PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Treasure Coast High School senior Jenny Nguyen’s list of accomplishments include: Varsity tennis player, member of National Honor Society and member of Psychology Honor Society member.
“Education is important to me because it’s something that my family has always deemed as important in my household,” said Nguyen.
Oh and don’t forget her volunteering outside of school. After sitting down with her you realize, “busy,” is an understatement. She’s a young woman with a lot to prove against a wall of stereotypes.
Nguyen explained, “ I’m a minority and also a female and as a first generation low income student many people have doubts about me because my parents, they didn’t finish high school.”
Even before her nomination, teachers like David Bracken at Treasure Coast High School knew she was among the best and brightest.
“In ten plus years of teaching I can’t say that there’s, well I know that there’s no one that works harder,” Bracken said.
Her fierce work ethic served her well for a time during the pandemic when the weight of a single parent household fell on her capable shoulders.
“When it got really bad my family members, they couldn’t work anymore,” says Nguyen, and I became the only one working in my family. I took up more shifts as I wasn’t in school anymore and I was working about 15 hours a week.”
It wasn’t her first tough experience, Nguyen moved to Florida to be with her mom and in the process leaving a father battling addiction.
“He had addictions and, you know, so had abusive tendencies,” said Jenny, “and I know the struggle, as a daughter, other families have with mental health.”
These life experiences launched her passion in psychology and mental health awareness.
“I think that a lot of Jenny’s success and drive comes from that difficult background she came from, you know, she has experienced that pain so I think a lot of her motivation is to ensure that other kids don’t have to do that, don’t have to go through that," said Bracken.
Through her successes she’s proving how far hard work can take you, in her case to the top of her Treasure Coast High School class as Valedictorian with a GPA of 6.5. Her next stop is Stanford University where she dreams of becoming a neurosurgeon.
“What motivated me most was my mom. She works, she’s a single mom, she works 9 hrs a day and she also immigrated from Vietnam to give me all of the opportunities and dreams that I have now. That was probably my biggest motivation," said Nguyen.