2018-2019 GGUSD Valedictorians
Bolsa Grande High School: Jamie Vu will attend the University of California, Los Angeles to major in psychobiology to pursue a career in the health field. Jamie has received numerous academic accolades including being named a Carson Scholar for distinguished academic performance and demonstration of humanitarian qualities in the community and a National Merit Commended Scholar for exceptional academic promise. She also received the Joseph Adams Senior Scholarship from the Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica for showing high achievement in Spanish throughout high school. Her favorite high school activities include choir, academic decathlon, and Spanish honor society. Her most memorable high school experience was the first day of freshman year because she was able to meet new people, make friends, and explore a new environment! A resident of Garden Grove, Jamie’s parents are Klan Vu and Vickie Ha.
Garden Grove High School: Anabella Pham will attend UCLA in the fall with a major in Political Science. She aspires to go into law school to become a politician or judge. The accomplishments she is proud of include receiving a medal for Outstanding Attorney and Most Valuable Player in the Orange County Mock Trial Program, serving as the California Girls’ State Delegate, earning first place in the superquiz and team divisions of the Academic Decathlon, being named an Honored Argo, and contributing over 500 hours of community service with Hope Summer School. Her favorite high school activities include mock trial, academic decathlon, and volunteering at Hope Summer School. A resident of Garden Grove, Anabella’s parents are Ivy Dinh and David Pham.
Garden Grove High School: Nghiem Pham will attend MIT in the fall to major in linguistics with the career goal of becoming a college professor and researcher. Nghiem’s favorite high school activities include academic decathlon, choir, and Latin class. He was proud to be selected as a Simon Scholar, earn a medal for speech in the academic decathlon, and be recognized as giving the most effort in choir. A resident of Garden Grove, Nghiem’s parents are Hanh Thai and Nghia Trung Pham.
Hare High School: Angel Pivaral will attend Cypress College with the goal of transferring to Cal State Fullerton to major in Biology. Angel hopes to become a surgeon because he enjoys working in high-pressure environments and has a desire to help people enjoy health lives. He is most proud of earning a Certificate of Completion in the Youth Career Connections program, earning multiple Top Dawg nominations (Hare’s Student of the Week and Student of the Quarter program), strengthening English fluency and working his way through ELD Basics his sophomore year when he arrived to America from Guatemala and being able to graduate high school on time with a 4.0. During high school, Angel enjoyed Video Production class, playing soccer in P.E., and working with Hare teachers on student recognition videos. His most memorable experience was his first day of high school in the United States when his teacher paired him with someone to help explain the instruction in Spanish. When he got home, he immediately began studying English vocabulary and he realized how excited he was for school and wanted to ensure he met his goal of graduating on time. A resident of Stanton, Angel’s parents are Jose Escobar and Merlen Arriola.
La Quinta High School: Hillary Nguyen will attend Yale University in the fall with a major in neuroscience. She was selected as one of 300 students nationwide to receive the four-year full-ride Gates Scholarship funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Hillary has many accomplishments, including receiving the Vietnamese American Exemplary Student Award and Honoring Character Award, earning first place in the Southern California Vietnamese Dictation and Essay Contest four years in a row, and being named a Top Talent for Level 10 National Guild of Piano Teachers and Branch Honors for Certificate of Merit. Hillary’s favorite high school activities include competing in academic decathlon for four years, participating in the California Math League and Caltech Harvey Mudd Math Competition and attending the Teacher Talent Show. Her most memorable high school experience was building a boat in physics class and having one of her favorite teachers ride in it, earning second place in the race. A resident of Westminster, Hillary is the daughter of Nam Nguyen.
La Quinta High School: Katherine Ngo will attend UCLA in the fall with a major in microbiology, immunology, and molecular genetics with a career goal of attending medical school to become a general surgeon. Katherine has many academic accomplishments, including being a Gates finalist, National AP Scholar, AP Scholar with Distinction, National Merit Commended Scholar, receiving the Girl Scouts Silver Award, earning 4’s and 5’s on 14 Advanced Placement exams, earning 800 on the math portion of the SAT and a superscore of 1570, making the Golden Aztecs’ Honor Roll, and having a weighted GPA of 4.61 for sophomore through senior year. Her top three favorite high school activities include serving as president and secretary of National Honor Society president, secretary, and project chair of UNICEF, and receiving the Coach’s Award on the girls’ water polo and swim teams. Her most memorable high school experience was constructing a boat out of paper and polyurethane and successfully riding it across the pool for a physics project. A resident of Garden Grove, Katherine is the daughter of Tony Khai Ngo and Van Thanh Vu.
Los Amigos High School: Tiffany Tran is a well-rounded scholar with academic, athletic, and artistic accolades. Her accomplishments include being on the Principal’s Honor Roll, being named Student of the Month, ranking third in doubles tennis for league, being named MVP for girls’ tennis, receiving a Certificate of Merit Branch Honors for piano, and being named a Top Talent from the National Guild of Piano Teachers. In the fall, Tiffany will attend the University of California, Irvine to major in biological sciences with the goal of becoming an emergency room physician. Her favorite high school activities include serving as co-captain of the girls’ tennis team and president of the Red Cross Club. A resident of Fountain Valley, Tiffany’s parents are Alex and Mary Tran.
Pacifica High School: Andrew Huynh will attend UCLA to major in Aerospace Engineering with the goal of becoming a spacecraft engineer. The accomplishments he is most proud of include making the Principal’s Honor Roll and being named Student of the Quarter. He enjoyed participating in academic decathlon, CSF and Super Smash Bros. Club. His most memorable high school experience is going to Anyang, South Korea through the Garden Grove Sister Cities Association with nine GGUSD high school students, and learning more about Korean culture while staying with a Korean family. A resident of Garden Grove, Andrew is the son of Tiffany Nguyen and Danny Huynh.
Rancho Alamitos High School: Jennifer Nguyen is attending the University of California, San Diego to major in bioengineering/biotechnology. During high school, she received numerous academic awards from the science, math, and history departments. She is a member of the Rancho Alamitos Chamber Orchestra, Vietnamese Student Association, and the California Scholarship Federation. Her most memorable high school experience is playing in the orchestra at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. A resident of Garden Grove, Jennifer’s parents are Thomas Nguyen and Nancy Huynh.
Santiago High School: Quyen Nguyen will attend the University of California, San Diego in the fall and will major in computer science with an emphasis in software development. Her career goal is to become the founder of a start-up software company. The accomplishments she is most proud of include receiving Student of the Quarter four times, graduating as valedictorian, being accepted into college, and surviving marching band for all four marching seasons. Her favorite high school activities are playing the snare in the winter drumline program, placing fifth for economics in the Orange County academic decathlon competition, and volunteering in the school library with her friends. Her favorite high school experience was exploring new cities and trying different foods with her friends on the 14-hour band competition days. A resident of Garden Grove, she is the daughter of Toan Nguyen and Hoa Dao.
2018-2019 GGUSD Salutatorians
Bolsa Grande High School: Johnny Thai will attend the University of California, Los Angeles in the fall to major in biochemistry with an emphasis in the pre-medical track, and hopes to become a dermatologist or pharmacologist. Johnny’s academic accomplishments include earning the title of AP Scholar with Honors and Distinction, receiving consideration for the UCLA Alumni Scholarship, and being admitted into the University of California, Irvine’s Honors College. His favorite high school activities include serving as an Associated Student Body (ASB) cabinet member on the Digital Media Commission, serving as treasurer of the Red Cross Club, and coaching a youth recreational basketball team for the City of Fountain Valley. His most memorable high school experience is spending the summer practicing with ASB members and winning first place at the Orange County Leadership Camp talent show at UC Santa Barbara. A resident of Garden Grove, Johnny’s parents are Khanh Thị Phạm and Thung Xuân Thái.
Garden Grove High School: Raymond Sabino will attend the University of Southern California and plans to pursue a career as a computer and software engineer. His academic accolades include being selected as a finalist in the prestigious Questbridge National College Match scholarship program, being named an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction, and being named a Dean’s Scholar at USC. Raymond’s favorite high school activities include MESA (Engineering Club), participating in track and field, and spending time with friends. His most memorable high school experience was participating in the school’s talent show. A resident of Garden Grove, Raymond’s parents are Ramir and Maria.
Hare High School: Carlos Marquez Jr. will attend Golden West College for digital media, particularly video editing. He hopes to pursue a career in video editing and possibly start his own business. Carlos is proud of overcoming life’s obstacles, getting his priorities in order, and setting himself on the path to become high school salutatorian. His favorite high school activities include a graphic design class project where he created a fictional country, designed the flag, the country’s currency, story, and stamp. He also enjoyed the school’s senior picnic. His most memorable high school experience was creating a video about his life because he was able to showcase his story of overcoming struggles for the entire school to see and for other students to learn from his experiences. A resident of Garden Grove, his parents are Carlos Marquez Sr. and Julieta Marquez.
La Quinta High School: Karen Ly will attend the University of Southern California to major in biomedical engineering. Karen has earned a variety of academic accolades and scholarships including winning a $40,000 scholarship from Southern California Edison, being named an AP Scholar with Distinction, a Gates Scholarship finalist, and receiving the USC Deans Scholarship, the USC Norman Topping Scholarship and the Jim Wicker Memorial Scholarship. Karen has made the Principal’s Honor Roll each quarter for earning a GPA of 4.0 and higher, is the vice president of the National Honor Society, and a member of the California Scholarship Federation. She enjoys serving in leadership roles including Editor in Chief of yearbook/publications, president of Future Medical Leaders, and former President of Teen Activities Board at the Fountain Valley Library. Her most memorable high school experience is seeing four years of hard work pay off when she was surprised with the Edison scholarship at the Battle of the Aztecs Assembly, and receiving acceptances and scholarships from prestigious colleges including Brown, University, John Hopkins, Duke University, NYU, UCLA, UCI, and UCSD, especially as a first-generation college student. A resident of Westminster, Karen’s parents are Dung Ly and Jason Ly.
Los Amigos High School: Timmy Pham will attend the University of California, Irvine and has chosen to major in biomedical engineering. During high school, Timmy was named Outstanding Senior of February 2019, was named to the Principal’s Honor Roll, and named an AP Scholar with Honor. He is also a future Eagle Scout. He serves as vice president of the National Honor Society and as a member of the Red Cross Club. A resident of Santa Ana, Timmy’s parents are Thuy Nguyen and Thong Pham.
Los Amigos High School: Emily Thao Tran will attend Cal State, Long Beach to major in nursing. During high school, she was on the Principal’s Honor Roll, was named most improved dancer, earned the district biliteracy seal for Vietnamese, served as the Garden Grove ambassador for the Sister City Exchange Program, and dedicated more than 100 hours to volunteer community service with the Key Club. She serves as Treasurer of the National Honor Society, treasurer and costume designer of the Los Amigos Dance Team, co-treasurer of Key Club, and publicity chair of the Red Cross Club, as well as a member of the California Scholarship Federation. A resident of Santa Ana, Emily is a child of Brian and Jenny Tran.
Pacifica High School: Sydney Bui will attend the University of California, Berkeley with a major in business/economics. The accomplishments she is most proud of include working as a congressional intern for Congressman Alan Lowenthal where she was able to expand on her political interests, serve the community, and meet some amazing people. She is also proud of being selected as Mariner of the Month, National Honor Society President, and ASB Treasurer. Her favorite high school activities include Battle of the Bands, International Food Fair, and Clash of Classes. The most memorable part of high school to Sydney was going into the classrooms of her favorite teachers (Mrs. Stultz and Ms. Liogys) after school for help or to talk. She says they definitely made learning interesting and engaging. A resident of Garden Grove, Sydney is the daughter of Tam Pham and Bai Bui.
Pacifica High School: Phi H. Nguyen will attend UCLA to major in mechanical engineering with a career goal to work as an aerospace engineer for NASA. His accomplishments include being recognized as a top student by the math department and social science department as well as making the Principal’s Honor Roll. His favorite high school activities include Encore Show Choir, A Capella, and National Honor Society. His most memorable experience during high school was participating in a Music in the Parks event at Disneyland with his friends. One of his friends had a sprained ankle and was in a wheelchair so the group was able to bypass the lines, and had a great day together! A resident of Garden Grove, Phi is the son of Hung Huynh and Thuy Nguyen.
Rancho Alamitos High School: Andre Thien Vu will attend John Hopkins University in the fall to study medicine, sciences, and humanities. Within the next four years, Andre hopes to create his own non-profit organization to redistribute supplies and medicine to Southeast Asia, specifically Vietnam. He aspires to become a heart surgeon in order to provide relief to those who live in areas where they cannot receive medical help. Andre’s top accomplishments include receiving a Simon Family Foundation scholarship, being accepted to John Hopkins and other prestigious universities, earning a Black Belt in taekwondo, and receiving the english department award. His favorite extra-curricular activities include Boy Scouts, basketball, and the Red Cross. His most memorable high school experiences include having fun with his best friends and giving each other a hard time. A resident of Stanton, Andre’s parents are Thuy Ai Truong and Trung Vu.
Santiago High School: Michelle Le will attend the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in the fall with a major in political science. She aspires to serve as a United States Congresswoman and eventually become President of the United States. She is most proud of being awarded Resilience Orange County’s 2019 Transformative Youth Award, graduating and becoming the first in her family to attend college, and learning how to do her makeup in less than five minutes. Her favorite high school activities include performing in the drill dance team, taking the stage with the chamber orchestra, and advocating for social justice with the OC and Young Senators clubs. Her most memorable high school experience is performing a one-of-a-kind act for Santiago’s talent show. A resident of Garden Grove, Michelle is the daughter of Tuan Le and Linh Dao.