Is he a student – maybe a senior on the basketball team? No I thought he’s a Brony. What is that again – isn’t it a guy who likes the old cartoon My Little Pony?
Who is he?
Well he’s not a student at all, but a biology and chemistry teacher named Mr. Nguyen. It’s his second year teaching at San Clemente High and he is looking forward to a great year. But first, it seems vital to get to know him a little bit better.
Mr. Dang Khoa Nguyen was born August 15, 1988 in Thailand, but he grew up in San Bernardino, CA as his family was trying to give their children more opportunity here in the United States. However, San Bernardino wasn’t exactly heaven for the young Mr. Nguyen. “I grew up in a rough and tough area,” he said. “Kinda poor, but we made the most of it.”
Mr. Nguyen made the most of his high school experience as well, as he graduated top of his class as valedictorian at Cajon High School. He then went on to attend college at UCI, changing his major from Engineering, to English, to Film Studies, and finally finding his passion in Biology.
Upon graduating, Mr. Nguyen set his sights on medical school. However, he again changed his mind and decided to become a teacher instead. “I really felt like I could relate to high school kids more than younger ones. Like they would get my humor and I could understand what they’re going through,” said Mr. Nguyen.
When asked how he felt after his first day of teaching at SCHS he replied, “Nervous. But I just needed to practice a couple more times – it’s a learning process.” Mr. Nguyen said that practicing a numerous times to get it down applies to a lot of things – including his lessons. He even admitted to planning a lesson in his car on his way to school!
Mr. Nguyen is also full of advice for Tritons as he insightfully said he knows that most of the stuff you learn in school isn’t going to apply to real life situations but you should learn it anyways. “Take a different approach to school…and learn for the sake of learning. It’s all a process,” he said. “You gotta learn from your mistakes.”
Outside of school, you can find Mr. Nguyen doing all sorts of activities. His favorites include playing pickup basketball at UCI, searching for the best cuisine, practicing the piano, trumpet, and guitar, traveling all around the world, and of course, being a Brony.
“I’ve been blessed this entire life,” said Mr. Nguyen. Despite the many rough times in his life, the good memories have always stayed in the front of his mind. “That’s life I suppose. It has its ups and downs.”