NSSC celebrates Asian Pacific heritage
June 7, 2011
The Natick Soldier Systems Center workforce celebrated Asian Pacific Heritage Month with a presentation May 25 by students, teachers, parents and representatives from John P. Holland Elementary School.
This year’s theme, “Diversity, Leadership, Empowerment, and Beyond,” was visually supported by children ranging from kindergarten to second grade, and their bilingual teachers. The presentation recognized and celebrated the contributions of the Asian community, and those who gathered in Hunter Auditorium enjoyed many energetic performances by the youths and appreciated the knowledge different speakers shared.
“This presentation exemplifies how important teachers are to our families,” said Lt. Col. Kari K. Otto, Natick garrison commander. “Students epitomize the curiosity and enthusiasm to learn.”
Thuy Truoing, a Vietnam refugee and schoolteacher, discussed her life as a Vietnam refugee in the mid 1970s. She has taught kindergarten for 27 years and received her master’s degree in education.
“Being a bilingual teacher has taught me a great lesson,” Truoing said. “It helps us to make life transition easier for the students.”
As Truoing recalls, many bills were passed in Congress that assisted in a smooth assimilation for refugees in the 1970s.
“We had feelings of being welcome, a sense of belonging, and feelings of being accepted by the U.S.,” she said.
As a bilingual kindergarten teacher, Truoing recognizes her role as “both a mother and father” She describes the students as “curious, eager learners who race and compete with challenges and love homework.”
As the presentation continued, students sang, danced, and shared their dreams about “what they want to be when they grow up.” Young girls dressed in traditional long Vietnamese dresses danced to “The Season of Cherry Blossoms,” a Japanese song about the purity and simplicity of life, and groups of students sang songs, including “My New Cat,” “This Little Light of Mine” and patriotic favorites, “God Bless America” and the “Fifty States Song.”