The 2021 Youth Excellence and Achievement Awards (YEA! Awards) were given to six outstanding students on May 5 at the beginning of the regular Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners meeting. Locally, Titus Thien Nguyen, a seventh-grade student at Burns Middle School in Brandon, received the award for Success Despite Difficult Odds.
Titus was nominated by his mother, Ngoc Hiep Phan, who said, “It is an honor for Titus, and also our family, for him to be selected as the recipient of this award in the category of Success Despite Difficult Odds. Our family moved to Florida from Vietnam in early 1990. Despite barriers, including language, family education and financial, Titus made a goal early on that he will finish college and pursue a career as either a brain surgeon or aerospace engineer.”
Phan added, “His theory is: always work hard regardless of whatever obstacles might be ahead, overcome your fears and start loving and appreciating what is coming.”
Titus is the only child of Phan and Quang Nguyen. He is in all advanced/accelerated classes and is receiving high school credits, holds a 4.0 GPA and has been on the Principal’s Honor Roll and Honor Roll. Titus has received awards for Citizenship, Perfect Attendance and Terrific Kid, and he has completed or competed in various activities, including STEM, coding, Battle of the Books, SLAM, a speech competition and Duke TIP.
According to his mother, Titus wants to attend Bloomingdale High School and take college courses and then transfer to the University of South Florida.
Phan said, “At one time, he struggled with writing, but with help, he overcame his fear and now loves and appreciates writing. He loves school and in the near future he wants to give back to the community. It is a way for him to show how thankful he is for being here in this land of many opportunities.”
The YEA! Awards categories include Success Despite Difficult Odds—overcoming personal difficulty to attain success and make a positive impact on others; Leadership—demonstrating a positive impact on others in an ongoing endeavor such as sports, academics or the arts; and Volunteer or Community Service—allocating discretionary time to help others or completing a project that improves the community.
For more information on the YEA! Awards, please visit www.HCFLGov.net/YEA.