“My native country, Vietnam, is in Asia. This is the biggest continent in the world. The truth is I fled out of my country years ago. You’d never imagine how I felt when I first came into the United States. I was very scared. Everything was so new, so strange, especially the language. I usually had hidden myself in my shadow. I was afraid that people would have laughed at me. So, I tried to protect myself with my silence.” Today, Bac-Thanh shares and reflects on her success in the United States.

In her native country Bac-Thanh completed high school and even began attending University. In addition, Bac-Thanh can read and understand four languages: Vietnamese, Dutch, French, and English. She is a writer. She has written a book in Dutch and it is her dream to translate it into English and share it with others. This is a remarkable feat, given that, when growing up in Vietnam, the English language was banned to the extent that books written in English were burned. These negative effects of communism threatened her education and her life. With the help of her parents, she was able to flee Vietnam with her two children. She now has three grandchildren living in the US, all of whom she is exceptionally proud of. That pride is reciprocated right back to Bac-Thanh. She smiles and says that her grandchildren are her biggest fans and have encouraged her to further pursue her education in America.

When asked about how she continues to work so hard after experiencing such difficult and strenuous life events, Bac-Thanh talked about a lesson her parents instilled in her at a young age that continues to drive her motivation in all areas of her life, especially school. Their message involved “Two L’s: no lies and no laziness.” Bac-Thanh has been living in the Indianapolis area since the early 1990’s but had not yet been exposed to the adult education and services that Wayne Township Adult Education provides. Thanks to an enrolled friend who invited her to attend, she started her schooling at Wayne Township Adult Education in 2017. She began in a level three ELL classroom, then moved to HSE foundations class. Today, two years after her first steps through the doors of Wayne Township Adult Education, she greets staff on her way in for class.

Bac-Thanh is currently attending HSE language arts class Tuesday and Thursday mornings with Jim Bradshaw. “Bac-Thanh has had to overcome many obstacles to be where she is today. She is a superior student who is always striving to learn more. She goes far beyond class expectations and is a class leader, always caring for and helping those around her. I am very fortunate to know such a wonderful lady,” says Jim. Bac-Thanh’s current focus is to obtain her diploma, and there is no doubt that her hard work will permit her to do so!

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