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February 11, 2022 Achiever Stories

West High senior becomes first-generation college student with Stanford University acceptance

Amy Nguyen WHS
West High School senior Amy Nguyen will be a first-generation college student when she attends Stanford University in the fall. She says acceptance into Stanford University is a dream for her whole family.

Sioux City, Iowa – Amy Nguyen has achieved academic success, including her recent acceptance into Stanford University next fall. However, the West High School senior has learned that sometimes succeeding in school requires more than studying.

“Even though school is important, it should never be prioritized over your well-being. Your emotional, mental, and physical health should always come first,” says Amy. “You are the most important project that you will ever work on, so do not allow yourself to be burnt out – for your flame to be extinguished, before you can finish.”

A lifelong Sioux City resident, Amy received a full-tuition scholarship to Stanford University. The first in her immediate family to have the opportunity to pursue higher education, Amy looks forward to exploring the world that exists outside of Siouxland.

“I get emotional thinking about how I will graduate soon and how all of us seniors will be going our own separate ways. I also cannot wait to go experience the world that exists outside of Sioux City,” adds Amy. “I am going to be able to meet all kinds of people and learn about them as well as their perspectives on life. Obviously, Stanford is an amazing school academically, but I am excited for the people I will meet.”

In the meantime, Amy is making the most of her senior year and finishing out a successful high school career that has brought her accolades including the title of Distinguished Young Woman of Iowa and inclusion in the Spanish National Honor Society. In addition, her involvement in HOSA and homecoming royalty this year are some of Amy’s fondest memories.

Teachers including Donny Short, Christina Still, Jamie Bratvold, and Todd Siefker have inspired Amy and pushed her out of her comfort zone. They have all lent support at times when Amy has needed it most.

“My academic life has not been without struggle. I often find that whenever I talk about how having ADHD affects my learning or how I struggle with studying, people will ignore it because I seem to perform well in school anyways. There are many who assume that my ability to perform so well academically comes naturally when that is not true at all,” notes Amy.

As she looks to the future, Amy is grateful for the opportunities ahead of her.

“My parents were never able to pursue higher education, so being accepted to Stanford is almost a dream or accomplishment for my whole family.”