PORT ARTHUR —
Port Arthur’s top two graduating seniors have worked diligently on the path to academic success, and now their interests are taking them separate ways.
Michelle Pham, 18, is Memorial High School’s valedictorian. She will be attending the University of Texas in Austin, where she will study pharmacology.
An Vo, this year’s salutatorian, plans to stay home and focus on a technical career — likely to become a process operator at one of the area plants.
Pham graduated with a 5.71 grade point average, while Vo earned a 5.69.
“I was not expecting to be at the top of my class,” Pham said.
Her family and friends inspired her to work hard toward a goal of academic success.
“My family and friends pushed me to do my best and did not let me give up, even when I was done trying,” Pham said.
The lifelong Port Arthur resident said she is excited to be moving to Austin, and hopes her career as a pharmacist takes her to either the Houston or Austin area.
Though she aspires for a more populous area, Pham said she will miss her teachers at PAISD, as well as her friends, who are all going their separate ways.
Pham is the daughter of Chi Le and Tiet Pham.
She is a National Honor Society member, and vice-president of Umoja, a national organization that equips young people to succeed in college.
She is also a member of Students Against Destructive Behavior (S.A.D.D.) and a Word of Mouf member.
Like most young people she like to relax and have fun, but spends time on the weekends at her family’s restaurant, Uyen’s on Gulfway Drive.
When time allows, she volunteers at Port Arthur’s Hospitality Center.
Memorial’s salutatorian sees himself self-employed in 10 years, owning his own business.
Vo believes having a solid plan for the future is instrumental in any type of success.
“You should know what you want in life, and establish long and short term goals,” he said.
While attending Memorial High School, Vo said he was inspired by everyone he met in one way or another.
“Negative or positive, everyone I have met has influenced me to be the person I am now,” Vo said
While in high school, Vo founded Memorial’s juggling club.
He enjoys playing the guitar, drawing, photography, beatboxing, and is an avid Tetris player.
He is the son of Tien Nguyen