Saturday, January 18, 2014

A Syracuse 'Nguyen', and Hoping for a Louisville 'Nguyen' in Connecticut

I had the fortunate, one-day early surprise of hosting class of 2004 graduate, Nguyen Luu, in my Connecticut home yesterday (the solo fish bowl was postponed until tomorrow).

Nguyen was a first-generation immigrant from Vietnam who arrived at the Brown School in 2001. In his sophomore year he moved to Florida, but returned as a junior and crossed the stage with an incredible crew of Brownies, including his now wife, Angela Lomax. There's something tremendous about reunions, especially when it's been almost nine years.

Nguyen went into the Army reserves, majored in finance at the University of Kentucky, and now works in New York City. When he was a senior, he gave me a hand-drawn self portrait that I still have in my office - a piece of art and creativity that I always valued as a teacher. In fact, it was one of the items I packed from my classroom, room 301, when I returned to Syracuse for my doctorate.

I knew introducing him to Chitunga Chisenga, a relocated youth from Zambia/Congo, who I work with in Bridgeport. Chitunga hopes to join the air force after he finishes a four year degree and I knew Nguyen would be a great source of wisdom for him. Nguyen and I had the chance to feel aged together while Chitunga asked questions about life's journey and next steps to take as a senior in high school.

The day included two basketball games with three of my favorite teams: Syracuse, Louisville and Connecticut. Crazy that Louisville and Connecticut played each other.

Yes, this is a throwback to Ubuntu, but also the creativity of incredible connections.

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