Having an Education

Ever since I was six years old, I strived to emulate the teachers who inspired me to become the educator that I am today. Ironically, I did not like to read when I was a child. Nevertheless, I still went on to earn college degrees in English, and currently work as an after-school teacher at The San Gabriel Valley Academy in Alhambra, California. I now empathize with teachers from my past, but this moment in time is not the last. Life does go on, I am who I am, and I love the work that I do!


A Letter of Recommendation for an Autistic Savant
Fall 2014

Dear Scholarship Committee,

My student, and friend, has asked me to write a letter of recommendation for an Undergraduate Student Alumni Scholarship, and I am pleased to do so. Even though I only see him a few times a month, I am still able to recognize his noble character.

As the leader of a karaoke group that is conjoined with the Chinese Parents Association for the Disabled, also known as CPAD, it has always been a pleasure to work with this outstanding autistic savant. His kindness towards other students within the CPAD group reveals his compassionate nature as well as his unconditional support for my friends. In fact, I would not even use the term “student” when I teach my karaoke group. Instead, I would use the word “friend,” and that term epitomizes this special man.

Interestingly, this boy displays a lot of sympathy towards my friends even though he suffers from autism, which is a medical condition that inhibits his ability to socialize. In spite of his limitations, he always helps me whenever I am in need of assistance. Furthermore, this fine young gentleman exhibits a tremendous amount of respect towards me, my friends, and most importantly, himself. Therefore, he has the ability to love even though his disability tries to hold him back. To me, that inner-strength reveals his perseverance as well as his willingness to confront challenges.

With such determination, my friend aspires to educate others. I also know that he was a former ESL (English as a Second Language) tutor at Pasadena City College, and that becoming an educator is his main career goal. Since I am a music instructor, I fully support his goal of educating others, and would not be surprised if he utilizes his special skills to help students learn in the future. It has been said that teaching is the ultimate form of learning, and I must admit that I truly do learn alongside him as we both work together to make CPAD a successful team effort.

Finally, it is my sincerest hope that he will continue to demonstrate his remarkable talent no matter what limitations try to prevent him from being the wonderful person that he truly is.

Because of his outstanding personal qualities, and his noble ambitions, I highly recommend my friend for an Undergraduate Student Alumni Scholarship.


A music instructor who has never had a friend like him


Being confined to a reclusive form of life would only result in monotony and not being able to grow. In contrast, taking the initiative to explore the world around an individual can allow such a person to change for the better. If one were to perform the same routine constantly, then that person would become a victim of cyclical living, a type of life that would not allow that individual to grow and mature. Repressing personal desire can result in someone becoming a grotesque individual instead of a fully-realized human being. Therefore, great literary figures, such as George Willard from Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg Ohio, reveal how change really does lead to progress. Change might not always be positive, but it is essential in order for a person to face new ideas and to view the world with a newfound perspective. Finally, rather than repressing one’s desires, it would be best to utilize them wisely in order to maximize the ability to change for the better.


Alex Andy Phuong earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from California State University-Los Angeles in 2015. He was a former Statement Magazine editor who currently writes about literature, film, and culture. He has written film reviews for more than one hundred motion pictures for MovieBoozer, and his writing has appeared both online and in print. Alex is a writer who dares to support the ones who pursue their dreams.

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