Taking Life by Storm

Moving to a new city and starting at a new school could throw major hurdles in the path of just about any young and impressionable teenager. But traveling 8,600 miles to a new continent as a middle-schooler and not speaking the language of your new country… that’s what we call “Everest”-level challenges! This is the very life path that one of our very own exceptional volunteers has taken.

Linh Vo became a regular volunteer at the House after first learning about us through an aluminum pull-tab drive her school hosted for us. She continued to stay involved, helping us with chores and tasks around the House beginning the summer of 2018, and decided to continue serving into her senior year. She was born in Gia Lai, Vietnam, in 2000. Her family (which included her mother, father, and brother) made the long trek from Vietnam in 2013 to the often lush, but sometimes cold and slushy Ohio. “Hey Siri! Look up Webster’s dictionary definition of culture shock.”

A transition of this caliber took some serious adjustments for Linh to truly get acclimated to a new life in what essentially became an entirely new world. To add to the hardship, Linh unfortunately lost her mother the year after arriving in the United States.

Despite the difficulty she endured from losing a parent, navigating a new nation, and learning a new language, Linh still managed to take her new life by storm as she excelled in her studies. Starting at Travis Middle School, then on to Palo Duro High School, she qualified in UIL for math three consecutive years, participated in VASE (Visual Arts Scholastic Event) where she advanced to state, and even joined The Protagonist, PD’s school magazine, where she ultimately became editor. Somehow Linh wasn’t utilizing each of the precious 24 hours that we are allotted in each day, so she pushed herself even more as she became Vice President of the Art Club for her junior and senior year, in addition to serving as the treasurer of the National Honor Society.  We can vouch that her artwork is pretty spectacular… you might have seen some of it published in a recent edition of Amarillo Magazine?

(Artwork courtesy of Lihn Vo)

Alan Rufus once said “Hard work does not go unnoticed, and someday the rewards will follow.” These words could not ring truer for our friend Linh! Due to her persistence, diligence, and impeccable work ethic, Linh was offered scholarships to MIT, Harvard, Princeton, and was admitted to a grand total of eight universities to begin her college career this past fall. Having to choose between MIT or Harvard funding one’s education…. can you think of a better ‘problem’ to have? We’ve racked our brains over here, and came up with nothing.

After visiting various universities and colleges, Linh ultimately chose MIT, which she excitedly told us “is going to be my new home!” She loved her time both at Palo Duro High School as well as the many hours she invested into the Ronald McDonald House, and has planned to get plugged into a nearby RMHC chapter up there in Boston. As she just started her second semester at MIT, we have ZERO doubts in our mind that she will continue to embrace life at full-speed and take life by storm, wherever she goes!