstacles in high school.
Phuong Nguyen overcame language barriers to succeed as a Class of 2011 graduate.

Phuong Nguyen overcame language barriers to succeed as a Class of 2011 graduate. /Believe 2 Become

Underwriting support from:

Join the Movement!

Give support to a student, provide words of encouragement, or even tell your own story here at

“I hope to make the world a better place.”

Phuong Nguyen came to the United States from Vietnam with her family when she was 15. When she started high school at Ottawa Hills, she didn’t know anyone, she didn’t know what was expected of her, and she barely spoke English.

It made for a rough start. When she told her parents it was too difficult, they told her that in the U.S., even if you do not speak English, the schools will help you. So they told her to keep trying, and to seek help.

Fast forward four years, and Phuong is a proud Class of 2011 graduate. She has become a proficient English speaker, reader and writer, and she was accepted to study pharmacy at the University of Michigan. Phuong says her guidance counselor Mrs. June Anderson gave her the best encouragement and advice. “She told me to believe in the beauty I have, the goodness, and the wisdom that are uniquely mine,” Phuong says. “There is only one Phuong, and the world needs me just as I am.”


Check out more stories from the GRPS Class of 2011 and tell Grand Rapids students that you believe in them by visiting


*Contribution from Joe Jones/Believe 2 Become

The Rapidian, a program of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Community Media Center, relies on the community’s support to help cover the cost of training reporters and publishing content.

We need your help.

If each of our readers and content creators who values this community platform help support its creation and maintenance, The Rapidian can continue to educate and facilitate a conversation around issues for years to come.

Please support The Rapidian and make a contribution today.

Comments, like all content, are held to The Rapidian standards of civility and open identity as outlined in our Terms of Use and Values Statement. We reserve the right to remove any content that does not hold to these standards.