Vietnamese Student Association continues assisting students

VSA will hold financial aid ‘question and answer’ workshop


Photo illustration by Dung Tran / Times Staff

Vietnam Lunar New Year, organized by VSA, is celebrated by students Celebration 2020, at San Jose City College on Feb. 6, 2020.

Vietnamese Student Association, established in 2018, has effectively helped Vietnamese students in learning orientation and organizing activities for the Vietnamese student community.
Anh Truong, a former Financial Aid officer at SJCC, has been assisting Vietnamese students by finding funding and scholarship opportunities.

“I always love the students, especially Vietnamese students, because they study very hard,” Truong said. “Most of them often have to work part-time to share the cost burden with their families. In my financial capacity, I often contribute a small part to the scholarship fund for students of VSA. I treat Vietnamese students like my family members, and I feel happy to help them.”

Counselor Thuy Cao, who has been working at the EOPS office for more than five years, is a pioneer in organizing the establishment of VSA.

“Our mission as the VSA is to strengthen the Vietnamese-American awareness in our college and community,” Cao said. “The VSA executive board usually meets every two weeks. Our executive board still meets via Zoom meeting every two weeks on Friday during the current quarantine conditions.”
VSA offered CSU and UC transfer Application workshops in Vietnamese in the fall semester, said Cao, who was formerly working at Evergreen Valley College. “We will be offering a Vietnamese Financial Aid Question and Answer Workshop in spring 2021.”

Cao said even with a limited budget, VSA successfully organized events such as the Lunar New Year celebration and graduation ceremony for Vietnamese students.
The Vietnamese community often organizes New Year’s activities very lively, Cao said, adding that this contributes to preserving the Vietnamese cultural identity.

“With the support of SJCC’s board of directors, we do hope that every year, VSA will organize a New Year festival for Vietnamese students and holds a graduation ceremony for all Vietnamese students,” Cao said.

During the Vietnamese New Year festival, VSA has held some traditional cultural activities such as music, a lion dance to welcome the New Year and a small Vietnamese food party.
These activities are meaningful, especially with international students who cannot go home for a new year, Cao said.

“One of my best memories at VSA is the New Year Celebration 2019, which attracted hundreds of SJCC students and guests,” said Nancy Le, a senior student at SJCC. “We got so many fun activities at the events like dragon dance, playing Bingos, giving out lucky money and the Vietnamese Ao Dai fashion show.”

Le said it was such a successful celebration and strengthened Vietnamese culture and tradition within the SJCC community.

“I am proud to be part of VSA, and my contributions can gain such meaningful outcomes,” Le said.

“I cannot forget my wonderful memory with my classmates on the summer graduation ceremony 2019,” said Hang Huynh, a former student at SJCC and a current graphic design student at San Jose State University. “Although the ceremony held by VSA was not as crowded as the graduation ceremony of the whole school, the warm atmosphere among the classmates and all families in the Vietnamese community that day was a source of encouragement for us to continue on our way to the university.”
Huynh said she is always grateful to SJCC and VSA for always accompanying her throughout the years she studied at SJCC.

“I couldn’t hold my tears as my whole family and I sat at home to attend my graduation ceremony on Zoom this year. Tears of happiness when I officially got an AA degree from SJCC,” said Daisy Nguyen, a former student at SJCC who graduated in 2020.

She said she plans to go to work to help her parent after four years of studying.

“The only thing I regret is that I couldn’t see the teachers and all of my classmates that day,” Nguyen said.

Nguyen stressed that she will never forget the online graduation ceremony of 2020, which was organized by VSA.

“In my mind,” Nguyen said, “VSA is the link between the school and the students, a cultural bridge between Vietnamese students like us and our hometown’s cultural roots.”